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Wilderness Canoe on the River Derwent

There's something about the Canoe that can transport you through time. The ancient craft, steeped in history, hunting, travel and exploration. It is the ultimate vessel for the river and The Lake District is the perfect place to experience a journey in an open Canoe. Just relax while you watch the world go by with each stoke of your paddle.

We have written about walks and the upcoming winter but there are still a few weeks to go in this atmospheric season of Autumn and yesterday we had the most crisp and clear conditions for a Canoe journey along the River Derwent in Borrowdale.

We had the company of our great friends Alice and Paul who were very excited to be taking their maiden voyage in a Canoe. Becki and I were also excited to be braking the cherry on our two new Canoes that we purchased recently. Both second hand but in great condition. We were like kids at Christmas as we launched them onto the water.

Our journey began at Grange, the small village below Castle Crag, which is home to a beautiful pool near the famous 15th century double arched bridge. One of our favourite spots in the Lakes.

The river was a little shallow but once we paddled past the first rapid the river deepened and our journey really began. Alice and Paul were ecstatic and so were we. It was so nice to see them again after such a long time. We always get a buzz when our friends and clients come out experience adventures for the first time. It's heart warming sharing their excitement. It was so nice taking our canoes out for the first time too.

Both Alice and Paul were showing off their new skills and demonstrating excellent J-Stokes as we meandered along the river, taking in the views on all sides, Catbells, Shepards Crag, Walla Crag and Skiddaw basking in the early evening sun, covered in their Autumn colours. The rapids were small but exciting all the same and the river Derwent was so clear. All the dead leaves covered the bottom of the river and rested motionless as we passed along the glassy top. We stopped in amazement as we watched a herd of cows drinking from the river. They watched us in equal fascination.

The Derwent river bends with new sights at every corner. It then opens on grassy plains, bullrushes and reeds until you reach Derwent Water. The shallows and small islands are reminiscent of the Everglades. A Heron flew out of the long grass and swooped high into the blue sky. The sunset over Maiden Moor was spectacular as we turned in the lagoon and made our way back up river to complete our journey.

The trip up river involved some lining of our canoes up stream (jumping out and pulling with ropes) but this added another level of adventure and a wet sock or two. All smiles as we paddled hard agains the river running against us. Finally we made it back to Grange. Red cheeked and sun charged.

The River Derwent is a special place and a unique Canoe journey, one that always excites us. We have completed many a trip here, but it's always beautiful to experience with new clients, family and great friends. A fantastic experience in all seasons over multi days, nights or wild island camps. It was a fantastic day and one we can't wait to repeat.

To find out more about INTO THE OUTSIDE Canoe days visit or if you'd like to come on a Wild Island Canoe Camp visit We can't wait to hear from you.

Dan, Becki & Pan


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