Who guides the Kayak trips & Carry's out our SUP Lessons?
Our Kayak trips are led by British Canoe qualified Fowey River Boatman who operate from our Safety Kayaks or Safety Boat. They’re all experienced kayakers who know the Estuary well, are trained First Aiders and carry medical kits, safety gear, mobile phones and VHF radios.
Our SUP Instructors are all BSUPA qualified as well as having Fowey Harbour Commission licenses to operate commercially on the River Fowey, coupled with first aid certificates and an ALLA license allowing them to carry out sessions for under 16's without the need for parental supervision on the water.
Where are you?
In the beautiful waterside village of Golant, two miles upstream from Fowey. From the A390 from Liskeard direction, go through Lostwithiel, and take the B3269 to Fowey. We are the left turn at the crossroads, signposted 'Golant'. From St Austell A390 follow the signs to 'Fowey' - at the Texaco garage, turn left, following signs to Bodmin, Liskeard and Lostwithiel. We are the right turn at the crossroads. See detailed map further down for village parking etc.
What kit do I need to bring with me for Kayaking?
- Clothes appropriate to the weather conditions - Sun hats, Hats, Gloves, Warm Clothes and Waterproofs (you’ll probably get a bit wet even if it’s not raining)
- Old trainers or crocs (feet often get wet)
- Medication/ Inhalers / Suncream
- Bring a set of spare clothes to leave in your vehicle - just in case
- A small airtight food tub to put valuables in (mobile phones, watches, ipods, Cameras, Electronic Car Keys)
- Glasses / Sunglasses must secured by a suitable strap
- Your own wetsuits if you own one, or hire from us at £5 per suit
- Wet shoes for colder waether (we have stock if required but sizes are limited)
- A towel (you will be getting wet)
How fit do I need to be?
You need to have a reasonable fitness level (can comfortably walk 2 or 3 miles) and for SUP the ability to swim 50 meters unaided is a benefit. Please advise us when booking of any relevant medical conditions i.e. Asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, heart conditions etc. If you have any concerns please ask. All information shared is held in strict confidence, your safety is paprount to us and we want you to have a great session be it Kayak or SUP.
We are passionate about this beautiful part of Cornwall, and are keen for as many people as possible to have the opportunity to experience our wonderful estuary, its wildlife and history. Many parts of the estuary can only be accessed by water, which we believe is part of its special attraction.
For those visitors who have a disability, whether visible or invisible, and who feel fit enough to paddle, we will do our very best to accommodate your needs so that you can have a wonderful time on the water. Experience has taught us that every person will have unique requirements, and so the earlier we can discuss these the better, for us to understand the needs and put in place any necessary arrangements to make the trip enjoyable. We are stocking coloured overlay sheets to help with reading information, and we are updating our Boatshed information in a larger print. A few other examples are that our Kayak ‘Creeks & Backwaters’ trip are better for those who have difficulty walking or who are in wheelchairs as we launch only a few metres from our Boatshed base – the ‘Wildlife & Waterfronts’ will need to travel along to the beach, which is possible, (you can drive almost onto the beach) but it very much depends on the paddler’s mobility. We have waterproof bags for medication, hearing aids etc; false limbs are not usually a problem as we can normally transport them if necessary. Knee & hip replacements will need consideration to choose the best type of kayak. There is a gentle slope into the Boatshed, and then it is all flat, and although we have toilets, there is also a fully equipped public disabled toilet just across the road. We are happy to accomodate pregnancies, but please discuss this with your GP before booking, so you are comfortable - if you bring a partner, they are often willing to take over the main share of paddling if you choose to Kayak! If you are worried that your condition will make a trip difficult for you, or you have any other requirements or difficulties please don't hestitate to get in touch and we will do everything we possibly can to make your trip fun, comfortable and memorable!
For those who choose not to or are unable to travel by car, Par Station is approx. 2 miles away, and the no.24 bus from St Austell bus station stops at the top of the hill at Golant (called Tywardreath turn). They leave St Austell at 21mins past the hour, and Tywardreath Turn back to St Austell at 52mins past the hour. They take about 40mins and cost £2-£3. For the most up to date info, please check www.firstgroup.com/cornwall/plan-journey/timetables (put in route 24), or www.travelinesw.com .
There are also a number of local taxi services -
Coastal Cars of Fowey. Tel: +44(0)1726 832372,
Yeo's Taxis. Tel: +44(0)1726 814095,
White River Cars. Tel: +44(0)1726 810980/07968259466,
South Coast Private Hire Tel: +44(0)1726 814892.
What if I capsize or fall off my board?
We operate in sheltered waters and our double kayaks and SUP boards are very stable. We only have a handful of capsizes each year (about 1 per 500 people and involves single kayaks...). For SUP getting wet and falling off is a part of the experience. We normally operate close to the foreshore, so if you do fall out or off (our kayaks have open cockpits) our staff will quickly and safely get you ashore and reunite you with your kayak or help you back onto your board.
What is the minimum and maximum age?
There is no upper age limit providing you consider yourself reasonably fit and we’ve had many paddlers in their 70’s and a few in their 80’s. We take children from 3 upwards with a parent or parents on a Kayak, but our age limited for SUP is 10 years plus, in the main because they will be on a board on thier own and will need to have the upper arm strength to paddle, instructors can attach a tow rope for younger SUPers, if tired, but this method is only used as a last resort to ensure the safety of the paddler. Our larger double kayaks can take an additional child seat which is suitable for 3-5 year olds. Suitable Buoyancy aids are always provided.
Can Under 16’s and Under 18’s join trips?
Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult on a Kayak but on a SUP Session we are covered by our AALA license which allows us to take under 16's on the water without the supervision of a parent or guardina. Well behaved 16 and 17 year olds are able to join our Kayak trips without an accompanying adult.
What if we’re an odd number?
We normally put one of you (the most experienced or water confident) in a single kayak. However, if you are all beginners we can sometimes team you up with another singleton or member of staff if available. For SUP odd or even number are not an issue.
Do I need to be able to swim?
Non swimmers are welcome and as you have a buoyancy aid you will be quite safe. However, we do need to know you can't swim in advance as we limit the number of non-swimmers on each trip.
What about the Weather?
We paddle in most weather conditions with the exception of heavy, persistent rain or strong winds. Winds have more of a detrimental effect on SUP sessions as our Safety OP's limits us lower wind speeds than on a Kayak. If we do have to cancel a trip we normally do it 24 hours in advance and send you a text to save a wasted journey. We try to move the trip to another date to suit but if this is not possible for you or us we refund any monies paid in full.
What is the Maximum Weight and Height?
Most or our kayaks are suitable for those weighing under 16 Stone and up to 6 feet tall. If you are heavier and/or taller than this let us know at the time of booking and we will reserve one of our larger kayaks or SUP boards or a double kayak which you can paddle on your own if available (additional charges may apply).
What type of Kayaks & Boards do you use?
We use a mix of sit in and sit on double kayaks which we allocate according to weather conditions and the make-up of the group. All our single kayaks are sit ins. We have three main types of board, chosen as they are all double skinned and offer more stability, these are Fanatics, Fatsicks and RED, they are all rounder boards but we are happy for experienced paddlers to supply thier own board and have compressors at The Boatshed to assist with inflating.
Are refreshments provided on the Tours & sessions?
Our 2 - 3 hour tours include around a 30 minute refreshment break where drinks and food can be purchased. Alternatively you can bring your own food along and have a picnic. Our shorter 2 hour Sundowners don’t allow time for a break – so bring along a snack. Arrive early or stay on to enjoy coffee & cakes or maybe an OGY1 pasty at our Boatshed cafe.
As SUP Sessions are usually only 90 minutes in duration, there is no real need to bring along refreshments, but our instructors usually carry chocolate / energy bars for any guest in need of an energy burst and you are wlecome to bring along water.
Can we store our valuables: camera and phones etc. safely without getting them wet?
The tour guide has a dry bag which can hold small valuables, or we can lend you one (on a 'first come' basis) or leave your valuables with staff at The Boatshed before heading out. We also have a supply of waterproof phone cases for sale.
What time should I arrive for my Tour or Session?
Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your departure time or earlier if you want a pre-paddle bite and a drink at The Boatshed cafe – time and tide wait for no man! We cannot guarantee that the group will be able to wait for latecomers. Please be aware that Cornish roads are very busy during peak holidays, so allow extra time for your journey or if you need to inflate boards upon arrival.
Dogs and their well behaved owners are very welcome in the Boatshed
Although the main part of our business is providing guided kayak trips and SUP lessons, we have always felt very strongly that it is our responsibility to ‘live lightly’ i.e. not to do anything that is detrimental to our immediate location, and extending it to our area, country and also globally. If it were not for the unspoilt beauty of the Fowey Estuary, we wouldn’t have the popular business, and repeat business that we enjoy.
So, with that in mind we try to make our decisions based on causing as little impact as possible. Although our kayaks & SUPs are made from plastic, they are robust and long lasting – when we feel it’s time to renew they are either sold on or sometimes repurposed into other things, things. We use safety kayaks out on the water and our SUP instructors favour touring boards which are longer and quicker than our allrounder SUP tuition boards.
Although we don’t own our Boatshed, we have used low energy bulbs, cold water taps with a timer: we have a tiny water heater in the kitchen that only heats a small amount of water at a time. Our fridge is A+ rated. Any take away items, cups boxes and straw as well as cutlety are all recyclable.
As much of our Café menu as possible is chosen to represent the locality. Our eggs/bacon/sausages come from the local farm – they also produce milk that is bought by the local dairy firm that supplies butter, cream and milk. Any other meat is from the local butchers. Bread comes from a baker two miles away in Fowey.
We also encourage our visitors to recycle their waste by providing coloured bins for sorting – paper & card, and plastic & glass, plus non-recyclable rubbish.
We also organise river clean ups each year in partenership with "Planet Patrpol" and by using there App we are able to photograph and record our findings which are loaded ont a central database which is shared with manufacturers and the government to help shape the future of our green policies. SUP Claen ups can be booked on line across the globe via the Planet Patrol websire, look out for our pre agreed clean up dates.
We continue to research, and review what we are doing and whether we could do any better. If you do have any comments/suggestions, please talk to a member of staff, particularly Karen if you can, who would be very happy to discuss your ideas!