This post could actually also be titled ‘How to be More Adventurous?’ Do you consider yourself adventurous? I don’t. Or at least not in the outdoorsy, sporty kind of sense of the word. (This reminds me of a great, but old, song ‘I lied about being an Outdoor Type’) I have always loved camping, although this is something we haven’t done as much as we’d like with our young family. We had our first festival experience this year. But I would like to be more adventurous and would like my kids to have a spirit of adventure. Not a dangerous kind of spirit of adventure – I don’t want them to be into extreme sports at aged 18! But it would be nice if they didn’t let fear hold them back at some things or at least they gave everything outdoorsy a go! I think Mr M and I are pretty good at giving everything a go most of the time, which is why we were very excited to try family canoeing trip with Thyvre as one of their ‘Everyday Adventures’.
Our Family Canoeing Trip began in Amberley on a beautiful sunny evening. Staying at the most gorgeous Air B&B, we sat down with the kiddos after dinner and had a chat about our canoeing adventure the next morning. Everyone was excited, no-one really knew what to expect. No-one decided to check the weather forecast – I mean, why tempt fate? I’m not convinced that our 4 year old knew exactly what a canoe looked like! But everyone had their spirit of adventure firmly intact and we headed off for bed, excited for the adventures ahead.
Family Canoeing Trip
The next morning, however, brought a beautiful but foggy morning. Crisp golden leaves lay like a blanket on the forest floor but the sky was grey. We set off, heading to meet our instructor on a beautiful bridge on the River Arun. It was only as we got kitted out with our lifejackets that I thought maybe our 4 year old needed a little more preparation for what lay ahead but we set off in our boats. I took Elodie aged 10 in my canoe, Finlay (7) and Orla (4) went in Mr M’s canoe. Double canoes are a must if you are taking young children canoeing. I think even with being 10, Elodie couldn’t have steered a canoe by herself and it made me less worried that there was one of us with each of our kiddos!
We set off down the gorgeous River Arun (seriously, if you ever get a chance to travel down it – look out for the stunning boat houses and pretty bridges) and after a few 10 point turns (steering a canoe is hard!) I felt that we were travelling smoothly along and perhaps, dare I add, were even getting a hang of this thing called Canoeing…………when the rain set in. And – oh the rain! The day had been simply dark and overcast, in seconds became a wall of water. Our waterproofs were quickly overwhelmed, water seeping in through the stitching. We were sodden!! This, in itself, would have been OK. I quite like a walk in the rain but steering a canoe in rain and increasing wind is really tricky! We were frequently thankful for our ever patient instructor as he rescued us from many a bank!
As the rain increased, we decided to head back and it was at this point, Orla began to cry. And cry she did the whole ride home! To be fair, it did get quite chilly – if you ever head out canoeing, take gloves! Poor little mite – she was frozen when we got to the end! The canoe ride home felt like the longest time – I was ever so slightly thankful to see the ‘our bridge’ where we had embarked come into view! I do think canoeing is fantastic for building resilience – basically, I realised as we continued to paddle along (I felt like we would have got somewhere faster walking) you can’t go anywhere to get away from the bad weather – you just have to keep on paddling! But was so proud of us all for coping well with the rain and continuing on regardless. When we reached the bridge, we swiftly changed into warm clothes and headed back to our toasty Air B&B for Hot Chocolate and a well deserved pizza! It was only when we reached home, I realised how cold our little ones had been and gave them extra snuggly cuddles and plenty of blankets – they really had embraced the spirit of adventure!
The lovely thing about our family canoeing trip was it only took an hour of so (or a mouthful of hot chocolate) before we were reminiscing fondly about our canoeing adventure and being rescued from banks and getting stuck in the branches. An adventure that pushes you to the unknown a little – has the wonderful ability to do that! It’s a weekend we’ll fondly remember forever!
Top Tips for Family Canoeing
If you’re heading out on your own family canoeing adventure – here’s our top tips:
- Take gloves and waterproofs (including waterproof trousers, if cold)
- Share double canoes with children aged 11 and under.
- Arrive in good time and prepare your kids that it will sometimes be tricky but ultimately be rewarding.
- If it’s cold, wear a hat!
- Have a dry bag to store essential snacks!
If you’d like to know more about our Top Tips for Family Canoeing, check out our post here and here is our Kit List for things you need to take when family canoeing!
Many thanks to Fluid Adventures for our brilliant instructor!
*Thank you so much to Thyvre for gifting us this wonderful adventure and rekindling/ igniting this family’s spirit of adventure! All words, opinions and photos are my own.*