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Questions relevant to Potential New Members

What Ages and Experience Levels do you cater for?

Bolton Canoe club caters for all differing levels of experience from complete beginner upwards and also cater for young ages so long as you can swim 50m in full wetsuit kit with buoyancy aid (or swimwear in a pool). We have junior (currently aged around 8 upwards) and adult groups. As we’re an affiliated club of British Canoeing, we can provide ‘Personal Performance Awards’ known as ‘Start’, ‘Discover’, ‘Explorer’. In addition we also run additional training/courses for varying disciplines.

How Do I Join?

For information on joining our club, please visit our Join page

What are the fees for membership and sessions?

Please see our Membership Fees page

When do you meet?

Our regular paddling sessions are held on Monday evenings April to October on High Rid Reservoir (Horwich) from 7pm until around 9pm or sunset.
We meet at Westhoughton Swimming Pool Oct to April for one of two 30 minute sessions starting at 8:30pm and 9:00pm. Additional sessions may also take place Oct – April on High Rid on Sunday mornings which is subject to conditions and coach availability. As a member, you can book onto the sessions on an ad-hoc basis a few days before and you only pay for the sessions you book onto. If you choose to participate in any award schemes then these are done over several weeks so your attendance would (ideally) be required throughout as they are usually done in groups. We have an online booking system where you would be able to see all regular and ad-hoc events which you can then book onto as you wish.

What Equipment do I need?

If you don’t have your own equipment then Kit can be provided for a small fee (this is free for intro days). Borrowing kit is particularly useful to initially ensure you enjoy paddle sports as well as working out what equipment would suit you best should you later wish to purchase your own kit (We have discounts agreed for members of our club at some paddling retailers). Personal items will always remain your responsibility, please therefore ensure that you have for instance, a floating glasses strap and waterproof case for any personal items which is safely secured and preferably will float.
See below for specific equipment/clothing required based on the session types and please be mindful of the air/water temperature based on the weather and time of year.

High Rid Reservoir – Introduction Sessions
If you have soft kit (Wetsuit, cag, buoyancy aid), Feel free to bring this otherwise these can be borrowed for no additional fee. For the intro day however the club boats and paddles will be used rather than your own.
Aside from using club boats, the clothing required is the same as for regular sessions (as below). For further info on the intro day, please see our Intro Day page

High Rid Reservoir – Regular Sessions (All year round. Kayak, Canoe or Stand Up Paddleboard):
Feel free to bring your own kit to our regular sessions if you have it, although the club can provide boats, paddles, wetsuit, buoyancy aid and a wind/spray-proof jacket (cag).

You will need to wear something under the wetsuit, usually a swimming costume, possibly with a rash vest, thermal top or t-shirt depending on conditions.
A thin fleece for over the wetsuit / under the cag may be useful, High Rid can be very exposed to the wind and can often feel colder than you might expect. You must also wear footwear (trainers will be fine)
You should assume that you might get wet, so only wear stuff that can get soaked and bring a full change of clothes and a towel.
We do have changing facilities and toilets available, but they are basic.
A drysuit would likely be necessary for the colder months.

Swimming Pool Sessions (Winter / Kayak only):
Kayaks, paddles and spray decks can be provided. You would need to wear swimwear and we ask that your top half is also covered (swim costume or t-shirt), no footwear is needed. Goggles, dive masks, nose clips and ear plugs are optional. If you have your own kit, then you’re welcome to bring it along but it must be clean (inside and out) to use it in the swimming pool.

What do you recommend for having my own kit?

Whilst not a necessity, having your own kit brings several benefits from being suited specifically to your needs as well as reducing your High Rid session and Trip fees.
Should at any point you wish to purchase some of your own kit then the coaches can help advise what would be suitable and we have also negotiated a discount with some of the large suppliers which you can benefit from as a member, just ask your coach.

Can I use my own inflatable Kayak or sit-on kayak?

Unfortunately, inflatable kayaks are not something that we cater for within the club. Whilst we may operate Sit-On Kayaks (as well as sit-ins) for our introduction day, we only generally operate sit-in kayaks beyond this level unless you have special requirements.

What Level of Fitness do I need to be?

Both juniors and adults would need to be able to swim 50m (this would be in your full wetsuit kit, or in your swimwear if indoors). You would also need to meet the safety levels that the coaches would require for entering, exiting and operating a craft as well as being able to follow instruction.

What does being a member Involve?

We are a very friendly club and welcome members from all walks of life, we have Adults, Juniors and families as members. In Summer we meet on High Rid reservoir on Monday nights and have Coached, Led and unsupervised paddling sessions depending on level of experience. From April to October there are also organised trips usually to Wales or the Lakes where we will paddle together for a day trip with the option of camping over and sharing stories over a camp fire. In the colder months we still meet on Monday night but in the comfort of a warm indoor pool (Westhoughton) where the juniors can play some games whilst training and practicing and the Adults can practice their techniques and wet exits whilst being in the comfort of a nice warm pool. Additional outdoor sessions may be held on High Rid on Sundays during these colder months but would be subject to weather and coach availability.
Depending on what you want to get out of the sessions, you can just enjoy paddling (alongside coaching if needed), achieve various British Canoeing paddling awards at your own pace or even take things further if you want to get into coaching or leading.
Please see our News & Gallery menu option for past events and trips.

Can I paddle on the reservoirs without being part of a club?

The reservoir that we use (as well as the ones around Rivington) cannot be paddled on without permission from United Utilities who, as well as ensuring minimal environmental impact (e.g. when moving unwashed boats between water courses), want to make sure that those using them do so in a safe and controlled manner so you must only paddle as part of an authorised club group session. Bolton Canoe club has authority to operate from this reservoir which provides a safe and friendly environment in which to do so. Therefore if you wish to paddle on this reservoir you would need to join Bolton Canoe Club, members can then use this reservoir but only as part of an official club session.

Can I drop my child off and pick up after the session

A responsible adult would need to be in attendance at all times during the indoor and outdoor sessions. The pool has a viewing gallery and when at the reservoir parents must also remain on-site. Anyone going to the waters edge must wear a buoyancy aid.

Where can I find documentation for the club (e.g. constitution, safeguarding, safety)

Do I need to be a member of British Canoeing?

No, you do not need to become a member of British Canoeing (BC) to join our club. The club pays a small surcharge per non-BC member for liability insurance within the affiliation fee to BC. Click the link for information regarding the benefits of BC membership.

What facilities do you have ?

At High Rid (our regular paddling venue), aside from our equipment, whilst basic, we have Male and Female changing rooms and toilets. We have a classroom for any theory based learnings (although we spend most of the time on the water).

Questions relevant to current Members

I Can’t book on to a session?

This could be because it is not within the allowed timeframe for the session, or you do not have the relevant experience for the trip. Please check the Sign-Up Closing time for the event within the online system. Whilst the system sometimes shows Open, it may only be open for coaches to book onto at that point. Typically the weekly events can be signed onto about 5 days prior to the event. If you have opted into event notification emails then you will be able to book onto the event once this email is received. If you have any questions or problems relating to an event, please see the FAQ below.

Who do I contact for any problems or questions

If you have any questions or problems relating to an event, please sign into the members area, open the event and press the email icon at the right hand side of the events information page, this will open a form to send an email message to the event organiser. For any other questions, please email the relevant committee member or if it’s a general question then please email

I’ve booked on but wish to cancel

You can withdraw from sessions within a cancellation timeframe for the specific event. Refunds may be available subject to the event and allowed timeframes. Please log in and view the event details to see if this is possible. We would kindly ask that if you are unable to attend an event that withdrawal is done at your earliest opportunity to free up the space for another member.

Can I get a discount on purchasing Kit such as Kayaks, SUP’s, clothing or accessories?

Yes, we have a few places which will offer discounts to club members, for more information please speak to a coach or committee member.

Can I park at High Rid?

On-site parking is limited, and we have to prioritise members with Kayaks and Canoes and any accessibility requirements; if you are not transporting boats or do not have any accessibility requirements please park on the lane, being careful not to cause an obstruction.

If the above does not answer your question or you wish to get in touch then please visit our contact page