Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Green River Canes: Expedition Trips

Canoeing in the Belgium Ardennes

Multi-Day Canoe-Camping Trips

Every year we will propose to do a long expeditionary trip at the beginning of each season. If it proves popular then we could add another trip at the end of the season too.

The idea of these trips is to have a long continuous canoe down a single river.

The intention is that we will camp on these trips and where possible we will prefer wild-camping over camp-sites. This means we will have to cater for ourselves too and do own our cooking. This will not however, preclude us taking the odd night in a B&B if we want to, or indeed frequenting restaurants, cafes and bars whenever we find them!

On our usual trips we always have a support van. To help reduce costs on these expeditions  we will have to decide whether or not we want to have a support van to chase us down the river.

Unlike our Inn-to-Inn Trips these Expedition Trips are more co-operative. Green River Canoes will ensure that the canoe equipment is booked and ready for us, will guide us on the river and will have all the necessary details and maps for camping and supplies along the route. If a support minibus is required then Green River Canoes will supply this too, along with a driver.  Green River Canoes will ensure that we are transported from the rendezvous point to the start of the canoeing and for returning everybody back to the rendezvous point from where we finish the canoeing. Green River Canoes will also provide the necessary safety equipment and water-proof tubs for storing stuff in the canoe.

The participants on the trip will be expected to provided their own camping equipment and will be required to set up themselves and help with all the necessary cooking and cleaning jobs etc. If portages are necessary then then will be expected to help with these too.

The cost for the trips will be calculated on the canoe-hire costs and the minibus rental costs (if used) plus the use of a guide. These will be the only charges required before departure. All other expenses will be calculated and shared 'on the road', such as camp-site fees, eating and drinking, shopping, fishing licenses etc and so forth.

It will be the responsibility of the guests to get themselves to the rendezvous point for the trip departure.

We at Green River Canoes will suggest a variety of itineraries for each season. Those that are interested will then be asked to reach a consensus on the following aspects of the trip.


Friday, 24 January 2014

Green River Canoes: The Lesse, the Semois and the Ourthe

Ardennes Canoeing Trips
7 Days Canoeing in the Belgium Ardennes

Come with us on a 7 night 8 day canoeing trip to the Belgium Ardennes where we will canoe on the beautiful Lesse, Semois and Ourthe rivers through the most wonderful countryside.

Our trips are fully guided and we stay in wonderful small hotels and B&Bs. We travel Inn-to-Inn on the rivers whilst our luggage is being taken from one lovely Inn to the next.

We picnic along the rivers as we go and enjoy the local cuisine and wines and beers in the evening. Belgium is of course famous for its many different varieties of beer.

We will enjoy the wildlife as we go: birds, butterflies and dragonflies and if we are lucky perhaps some deer or an otter. Not forgetting the botany either.

along the way we will also get to learn about the history of the region we pass through, from the ancients Romans to World War 2.

These are quiet rivers and we will not be flying through any rapids. Paddling lessons will be provided as we go if you are an inexperienced paddler.

You can find us here : Green River Canoes, and or read and download our brochures and sign up for our quarterly newsletter too.

You can also directly contact us.

We look forward to seeing you on the river.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Green River Canoes: Ardeche & Tarn


12 Days Canoeing in the South of France

This is a fully guided Inn-to-Inn canoe trip on several rivers in the Ardeche and Tarn regions.

On this trip we canoe on the Gardon, the Ceze, the Chassezac and the Ardeche in the Ardeche region and on the Tarn in the Tarn region of south-east France. We shall explore the Gorges and Mountains of both the Ardeche and the Cevennes which are still relatively remote, even to this day.

Have a look at the full day-to-day schedule and the places we stay.

This trip is also described in an online brochure (also downloadable).

The rivers in the Ardeche flow eastwards towards the Rhone river which itself then flows south to the Mediterranean. The Chassezac is a tributary of the Ardeche. Each of these rivers in the Ardeche flow through deep and dramatic gorges in limestone country.

The Gardon, Ceze and Chassezac are calm rivers with easy paddling through beautiful scenery. The Ardeche provides a little more excitement with Class 2 and 3 rapids. These rapids are short however and the river provides plenty of easy water between them.

When we cross over to the Tarn we canoe in a river which flows westwards towards the Atlantic. The Tarn also flows through a dramatic limestone gorge and is famously known for its beautifully clear and green waters. The first two days on this river provide easy paddling whilst the third day provides more excitement with some rapids to contend with.

In-between the canoeing days we shall hike on the parts of the long-distance trail known as the GR70 - the famous Robert Louis Stevenson Trail. The author walked this way more than 100 years ago to see for himself how the Hugenots (Protestants) survived in a largely Catholic country. The walk is renowned for the difficulty he experienced in dealing with his donkey 'Modestine'.

We shall also walk through the peculiar region called the 'Chaos of Montpelier', which has been eroded into many curious geological shapes.

Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Green River Canoes: New Trips for 2014

Canoeing in the Belgium Ardennes
Canoeing & Trappist Beers

Come with us to the south of Belgium and enjoy canoeing on three beautiful rivers.

On this trip we spend two days on the Ourthe, then three days canoeing down the Semois river and a final day on the Lesse.

Have a look at the full day-to-day schedule and the places we stay.

This trip is also described in an online brochure (also downloadable).

As a new itinerary for the 2014 season this trip is offered with a 10% discount. Extra discounts are available for young adults under 18 and for children under 12.  All our prices and dates are here.

These trips are ideal for introducing children to canoeing and we have scheduled some of the dates to coincide with the school-holidays. Our brochure about family trips is here.

If you are a group of four or more then private trips can be organised with perhaps a tweak in the schedule and extra days if required: perhaps you would like to combine the canoeing with another interest like photography or fly-fishing. Here are some ideas.

The Ourthe, the Semois and the Lesse are all tributaries of the Meuse which flow through the Ardennes, the rural and largely wooded hill country in the south of Belgium in French speaking Wallonia.

On the Ourthe we will paddle a 21km (13m) stretch from Nisramont to Roche-en-Ardennes through the beautiful Gorge Herou, and then on the next day a further 20km down to Hotton.

We will then paddle the Semois which winds its way through a deep wooded vally in the far south of the country. We shall canoe a continuous stretch from Chiny down to Bouillon over three days. A distance of about 80km (50 miles).

Finally we will canoe a 24km (15m) stretch of the Lesse river from Houyet to Anseremme, following the river as it meanders through a deep and wooded valley to the Meuse. The valley famously follows the route of a small local railway in a valley which has no road. We will pass the the tiny National Park of Furfooz, with its Roman ruins and also the splendid Chateau Walzin.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Green River Canoes: Take the kids canoeing

Connect your children to nature

Canoeing with children

In my other guise as a guide for Green River Canoes. We have some excellent short canoeing trips in the school holidays for 2014. We canoe on rivers in the Belgium Ardennes, just a short hop across the channel and also in the Lot region of France.

Plenty of things for the kids to do apart from splashing about in the river of course. Lots of butterflies and dragonflies to observe and plenty of history with castles and caves to get involved in.

We take the stress and strain out of organising the trip and everyone has a great time.

The rivers are easy to paddle and eminently suitable for children over the age of 7. Being able to swim 25m is a must. We paddle tandem open canoes with an adult and child in each canoe. Once we assessed the abilities then kids can paddle together under supervision. We all where life-jackets when on the river.

We provide instructions on paddling for those that have never tried it and generally mess about on the river whilst we learn. Of course we also make sure everyone is aware of the dangers and run through the safety regularly.

All the different trips are on the web, with summaries, day-to-day schedules and notes on the places we stay. You can also read our brochures and download them too.

Our scheduled trips are limited to 7 people, plus our two guides. We can arrange for larger groups if required. If you are 4 or more then we can arrange a private group and schedule for you. Talk to us if you want to tweak the dates, include or exclude certain things, change the rendezvous place etc and so forth.

We really love canoeing and we would love to take you.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Green River Canoes: Family Trips

Connect with nature: Canoeing in the School Holidays

During each season Green River Canoes dedicates some of its Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips to the idea of families with youngish children to come canoeing with us to the Belgium Ardennes and to the Perigord and Lot regions in the south of France.

These trips will coincide with the school holidays, including the breaks around Easter and Whitsun, the long summer holidays and the half-term holiday in the Autumn term (usually towards the end of October).

The trips will operate on the same schedule as our other trips to the region except that we will make special efforts to ensure that the focus is on the wants of the children especially when it comes to the amount of time spent canoeing, the activities we pursue away from the river and making sure the children are fed and watered at suitable times. This is not to say that the adults will not also have a great time.

The trips we schedule in the school holidays will be those of a shorter duration: 5, 6 or 7 days. Although of course longer trips can be arranged.

We offer a discount to children under 12 years of age of 25% for the first child and 50% for subsequent children. For young adults under 18 the discount is 15% for the first and 25% for others.

The 7 Day Trip to the Belgium Ardennes also has a discount of 10% for all adults.

For the 2014 season we are offering the following trips to coincide with the school holidays:

5th-11th   April:        Seven Days in the Belgium Ardennes
13th-19th April:        Seven Days in the Belgium Ardennes
25th-30th May:         Five Days on the Célé in the south of France
23rd-29th August:    Seven Days in the Belgium Ardennes
25th-30th October:  Five Days on the Célé in the south of France

On all the trips we will endeavour to engage the children not only in learning how to canoe, but also assist them in attaining a certain level of water-craft and to become involved in the natural history surrounding us in and around the rivers.

We will also encourage the children to become engaged in the history of the region we visit in particular where we can visit castles and other historical sites. Of course we realise that this is a holiday too so we will try to avoid a too heavy-handed approach and take our lead from both the parents and the children about how we spend our time.
We will also encourage the children to learn something of the local culture where we are; this will involve the local cuisine obviously but also the observation and joining in of local events. We often come across Fêtes and Fairs and Festivals during the summer months.

We will usually canoe in tandem with one adult and one child per canoe, and if the paddlers become sufficiently proficient during the week then we may allow two children to paddle together. Closely watched, of course.

Children must be 7 years of age and be able to swim 25 metres. Life-jackets are worn by everyone when on the water.

Children older than 12 may canoe together after we have observed how competent they are.

The rivers on these trips have no white-water or rapids although the river can flow quickly in places. On our first few days canoe instruction will be given and everyday we will go over the safety drill before starting the paddle for the day.

Brochures can be browsed here and downloaded for offline reading.