Black Isle Sea Kayaking Symposium

September 3rd and 4th 2016


All Workshops and Paddles will be full day events unless otherwise indicated. Approximate timings are 09:00 to 17.00. All participants should meet at Cromarty Brewery and Arts Centre for all sessions unless a pre-arranged meeting place has been confirmed.

Below is a list of the anticipated workshops planned. However, the symposium organisers retain the right to make changes according to both operational and unforeseen circumstances. All participants will be able to register an interest re particular workshops prior to the weekend and upon arrival at registration.

 Day Trips:
The day trips will be chosen on the day according to the weather and will be focussed on enjoying a day out on the water seeing the sights and spending time on the water with new people, local trips to Cromarty Sutors, Fort George and Rosemarkie.

Skills Workshop (up to 3*):
For those from the novice who have done a little bit of sea kayaking to folk who have done a bit of sea kayaking but want some more focussed input into techniques and strokes. The exact content will be led by those participating.

Skills Workshop (3* and beyond):
This workshop will focus on honing those skills required for 4star level, but without the leadership element, taking you on that the next step towards rough-water confidence. The exact content will be led by those participating.

3 star sea kayak training

Two days of sea kayak training following the BCU syllabus. Please check the SCA / BCU website for details.

4 star sea kayak training

This is a two day course for 4 star sea kayak training which follows the BCU syllabus. Please check the SCA / BCU website for details.


Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning

This is a pre-requisite for the 4 Star Sea Leader award and will enable you to plan and navigate effectively on coastal journeys, interpreting information including maps, charts, coastal pilots and tide tables as well as weather and shipping forecasts.  

Practical Navigation:
Putting the theory of navigation into practice. The main themes will be timing, distance estimation, map location and compass work. It will allow a degree of flexibility to cover participants needs.

Rockhopping– an Introduction:
Safe paddling in rock gardens, surfing in rocky environments, specific techniques for close quarter paddling – this session will introduce and develop essential rock hopping skills.


Roughwater Paddling / Rescue Skills / Effective Towing:
For those who want to develop their rough water skills, focus will be on key boat handling skills for handling over-falls, tide races, waves etc, leaving you a more confident, experienced and skilful paddler.


Performance Paddling:

Efficient and effective paddling, achieving maximum efficiency from your boat, body and blade!


Introduction to racing, wings and surf skis:

Try something different and let our coaches introduce you to new techniques and equipment.

Incident Management:
The day will look at rescue and retrieving incidents that may develop within a group on the water. This could vary from capsizes in dangerous locations, tidal waters, rocky landings, members of the group being lost at sea, rafted tows etc. It is advisory to be of a minimum BCU 3* standard or equivalent experience.


Rockhopping – (advanced):
Develop your close quarter sea kayaking skills in more challenging conditions. Develop surfing in rocky environments.


Close Quarters Manouvering:

Learn and understand how the design of your boat and the conditions can be harnessed for more effective paddling.

Efficient Turning and Efficient Turning in the Wind:

An opportunity to develop your skills in boat handling and to understand how to use the wind effectively.


Introduction to tidal paddling:
Aims to introduce participants to tidal paddling in groups. The focus will be upon reading currents, crossing currents, breaking in and out of current, group control, group splits!


Foundation Safety Rescue Training – Skills and practices:
Based on the official BCU course. Using different craft the objective is to teach simple and safe skills that can provide the paddlers with the tools to solve simple everyday paddling problems. They are great skills to have irrespective of the type of paddling you do.


Sea kayaking in Doubles for the day:

A fleet of double sea kayaks will be available to try out and experience this great way of paddling.

Come and Try Sessions

New to sea kayaking? Come and try a sea kayak with an experienced coach in the safety of Cromarty Bay.

Disability Awareness

A focus upon the broad spectrum of physical and adaptive equipment to be used when coaching young people and adults with additional support needs. To be undertaken in small groups, practical workshop including different craft.

If you require any further information, please contact Simon or go the Cromarty Brewery and Arts Centre.

Friday  Evening

Sign in and sign up for any last minute changes

Saturday and Sunday am meet your coach for the day at the following venues

  • Beach front
  • Harbour
  • Links car park
  • Links midway

Sunday evening pack up and farewells…… We hope to see you again next year for the 2017 Black Isle Sea Kayaking Symposium!

Cromarty is a great base from which to paddle the Moray Firth and to explore the coastline. The area offers a wealth of contrast between industrial activities; you can paddle around North Sea oil rigs dodging the support vessels whilst enjoying the natural environment of the North Sea. Cromarty is famous for dolphin watching and a host of sea birds can be viewed on the cliffs of the North and South Sutors. There is great historical interest in the Cromarty Firth too, with gun emplacements on the cliffs from the First and Second World Wars, and the wreck of the warship “Natal”.

Cromarty Village offers a wide range of accommodation and eating places, and we will be offering bed and breakfast in The Old Brewery which will also be the base for our symposium.