Belfast Kayak Club was founded by John Napier and Mike Totten in early 2000, but was not formally constituted until 2003, when it was recognised as a Charity by the Inland Revenue. However, in many respects the Club is significantly older dating back some 12 years when Paddy Boyle and Brian Maguire began to run canoeing sessions in the Robinson Centre.
In recent years the canoeing sessions have been run by John Cunningham and Malcolm Vincent, with Peter Dew, Gary Davidson and Greg Miller taking people from the pool to the sea.
The Club funds and runs introductory canoeing courses for beginners and new members, working towards two and three star awards for club members. We run white water training paddles, and where possible organise white water safety and rescue courses for the more advanced members, and VHF courses to enable club members to get radio qualifications. Every two to three years we run a Rescue & Emergency Care (REC) First Aid course.
We organise simple afternoon & evening trips and multi day trips for club members, mostly in Northern Ireland – but we range further afield.
We aim for two weekend paddles a month that will include every discipline of the sport.
During the summer we continue our Tuesday Evening sea paddles around the North Irish coast.
We try to venture further afield when possible. Locations we have paddled include the River Barrow and the Spey River in Scotland, the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Mull. The furthest trip has been a 14 day sea kayaking expedition to Alaska.
Those of us who stayed at home have fun on the Strangford, Blackwater and Bann canoe trails, and on Lough Erne.