Canoe Building – Getting Started

We’d come north to the Lake District to attend a canoe building workshop with Orca Adventures. We’d booked it months ago and had been looking forward to it for a while. The Lakelander course which we were doing cost £495 for the three of us. Orca Adventures then supply all of the instruction, all of the materials, all of the tools, and even tea and coffee. All we had to do was turn up with a pencil behind our ear and a mug for our drinks and we get to build our own 14’6″ canoe with room for the three of us.

We had to meet Dan and Steve who run the course and the others on the course at 8:30am in Great Strickland so had an early start with breakfast and a shower. Rendezvous complete, we followed them along some country lanes to the workshop.

Cutting Out

After a quick introduction, some brief but straight-forward instructions and a coffee we all set to work cutting out sheets of plywood. Everyone seemed to be working well and we were getting on well too. We all did some sawing and were soon onto drilling a few holes which Morgan did. It was pretty chilly in the barn, but the sawing warned us up somewhat and the constant supply of coffee helped too.

With the wood planks cut it was time to start arranging them on our jig that was set up and ready to go for us. This was easier than expected with just a few screws and cable ties to temporarily hold things together. Amazingly, things were taking shape and we had the beginnings of what looked like a canoe before lunchtime.

A Canoe Takes Shape

After a little sit down for lunch and a chat it was back to it. First job after lunch was to arrange the third row of planks on the canoe. It was at this point that things really took shape and the subtle, graceful curves of the canoe became apparent.

Canoe Taking Shape

Canoe Taking Shape

Next we put in a few screws so that we could string everything together. We could then make a few small adjustments here and there so that the sides of the canoe flowed nicely.



It was then time to get a little messy adding some fibreglass reinforcement to the main central joint and some resin to the front and back of the canoe. By 3pm we had got as far as Steve and Dan wanted us to get for the day. I’m sure we could have stayed longer to fill a few small gaps here and there but Anna’s feet were freezing and Morgan was cold too so we packed up for the day and headed off to find our Cottage for the week.

Cottage in Morland

Our cottage in the quaint village of Morland wasn’t far away so we were soon inside and had the wood burning stove on so that Anna’s feet could thaw out. We had a little walk into the village in the rain and then drove into Penrith to buy supplies to keep us going for the next few days. We had also arranged for a Gousto Box to be delivered to the cottage. This meant we had some exciting new recipes and all the ingredients needed for them ready for evening meals. This evening though we pigged out on pizza, relaxed in the cottage and then settled into ours beds for the night.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum says:

    Wow impressive!

  2. Avatar forComment Author Mum says:

    The village looks lovely, where were all the cars? I thought our village was quiet!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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