Tag Archives: Paddle

Yoga & Canoe Poster

6 Day Yoga & Canoe Retreat

 

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Spectacular cliffs on the Célé river, Lot France

Combined Yoga & Canoeing Vacation

New for the 2017 season we are introducing this tour which brings Yoga sessions to one of our favourite canoeing tours on the Célé river in the Lot region of the south of France.

It is a 5 Night, 6 Day tour which combines morning and early evening yoga sessions with gentle and relaxing paddling down the beautiful Célé river.

Our instructor, Elizabeth Reed is an Inner Axis yoga teacher, focusing on breath work and non-competitive movement to increase well being, strength, flexibility and relaxation. On this tour she concentrates on general well being; specific postures relating to issues identified by individual participants and postures for warming up and preparing for paddling. It is suitable for beginners or those with some experience of yoga.

Elizabeth is a fun and knowledgeable teacher who focuses on learning and enjoyment, with tips and techniques you can take away and use to benefit your health in a number of ways.

We will explore the little known Célé valley by both canoe and foot and visit its beautiful villages and see its wonderful wildflowers & butterflies & dragonflies. We will also visit the famous cave paintings at Pech Merle.

A brief description of the tour is given below but more details, including dates, prices, maps and photographs can be found on our Yoga & Canoe Retreat web page.

Riverside Yoga Position

A Riverside Yoga Position

Benefits of Inner Axis

In physical terms Inner Axis Yoga has positive effects on back ache, stiffness, blood pressure, diabetes,  and balance. It can further aid the digestive system, and your strength, flexibility, posture and gait. The concentration on controlled breathing aids asthma and other breathing related difficulties. In general it helps towards a leaner and more toned body.

From a mental and emotional point of view Inner Axis Yoga provides a calmer mind, with less anxiety, which is more resilient to stress and life issues. It overcomes a depressive and negative mind set which contributes towards better sleep and gives an improved ability to relax and focus. This in turn instills greater personal confidence.

In social and spiritual terms Inner Axis Yoga builds community spirit, dispels resentments and old patterns which prevent happiness, promotes being your best self in relationship to yourself and others, and fosters gratitude & enjoyment of life.

Lot, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

The Abbey in the village of St. Cirq Lapopie, Lot, France

Features of Inner Axis

Inner Axis is jargon free, taught in simple, clear and concise language and does not use Sanskrit terms.

Inner Axis teaches a variety of breathing exercises and correct breathing techniques, which are scientifically recognised to have a hugely beneficial impact on health and well being.

Inner Axis uses slow and safe yoga movements that are adaptable to your physical needs and condition whatever your age or your level of fitness. It uses props such as blocks, straps, bolsters etc to facilitate faster development.

The focus of Inner Axis is on healthy alignment and the explanation & reasoning behind the methods used.

Inner Axis uses mindfulness and inspiring visualisations.

Inner Axis is non-competitive and fosters an attitude of kindness to yourself and others.

Inner Axis is for everyone who desires inner health as well as physical health, no matter what religion or ideological beliefs they may hold.

Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

On the ‘English Trail, in the Célé valley, Lot, France

Tour Includes

  • A Trail & River Guide whilst on the river & trail
  • A Fully Trained Yoga instructor
  • Full minibus support throughout, to transport us to & from the river and transfers to and from our departure point (local Railway Station or Local airport).
  • Includes all accommodation in a local farmhouse
  • Includes all breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
  • All necessary equipment for Canoeing the remote valley and stream of the Cele
  • An opportunity to hike along the route of the Way of St. James
  • Join your guides for a pre-breakfast walk
  • Visit the ancient cave paintings at Pech Merle
  • See the beautiful villages of Marcilhac, Espignac, Cabrerets and St. Cirq Lapopie
Célé, Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips

Family fun on the Célé river, Lot France

Tour Description

Everyday of the tour will be book-ended by a yoga session. The friends of the Célé organisation have arranged that the river is set aside for fishing before 11am and for canoeing thereafter. We will use these morning hours for our Yoga sessions, often by the riverside, and for short walks.

Yoga and canoeing through the gentle waters of the Célé are the perfect companions to bring the mind into the body, to refine our awareness and deepen mindfulness. This tour teaches you techniques that can be practiced and used in the hurly-burly of our everyday lives.

After our day on the river we will have time for another yoga session, or you may relax if you prefer. Our accommodation has a small swimming-pool but we can also wild-swim if we wish too. Evening strolls are also possible.

When we are on the river or trail you will be accompanied on the river by an experienced river guide who will make sure you see all the interesting places along the way. If necessary we can provide top-up/reminder paddling lessons if it’s a while since you paddled, or indeed if you have never paddled before.

The rivers are easy paddling and suitable for inexperienced paddlers. The emphasis on this trip is to enjoy the rich history and natural history of the region from the unique viewpoint of the river.

Cave paintings at Pech Merle, at Cabrerets on the Cele river, Lot, France

Cave paintings at Pech Merle, at Cabrerets on the Cele river, Lot, France

We shall enjoy lazy days meandering down the river and take our time to enjoy all that we see along the way and taking the time to visit many of them as we go. We will certainly visit the world famous caves at Pech Merle and see the ancient cave paintings.

Everyday we will stop for a fabulous picnic lunch and in the evenings we will enjoy a home-made dinner in the farmhouse where we are staying. We will take dinner out one evening too.

The Célé is a small winding stream that flows down a steep sided valley into the Lot. On the way it passes through several small and picturesque villages such as Espignac, Marciilhac, Sauliac and Cabrerets.

Along the same valley a long-distance trail winds its way. Sometimes besides the river but mostly up high along the valley’s edge. This is the GR651 which is a small deviation off the famous GR65 more commonly known as the ‘Way of St. James’ or the ‘Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle’.

In an adjacent valley flows the Lot river with the famous cliff-hanging village of St. Cirq Lapopie.

We will explore the dramatic scenery as the river winds its way through a deep limestone valley stopping at pretty villages along the way. We will watch the birds along the riverbank: herons, kingfishers, wagtails, dippers and various hawks and admire the glittering colourful damselflies and dragonflies.

For those so inclined we will have a pre-breakfast walk and before we start canoeing each day we will have our yoga session. If we have the time and inclination we will also explore the trails along the causse above the valley and find dolmens left by ancient man. We will see plenty of colourful butterflies in the meadows and in the season plenty of wildflowers too, including some exotic orchids, like the Lizard and Bee Orchids.

The Célé valley is a quiet and largely undiscovered small valley and we shall probably have the river all to ourselves. If it is warm enough we can find some beautiful spots for wild swimming.

Our evenings will be spent discussing our day over a family style evening meal with plenty of opportunity to make the conversation flow.

Yoga & Canoe Poster

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How to Paddle in a Tandem Canoe

Tandem Canoeing.

Though solo canoeing is always an option, nothing moves a canoe better than a well-matched tandem team. The trick is good communication and knowing your job. Here are a few tips to get you started.

The bow is for power.

If you’re sitting in the front you provide forward momentum and correction strokes when the boat wanders. You set the stroke cadence with a steady rhythm and are the lookout, identifying obstacles and making course corrections. The draw is a bow paddler’s key correction stroke. Instead of using the paddle to push the canoe forward, you’re using it to pull—or draw—the bow toward the paddle, thereby changing the boat’s direction. It’s great for avoiding rocks.

The trick is to reach well out of the boat, plant the blade firmly, and then pull the paddle shaft toward the canoe. To practice the cross-bow draw, simply swing your torso to plant the paddle on the “off” side, without switching hand positions (one on the top of the handle, one halfway up the shaft), and draw the canoe in the opposite direction.

The stern is for control.

If you’re sitting in the stern, or the rear, paddle in sync with your bow partner with your paddle on the opposite side of the canoe. Identify and steer the general course, sighting on a distant point or open downriver channel. You also complement the corrections made in the bow. Paddling a tandem canoe is like dancing. Talk to each other. Forgive each other.

Again, the draw is a key correction stroke, but since the stern paddler can’t efficiently draw on the “off” side, you’ll want to use the pry instead. Trail the paddle behind your hip, turning the blade parallel to the hull (like a rudder). Lever the blade emphatically away from the canoe to change the boat’s direction. Finally, because the canoe seats are set asymmetrically, the stern paddler overpowers the bow and has to correct every few strokes with a brief rudder, or J-stroke. After roughly every third forward stroke, pivot the paddle into rudder position and give a short flick (not as dramatic as the pry).

Stay stable.

In waves or white-water, drop from a seated position directly to your knees if things feel dicey. This lowers your centre of gravity and puts you in the most secure stance. Second, take a stroke, any stroke. Get that paddle in the water. It will act as an outrigger or brace.

Paddle smarter, not harder.

“Ramming speed” is the default strategy of neophytes. More often than not, paddling harder only makes bad things happen faster and more dramatically. Instead, back-paddle gently through standing waves to keep from swamping, and to slow the action as you read your way through moving water.

When in doubt, stop and scout.

The canoe world is full of scary and embarrassing stories about rapids not scouted. When you see something coming up that looks iffy—a funny break in the river horizon line, a downed tree, an unclear route—overcome the aversion to stopping. It’s always worth taking a look and staying safe.

 


Original article by Alan Kesselheim

6 Days in the Tarn

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Paddle the Tarn Gorge and hike the Causse

This is an 5 Night, 6 Day trip in which we canoe on the Tarn in the Tarn region of south-east France. We explore the Gorges and Mountains of both the Tarn and the Cevennes regions and visit some beautiful villages and hike some stunning trails.

The Tarn is a river which flows westwards towards the Atlantic 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.

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.

Full trip details are here. Brochure here.

These are our scheduled dates for this season, but if you are a group of 4 or more you can choose your own dates and we will do our best to fit you in.

Tarn6Days

Here are some images from the tour.

Inn to Inn Guided Canoe Trips in France and Belgium

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6 Day Tarn Trip, France

At St-Chely-du-Tarn, Tarn, France

At St-Chely-du-Tarn, Tarn, France

Trip Summary

This is an 5 Night, 6 Day trip in which we canoe on the Tarn in the Tarn region of south-east France. We explore the Gorges and Mountains of both the Tarn and the Cevennes regions and visit some beautiful villages and hike some stunning trails.

A fully illustrated (with photos and maps) version of this description is on our main web site.

This trip is scheduled for the 1st to the 6th June 2015.

This trip is an Explorer and has a 10% reduction to 1755 Euros per person.

However if you are a group of between 4 and 14 then feel free to choose your own dates and we will do our very best to arrange it.

Groups of more than 14 can be accommodated on special request.

The trip meets & departs from Montpelier TGV Railway station at about midday or at close regional airports by  arrangement.

The trip:

  • is fully Guided whilst on the river & trail

  • has full minibus support throughout

  • Includes all accommodation in B&Bs & small Hotels

  • Includes all breakfasts, lunches and evening meals

  • has a hike through the Hoodoos of the Chaos Montpelier

  • you may Join your guides for a pre-breakfast walk

  • we will be paddling the beautifully clear Tarn river

  • and we will hike the high causse in the Cevennes Mountains

Tarn River and Gorge, France

On the beautiful green waters of the Tarn ruver

Trip Description

The Tarn is a river which flows westwards towards the Atlantic 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.

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.

From the bridge at St. Enimie in the Tarn Gorge, France

From the bridge at St. Enimie in the Tarn Gorge, France

Day to Day Schedule

Day 1. Arrival and Greetings

You will be met at the TGV station at Montpelier sometime around midday.

Alternative arrangements can be made for arrivals, such as at regional airports, by prior arrangement.

The drive to St. Chely takes about  2 hours and 30 minutes. We will stop on the way for a picnic lunch, get to know each other and go over the trip together. We will stay in the Auberge de la Cascade in this lovely village.

Day 2. The first day in the Tarn Gorge

After a short drive to Montbrun we will begin our first day on the beautiful Tarn river. We will paddle all the way back to St. Chely-du-Tarn, making sure that we stop for a look around the lovely village of St. Enimie. This is an absolutely stunning river to paddle. The river is crystal clear and runs in a fabulously deep gorge in remote country-side.

Tonight we will stay again in the  Auberge de la Cascade in the outstandingly beautiful village of St. Chely-du-Tarn. We will be able to walk up from the river beach to our hotel.

Canoeing on the Tarn between St. Enimie and La Malene, Tarn, France

Canoeing on the Tarn between St. Enimie and La Malene, Tarn, France

Day 3. The Second Day on the Tarn

After a leisurely breakfast we stroll down to the beach underneath the bridge in the village and prepare for another beautiful days canoeing on the Tarn. This section is just as beautiful as yesterday and we will pass some lovely spots including the village of Hauterives, an isolated village only reachable by river and the delightful village of La Malene. The river squeezes through the famous Detroits (narrows) on our way to Les Baumes Basse where we finish for the day.

We are again staying at the Auberge de la Cascade.

St. Chely-du-Tarn, Tarn, France

St. Chely-du-Tarn, Tarn, France

Day 4. The Final Day on the Tarn

A short drive will take us down-river to where we will begin our final day on the Tarn. We will canoe from Les Vignes to Le Rozier along a section of river which is just as dramatic visually as the first two days but a little more bumpy. We will have to concentrate as we ride the Class 2 and 3 rapids as we admire the gorge scenery around us.

Once again we will be able to walk to our hotel which is the Doussier.

Chaos de Montpellier le Vieux, Tarn, France

Chaos de Montpellier le Vieux, Tarn, France

Day 5. A Hike on the Chaos de Montpelier

A 35 minute drive we see us arrive at the small village of La Roque St. Marguerite where we will begin our hike up to the Chaos de Montpelier a truly strange outcrop of rocks which have been eroded into exotic shapes. In the USA these shapes are known as Hoodoos. We will spend several hours wandering numerous trails around this area and experience the fabulous views over the plateau and the gorge.

A short drive will return us to our hotel in Le Rozier..

Day 6. Departure and Farewells

When we have breakfasted and have packed and ready we will drive to the TGV station at Montpelier for our return to Paris and beyond. The drive is about 1 hour and 40 minutes

Accommodation

The Auberge de Cascade at St. Chely-du-Tarn

The Auberge de Cascade at St. Chely-du-Tarn

Auberge de la Cascade

For the first and second nights we are at the Auberge de la Cascade in St. Chely-du-Tarn. The hotel comprises almost the whole of this tiny village which sits besides the Tarn over a narrow bridge barred to most traffic.

The early morning walk around the village will reveal a tiny chapel underneath the cliffs as well as a small church.

The hotel has a small pool for our use and we shall dine in its lovely restaurant overlooking the square.

Hotel Doussier at Les Rozier

Hotel Doussier at Les Rozier

Hotel Doussière

For the last three nights we stay at the Hotel Doussière in Le Rozier. The hotel is next to the River Jonte, which joins the Tarn, and has terraces overlooking the river where we shall dine in the evening.

A walk around the village in the evening is well worth the effort, as it sits at the junction of two dramatic valleys.

Canoeing on the Tarn between St. Enimie and La Malene, Tarn, France

Canoeing on the Tarn between St. Enimie and La Malene, Tarn, France