This is a fantastic activity making white water river kayaking accessible to all!
The Durance river is famous for it's white water rafting and to kayak it requires a good level of paddling experience that can't just be acquired overnight!
However, there is a little known and very beautiful grade 2 section that can be paddled using sit on top kayaks which anyone can try!
What are sit on top kayaks?
Sit on top kayaks have a double shell filled with air so they float and any water that gets in is quickly evacuated by holes in the bottom! They are wider than white water kayaks and are very stable so won't tip over easily which is why they are perfect for beginners! There are mono and biplace models so you can go it alone or in pairs. please note that all children under 12 must be in a two or three man kayak with an adult. You use a classic two ended paddle to steer and manouver the kayak.
What is the river like?
The grade 2 section of the river is a gentle flowing river, through beautiful mountain scenery with a several fun and easily navigated rapids. There are beavers in evidence along the river and if you look up you are likely to see golden eagles and other birds of prey.
The water flow of this section of the river is controlled by the dam at the Serre Poncon lake so has a constant level of water all summer.
There are various sections possible depending on how far you want to paddle including a brand new 16km decent for 2017! The 16km route is the longest paddle and takes about 3h30 hours with a fabulous 3km narrow sporty section that launches straight into the rapids at the beginning and which twists and turns through the valley. A little lower down the river is the classic 13km section which starts with a gentler beginning before you arrive in the rapids lower down. It takes about 3hours. The shorter section is 6km and takes 11/2 hours. However, there is no time limit and as this is self guided, once you have been dropped off, you have until 6 pm to get back so can easily spend the day ambling down, stopping for a picnic and photos on the way!
The 13km and 16km sections both pass through the 3 lakes where there are beaches, a snack bar and swimming. The water is a little warmer here as it has time to be warmed by the sun! This is a great place to stop off for a picnic!
From the 3 lakes it is also possible to do a 4km descent in inflatable giant rings. This takes 1h30 to do and is a fun way to experience the river. There are also river kayaks avalable from this starting point too so some in your arty can take kayaks and you can swap and change on the way down.
This is a self guided activity and where we arrange the kayak or inflatable giant ring hire and the transfer up to the top of the river and then you paddle down it by yourselves.
You will be given a lifejacket and have the option of a helmet (obligatory for children). You will also be given a waterproof container for spare clothes, water, picnic and mobile phone. A mobile phone is compulsory for the descent for safety reasons. There are regular markers along the river and get out points so you always know where you are if you need ot signal anything to the organisers.