The Club`s paddling activities are always popular, but sometimes people find it difficult to decide whether a trip is right for them. So we have devised a grading system to use in the newsletter and on the website to help.

Blue - very easy, generally less than 1 hour non-technical paddling, suitable for beginners and open to all. For example: introductory (BCU One Star) training, pool casual sessions, canal Wednesday evenings. The criteria for these paddles is that they should be open to absolutely everyone whatever their ability, disability, previous experience or lack of experience. An alcoholic analogy might be clear spring water: they usually seem to come in bottles with blue tops.

Green - easy, simple paddles not involving any technical difficulty but which may be longer. For example: Two Star training, polo sessions at the pool, most Tuesday evening coastal paddles, Sunday morning canal sessions, simple day trips, summer Wye trip. These are paddles that should be appropriate for reasonably fit paddlers with limited previous experience. On the alcoholic scale we are still firmly non-alcoholic - think Appletize or any other green fizzy drink.

Orange - moderate, paddles requiring technical mastery of basic strokes. For example three star training, grade 2 white water (e.g. Tamar, Lower Dart, Nene Whitewater Centre), simple sea paddles such as Poole Harbour, moderate surf (less than 3 foot) in summer. The criteria for paddles is that they should be appropriate for reasonable fit paddlers with a fair amount of previous experience on flat water. Finally the drinking analogy becomes alcoholic: beer is not exactly orange but some claim to be amber or golden.

Red - difficult, paddles requiring a proficient performance of a full range of strokes in that environment: some previous experience paddling in a similar environment (eg white water) is likely to be a pre-requisite. For example most winter white water (e.g. Dart Loop, Usk, Barle), easier alpine white water, most coastal sea kayak trips in fair weather, winter surfing. These are trips which are unlikely to be suitable as an introduction to a particular environment. Getting stronger so think or red wine or port maybe.

Black - advanced, paddles requiring a high degree of competence in that environment and significant previous experience. For example the top section of the Tryweryn, the Upper Dart, alpine grade 4, coastal trips with significant 'no landing zones' and potential exposure to the weather such as Isle of Wight circumnavigation. If you do not know whether you re ready then you are not ready. Certain alcoholic spirits use a black label as an indication of exclusiveness.