My Paddleboarding Adventure on the River Tyne with CBK Adventures (AD/Press Trip)

Last week I was very lucky to be invited to a sneak preview for a new paddling adventure tour available in North East England. #SUPcookout is a new tour from CBK Adventures (based in Cullercoats), where you can experience a day of stand-up paddleboarding and expedition cooking this autumn.

Described as a wild cooking experience on the water's edge it did not disappoint. There was paddling on the water and cooking on the riverside with local ingredients, cooked over an open flame, and great camaraderie.

My Paddleboard Adventure on the River Tyne with CBK Adventure

"The #SUPCookOut tour was amazing. I'm fairly new to paddleboarding and loved it. The CBK Adventures team has knowledge and passion in abundance. They were supportive, patient, engaging, and most importantly made it a very fun day out. The locally-sourced food and environmental considerations make it very appealing as an experience. Didn't seem like a challenge at all, instead, it was a very relaxing adventure with friends." - Deb Sharratt.

Go paddling

Paddleboarding has seen a huge growth in popularity during recent years. British Canoeing reports that many new paddlers are families and nearly 4 in 10 females, with the growth mainly between those aged 30-60. 

Paddleboarding is new to me, and it seems I’m not alone in that. I’d turned 50 before I stepped foot (or should that be placed a knee) on a paddleboard. It was an activity that looked fun and that I could do and enjoy with my boys who are now 12 & 14. So armed with an inflatable paddle board as well as an inflatable kayak this year we’ve paddled in Scotland (Loch Ken), the Lakes (Ullswater & Derwent Water), Stoke Gabriel in Devon, and the North East. Such good fun but always with safety in mind.

So when an invitation arrived to try out the new SUP Cook Out Tour I really wanted to do it but was also anxious at the same time but I needn't have been. It was a great day out. 

Tyne Green, Hexham, Northumberland

The tour can take place anywhere within an hour of Newcastle dependent on tides and weather. The aim is to find friendly, flat water. As the weather had been a little windy just before our trip, the coast had been left quite wavy, so we headed inland to Hexham for our venue, paddling on the River Tyne from Tyne Green. This is a beautiful spot reached by turning right just after Hexham Bridge after leaving the A69. There you will find toilets and a children’s play area as well as lovely river walks. But on this day the focus was paddleboarding.

My Paddleboard Adventure on the River Tyne with CBK Adventure

sup tyne green hexham northumberland

The SUP Cook Out Tour


We started the day with a briefing about the conditions, the equipment, and basic safety necessities. We were provided with:
  • Expert guides who were so knowledgeable, passionate, and supportive throughout the whole day
  • Premium SUP and paddle from Red Paddle Co - and as a bonus, there was no inflating to do
  • Waist leashes – I’ve only used an ankle leash before as I came with my board but on rivers, it’s best practice to use a waist leash which is easier to release if you become trapped underwater and separated yet still attached to your board
  • Drysuits, these are big and ultra-tight around the neck wrists, and ankles (to keep the water out) but you can wear clothes underneath. But they keep you dry (I know because I fell in), and they are a lot easier to take off than a wetsuit but it did feel a bit like you were unmasking the baddie on Scooby Doo
  • Buoyancy aid – these are important to help save your life should you need it. 
  • All dry bags and a premium Red Paddle Co. waterproof cooler for storing and transporting local food and drinks

paddleboarding at tyne green hexham

paddleboarding with cbk adventures

SUP cook out tour equipment

Getting on the water

Then we headed to the water, using the steps by the rowing club to access the river. At this point, we had a refresher to help find our sea legs. I usually take my boys with me paddling so I’m more concentrated on their safety than learning to stand up myself. However with no children and accompanied by several experienced paddlers and instructors, I knew there would never be a better time to challenge myself. 

I did fall in once – the water was cold, but the dry suit worked. It’s hard getting back on the board but after some perseverance, I managed to haul myself back on and attempted to stand again. With the encouragement and support of CBK Adventures, I managed it and I stayed on my feet until we set up camp (except for a short part of the river where knees and then porterage was required). Thanks to CBK Adventures I was very proud of myself.

My Paddleboard Adventure on the River Tyne with CBK Adventure
Image by Owen Humphreys

Setting up camp

Next, we paddled upstream. Our journey helped us work up an appetite and in less than an hour, we had found a beach to pitch on the water's edge. First up Simon brewed us a tea or coffee. A local Earl Grey from Estate Tea Co. I've drunk their tea in their café in Heaton before but never on a riverbank. It was delicious.

brewing an earl grey from estate tea co on waters edge
Image by @Adventure_Cal 

Once refreshed, we were shown how simple it is to set up a shelter with paddles, rope, tent pegs, and some lightweight tarps. Couldn't believe how simple, yet effective it was. Then followed a fire lighting lesson where we used Vaseline and cotton wool to encourage the flames. Again simple lightweight everyday items, that will help enormously. Campfires were ready and it was time to make brunch.

My Paddleboard Adventure on the River Tyne with CBK Adventure

My Paddleboard Adventure on the River Tyne with CBK Adventure

leave no trace camp fire on river tyne

Local ingredients cooked on the water's edge

In advance we had chosen a food option an English Breakfast, a Vegan breakfast, or Vegan pies were all on offer and all three were cooked on the water's edge using local ingredients. All dietary needs were catered for.

Brunch options – a typical menu choice is
  • Geordie English: featuring local food hero Geordie Bangers and a range of locally sourced produce from Jamieson’s of Cullercoats.
  • Vegan English: a 100% plant-based alternative from The Alternative Stores, award-winning Vegan market in North Shields, and Jamieson’s of Cullercoats.
  • Magpye (choose an option) with Chargrilled Veg - award-winning plant-based pies, with chargrilled vegetables and Belle and Herbs ‘Kraut’. Options include Vegan Steak & Ale, Garlic Mushroom, Smoked Tofu & Corn Chowder or Chick’n, Leek & Bacun
All options were served with a ‘last of the flame’ dessert and lots of tea and coffee.

We prepped our food on the bottom of our sanitised paddleboards and then cooked it on the open flames. No matter what we had chosen the food was delicious. My Smoked Tofu and Sweetcorn Chowder ‘Magpye’ was so good, accompanied by asparagus, corn on the cob, and Sauerkraut from Belle and Herbs. A peach, ginger, and chocolate delight was then enjoyed for dessert.

sanitising a SUP to prep food

red paddle co dry bags and coolers

using filtered river water to wash hands

prepping food on a SUP

prepping food on sup cook out tour

gluten free sausages on the camp fire

SUP vegan breakfast on the camp fire

vegan magpye pies

SUP cook out tour

Leave no trace principles

Then came time to pack up so that we left no trace. All rubbish was taken away, we didn’t use river water to wash dirty dishes but packed them away to be washed back at CBK, and the hot coals from the campfires were buried above the waterline to not contaminate the river. 

I was very pleased to see that the tour follows ‘Leave No Trace’ principles, ensuring that we leave the environment pristine – if I didn’t have photographs, you wouldn't have known we’d been there. This is made possible by CBK using an innovative outdoor cooking solution from Canadian partner, Wolf & Grizzly. But it was more than equipment. Throughout the day we were shown how to observe good food hygiene practices in the wild, always respecting the environment.

packing away the SUP shelter
Image by @adventure_cal

Image by @adventure_cal

Image by @adventure_cal

Once we had reloaded the paddleboard, we set off on our journey back. This time there was no falling in and I stayed on my feet all the way until we had to go on our knees for safety. On return to Tyne Green, we climbed off our boards, took off our leashed, buoyancy aids and drysuits, and made our way home.

paddleboarding back to tyne green hexham northumberland

An amazing adventure

Maybe it's because of the pandemic, maybe it's spending a day in the outdoors, maybe it's because I got to meet lots of really nice new people (and that hasn’t happened much over the past 18 months), but that day has been one of the most enjoyable I can remember in a long time. 

"CBK Adventures were so supportive, the paddling so relaxing, the food so delicious and the company was just the best. Far from spending a day with strangers, I felt like I'd just had a day out with my best friends." - Deb Sharratt
cbk adventures sup cook out tour
Image by @adventure_cal

paddleboarding on river tyne northumberland

leave no trace sup cook out tour
Image by @adventure_cal

Why has CBK created this tour?

In recent months, the UK has embraced the great outdoors. For many people though, preparing to visit the wilderness means buying a lot of pre-packed goods, cooking on makeshift fire circles which char and damage the ground, relying on single-use anti-bac wipes, and in many cases leaving litter or other signs of their camp all around. 

Many outdoor spaces are feeling the pressure of this human disturbance, with some national parks even closing some areas. This tour is designed to literally ‘leave no trace’. It highlights how with a few small investments, all things that fit in the back of a small family car, you can reduce that reliance on pre-packaged goods and single-use plastics, so you can leave the environment pristine on your next adventure. 

Cooking outside is also a lot of fun too and a great way to make a day of exploring the region’s best waterways. It’s also a way of introducing those new to adventure sports to other outdoor pursuits such as wild cooking, campfires, and shelter building.

Most paddleboarders prefer fair weather with daylight hours and climate discouraging paddle sports in autumn and winter, however, these tours are also about extending the paddle season with dry suits, shelters, and hot food and drinks keeping the paddlers drier and warmer.

What level of ability is required on a SUP?

You should have been on a SUP a couple of times before, so you are confident getting on your feet and moving the board around. You will be paddling continuously for about an hour at a time on calm water.

You should be comfortable around water and able to swim 25m. You should also be generally fit, healthy, and able to undertake moderate exercise without difficulty.

What to bring

Most of the equipment is supplied. You just need to bring the following:

Lightweight warm layers to wear under your drysuit, including warm socks
Old trainers that will get wet
Dry clothes and shoes for afterwards
A standard drinking water bottle, full of water, for you to drink as you paddle
Sun cream and a hat (it may be warm)
Camera/phone if you want to take pictures and video

The price of a full-day CBK Adventures SUP Cook Out tour is £109 per person. They are suitable for adults and accompanied children aged 16+. 

Deb x

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