I booked for a full day's kayaking with my 11 year old son in school holidays (August). A few others were parents with their own child(ren), but the group was joined by six or more younger, unaccompanied children who'd been booked in for the week - presumably as a multi-activity week. Because it was breezy and there were so many youngsters, the leader decided we couldn't take kayaks out (!), so we went on the water in roped together canoes. Parents ended up being responsible for looking after and entertaining the unaccompanied kids as well as their own child - something I hadn't anticipated and felt was both awkward (eg. accompanying a child in a wetsuit into the bushes so she could have a pee) and a burden, given that I was on holiday and meant to be relaxing. We paddled for 40 minutes down the estuary, keeping tight to the shore, then had a long lunch so the kids could go play at a playground (the younger kids weren't very keen on paddling the canoes!), then paddled back to a small beach so the kids could go in the woods and then play in the shallow water jumping in off upturned boats, while the parents either joined for want of anything better to do, or else stood shivering (in wet wetsuits) on the shore - for well over an hour. One of the parents who helped out entertaining the kids joked 'how much are you paying us to do your childcare?': we had paid £40 per person for this ordeal. At a guess we spent less than two hours of a 6-hour day in the boats, and there was no attempt at instruction or advice. I booked this day because I wanted to get a kayak and use it; I thought it would be useful for both me and my son to go out with someone experienced first. I anticipated that the whole group would be parents with their own child/ren and that they would be there because they wanted to do kayaking, not that the day would be spent passing the time for kids who were happier not in a boat. I've no doubt that Plas Menai does great courses for adults, but this was a huge disappointment.
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