Dave Halsall runs Singing Paddles and every trip combines his love of canoeing, his encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world, especially the local waterways and a dry wit.

Dave had his first taste of canoeing at school in the 70’s but became a born-again paddler in the late 80’s whilst looking for a way to maintain fitness after sustaining a serious footballing injury.

He joined a local canoe club and formed a paddling partnership with Steve Murgatroyd competing on the canoe marathon racing circuit. Over the next few years, they went on to compete and win in many of the classic races such as the Hasler Final, Liffey Descent, Avon Stage and the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster canoe race.

He also helped form the Soar Bottoms Dragon Boating team, competing at international level and represented Great Britain. He worked with the British Canoe Union Environmental Panel and produced a regular monthly article on the environment in the magazine Canoeist. He has continued his writing and has penned many articles for the outdoor press some of which can be found on this website.

He has journeyed and led groups by canoe and kayak throughout the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and extensively throughout Canada.

For 12 years prior to moving to Devon he was an active member of the Yorkshire Dales cave/mountain rescue team where he headed up the swift-water rescue team.

He is part of the volunteer Bigbury Coastguard Rescue Team, the Kingsbridge Coastguard Rope Rescue Team and the Coastguard Flood Response Team.

He holds the Platinum, Golden and Diamond Queens Jubilee Medals and is the first National Trust Canoeing Ambassador and a Bat Conservation Trust Champion.

He has had a real job, working as a plant physiologist at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and Leicester University but has been a practicing canoe coach for nearly 40 years.


  • British Canoeing:
    • L4 Open Canoe Coach
    • L3 Sea Kayak Coach
    • L3 White Water Kayak Coach
    • L3 Placid Water Coach
    • A4 Assessor
    • A3* Assessor
  • Degree in Botany
  • National Trust Canoeing Ambassador
  • Bat Conservation Trust Bat Champion
  • Advanced Sports Therapist
  • ITC First Aid
  • City & Guilds Adult Education Cert 7307