As a young teenager I used to head off into the New Forest with my mates and ‘lived rough’, well not exactly, but I was learning. Inspiring teachers and good friends helped me to find my ‘happy place’, which is in the mountains. Adventuring on my own or with others and sharing my passion for and knowledge of the outdoors makes me happy. Where is your happy place?
I learnt to rock climb with a little guidance and plenty of trial and error. I shudder at what we used to do and the kit we had! I did my adventure apprenticeship on south coast limestone, in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish winter as well as cycle 4,693 miles to Morocco and back before my 20th birthday. I joined the Royal Engineers at 20 and had a fabulous time with friends and colleagues climbing, mountaineering and skiing wherever I could in the world.
I was fortunate enough to run several outdoor centres and climb in some incredible places with inspiring people, some now lifelong friends. I met fabulous people in South America, Canada, Africa, Nepal, Iceland, Norway and various other places. I also learnt how to thrive in a remote and harsh environment; and take calculated risks – which is what we do in the outdoors sometimes. On leaving the army I ran my own outdoors company before working many wonderful years in a youth expedition company, finishing as Technical Director. Leaping back into the public sector, I was a local authority (Highlands) Outdoor Education Officer where I again worked closely with schools supporting their adventures and I confess, sneaking out into the hills in the evenings and watching the sun go down over the West Coast.
Now I am a Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (WMCI) as well as a Mountain Bike Leader, Nordic ski instructor and International Mountain Leader. I am also a first aid trainer and associate with the First Aid Training Cooperative and an adventure activity technical adviser. I am an Accredited Practitioner of the Institute of Outdoor Learning (APIOL), a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Alpine Club. And finally ……. I have just finished my Open University degree – a lengthy, but rewarding process!