What is your role at Brathay?
Basically, I am responsible for the business development and delivery of our residentials to children and young people at our three sites in the Lake District – Brathay Hall at Ambleside, Low Bank Ground at Coniston and Hinning House in the Duddon Valley.
Where did you work before that?
I began my career at Edale YHA in the Peak District before moving to North Wales to do a PGCE at Bangor. This led to a spell teaching in school before moving to the Conway centre on Anglesey where I spent 14 years. In 2008 I moved to the Lakes to manage Hinning House for Wigan Council. This led to the head of centres role and then we all moved to Brathay when they took over the management of the centres for Wigan. It’s been an interesting journey!
What do you think got you into the outdoors?
I remember going to see Chris Bonnington do a slide show about the Everest south west face expedition. It must have been in about 1976 and I remember being awe struck by the pictures of the mountains, and I remember thinking as well: that’s what I want to do. I still have the signed poster from that one somewhere!
What has been your involvement with expeditions?
Like many people I did the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award when I was at school, and loved every minute of it, especially the expeditions. Since then travel has been something that I have really valued. I worked my way to New Zealand on a container ship when I was 18 (a proper transformative experience!) and have been on a number of extended canoe expeditions in North America and Europe. My wife and I love travelling and spent our honeymoon doing the Annapurna circuit in 2000, and in 2005 I led a 31 day canoe trip down the Volta river system in Ghana with the British Army.
Have you got a stand out moment from your travels?
That’s a tough one as there are so many. Ghana was mind blowing as it was so culturally different to what I knew beforehand; the Colorado river was unbelievably intense for 16 days; the stars at Throng Pedi, thousands of feet up in the Himalaya were incredible; and sea kayaking with Orcas off Vancouver Island are all highlights. There are also the things that don’t go quite right but that’s a different question!
Can you tell us three things have you have learnt as a result of being on expeditions?
The effort is worth it. You might never get the chance to do something again, so if there is an opportunity to do something, go for it.
Everyone has different start points and sees the world differently to you.
Foreign travel is mind expanding and the opportunities for adventure are massive. However, you don’t have to go abroad as there are some amazing trips that can be experience in the UK.
What is your one indispensable piece of kit?
My Tilley hat. It’s battered and grubby but I still take it on every trip. I left it in a taxi once in Toronto the morning we were due to fly out and still managed to get it back.