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Active Outdoor Pursuits – About Us

Active Outdoor Pursuits was founded in 1999 by it’s owners Roy & Sophia Gibson. They share a love of the outdoors, a passion for Scotland’s landscapes, history, culture and wild places but most of all, we love sharing this with others.

For 20 years we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the fun, exhilaration, personal growth and challenge that so many people from every background experience when pursuing outdoor adventures. Many have used Active to simply experience the thrill the outdoors can provide or to gain a deeper appreciation of our environment. Some have come to learn and develop new skills or start a new career on an Outdoor Instructor Training Course, some come for an outdoor learning experience with their School or College, an experience every young person should have, some come to explore new places while others come to find themselves! This is the vision we set out achieve ……helping people to experience their own unique adventures in a fun, healthy and educational environment.

From The Cairngorms Adventure Centre in Newtonmore and our satellite Centres in Ayrshire and The Great Glen, we provide a wide range of adventure activities, training courses and holidays within the Cairngorms National Park and throughout the Highlands of Scotland. Active offer activities on the hills and mountains, on snow and ice, in the water and on the water. We cater for all age ranges and abilities and listen to everyone’s aims and aspirations with the aim of delivering individualised and inspiring outdoor experiences.

People are important to us, we always strive to do the best we can and to be the best in our clients and our staff team. Active we are proud of our staff training programmes. Each year we take in students to our Instructor Training courses then offer as many as possible the chance to complete our Instructor Development programme (Apprenticeship). Today, every instructor and manager began their career on an Active Instructor Training course as a client.

We hope you will join us at Active to experience first hand what we do. We are confident you will have an unforgettable experience and take away memories for life.

Get Active… Be Inspired!

Active Outdoor Pursuits Gethin
Gethin - Operations Manager

Lifetime ambition > Simply to have a career doing something I love.

Favourite activity > Skiing in the winter season and mountain biking in the summer season. Please don’t make me pick one!

Why I became an instructor and chose to work in Scotland > After 15 years working in the corporate world and living for my weekends / holidays, I realised that it was time for a dramatic change. I spent a winter season out in Val D’isere and decided that a career in the outdoors was definitely the way to go. I’ve always loved mountain biking, skiing and hill walking so a job as an Outdoor Instructor sounded perfect, it gives me the opportunity to share my love of the outdoors with others. I naturally gravitated towards the Scottish Highlands, where else in the UK would you go?!

Nickname > As a Welshman living in England my friends rather predictably called me Taff.

Laura - Instructor

 

Life Ambitions > To run my own watersports centre somewhere warm where the sun is always shining.

Favourite Activity > I love being in the water! I especially love being in a canoe but any craft on the water and I’ll be having fun. However I’ve been climbing more and more and it’s slowly creeping up to the top, I’m really liking the new challenge and thrill it gives me!

Why I became an instructor and chose to work in Scotland? > I think I fall more in love with Scotland every day, it’s a beautiful place. Nothing beats being in the outdoors on adventures, so why not do it for a job? Scotland seems to offer amazing areas for so many different activities so you’re never short of something to do.

Nicknames > Swanson, America

Active Outdoor Pursuits Roy
Roy - Director

 

Roy’s professional background started as an engineer but his passion was always for wild places and adventure. From a young age he would be off exploring his local rivers in canoes and kayaks as well as climbing in his local Galloway hills & Arran.

On leaving School he became the proud owner of a Vauxhall Viva setting him back some £50 pounds+ road tax. Once on the road the Highlands became his playground, with his outdoor skills and knowledge growing it became for many years almost an addiction!

Roy soon realised that leading and coaching could become a career and duly set out to make it happen. I guess the rest is history… His passion for the mountains grew into “all things outdoors” he was soon kayaking, canoeing, snowboarding, skiing, biking, ski mountaineering etc… His travels throughout the world have taken him on many amazing journeys on foot, canoe, bike & skiing.

Today it’s about sharing his experience and helping others develop skills to lead them on their own journey.

Active Outdoor Pursuits Freddie
Freddie - Instructor

Nicknames: Fred, Frank, TPK, The One and Only, Landfill, Boss.

Lifetime Ambition: My Lifetime Ambition is to travel the world inspiring others to love and care for the environment via engaging in outdoor activities which allow a different view. Most importantly to enjoy every step of life so I can look back and be happy.

Favourite Activity: My favourite activity is Paddlesports, specifically Sea Kayaking as it gives a completely different perspective on everything at a much lower pace. However climbing would be coming close behind. In the end as long as I am outdoors doing something I’ll be happy.

Why I Became an Outdoor Instructor in Scotland: Since I visited an outdoor centre as kid in primary school I always dreamed about how awesome being an outdoor instructor would be, spending every working day doing what I would do on my days off. It works perfectly with my life ambitions as it allows me to help people find the passion I have for the environment through adventure sports. Also to encourage others to branch out and find their own passions and alternative happiness. I chose Scotland to start this epic journey because it is one of the best places in the world for these activities and a sweet place to start the outdoor life.

Jim - Activites Manager

Life time ambition > My life time ambition is simple; it is to try and encourage as many people as possible into partaking and enjoying outdoor activities. In particular with rock climbing – I always love seeing people excel in this sport. If later on in life I could set up my own company, then that would be epic.

Favourite activity > My favourite activity is a hard call between kayaking and climbing; but climbing has to take the win, because in a word it is awesome. My photo has to be kayaking to keep things fair and even between the two.

Why I became an instructor and chose to work in Scotland > I chose to become an instructor because there is no better job – I have the best office possible, and I get to meet loads of different people each day. Why I chose to work in Scotland… simple Scotland is beautiful and if it wasn’t for the midges it would be perfection.

Nickname > I have been known by many nicknames over my time, some rather odd like steroids and wonder-dog, so I respond to nigh upon anything. But my friends call me Jim.

Active Outdoor Pursuits Sophia
Sophia - Director

 

My professional background is in mental health nursing, mostly working for Ayrshire & Arran Health Board – a career I adored, meeting many amazing and unique people. The 80’s and 90’s were a very exciting time in mental health service developments in Scotland and it afforded me so many opportunities for professional & personal growth – in inter-personal skills, group work, organisational & management skills, individual therapies, psychology of teams and being actively involved in staff training and setting up new projects and services. My family and faith have always been very important to me.

Meeting Roy (when I was 18) was the start of a life of outdoor adventures. I very soon became equally passionate about wild places … mountains and rivers. For me these were always less of the thrill and more of the journey… being with people while we share the beauty, tranquillity and inevitable challenges of the environment offers an amazing opportunity to learn about each other and ourselves.

Active Outdoor Pursuits Ann-Louise
Ann-Louise - Operations Assistant

Life time ambition > 

My life time ambition is to inspire people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and to introduce them to sports they may have never tried before. To ensure people are having fun, enjoying new experiences and talking to them about the wonderful environment we have up here in Scotland!

My favourite activity > 

My favourite activity is a tie between mountain biking and mountaineering. You can’t beat a good view from the top of a mountain but equally the thrill of being on a bike over rugged terrain can be a lot of fun.

Why I decided to become an Outdoor Instructor in Scotland > 

Sport has always been my passion in life and so having the opportunity to share outdoor sports which are adventurous and exciting to people is amazing!

Active Outdoor Pursuits Pete
Pete - Instructor

 

Lifetime ambition > Climb the equivalent vertical distance to space, because my sends are OUTTA THIS WORLD!

Favourite activity > Undoubtedly mountaineering and rock climbing. Nothing beats the thrill of venturing out into nowhere to climb high into the heavens and stand atop the world.

Why I became an Instructor and chose to work in Scotland > This place is my home. I grew up here. For me this is the where my adventure began and so I hope that I can help others begin an adventure of their own. We’re not here on this world for a long time, we’re here for a good time.

Nickname > Pete the mountain man, Pedro, (Baby)

Active Outdoor Pursuits Ed
Ed - Instructor

 

Lifetime Ambition > To be the very best (all round instructor), like no one ever was. I want to spend the rest of my life showing others what the outdoors has to offer, both above and below ground, and getting paid to do it would be a plus.

Favourite Activity > I absolutely love caving, but recently I’ve been converted to climbing above ground and have fallen in love with Trad climbing. I also enjoy shredding the gnar during the winter.

Why I chose to be an outdoor instructor in Scotland > Scotland has more to offer those who love the outdoors than anywhere else in the UK and it rivals most locations in the world. I’ve wanted to live in Scotland since I was 12, so being able to live and work here doing what I love is a dream come true.

Nicknames > “The Best Skier on the Mountain” – “The Better Twin” – “Frodo” “Lord Edward David Houghton Farrow”

Calum - Instructor

Lifetime Ambitions >To travel more and continue to work full time in the outdoor industry.

Favourite Activity > I love being in the mountains, whether its walking, biking or climbing. I have been climbing a lot more and it has definitely took over, I love it .

Why I became an instructor and chose to work in Scotland? > I love Scotland, it’s home to me and it’s such an amazing place to live. Working in the outdoors allows me to explore more of Scotland and enjoy its amazing scenery, it’s the the perfect combination.

Nicknames > yer eld da, Mr. Worldwide

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