An interview with a true adventure seeker
We interviewed Leigh, an outdoor instructor to bring you his tips and advice on the great outdoors. Find out why he lives and breathes adventure and loves inspiring kids to get outside more.
Why did you want to become an outdoor instructor?
I almost fell into it really. I had just found out my intended career plan was no longer a possibility and after completing The Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award I was young, keen and looking at ways I could get into the mountains more off of the back of it. I just wanted to be outside and in the hills. BXM Expeditions run a scholarship programme and I saw this as my gateway into the industry. A lot of hard work and perseverance saw me complete my Mountain Leaders Award and now work in the largest D Of E expedition company in the UK, BXM Expeditions.
What’s the best and worst thing about spending so much time outdoors and walking in the mountains ?
A tough question, the best thing has to be inspiring young people to do more in the outdoors and help to ‘open their eyes’ to the beautiful spaces we have available to us here in the UK. The outdoors is a great leveller and often young people who don’t perform well in school for whatever reason, can realise their potential and worth and it’s a great thing to see. The worst? The rain, I don’t like the rain.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get outdoors more?
Just go! You do not need much gear to keep you safe and as long as you’re safe you’ll have a good time. Get out of your comfort zone but don’t 'just get away with it’ go prepared with correct clothing, food, waterproofs a first aid kit and you’ll have a ball. There’s a fine line between getting away with it and doing it properly, just stay safe.
Do you have any tips for an outdoor explorer on how to map read and navigate?
A map and compass are your friend, tech is great but if it fails it could all go wrong. Brush up on your skills using youtube, books and friends. Although the best way to practice is get out and get lost and find yourself again. One key thing to remember is there should be no surprises, everything you need to know is on the map, take that information and use the ground to figure out where you are. Don’t try and make the ground fit the map, it won’t work.
Is there any tech that you would recommend to use?
One good piece of tech to make use of is your phone with an app called OS locate. This will give you a grid reference of your location you can use to confirm where you are or if you become a little navigationally challenged.
Just double click the compass icon and it will bring up the coordinates. Use the first 3 digits of the code and the second 3 digits from the second part of the code to find your exact location on the map. No need to make it hard work and try to guess anymore!
What’s your favourite piece of kit that you wouldn’t go on an expedition/hike without?
I’ve got this old Montane jacket which is always in my rucksack, it’s comfy, warm and has loads of pockets. No matter how many more new jackets I buy I always return to this one. My toothbrush is pretty handy too.
If you could choose somewhere in the world to go on an expedition that you’ve not been before where would it be?
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Columbia would probably be at the top of my list. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the worlds highest coastal mountain range. I have a huge love of the Ocean and Mountains so this would blend the two perfectly.
Where’s your favourite place to hike in the UK?
Any mountainous region in Scotland which is very vague I know. I grew up in the south and until I became heavily into the outdoors I’d never been. Also being in the South it’s not somewhere I get to go often so I guess this is why it is my favourite. Every year I spend a week here in the winter and try to visit a different place each time. The remoteness and the conditions, even in summer are completely different and change so much quicker than anywhere else. I enjoy the remoteness and the fact I have to think so much more. I’ve never been able to find such a feeling in the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia which are my ‘local’ spots but perhaps I’m going to the wrong places here?
A big thanks to Leigh for his interview and if you have any questions on becoming an instructor, or need more adventure tips then please feel free to comment. Leigh would be more than happy to offer further advice in order to get more people outside! Follow his adventures @leighhrosee
All photo credit and copyright in this feature goes to Leigh Rose.