Joanna, Outdoor Instructor, UK II

Learning the ropes in the UK

I have been here for a month so far and even though I am practically aching all over I am loving it! I just need to remember to stretch every morning!


The daffodils are blooming at the moment and they are practically everywhere! It is absolutely amazing, I’ve never seen so many at once. From my bedroom window I have a view of the Nepal building (including the camp’s future reception and the Bradley Wood shop), some cute little bushes, daffodils and some baby trees Holly and I planted the other week.

We are getting our qualifications at the moment as well. We are already qualified to run low ropes courses and to supervise 8 children rock climbing if we are together. Soon we will be able to run high ropes sessions and archery – we’re pretty excited! We are halfway through our archery course at the moment which, to be honest, is insanely boring. We still have 3 more days of it before our exam which is an oral and practical exam – it’s a lot of work!

I am having a lot of fun; no two days are the same and we are always meeting new people. The great thing about the activities we run is that we always have a different group of kids; even if we have the same game plan each day, it’s always different.

Holly and I ran a rock climbing session last night with a group of about 19 cubs (8-10 year olds) and they were absolutely fantastic.  They were so happy and enthusiastic, they really made my night. One of our climbing instructors, Jason, has an 11 year old son called Jack who generally comes climbing with us and he is a much better climber than I am. That said, it’s not hard to be a better climber than I am. We went outdoor climbing the other day for the first time and let’s just say I was worse than bad at it, however I tried and tried again. By the end of the first wall I was practically pulling myself up the rope with the help of Matt (our other instructor). Jack was laughing the whole time and continued to show me ‘how it’s REALLY done’; he’s a funny kid. On the second wall I attempted I was quite sure I could conquer it but maybe I had a little bit too much confidence. My shoes ended up falling off my feet, almost hitting Holly in the head, before I fell the metre or two to the ground almost kicking Jason in the head while he tried to help push me up. Thankfully, to be qualified you don’t have to be a great climber, you just need to know what to do in the time of terror, which I do thank goodness!

We generally have two days off a week, and it’s mainly Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Our host Gilly has been nice enough to take us out as much as possible on our days off, he took us to the movies last week and this week he took us to Hebden Bridge and Haworth. It’s a lot of fun plus on the drives to our destinations he usually stops off on top of a nice tall hill that overlooks most of the towns below. It’s insane what you can see after only a 10-15 minute drive from Bradley Wood, it’s so gorgeous.

We have written a list with a few of the other permanent staff members here of all the places we’d like to see and the things we would like to do this summer; it’s a pretty long list but after only two weeks, we have already crossed off three things and made plans for a few more. The list contains things like the Holmfirth duck race, going to York, going to some theme parks, going to Royal Armories, going on a camping trip and other things like that. I am pretty determined to complete the list even if I have to end up staying a bit later than I’m supposed to!

Submitted by: Joanna Lalas