Pete Herd

Early Life

I grew up in Northern Scotland where I felt a natural affinity with adventure sport. I had quite a traditional ‘apprenticeship’ in that it started with the hills: snowboarding, fell running and carrying my mountain bike up local Munros. This developed into scrambling and when I went to Uni, summer trad climbing became the focus. Naturally this segued into winter climbing too. We all learned a lot during those formative years. I enjoyed the social aspects of climbing and got some experience of responsibility with the uni club, so I thought I could make it my job too.


My career began...

in climbing walls and with local schools kids. I wanted to specialise in climbing  and on the advice of a few more experienced friends,  moved to North Wales to work on the Plas y Brenin ‘AI’ scheme. Fast forward a few years and I’ve ‘settled down’ in North Wales. I’m now a part time member of the the instructional team, specialising in climbing and mountain sports. I work year round on most of the skills courses and a few of the qualification ones.



I’m keen on new experiences and partnership. I  like aesthetic lines and cool textures. I like the alchemy of putting it all together - the planning, the training the anticipation, the event. I like conspiratorially devouring a bag of sweets on a belay ledge and waiting for the sugar rush to take the mind off cramping arms. I like the quietness of focus and the rawness of an all out scrap.




  • Graduating from Uni.
  • My first outdoor job. My then employer saw something in me he thought worth fostering. We’re still mates.
  • Getting on the ‘AI’ scheme and passing the MIA (now MCI).
  • Buying a house and getting a job.
  • All the trips climbing, biking and hanging out in cool places with my partner, Amy.
  • Scottish trip to the states questing about in an RV. Wide eyed and learning to jam quickly at Indian Creek, Castleton Tower, Moonlight Buttress, Rainbow Wall.
  • Bikepacking trips through the Scottish mountains. Testing ‘hike-a-bikes’ and big descents.
  • The stars (finally) alligning and getting to climb Parralell B and Polyphemus  gullies, V,5,  on Lochnagar in the same day.
  • Winter Cuillin Ridge. An opportunistic skip along with my pal Lou. Crisp snow aretes, squeeky neve, light and free.
  • Any of the trad scraps where I’ve really tested my tenacity and climbing skill. It’s happened at almost every grade.
  • Catching the top of the crag on the first ascent of Hyperborea, E7 7a. Finding it, feeling inspired, working it alone, injury, doubt, falling off the top on redpoint, the supportive partners.
  • The Disposessed E7 6c, Ogwen. A serendipitous belay from Tim, just before the door slammed shut for the season.
  • Climbing my first font 8A, a cool arete in the Ogwen valley. I set a goal, trained hard and put the time in.
  • Trips to Taghia with a load of mates. Utterly compelling doable-in-a-day climbs on perfect rock in a wicked place.



I’d be stoked to do more of the same really. Keep going with what motivates me at the time. I’ve been surfing and biking a bit recently so hope to continue enjoying those too. More ice climbing in the winter months would be nice. I’d like to further develop my coaching too.

Gareth Davies

I started climbing and mountaineering with my father at about the age of 8 or 9 and loved big adventures in the Hills of Eryri and the Lake District. I started working in the outdoors in the Yorkshire Dales and first came to work at Plas y Brenin in 2001. For most of my career I have been involved with Outdoor Education, introducing people to the great outdoors and training and assessing on National Governing Body awards such as Summer Mountain Leadership.


I still love climbing and mountaineering and am looking forward to more Scottish Winters and Alpine Summers.


I would love to climb Aber Falls in winter, traverse Dream of White Horses with my daughters, make an ascent of Salbitschijen West Ridge and complete the new Traws Eryri mountain bike route.

Ollie Sandeman

I grew up in Mid Wales discovering paddle sports on a trip to an outdoor centre, my parents then bought me one of the centres Pyranha masters and then I started to head out on the rivers around Mid Wales. Following an outdoor education course at college I started my career working in the Aosta valley in 2007, this opened my eyes to alpine whitewater kayaking with the Dora Baltea on my doorstep. The next couple of years was spent leading canoe trips on the Ardeche, often considered a rite of passage for canoe coaches. Spending time over here converted me to love spending time in a canoe as much as a kayak and rocketed my paddling heading for trips on the Allier and in the French alps at any opportunity. I then returned to the UK and started working freelance, coaching and guiding canoeing on the Wye and kayaking on the Usk in the Winter months. I spent over a year working and living on the West coast of New Zealand working as a kayak guide and exploring the fantastic whitewater New Zealand has to offer. I then started working freelance providing coaching and British Canoeing courses in North and South Wales gaining some great experiences and mentorship from some exceptional coaches before setting up my own paddle sports business. I’ve had the pleasure of paddling and working in some amazing locations with canoeing in the Canadian wilderness and heli kayaking in New Zealand being the highlights. I’ve been working at Plas Y Brenin a little while now and can’t think of anywhere better to be based for the variety of spectacular locations for paddling on our doorstep.



More time on the salty stuff in a sea kayak, getting out on the amazing whitewater we have on our doorstep at any opportunity and taking my trad canoe into unusual locations is on the agenda.Bigger plans would be to plan a steep creeking trip abroad and a big canoe expedition to Canada.