Hire a Private Instructor

Our expert instructional team are at the forefront of knowledge. Your instructor will coach you in the technical, human and environmental skills needed to excel in your desired activity.

  • We'll provide the ideal instructor to help you meet your goals
  • Includes specialist equipment
  • Doesn't include travel, insurance, accommodation, food, or drink
  • 1:1 or Private Group Instruction

From £270/day

From + £40 for each additional person

Enquire

Private and Group Instruction

We offer instructors for the following areas:

  • Rock climbing
  • Hill and mountain walking, including navigation skills coaching
  • Scrambling
  • Alpine preparation and winter mountaineering
  • Canoeing
  • White water kayaking
  • Sea kayaking
  • Mountain biking

Qualifications

Our team are qualified to the highest standards, with holders of all of the following qualifications in our dedicated team.

  • British Mountain Guide (IFMGA)
  • Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
  • Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
  • International Mountain Leader
  • Winter Mountain Leader
  • British Canoeing Level 5 White Water Kayak Coach
  • British Canoeing Level 5 Canoe Coach
  • British Canoeing Level 5 Sea Kayak Coach
  • British Cycling Mountain Bike Tutor
  • British Cycling Level 3 Mountain Bike Leader

Many of our team also hold awards across multiple disciplines, giving them a range and breadth of skills, experience and coaching expertise that few others can match.

Our Instructor Profiles

Pete Catterall

Head of Instruction

About

James Bruton

Head of Mountain Biking

About

Chris Evans

Paddlesport Instructor

About

Dave Evans

Head of Mountaineering and Climbing

About

Matt Stygall

Lead Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Will Nicholls

Lead Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Rich Gentry

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Bradley Reed

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Iona Pawson

Instructor

About

Spike Green

Instructor

About

Louise Beetlestone

Lead Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Emma Warren

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Ollie Sandeman

Head of Paddlesports

About

Isaac Whitmore

Trainee Instructor

About

Dave Janes

Paddlesport Instructor

About

Gareth Davies

Youth Programme Lead

About

Grace Alsancak-Hay

Associate Instructor

About

Pete Herd

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

About

Joe Halliwell-Dykes

Trainee Instructor

About

Pete Catterall

Head of Instruction

Pete has been working in the outdoors for over 30 years. During this time he has worked in a variety of centres and organisations from the local education authority outdoor centre to privately owned adventure companies. Pete got into the outdoors on a trip to North Wales for a week of outdoor education as an 11 year-old and was totally hooked. He decided then that was what he wanted to do. Pete has coached international athletes and has mentored and trained the coaches who work with Olympic athletes. He now heads up the instructional team at Plas y Brenin.

James Bruton

Head of Mountain Biking

  • I am an instructor at Plas y Brenin, working across the Mountain Biking, Paddlesports and Mountaineering departments. I love the variety in my work, and spending time with diverse, motivated clients makes my job great.
  • I also work with our Fast Track Instructor Pro course, allowing me to coach and mentor the next generation of outdoor coaches and instructors.

Achievements

  • Like most of us at Plas y Brenin, my holidays are spent doing what I do for work but different! Any time hanging out and sharing experiences with like-minded people means a good trip. A few highlights include my first descent of the Rio Santa Tomas in Peru (a self-supported multi-day kayak expedition) and racing at the Mega Avalanche 2017 (the biggest downhill race in Europe). I met loads of great people, the tracks are amazing, and there’s nothing quite like sprinting off the line with 250 other riders!

Ambitions

  • My goals include surviving another season of racing the UK Gravity Enduro Season and returning to the Mega Avalanche to improve upon last year's result.

Qualifications

British Canoeing Level 5 Inland Coach
100%
British Canoeing Level 4 Sea Kayak Coach
100%
British Canoeing Canoe Coach
100%
British Cycling Level 3 Mountain Bike Leader
100%
British Cycling Mountain Bike Tutor
100%
Mountaineering Instructor Award
100%
Winter Mountain Leader
100%
Duke of Edinburgh Assessor
100%
REC Advanced First Aid
100%

Chris Evans

Paddlesport Instructor

  • I work as an instructor specialising in paddlesports and mountain biking. What I love about Plas y Brenin is the learners we see through the door (I find people really interesting), the variety of work I get (everything from introduction to advanced-level skills courses and leadership and coaching training and assessments), the staff (everyone’s always keen to go and do stuff in their spare time) and of course our amazing location!
  • I’m also qualified to train and assess a range of personal skills awards and leadership awards, and coach training and assessments.

Achievements

  • I’ve been paddling since the age of 8 and have been lucky enough to paddle in some amazing places.
  • I’ve paddled in Norway, France, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Austria, Africa, America and New Zealand. I’ve competed in sprint, slalom, freestyle and extreme races, with my competitive highlights being placing on the GB freestyle squad twice.
  • I’ve been mountain biking all over the UK and in France, Andorra, Canada and New Zealand.
  • One of my more recent accomplishments is the completion of a diploma in performance coaching, and linked in with this is the completion of the British Canoeing level four award. This is fairly big for me as academia was something I always felt challenging.

Ambitions

  • Future ambitions include completing an MSc in performance coaching (hopefully….) and lots of future biking and boating holidays. Oh yeah, I want to do loads more sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, too... too many things to do, not enough time!

Qualifications

Diploma in Performance Coaching
100%
British Canoeing Level 5 White Water Kayak Coach
100%
British Canoeing 5* Canoe Leader
100%
British Canoeing 4* Sea Kayak Leader
100%
British Canoeing Level 3 Canoe Coach
100%
British Cycling Level 3 Mountain Bike Leader
100%

Dave Evans

Head of Mountaineering and Climbing

  • I have been instructing at Plas y Brenin for 15 years and have been a full-time instructor for the last three. I work entirely in the mountaineering department on pretty much the full range of recreational and instructional courses, from introductory walking and leadership to Mountaineering Instructor.
  • In the last few years, I have been heavily involved in the development and delivery of the BMC FUNdamentals coach education modules and am a member of the BMC’s Training, Youth and Walls committee. I am a course director for every instructional and leadership course administered by Mountain Training and run most of these a few times per year, and am occasionally involved in doing bits of work specifically for them.
  • I have been hillwalking, scrambling, climbing and mountaineering since before I can remember. Family holidays were generally in Scotland, the Lake District or Snowdonia, and later on throughout the French Alps. I have been skiing since I was 7 and continue to do so now. In the last 15 years, I have climbed all over the place, from America to China and Big Walls to Alpine North Faces. I am still generally most motivated by UK Trad rock climbing.

Achievements

  • Central Gully, Beinn Lui, Grade I, Southern Highlands, with Parents c.1982 This was where it all started for me…
  • Mont Pelvoux traverse, AD, Les Ecrins, France with parents, 1995
  • Comici Route, VII/E3 6a, 500 metres, Cima Grande North Face, Dolomites, Italy, 2003
  • Cassin Route, TD, 800 metres, Piz Badile, Bregaglia Alps, Switzerland, 2003
  • Tour des Ecrins, a 4-day ski tour through one of the most remote parts of the French Alps, March 2004. Particularly memorable for having to sleep in an Alpine hut that was totally buried under avalanche debris! Some of the wildest ski terrain in Europe.
  • China Mountaineering Expedition to the Siguniang Range in the Sichuan Province. While unsuccessful on our main target, we climbed peaks in a little-known region of China up to just under 6000 metres and had an incredible adventure.
  • Aiguille Verte, “Late to say I’m Sorry”, ED2, Chamonix. 1st complete British ascent. Made particularly memorable by the descent from the summit, soloing back down the Couturier Couloir, which is itself a 1000-metre D+ Alpine North Face route, and the subsequent ski back to Chamonix in failing light, taking numerous hilarious falls in easy terrain as we were so tired! We still made it back for beers and burgers, though! One of the best climbing days of my life!
  • Eiger North Face 1938 Route. ED2, Grindelwald, Switzerland. An awesome experience with 2 great friends, which with good weather and conditions, was actually a great pleasure to climb!
  • Strawberries, E7 6b, Vector Buttress, Tremadog. After a few days of failed attempts to get up this one, my successful ascent came a day after my teammate and good friend Emma Twyford. Emma came back up there with me even though she wasn’t climbing to hold my ropes! I had to try really hard on this one, too, so it will always remain a fond memory.
  • Un Poco Loco, VII,7, Church Door Buttress, Glencoe. It's still one of the best winter days I have ever had, with perfect conditions, perfect weather, and a mind-blowing route in a totally wild place.
  • Darth Vadar, VII,7, Ben Nevis. This is a great route with loads of character in a deep chimney feature. I will never forget how quickly myself and Dave Rudkin climbed this one; we were back in Fort William, eating paninis and drinking coffee by 1.30 pm.

Ambitions

  • I also, as always, have my eye on quite a few local classics in North Wales that have eluded me so far… there’s always something awesome to do on your doorstep!

Qualifications

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
International Mountain Leader
90%

Matt Stygall

Lead Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

  • I’m a part-time member of the instructional team, specializing in all things mountain-based, both summer and winter. A large part of my work is with the national governing body (NGB) awards, but I also work with the skills courses at Plas y Brenin.
  • It’s great to see folk come through on skills courses or NGB courses, watching them grow and gain experience and ultimately pass an assessment they have been working so hard for.
  • Some of the most enjoyable parts of my work are people achieving their goals and experiencing that team feeling of reaching a summit or topping out on a route!

Achievements

  • Over the years, I have been on many expeditions; some were successful, and others were not (I’m still getting over them!).
  • I have been to Alaska, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, The Alps, Norway, Patagonia and America. Some highlights were a fantastic trip to Yosemite big wall climbing, time in Patagonia climbing dream routes on Fitzroy and the surrounding peaks.
  • On the shorter trips, I have been able to have ski touring adventures to Iceland and, believe it or not, Scotland! I also try my hardest to get to Scotland in the early seasons to start the suffering. It’s a great time of year: short days, major routes, quiet and challenging weather; what more do you need?
  • Each year my work takes me to the Alps, and I have a week’s climbing before the season starts, which from year to year has been exceptional due to the diverse routes you can climb there. Professionally I’m proud of becoming a British Mountain Guide. It was a long journey, but every bit of it was worth it, possibly the best job in the world!

Ambitions

  • Well, if there was one mountain to climb, for me it would be Cerro Torre. I don’t mind which route. It would be a dream come true. I first read about the mountain in a book called Enduring Patagonia, the team finally made the summit and the selfie is the picture I would like to take and put on my wall.
  • Other ambitions would be to complete all the six North Face routes in the Alps. I have two left to do; the Eiger and Matterhorn (the easy ones!). There is also an endless list of winter routes to do, not to mention summer rock climbing or all the 4000’ers.

Qualifications

British Mountain Guide
100%
Mountaineering Instructor Award
100%
Winter Mountain Leader
100%
Mountaineering Instructor Certificate
100%
Rock Climbing Instructor
100%

Will Nicholls

Lead Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

  • I started climbing after a friend introduced me to it as a teenager. I then attended a weekend climbing course at Plas y Brenin with another friend and loved it. Our instructor’s parting words, ‘you know just enough to go and really hurt yourselves – be careful,’ were spot on. We were keen and thought we were cool, as we didn’t know anyone else who climbed. We also imagined our climbing would make us irresistible to the girls at school. It didn’t!
  • Soon enough we’d passed our driving tests – that’s when things really kicked off. We’d mainly head to Eryri (Snowdonia) or the Peak District and take a long time to climb a single route, but it didn’t matter – we felt like a ball. I joined a local mountaineering club and had my first taste of winter climbing. I was so green I even took my crampons to the bottom of the route, still in their box, with no idea how to attach them to my boots. Someone kindly showed me, and then we climbed Parsley Fern Gully and finished the day by topping out on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). It felt amazing. I was buzzing when I related my weekend adventure to my friends at college the next day.
  • My parents were supportive of me doing whatever I wanted in the future, as long as I grafted for my A Levels. By then, I knew I wanted to work in the outdoors – I’d been inspired by the instructors I’d met while learning to ski and at Plas y Brenin. I remember going through the Plas y Brenin brochure, highlighting all the courses I’d need to attend to get to the last stage in the qualification range, the MIC (now Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor). I steadily ticked my way through the qualifications; it took me ten years to go from attending my Mountain Leader training during the Easter holidays to passing my MIC assessment. I loved the process and all the brilliant trips and experiences I’ve had from climbing and skiing.
  • I'm really wimpy with cold water, so you'll never see me in a kayak!

Achievements

  • My motivations for climbing and skiing vary depending on the day and who I’m with. If I feel I’m climbing well and confidently, I enjoy the challenge of a tricky route. Equally, if I’m not in the right mindset to climb something hard, I acknowledge it and choose a different crag or route, where the enjoyment comes more from the situation and company than the difficulty. I think this is what I like most about climbing and skiing, there’s always something to do, and it (almost!) always feels great.

Ambitions

  • I’m more environmentally aware and conscious than I used to be. My focus has shifted from overseas trips to the UK or European destinations which can be reached on public transport. There’s so much to go at! I spent a week climbing in north Cornwall and Devon the other summer. I seconded a pitch that I think is probably the best climbing I’ve ever experienced, called Darkinbad The Brightdayler. Pat Littlejohn made the first ascent. We were blown away by the quality and quantity of his routes in that region – thanks, Pat! I would love to go back and lead it at some point – I’d say that’s my main climbing goal.
  • Skiing-wise, the Castle gullies on Ben Nevis and the Holzer Couloir in the Dolomites are top of the list. I’d also like to go ski touring again; it’s been too long since our last epic!
  • I’m really looking forward to introducing our son to adventures in the outdoors.

Qualifications

Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
90%

Rich Gentry

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

  • My year is split between North Wales and the West Coast of Scotland. I spend the majority of the year working in sunny North Wales, which is where I call home, and spend the winter based around Fort William where the snow and ice conditions are better. I also like to spend time working on the Cuillin Ridge on Skye in the spring as it’s totally amazing.
  • In addition to UK work, I run overseas expeditions, primarily trekking trips to less travelled locations.
  • I enjoy spending time with lots of interesting people and the variety that comes with the work. For example, I could spend one week working on a Mountain Leader course, including camping and night navigation for people who want to work in the Industry. The next could be a rock-climbing course climbing on classic crags around the area with people that are really keen to climb independently.

Achievements

  • I spend time climbing and travelling in wild and adventurous places. Some highlights include climbing along the Andes in South America, trad climbing in Morocco and countless days on the sea cliffs of North Wales.

Ambitions

  • I like to combine adventurous trad climbing and interesting travel. I’d love to get to Wadi Rum and climb the sandstone cracks and the old Bedouin routes, then head down and check out the ancient city of Petra to finish. In the short term, I’m planning to spend more time climbing the sea cliffs of Scotland.

Qualifications

Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (WMCI)
100%
Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
90%

Bradley Reed

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

  • Having taken the modern route into rock climbing (starting on a climbing wall), the sense of freedom and adventure which wild places gave me led me to become immersed in climbing, especially the adventurous side of it. This led me towards a career in the outdoors, where I have a special interest in coaching and personal growth. I love introducing people to and aiding personal development within adventurous settings.
  • I moved to north Wales to develop my personal passion for rock climbing and discovered a warm and open community of like-minded people who love to be outdoors.

Achievements

  • I’ve climbed first ascents in Morocco and repeated routes across Western America, including climbing Half Dome, New Zealand and Thailand. I also love climbing local North Wales routes up to 8a and E6. My wife, then girlfriend, embraced South American culture by cycling 4500km through temperate rainforests, flat grasslands, high (nearly 5000m) passes and desserts, stopping to climb and trek along the way.
  • I’ve built a climbing wall in my garage to keep my skills sharp throughout lockdown.

Ambitions

  • My climbing tick list is ever-growing, with Lord of the Flies is at the top, but mainly I would love to continue climbing regularly and learning more about the nuances of climbing and how to teach it.
  • I’ve postponed my Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor Award but walking, biking and swimming in wild places closer to home have given me a new perspective on what adventures can be.

Qualifications

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor Trained
100%
Winter Mountain Leader
100%
First Class BA(Hons) Adventure Education
100%

Iona Pawson

Instructor

  • Family holidays spent walking and skiing inspired Iona’s passion for the mountains. Leaving her full-time education and passing her Summer Mountain Leader Award kick-started her career in the outdoors. Since she has moved from being a Centre Assistant at Plas y Brenin to a fully-fledged instructor with a specialism in land-based mountain sports.
  • In her spare time, she enjoys going on ski mountaineering trips where she combines all of the mountain skills she has learned from camping and navigating to decision making, and hopefully skiing some good powder too. Highlights have included traversing the Bugaboos, skiing in Mongolia and reaching the summit of Mount Logan.

Ambitions

  • "To keep learning, enjoying and challenging myself in the outdoors."
  • Currently, her winter work is changing from teaching skiing in the Alps to working in the UK as a newly qualified Winter Mountain Leader.
  • "Personally, I always have a range of dots on my Google Earth, expedition reports to read, and suggestions from friends. Who knows where my next ski expedition will take me, but it will probably involve some remote self-sufficient type 2 fun!"
  • She has also been learning to Mountain Bike, which is a very good reminder of what it is like to be a scared beginner! However, she is hoping to go on some bike packing journeys and combine this new skill with her love of self-sufficient travel.
  • She is also a keen vegetable gardener and enjoys baking bread and cakes. Each year she sets herself a new cooking challenge and at the moment she’s tackling croissants

Qualifications

Mountaineering and Rock-Climbing Instructor (MIA)
100%
International Mountain Leader (IML)
100%
Winter Mountain Leader (WML)
100%

Spike Green

Instructor

  • I work across all the instructional departments at Plas y Brenin. I've been working in the outdoor industry exclusively since 1982, so I've amassed quite a range of experience in most areas of our work.

Highlights

  • Making the first descent of a river in a super remote area of the eastern Peruvian jungle. After a day or so (of a 12-day trip), I said to the head of the National Park in which we were travelling (who was also with us) that I felt it be a real privilege to be the first Westerner to have ever visited this area of the jungle. She said, “No, you misunderstand; WE are the first humans to have EVER been to this area!”
  • The local tribes have a detailed oral tradition which records where they have been. None of them had any collective memory of visiting the area we were in. Our footprints were the first; the wildlife had never seen humans before. That was a truly remarkable experience.

Qualifications

Mountaineering Instructor Certificate
100%
British Canoeing Level 5 Inland Kayak
100%
Rescue 3 Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician - Instructor & Teacher
100%

Louise Beetlestone

Lead Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

I grew up in Mid Wales, where I climbed a lot of trees, played in the river, and walked with my Mum and Sister. At 10 years old, I ascended my first mountain, Drygarn Fawr, and did my first rock climb on a school residential.I went on to Coleg Powys Brecon to study Sports Science including some modules of Outdoor Education, before starting work as a Trainee Instructor at Longtown Outdoor Centre in the Black Mountains. The next year, I got a NVQ Level 3 in Outdoor Education, followed shortly by my Rock Climbing Instructor Qualification, then Mountain Leader. The Mountain Leader was my first interaction with Plas y Brenin, who provided the course!I moved to North Wales and pursued my Winter Mountain Leader and Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor qualifications. I took part in the Instructor Scheme at Plas y Brenin starting in 2010. In 2016, I was the Welsh mountain running champion, and the following year I got my Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor qualification.Additional accomplishments include completing the Paddy Buckley round (47 peaks), and in 2019 I learned to ski as well as climbed over 56 peaks in the Alps over 4,000m.

Qualifications

Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
90%
Summer Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
90%
Winter Mountain Leader
90%
Summer Mountain Leader
90%

Emma Warren

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

I was part of the Army Cadets from 1995-2000, before completing the Ten Tors Bronze in 1997. Shortly after, I also completed a Silver Duke of Endiburgh's Award, before being introduced to Plas y Brenin in 1999 with an Introduction to Rock Climbing course. I took part in a World Challenge trip to India and spent the following gap-year travelling from London to Hong Kong overland, leading my first climb on a new route in Iran. In the next decade, I completed a BSC in Outdoor and Environmental Education at Liverpool John Moores University, and led 16 trips for World Challenge to India, Nepal, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Morocco, Madagascar, and Vietnam. After getting my Mountain Leader and Rock Climbing Instructor qualifications, I instructed at Venture Trust, and was part of the Hot Rock trip from South Africa to Jordan. By 2011 I was employed in the Plas y Brenin Instructor Scheme. I got my Winter Mountain Leader qualification and did a PGCE in Geography at Aberystwyth University shortly after, and instructed/taught at Plas Dol y Moch. Since then, I have achieved my Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor, International Mountain Leader, and Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor awards.

Qualifications

Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
Summer Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
Mountain Leader
100%
International Mountain Leader
90%

Ollie Sandeman

Head of Paddlesports

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. 

Ambitions

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. 

Qualifications

Advanced Whitewater Kayak Coach
99%
Advanced Whitewater Canoe Coach
100%
Advanced Open Water Canoe Coach
100%
Sea Kayak Leader
100%

Isaac Whitmore

Trainee Instructor

I became passionate in the outdoors from a young age due to not being very good at school work - I’m quite good at sports instead. After finding climbing and the mountains, I became hooked with the more extreme sports and never looked back.

Dave Janes

Paddlesport Instructor

Growing up in Llangollen, I started paddling on the River Dee before I could walk. Since then, I have been fortunate to explore, race, guide, coach, climb, and paddle in a whole number of far flung places around the world. I spent much of my early career not really having a career but instead going paddling in fantastic places with some fantastic people. Working at Plas y Brenin is no different - less jet-setting to the Himalaya or guiding in Norway, more exploring what's on the doorstep and sharing my passion for paddling and adventure. I now develop paddlers to go and explore the places I used to call home. My ultimate paddling destination is Norway, with some cheesy pop music and a stop at a classic chippy on the beach before I go. My favourite kit from Peak Paddlesports is the Racer ST2022 Long and Speedskin Long Topdeck. Advice to newcomers: enjoy the journey.

Qualifications

Advanced Whitewater Kayak Coach
90%
Advanced Whitewater Canoe Coach
90%
Advanced Sea Kayak Coach
90%
Mountain Leader
90%
Winter Mountain Leader
90%
Rock Climbing Instructor
90%
Mountain Bike Leader
90%

Gareth Davies

Youth Programme Lead

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.

Qualifications

Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
Summer Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor
100%
International Mountain Leader
100%
Winter Mountain Leader
100%
Summer Mountain Leader
100%
Level 2 Mountain Bike Leader
100%
Level 2 Kayak Instructor
100%

Grace Alsancak-Hay

Associate Instructor

My first experiences of the outdoors came through school residentials and completing the Duke of Edinburgh award, it wasn't until many years later that it would become major part of my life. After spending over 20 years immersed in the world of 'Springboard and Platform' diving as both an athlete and latterly a full-time coach I decided to change up my career and registered on the Fast Track Programme at Plas y Brenin with the goal of becoming an outdoor instructor. I love the variety of working as an instructor and giving people the chance to challenge themselves and grow with new challenges and experiences.

Achievements

In the summer of 2014, I was part of a two-person team who kayaked source to sea of the Mississippi river in America for charity. In 2019 I walked 500 miles from Brest in France to Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Ambitions

I want to develop my skills as an instructor further by working towards my MCI and Winter ML. I want to go on many more adventures around the world and at home in the UK, exploring mountains rivers and crags, seeking out scenic places and exciting challenges.

Qualifications

Mountain Leader
90%
Rock Climbing Instructor
90%
Climbing Wall Development Instructor
90%
Paddlesport Touring Leader
90%
MSc Sports Coaching
90%

Pete Herd

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor

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. 

Adventure-wise

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.  

Achievements 

  • 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.
 

Aspirations

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.

Qualifications

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (summer and winter) 
100%
British Cycling Level 3 Mountain Bike Leader
100%
Trainee Development Coach
100%

Joe Halliwell-Dykes

Trainee Instructor

I have been paddling since the age of 11 when I joined my local canoe club following a school trip. I quickly fell in love with white water kayaking and it has been my main passion ever since. I moved to Nottingham at the age of 18 where I started kayaking more and more at Holme Pierrepont. I started working in the outdoors through kayak and raft guiding on the river Derwent in the Peak District. I moved to Eryri to become a Trainee Instructor at Plas-y-Brenin so that I could spend more time in the mountains and expand my skillset into new areas, as well as gain more experience instructing with a wide variety of clients.

Ambitions

I am working towards becoming an Advanced White Water Kayak leader and White Water SUP Coach. I would also like to keep developing my climbing skills to become a Rock Climbing Instructor. There are many many places around the world I want to go to on paddling holidays with Chile, New Zealand and India being top of the list.

Qualifications

Whitewater Leader
90%
Paddlesport Touring Leader
90%
Mountain Leader
90%
River Raft Guide (Grade 2/3)
90%

Enquire

To get started, please email bookings@pyb.co.uk with the below information:

  • Your phone number
  • Number of people
  • What are you looking to do?
  • Your/group’s experience level
  • Dates you’re interested in

One of our customer care team will get in contact with you.