I love teaching navigation, I find maps really interesting and love the problem solving that comes with map reading. As an added bonus it brings you to some amazing spots with the best views (on a good day). Some of my favourite outdoor memories are in the mountains.
What do you do now the season has come to a close?
I’ve been working on promoting Real Adventures and trying to push it forward. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve seen continual growth year on year and so I am working harder on continuing that into the future. I’m excited for 2019!
What is your connection to Connemara?
I have lived in the area for over 15 years which is nearly as long as the town I grew up in. It certainly feels like home now and I’m really happy that I got to settle here. Originally I moved to Ireland because of a very good school friend and ended up falling in love with everything about it, especially Connemara.
What activities do you do in your own time for fun?
These days I spend most of my time surfing. I began surfing when I first moved to Ireland but in the last 5/6 years have really focused on it and it has become my number one sport. I find it so extremely challenging, probably the hardest sport I’ve ever experienced in terms of progression. I think that’s what the draw with surfing is for me. That and the fact that no matter what your level is your still going to have a great time (most of the time). But if you want to be a good surfer it takes huge commitment, especially in Ireland where we’re so dependent on all the elements lining up.
What’s your greatest memory of being in the outdoors ?
There’s been loads of great memories and none of which I reckon stands out more than the other. Getting to Yosemite after 20 odd years and climbing a route there was a highlight. Being out in double over head plus waves in Portugal as it was scary as. Climbing an 800m classic route in Spain with a good friend. All of these stand out to be great memories but I also love everything about teaching, from beginners to aspiring instructors. I have great memories of working on instructor training courses and of course bringing people on ‘Real Adventures’
What is your most miserable memory?
There has been a few miserable memories, most of them involving being freezing cold either in the water or on the mountain. My most memorable was when I was logging for my MIA (mountaineering instructor award) I was shadowing an ML (mountain leader) course and it was during the time of the big freeze 2009/10 my sleeping bag only went down to -8c or something ridiculous and the temperature outside at sea level was about -16c, we were camping at 400m meaning it was probably around the -20c mark. I didn’t get any sleep that night and was constantly shaking, an early sign of hyperthermia. That was a wake up call and a reminder I needed a better sleeping bag if I’m going to pursue a career in the mountains!
What has been your scariest moment in the outdoors
There have been a few of these for sure but the one that sticks out the most in my memory is coming within meters of a massive white shark whilst surfing in Australia. The guys I was surfing with had gone in and I decided to stay out for a bit longer. I was paddling out the back and just as I came up from a duck dive a massive shark glided by me. I didn’t stop to think just turned to the beach and paddled as fast as I could. I thought I was definitely going to be shark food. Thankfully I made it back to the beach no problem but it felt like the longest paddle of my life. The lads on the beach said I was white as a ghost when they met me!