This month we have spoken to Peter Wilson from Ardentinny Outdoor Centre.

What do you/your organisation do?

I am the Chief Executive Officer for the Actual Reality Trust – the organisation responsible for running the Ardentinny Outdoor Centre. I’ve been in charge of overseeing the organisation for 35 years (gosh). Before then I was a ‘kicking aboot’ teacher (physical education teacher) by trade. As previously mentioned I’m in charge of overseeing the company although this doesn’t mean I come to work in a suit and stay in the office all day. I think most would agree that I’m fairly hands on, you can often find me at school visits, doing pick-ups/drops-off in the minibus or even occasionally leading an activity. The bread and butter of what our organisation does is to provide proper, first class outdoor education to schools, charities and enterprises both near and far from Ardentinny. Normally in the shape of a 4 night residential, young people varying in socio-economic backgrounds come to together  to enjoy a whole host of activities and experiences from abseiling to mountain biking to gorge walking. We place real emphasis on the education part of outdoor education as well as on the recognition of achievement. It’s our mission to ensure all young people leave Ardentinny with greater knowledge, greater self-belief and confidence as well as a heightened appreciation for one another and the environment.

How long have you been an AIM Member?

Since AIM’s conception I believe?

What’s the best part of your job?

First and foremost its’ being part of something that I am truly passionate about. As the years come and go the issues
that face our young people can change from time to time. What doesn’t seem to change are some of the remedies for these issues; getting outdoors, making new friends and experiencing something outside your comfort zone.

What issues do you think the industry faces this year?

It’s very hard to speak on behalf of the industry but I think it’s fair to say as purse strings pull tighter and foreign travel becomes more accessible the need for greater flexibility becomes more apparent. As the old saying goes ‘if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backward’. We’re constantly looking at ways to diversify our offerings as well as to make them as financially accessible as possible.

What benefits have you gained from being an AIM Member?

As far as I am concerned AIM are the only insurance provider that truly understand the industry in which we operate in. It’s reassuring to know that we have experts on hand whose advice we can trust and rely on. Additionally the sense of community and rates available are second to none.

What exciting projects do you have lined up for the future?

In order for us to secure the future of Ardentinny for another 25 years we recognise the need to invest heavily in the bricks and mortar; new roofing, re-cladding of the exterior and development of self-catering accommodation on site. These developments are scheduled to take place between 2023 and 2024, but in the meantime we invite everyone to follow us on social media to keep up to date with our impeding social fundraising events; has anyone heard of Frédéric Chopin?

What’s your favourite activity?

I’m a paddling enthusiast so anything from kayaking to Canadian canoeing to dragon boating. The sense of adventure and exploration when you push off on an overnight trip with nothing but your camping gear and some essential foods is like no other. In my younger days I did some crazy paddles up-to and around Norway. Now, I’m more than content with exploring a lot closer to home when time allows.

What activity do you want to try?

Within an outdoor education context there isn’t very many activities I haven’t done at least once or twice – however I’m very keen to try surfing. I used to think that being in a sea kayak couldn’t get you much closer to the sea and its environment but I think I might be wrong.

Thank you to Honor for providing us with such a great interview

You can read about some of our other member’s here:-

British Exploring Society – Member Profile 

The Climbing Hangar – Member Profile

Hebridean Pursuits – Member Profile 

Birch Hall Adventures – Member Profile 

Releasing Potential – Member Profile