Snowdon Climb

Wild Scotland Conference 2019

AIM is proud to be exhibiting at the Wild Scotland Conference in Perth on 8th March 2019.  So many of our members are part of the adventure tourism world in Scotland we hope to see them there.


Valentines Proposal ideas for Outdoor Lovers

You’ve found the one. And as if they weren’t perfect enough already, they love the outdoors just as much as you do. If your ‘significant other’ loves to wake up at 5:00 AM for sunrise hikes, and will jump into any lake, river, or ocean regardless of how cold the water is – and convince you to jump in, too – then you need a proposal that’s going to fit your relationship.

At The Activities Industry Mutual we understand that bearing your soul and going out on a limb to ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you can be a daunting prospect! But for all the adventurers among you, we want to help spark your inspiration for your outdoor, adventurous, and nature-filled proposal. So, here’s the scoop on everything you need to know; from the best time of day to pop the question outdoors, to actually getting down on one knee!

If you don’t want to take a big risk when you pop the questions maybe think about a romantic hike and a picnic instead.

Canyoning Proposal

Activities Industry Mutual Members, Adventure Britain, helped adventure loving Dan propose and caught it all on camera for us to enjoy.

Paddleboarding & Kayaking Proposal

If you and your loved one have an affinity for the ocean, then a kayak or paddleboard proposal may be perfect for you.

  • Why not surprise your other half by making your way to a beach or island together, and arrange for flowers, rocks, or seashells to spell out the all-important question when you reach your destination – “Will you marry me?”
  • Worried about transporting the ring across the water? Place it in the kayak hatch ahead of time and during a break, ask your partner to grab you some water from the hatch. Surprise!
  • Get your friends and family involved – organise for your partner to go out on the water with their nearest and dearest, and surprise them by paddling out to their location for the grand event

When To Propose?

Do: Sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful times on the water.  Not only is the sky gorgeous, but the water is often calm. Sunrise has the best chance of glass-like conditions!

Avoid: Midday – There is often boat traffic and strong winds or low tide which just makes for a longer walk to the water

Advice: Be flexible! The weather has a lot to do with the proposal. A windy/choppy day would not be ideal, especially if the ring is going to be on board the kayak or paddleboard.

Rock Climbing Proposal

“Imagine you’re reaching for holds above your head, unable to see the ledge until you reach up and grab it, and instead of an empty hold, you grab a ring!”

If your significant other enjoys pushing themselves to the limits, likes trying new things, and is athletic, but you want an outdoorsy proposal that doesn’t depend on the weather, a proposal with climbing involved may be exactly what you are looking for.

Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced

This proposal is recommended if climbing is already a part of your life. For a lot of climbers, it’s an addictive sport that becomes a passion, so it makes sense to propose in a place that is a big part of your lives.

What if this is your first time climbing?

The experts do not recommend this proposal method if you are a beginner! “Climbing is not just physical activity, it is a mental exercise, so it might be overwhelming for you and your partner if it is your first time”.

Creative Proposal Ideas:

  • Before you get there, arrange to have the staff put the ring in a hold halfway up a route. Guide your significant other up the route and at the opportune moment, take the ring from the hold and propose while climbing!
  • Or why not lead your partner to the correct hold so that they reach up and find the ring themselves?
  •  A popular first date is climbing. Try to recreate the same climb or same events from the first date for the proposal.
  • Invite your friends and supporters to secretly come and surprise your partner and celebrate with you.

Do: If you want a crowd cheering you on after you propose, then a weekend or weekday evening is perfect. But, if you want a more intimate setting, then any weekday before 5, especially in the morning, is when you want to pop the question.

Avoid: Any climb that is too difficult! If he/she doesn’t get up to that point, they might not find the ring – or they may get frustrated from the difficulty, which would ruin the mood of the moment

Make Your Proposal Unique:

“Get your local climbing wall to help put the ring in a particular place at a certain time or reserve a particular climb for you and completely manage the process to make sure that it is perfect.”

Credit: Facebook, Bryan Rafferty Photography

Tree-To-Tree Adventure Climbing Proposal

Treetop courses can vary in degrees of difficulty, but pretty much anybody who’s adventurous can find a route that’s appropriate for their comfort level.

Creative Proposal Ideas:

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced

“Each course has about 15-18 treetop rest stops between the obstacles in which to pop the question…There’s just enough room for someone to get down on their knee on the treetop platforms!”

When To Propose?

Challenge your partner to a ‘race.’ When engulfed in the spirit of competition, get down on one knee and propose – they’ll never see it coming! …Don’t worry!

Special twilight climbing hours in the summer provide the perfect time of day to pop the question and then head to a fancy restaurant for dinner.

Do: Any time is ideal. Want privacy? Any weekday, especially in the morning. Like the lime light? Plan for a weekend proposal.

Avoid: Any day that might rain!

A Mountain Top Moment

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced

Creative Proposal Ideas:

  • As long as you and your loved one are fit and healthy you should be able to make it up the mountain. Make sure you plan your route, have all the relevant equipment, clothing and supplies you need- oh and don’t forget the ring!
  • Take your other half on an adventure up a mountain with a fabulous view at sunset. With the adrenaline from the climb and the sense of achievement once you both reach the top, take a moment to relax, take in the view and tell your other half how fabulous life is with them. Finish your speech by popping the question!

When To Propose?

  • Sun rise and sun set are beautifully romantic times to pop the question, especially with an amazing view.
  • Have Champagne and a bubble bath with candles waiting at home so that you can both refresh after your adventure!

When To Propose?

Do: Any time is ideal.

We hope you’ve been inspired by some of our romantic suggestions.

Good Luck!



Manager’s Travels – New Year

What a busy year it has been!  My first 12 months as Mutual Manager at AIM have flown by.  It has been an exciting time for me in this new role, full of variety and one I have thoroughly relished.  As we start another new year, reviewing 2018 and looking forwards to 2019, I thought it would be a good time to review with you my last 12 months and what we at AIM are looking to achieve in the next 12 months, and beyond.


This has been an integral and exciting part of the Manager’s role.  I have very much enjoyed my travels and meeting as many of you, the Members, as possible.  Visits have taken me as far south as Southampton and Poole, west to Somerset and Devon, east to Norfolk and north to Inverness via Cheshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria!  I have  always been so warmly welcomed- thank you.  It has been really interesting for me seeing your sites and activities,  discussing your businesses with you and assisting in risk management and answering queries.  I will try and see you in 2019 if I have not managed to meet you in 2018.


2018 has been a year for seeing new places, trying new activities and learning new skills.  I have managed to take my running kit with me on my travels and have enjoyed different routes, running along the south coast, in various towns and villages, in the Cumbrian fells and the Scottish hills.  I learned to climb with ropes on an indoor wall, something I had wanted to try for a while, having successfully defended climbing claims for AIM.  Thank you to The Castle for their hospitality!  I also loved assisting Firetrail with their Illuminator 25km night run in October at the Glen Tanar Estate, acting as a marshall throughout the night and helping with the clear up the following day.  I am still to have a go at axe throwing so if any Members want to demonstrate this to me in 2019, I am a willing contestant!

Claims and defensibility

Protecting your brand and reputation is key.  Accidents do occur but with good risk management and documentation, the opportunities for a successful defence are increased.  We have achieved some great successes in 2018, successfully defending claims which ensure both the integrity of the sector and also act as a deterrent to spurious claims.  I am more than happy to assist you if you have any risk management issues or want to discuss risk assessments and best practice.

Industry matters

It is very important to us at AIM that we listen to your issues and provide you with a voice in the industry, representing your interests at various levels.  This has included being involved in the discussions concerning the new AALA scheme and how this might look in the future.  I have also attended various sector events and conferences, making new contacts and joining several new Members.  The main purpose has been ensuring that we keep abreast of issues affecting the industry and those affecting our Members.

We held our main Member event and AGM in March last year at Plas Y Brenin and a smaller localised event at Glenmore Lodge in Aviemore in October.  Both were well attended and I really enjoyed meeting Members and discussing hot topics on both occasions.  Our next exciting event takes place on the 21st March at Lord’s cricket ground with a variety of speakers, networking opportunities and followed by the AGM.  Do attend if you are able to – it would be great to see you there! Details can be found here

What’s next?

Well, the plan is to grow the Mutual whilst protecting your interests and keeping the very special mutual ethos, unique to AIM.  This is achieved through contact with you all, as well as regular liaison with your hard working Board of Directors.  We have spent time in 2018 discussing the future for AIM and debating a clear strategy for the next few years.  We always welcome feedback and Member involvement through the Membership Committee and if you are interested in getting involved, please let us know.

I am looking forward to the next 12 months and beyond, and wish you all a very successful and prosperous 2019.


AIM Member Profile – Mendip

Bringing the outdoors and snowsports together to achieve growth

Mendip started life as a mobile outdoor activity company serving school groups when it was founded by Jim Hayward in 1987. Fast forward 30 years and it has grown into a profitable year-round business that incorporates a snowsports operation alongside an expanded range of outdoor provision for school, youth, corporate and individual clients throughout south west England.

The company operates from a permanent 250 acre activity centre in the heart of the Mendip Hills as well as 8 activity bases throughout the South West. These include off-site facilities for rock climbing, canoeing, abseiling and caving. Accommodation is available within a 120 bed on-site tented village and local residential centres.

In 2012 the business acquired a well established snowsports centre that offers skiing and snowboarding on a 165 metre winding dry slope. The merger of this predominantly winter operation was carefully integrated to transform the previously seasonal outdooor activity business into a 12 month operation.

Prioritising Staff Development and Training

Mendip Managing Director, David Eddins explains the unique approach that helped them achieve this transformation.

“Our outdoor business was predominantly running from April to October. The snowsports business was profitable during the winter months but  loss-making for most of the rest of the year. By bringing the snowsports business into our established outdoor business we were able to move from a full time team of 8 instructors supplemented with freelancers, to a year-round team of 40 instructors on permanent full time and part time contracts. Our outdoor team were re-trained to teach introductory snowsports and we helped some of the established snowsports instructors gain outdoor experience and qualifications so that we could offer both groups of staff more year-round employment.

We also brought our holistic approach to safety management and customer service from the outdoors to the snowsports business. This transformed both the safety record and levels of repeat business within the snowsports business.”

David, a graduate in Outdoor & Environmental Education actually joined Mendip as an Apprentice Instructor 20 years ago and is a firm believer in the core importance of staff training and development.

“Our greatest strength always has been and always will be our team. The Mendip uniform is worn with genuine pride and we consider ourselves privileged to work in this industry.”

Mendip have developed a pioneering Trainee Instructor Programme which introduces 8-10 young people to the industry every year. This is a 12 month programme which provides trainees with paid employment and the opportunity to gain NGB qualifications while they work alongside experienced Instructors. Trainees are incentivised to gain qualifications as quickly as possible and can move into higher paid roles within each area of activity once they gain qualifications.

David also sees the development of risk management skills as fundamental to their company philosophy.

“We have always operated at remote outdoor locations so we have to be sure that all of our Instructors share an “attitude” to risk management that we can trust. We see risk management more as a state of mind than anything else. We have to be confident that they have the training and common sense to assess all environmental factors so that they can reduce the inherent risk of outdoor activities to an acceptable and safe level.”

Being part of the AIM network

Activities Industry Mutual have insured Mendip since 2008 and David has always valued their partnership approach alongside with the traditional insurance services that they provide.

“AIM were actually really helpful when we were looking to get involved in the snowsports business. They introduced us to other dry ski slope operators through their client network and meeting these people gave us valuable insights which made a big difference in those important early years. I am inspired by the concept of a mutual and really appreciate being part of a friendly network of operators.”

Mendip have Public Liability cover of £5m and Employers Liability cover of £10m. AIM also extend the Public Liability cover up to £10m for selected clients who require a higher level of cover. David appreciates the flexibility that allows him to upgrade cover levels for specific client groups and also the fact that AIM premiums take into account the good safety record that Mendip have worked so hard to develop:

“When we took on the snowsports business AIM knew that we would be applying the same principles of safety management that we had applied for years in our outdoor operations. This allowed us to benefit from our established track record as we moved into this new area of activity”


AIM & Pharos – Be Prepared

Seven habits for highly effective incident management

By Julian Penney and Chris Gallant of Pharos Response

You may have come across the management book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; we believe ‘seven’ rules can also apply to incident management. Like anything, the more planning you do, the more you’ll be prepared for an incident. More importantly, as a result of being prepared, the incident is likely to have a lesser impact on your organisation and the people involved.

How prepared are you?

How would you respond to the letter from a solicitor threatening legal action following an injury sustained by a customer in your care; a visit from the Police to break the news that a member of your staff has been arrested for suspected child abuse; or many other comparable situations?

Here’s our seven ‘habits’ for highly effective incident management:

1. Planning

In the outdoor and adventure sector, we tend to be very good at handling incidents ‘in the field’. Typically, we are less prepared for how to prevent these incidents from getting worse or how to handle a more serious incident. Being prepared means identifying potential crises and writing a short plan of considerations. This isn’t a lengthy prose but a punchy list of actions, guides and checklists: what to do, who to do what and who to notify. Of the AIM Members subscribed to Pharos’ service to date, 53% either didn’t have a plan or ‘weren’t sure’ if they did when they signed up.

2. Speed

There is limited time after incidents when you can take control, showing people involved you’re acting responsibly and working towards a solution. Your plan should outline who will be doing what and the faster they make a start, the better for organisational recovery, rather like administering first aid. Conversely, if you have to think through all the details at the time, you’re in danger of sinking. The press will already be calling before you’ve had chance. A plan helps improve your ability to respond, and your speed of response.

3. People

You’ll be making fast decisions as there is usually a lot to do. These decisions are vital in doing the right thing by those involved and also portraying your organisation as being reputable and responsible. Place ‘people’ at the heart of your incident response, which means making management decisions based on wanting the best possible care for the injured, the support of other group members and consideration of relatives. If there is the smallest sign that you’re putting profit before people, things swiftly turn sour. Relatives turn to the press, social media or lawyers in frustration, escalating your incident. Sometimes this could have been avoided by following the first three steps alone.

4. Take responsibility

Even if you believe the cause of an incident to be the fault of a sub-contractor or freelancer, it’s important to take organisational responsibility for getting to the bottom of what happened and providing the necessary support to those affected. Appearing to be passing the buck or seeking blame breeds negative feelings. Much of effective incident management is about ‘just doing the right thing’. After any incident, your organisation falls under the spotlight, perhaps by one family or by the world’s media depending on the scale. How you’re seen to perform under the spotlight affects how people will judge and treat you.

5. Remain visible

In the aftermath of an incident, you’ll be busier than you’d like but it is crucially important that you remain visible and available to those affected. It isn’t just the initial speed of response that is important but ongoing speed. If you suddenly disappear people will ask what’s happened, what’s to hide? Disappearing may be due to phone, email or web systems failing under the pressure, or of course you simply need a break. Either way, this can cost you dearly: a journalist printing “unavailable for comment” or an unanswered question can breed suspicion, concern and eventually claims.

6. Ethical and honest

You don’t need to release all information as soon as you have it but you do need to be responsible with the information you do hold. Stalling or worse, lying, will only bite you later. Make ethical and honest management decisions.

7. Remember the bigger picture

Business continuity should be a part of your plan with people nominated to care for the day-to-day running aside from the incident. Once the eye of the storm has passed, you’ll need to turn some attention to your organisation’s ongoing operations and performance. Review the previous six steps when considering your own organisation, and the impact the incident may have had on it and your staff.

Assistance for AIM Members

Whether you’re a large or small organisation, you will have your own challenges and your own reasons for not being as prepared as you’d like to be; usually a combination of time, money and expertise. Pharos can provide the expertise to help you plan, prepare and train for effective incident management while also being available to you 24/7 to help handle any incident. AIM members benefit from a discounted annual subscription of £125, when usually the fee would be from £995.

Often people assume Pharos is only there to help through the major incidents, but this is not true. We have recently assisted two AIM Members following climbing-related falls where, fortunately, the injuries were minor. However, both cases had the potential to become more serious than the injuries alone would suggest, but through careful stakeholder communications we were able to advise how to defuse the situation, helping to prevent these situations escalating into claims.

For more information visit:



Wintering Your Ropes Course

On Target Newsletter – Autumn 2018

AIM’s Autumn Newsletter On Target has now been published and hopefully most of you will have had a chance to peruse the pages.  This year’s edition includes some of the usual features such as the Message from our Chairman, a review of AIM claims and updates on events and industry events.

We have a new Mutual Manager, Sophia Reed and Account Executive, Ralph Doe who have joined us and we profile all of the AIM team in this edition so you know who you need to talk to when contacting us.

It also includes a piece written by Vertex on wintering your ropes course with hints and tips on what needs to be done over the winter months to keep your course in tip top condition.  We have profiled long standing AIM member Mendip this year, who have successfully combined snow sports and outdoor activities together to achieve growth.

Our relationship with IOL continues and Andy Robinson CEO has provided a round up of news for the outdoor learning sector and our supporting insurer MS Amlin look at how you manage risk in an ever changing leisure landscape.

We’ve also included details about AIM’s Membership Committee which is seeking new recruits, so if you are interested in hearing more about being on our committee then do please get in touch we’d love to hear from you.




Pharos Crisis Spokesperson Training Event – 12th November 2018

Pharos Response are holding their very popular Crisis Spokesperson Training Course exclusive for AIM Members in London on 12th November 2018 at BLM Law Offices, Plantation Place, London between 10.00 – 17.00pm

The course is heavily discounted for AIM Members at £325 + VAT per person which is a huge saving of £275 per delegate.

The scenario based course is tailored for AIM members and combines skills-based training and practical exercises.  It will feel just like the real thing all the learning but without the consequences if your interviews don’t quite go to plan!

The one day CPD course is aimed specifically at outdoor and activity providers and will help individuals who may be asked for may be asked for comment following an incident and is aimed at senior managers and directors/trustees.  Using relevant case studies from the activity and travel sectors, the training is designed to help build skill and confidence in how to plan for and face the camera.

Delivered by incident management and media experts, our course combines a variety of training methods, including a powerful combination of crisis theory, useful hints and tips and vital interview practice in front of camera and over the phone.  An adventure sector specific scenario will develop throughout the day and delegates will each have the opportunity to be interviewed for radio and TV.

Don’t miss this fantastic training opportunity for you and your key staff.

To book please contact Pharos Response directly here

or visit their webpage for more information.