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!



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”


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.




Lightning Strike & Business Interruption Cover

Lightning strikes are thankfully rare but as AIM Member Wide Horizons’ experienced, they can happen, and they are only one possible cause of damage – fire, storm and flood damage are more common and of course all of these can cause a building to be unavailable for use, with practical and financial implications for an activity provider.  Ensuring you have Business Interruption cover as part of your policy is important.

AIM member Wide Horizons is an adventure learning charity in the UK who provide adventure experiences to approximately 45,000 children and young people a year throughout 8 centres around the UK.

The Townsend site in Swanage needed assistance from the AIM team in October 2014, when, during a violent storm of heavy rain and very strong winds, lightning struck the gable end of one of the dormitory blocks on site. This strike damaged the fire alarm at the building which stopped it from functioning. The storm rumbled on and by 4am a local milkman, on his rounds, discovered the building was on fire and alerted the emergency services. Unfortunately by this time, the building had suffered significant damage including a collapsed front roof and damaged undercroft plus smoke damage throughout and all services (water/electric) were destroyed.

Simon Hicks, Head of Operations at Wide Horizons, told us that thankfully there were no guests in the building at the time and ironically, that was the first night that the building had been empty for approximately 3 months, showing the popularity of the site and the frequency of bookings for the dormitory.

The effect on future bookings could have been disastrous, a group was booked in for the following week so alternative accommodation had to be found and the local youth hostel kindly provided this for us. One group who were booked in were relocated within the Wide Horizons family and changed their location to Wales. We were relieved and pleased that they loved it there and have continued to use that centre. We were unlucky to lose one booking who had to stay at a similar activity centre in Swanage but thankfully the school has remained with us since then.

The need to have the correct plans in place to deal with an incident of this nature is paramount. The centre already had a critical incident plan which was adhered to at the time and since then we have continued to update this plan, and other processes on an annual basis.

As part of its AIM membership, Wide Horizons has Business Interruption cover, which has been so important for our survival, as we were covered for loss of earnings while the new dormitory was being built and this covered an entire term’s worth of business, any one in business but especially working for or involved with a charity can appreciate the impact of losing this level of income.

Despite the fire, the outcome has been very positive for Wide Horizons. The building’s footprint hasn’t changed, but it has allowed us to modernise some of the structure of the building, which was originally built in 1928. We had new fixtures/fittings/furniture throughout, and as a charity that in itself had a significant impact as some of the furniture was in need of updating!

Being a member of AIM has provided peace of mind. In the event of a claim we found that this was handled both professionally and with compassion, AIM did a wonderful job”.

Are You Covered?

AIM offers Business Interruption cover to all members who take Property Damage cover.

Business Interruption covers loss of income (including rent where appropriate) and increased costs arising from damage to a member’s premises. Surveys indicate that most SME’s buy cover for their buildings and contents, whether with AIM or a conventional commercial insurer, but fewer opt for the protection of Business Interruption cover as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Business Interruption, and receiving a quotation, please contact our team and we will be happy to provide a quotation.

Focus on: Cycling

Difference between Claims Made and Occurrence Coverage

We are often asked the question, “What is the difference between ‘Claims Made’ and a ‘Claims Occurring’?” when it comes to the types of liability coverage available in the market.

It is important to understand both types of cover to ensure you have the correct cover in place should a claim happen.

Claims Occurring

The simplest basis of liability cover is on a claims occurring basis, it protects you from any covered incident that occurs during the period of cover, regardless of when the claim is reported even if it is after the cover has lapsed or cancelled.

The usual general liability covers such as employers’ liability, public liability and product liability are normally on a claims occurring basis. If you are a Member of AIM, all these covers will be on a claims occurring basis.

Claims Made

Claims made coverage is slightly more complicated. It provides coverage for incidents that occur during the period of cover only if the claim is also made during the period of cover. As long as you continue to renew with the same provider the coverage will continue, once the cover is lapsed or cancelled the cover stops. However, this presents a problem to those who switch from a claims-made basis to an occurrence basis, or who stop buying coverage altogether.

Fortunately, most claims made covers provide coverage to claims that arise from events that take place on or after a specified date, called the retroactive date.

The retroactive date is extremely important for a claims made cover, and this is usually the date at which cover was first incepted. At each renewal the same retroactive date is carried forward.  If you decide to move providers you must make the new provider aware of the retroactive date and the new provider should carry forward the retroactive date from the previous cover and not use the first day of the new cover as the retroactive date. If the retroactive date goes back a number of years this will probably incur an additional cost with the new provider. Otherwise liability arising from activities prior to inception of the new cover would not be covered by the new provider.

It is important to note that a claims made cover can sometimes pay out in relation to claims made after the end of the period of cover – but only if your provider has accepted a valid notification of circumstances during the cover period.

We would recommend to all of our members when moving from a provider who deals on a claims made basis to one on a claims occurring basis that members send the previous provider a copy of their accident book. This ensures that you have made the provider aware of all circumstances known to you before lapsing the cover with them.

Should you be cancelling the cover as you are no longer operational consideration should be given to the purchase of ‘run off’ cover. This will cover claims after the lapsing or cancelling arising from activities occurring prior to lapsing or cancelling.

Examples of covers normally on a claims made basis are Professional Indemnity and Abuse. If you are a Member of AIM these covers will be on a claims made basis.

We hope you found the explanation useful, should you need any further information or wish to discuss the matter further please contact us on 01892 888423.

Self Employed or Employed

When do Freelance Instructors need their own Personal Public Liability Insurance?

The Skye’s the limit – Climbing & Scrambling in Black Cuillin

Manager’s Travels – Isle of Skye Our industry specialist James Willis recently had the pleasure of spending a holiday on the Isle of Skye following a recent trip to Scotland with the Mutual Manager.  He took the opportunity to do some climbing and walking whilst he was there and his blog follows:-

After an interesting trip visiting members with the Mutual Manager, Sophia headed back to London and I met my wife and a couple of friends for a holiday break to the Island of Skye.

For the Friday and Saturday we had a guide from an AIM member Skye Adventure, the affable John Smith. On the Friday morning we enjoyed a wonderful walk in the Red Cuillin from the Sligachan Hotel to Sron a Bhealain and the Druim na Ruaige where we had our lunch, finding a sheltered spot to enjoy the spectacular views.

In the afternoon we had a coastal walk out to Brothers’ Point (Ruadh nam Brathairean).

Our industry specialist James with friend Alastair and guide John Smith from Skye Adventure

The bigger challenge was on the Saturday (of the Royal Wedding), when we had a memorable day in the Black Cuillin walking and scrambling to the summit of Scurr Alasdair from the Glen Brittle Bay beach. John took us up on a varied and interesting ascent involving some climbing and a number of pitches, descending by way of the Great Stone Shoot.


We were lucky with our weather window. The views that we enjoyed on all our walks were wonderful, particularly the spectacular vista from Scurr Alsadair across the seas to the islands on one side and the Scottish mainland on the other.

From an AIM manager’s point of view, it’s always interesting to observe instructors and guides managing their group, be it a couple of mature men or a bunch of kids. As well as being excellent company, John provided us with an unforgettable adventurous couple of days and further whetted our appetite for further visits to the Isle of Skye.



AIM On Target Newsletter 2017