Darren Bevan's skills story

Darren Bevan in the peak district

Have you always been a hill walker?

As a youngster I grew up in Coventry but spent as much time as possible in the hills whilst a member of the Air Cadets, completing my DofE to Gold Expedition standard. My love of the hills continued into my early career with the RAF and I could regularly be found in Snowdonia whilst serving at RAF Valley. I married my wife Gail (also in the RAF) at the age of 21 and priorities changed – Gail and I were posted to Germany in 1993 so goodbye Snowdonia and the Lakes! In 1996 we had our first child Adam, and so our priorities changed again.


What do you do for work?

I am a Commercial Director at a £50million food manufacturing business in Lincolnshire which means that I’m strapped to a desk most of the time!


Why did you decide to do a Mountain Skills course?

Fast forward from question 1 and we now have two sons; Adam aged 18 and George 14 and its 2015. We settled in Lincolnshire following our return from Germany in 1996 and I didn't really think too much about the mountains for a number of years until Gail and I were talking one day and I can’t quite remember why but we decided that climbing Snowdon would be a good thing to do as a family. Well that was it, my love of the mountains was rekindled, even though we didn't get to the top of Snowdon due to bad weather, and thankfully my eldest son also caught the mountain bug. Without hesitation we started looking for a course which the two of us could attend together and which would help build our skills and knowledge in the mountain environment.

Darren Bevan with his wife

Why did you choose North Wales?

Look across the lake from Capel Curig towards Snowdon on a clear calm day and you will find the answer to this question, I simply can’t find the words to describe the feeling. (Our course was based in Llanberis.)


What did you find most useful about the course?

The course tutors were brilliant – they gave me the confidence to push on and do more and made me realise that even approaching 50 years old there was still so much that I could do. As a direct result of the course Adam and myself completed the national 3 Peaks in 2017 and we have now progressed to ridge walking with Striding Edge on Helvellyn (2018) and with Crib Goch and Tryfan on the bucket list for 2018/19. Further, my wife Gail and myself can now be found most weekends walking in the Peaks or the Yorkshire Dales, spending quality time together and loving the outdoors – another direct outcome of the course and probably the best one too! Since completing the course we’ve been inspired to walk almost 850km’s and our total ascent is over three times the height of Everest and counting!! We are completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks together in Sept 2018 to raise money for charity.


What would you say to someone thinking about doing a Mountain Skills course?

I would highly recommend the course to anyone who is new to the mountains or returning after a period away. It’s a great way of learning new skills and meeting like minded people.


Since the course, you've become a qualified Lowland Leader - why?

Two main reasons – firstly, taking inspiration from the Mountain Skills course, I wanted to begin my Mountain Training journey – hopefully one day progressing to Mountain Leader and secondly, I am now working with a local Air Cadet Squadron, putting something back in to an organisation from which I was given so much as a youngster, as the Adventure Training instructor and specifically DofE Exped Supervisor and so the Lowland Leader course was a must!

Darren Bevan and his wife in the peak district

What do you do with your qualification?

It’s the catalyst to further progression and also working with the cadets, we’ve been able to put 18 young individuals through either Bronze or Silver DofE awards in 2018 and that’s hugely rewarding for both the kids themselves and for me personally too.


What’s next?

Hill and Moorland Leader training course already undertaken in April – planning assessment in August and then hopefully Mountain Leader (summer) next year. Probably too old for a major career change now but I love the outdoors and thanks to the provider of my Mountain Skills course I’m now helping others to share that love too.