Safety, Risk and Adventure in Outdoor Activities


Bob Barton

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
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  • Copyright

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    I have learned a great deal from those with whom I have climbed, walked, skied, sailed and, occasionally, paddled. I am grateful to them all for their impressive enthusiasm. Particularly memorable adventures were in the company of Allen Fyffe, Sam Crymble, Keith Geddes, Dave Morris, Jon Prosser, Mark Diggins, Steve Jones, Iain Peter, Mark Seaton, Brian Griffiths, John Cardy, Harold Gillespie, the late Peter Boardman and the late John Furness.

    My career with the Outward Bound Trust has evolved into one where risk management is its prominent part. I admire Outward Bound's policy of openness on safety issues and acknowledge my debt of gratitude to that organisation and its superb staff. Previously, my colleagues, both at Glenmore Lodge and Brathay, gave a developing instructor much to aspire to, and my fellow mountain guides are continuing exemplars of effective risk management in action.

    My thanks are due to Sir Michael Hobbs for his encouragement in the early stages of this book; to Sir Chris Bonington for unquenchable enthusiasm and wise counsel; to the late Fred Harper who showed how adventure and professionalism can be combined; and to Barbara Roscoe who opened my eyes to outdoor education.

    Doug Jones, Rachel Carroll and Anne Salisbury kindly commented on an early draft and Johan Hovelynk, Jim Rowe, Jarkko Riikonen, Jorge Lantero, Mark Squires, Darren Black and Admiral Thiruchandran all gave insights into adventure education in other countries.

    Thanks are due to the following individuals and organisations for permission to reproduce copyright material:

    • Professor James Reason
    • Simon Knight and Dave Anderson
    • The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority
    • East Barnby Outdoor Education Centre
    • Canadian Mountain Holidays
    • The Outward Bound Trust.

    Other sources and influences are acknowledged in the text. I have benefited from the views and ideas of many people but any errors in what follows are mine alone.

    Without the enduring support of Anna, Alex, Eliane and Flora the book would never have been written – thank you!


    Sir ChrisBonington

    My life was changed completely when I discovered rock climbing at the age of sixteen. It gave me so much – the athletic joy of controlling muscle and mind to climb a stretch of rock, the stimulus of calculating risk, the sense of exploration, the wonder at the beauty of the natural environment and the friendships built from shared commitment and experience. Those feelings are as strong now as they were fifty-five years ago.

    I also saw how much this exposure to adventure could do for other young people when I spent two years as an instructor at the Army Outward Bound School. I learnt the extent of the responsibility that I had as an instructor and the challenge of offering an enriching adventurous experience while at the same time ensuring that the risk to the student was kept to acceptable levels. This balance is not an easy one to achieve.

    Bob Barton is particularly well qualified to help us to ensure that balance between the thrill of adventure and the need for a safe outcome. He is an outstanding mountaineer with a series of challenging first ascents in the Himalayas, an experienced mountain guide, a former instructor at Glenmore Lodge and Principal at Outward Bound Eskdale. I chair Outward Bound's Risk Management Committee, of which Bob is secretary. We have had many great days together on the hills and have discussed at length many of the topics covered in this book.

    Adventure in the outdoors has so much to offer and this book will help you to enjoy it yourself and introduce it to others in the best possible way.

  • Recommended Books and Sources

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    Institute for Outdoor Learning:
    Marine Accident Investigation Branch:
    Mountain Leader Training UK:
    Outdoor Education Advisors' Panel:
    Ramblers' Association:
    Royal Yachting Association:


    Adventure Activities Advisory Committee (2006) Surviving a Career in Adventure Activities (document awaiting publication).
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