News from OutdoorLads

Stay up-to-date with what's happening at OutdoorLads! You can also get the latest goings-in via our social media channels (see the box on the right to find out more).

I’m delighted that we have two additions to the board who have joined with specific responsibilities.

Neil Phillips has joined to take our work with the OutdoorLads Foundation to the next level. He will be reviewing what the Foundation’s objectives are, and looking at a broad range of things we can do to do to achieve those objectives. Neil heads up Retail Operations for M&S’s online business and has been an active leader (walking and hostel) for 4 years.  

When I was talking to Neil about the job he said ODL had brought such friendships and enjoyment for him personally, he wanted to play his part in helping improve the accessibility and affordability of a wide range of events. Neil’s got plenty of ideas but would welcome input from members to help shape the Foundation into a platform we can all be really proud of.

Dan Barcroft joins the board to focus on recruiting more members aged 25-35.  A recent article in the London Evening Standard suggests ‘peak loneliness’ occurs at 35.  People aged 25-35 often live very isolated lives as they move away from university and start work in new cities and this is one of the reasons we would like to make sure they know about and can access our events.  Dan is the Head of Student Recruitment and Outreach at Lancaster University and has been a Hill Leader for a year. He says ‘OutdoorLads has changed my life and I am thrilled to be joining the board with this specific focus’.

These positions are ‘co-opted’ members of the board. Our constitution allows Trustees to make such appointments, to provide additional support when it is needed.

I am sure you will join me in thanking them for stepping up, and you can contact either of them at or


John Proctor volunteered to become the national climbing co-coordinator and Neil asked him the questions that count!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am 35, I live in the Manchester area.  I have been climbing since 2004 and with ODL since 2014.  For my entire life I have loved the outdoors, though unfortunately my job as a University lecturer involves being indoors all the time.

What are you looking forward to most in new role with ODL?

I look forward the most to seeing people take up climbing who would otherwise not try it.  I already see this in my role leading indoor climbing events at Manchester for the past few years.  Also I am really keen that we develop an active community of outdoor climbers in ODL in which people can get involved and learn the skills.  It would be great to see an ODL events calendar full of climbing events!

What is your favourite part of the UK?

From my time living in Scotland I would say Glencoe, the southern Cairngorms (especially Lochnagar / Loch Muick area)  and the Isle of Arran.  Sadly I don't get the chance to go to these places very often nowadays (though Glencoe and Arran are on my draft schedule of weekend climbing meets for next year!)  Outside of Scotland I prefer most Snowdonia and the Chew valley area in the northern part of the peak district.  Much of Snowdonia still has a very rugged and empty feel to it despite being quite easy to get to and some really long and adventurous climbs to do!  The cliff of Lliwedd overlooking Snowdon is nearly 300 metres high.

What is your dream climbing destination?

I have been fortunate to be able to visit quite a few climbing destinations that I would previously have thought of as "dream"destinations.  My dream destinations that I haven't been to yet are Alaska (going there next year), the Wakhan corridor in eastern Afghanistan (not safe enough at the moment but I hope that I will still be climbing in 20 years time and maybe then it will be safe) and western China.  My partner is going there for caving over new year, I'm not jealous of the caving but I am jealous of him getting to see such an exciting part of the world!

What's the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about becoming a leader?

First of all - to do it.  The rewards are enormous.  But when you do it, to be careful that you only take on what you are comfortable with and don't bite off more than you can chew (in terms of leading or admin). I've made that mistake when I was a student in the University club, so now I'm really careful only to commit myself to things that it is actually feasible for me to deliver 

Ever fancied helping to create great events for OutdoorLads? Neil Sharp caught up with one of our newest leaders Dave 'TallYorkie' for a 5 minute chat about joining our ever growing team of amazing volunteers.


What's your name, where are you from and what type of leader are you now?

I’m Dave from Norwich and I’m now a Hill Walk Leader

What motivated you to become an OutdoorLads walk leader?

I've enjoyed myself on all of the day walks I've been on with ODL, and I like walking and exploring new areas I haven't been to. Also, in my area, there aren’t many events, so becoming a leader means we can offer more day walks in East Anglia for other guys to enjoy.

What's the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about becoming a leader?

Don't think that you can't do it because you can. Your assessor is there throughout the assessment process, so if there's anything you're unsure about or if there's a skill area you think needs improving before you become a leader, just ask and they'll be happy to help you through it.

How was your assessment?

Yeah it was good, I lead 25 guys along Dedham Vale, famous for being the location for Constable's paintings. It was a nice sunny day but we had a bit of rain at the end of the day which made it hard going. After the event I had several messages thanking me for a good day out which always makes it worthwhile doing.

What are you looking forward to organising as your first solo event?

I'm scouring the maps of Norfolk and Suffolk at the minute, looking for somewhere interesting to lead a day walk. Although it’s quite flat in this part of the world, there's plenty of spectacular places to choose from.

And finally, what's the story behind your OutdoorLads nic name? 

An easy one, I'm 6'5" and originally from Yorkshire.


Thanks Dave and we look forward to hearing about your leading adventures!

Fancy helping to create some great events for your fellow OutdoorLads members?  Get in touch to talk about how we can help you make it happen or go here >>

What was your first ODL event and what do you remember about it?

My first ODL event was a short linear evening walk close to home, along the river Trent, and then the train back home. It was a perfect, late summer evening for it. I got there way too early, which didn’t help my (quite natural) nerves about what it would be like and about the people I’d meet. Really needn’t have worried – the leader made a particular effort to introduce me to others as he knew I was new to ODL, and I soon relaxed and enjoyed myself, getting chatting to some lovely guys. We ended up – as ODL walks frequently do! – in a pub for a pint and some food, a really nice end to the evening. I went home feeling good and was hooked on ODL – I’ve done a lot of events since then and I think ODL is a fantastic thing to be part of. The magic we often talk about is real!

What are you looking forward to most in the job?

Right now – I’m looking forward to getting started! There wouldn’t be an ODL without the leaders and regional co-ordinators, and they are at the very heart of the organisation. What I’m really looking forward to is helping and supporting them with whatever they feel they need, in order to make the ODL experience even better for all our existing members, across a wide range of events. I hope that also attracts more new members to the group, as ODL’s good reputation spreads. 

What is your favourite part of the UK?

Difficult question! There's so much to love in the UK, and when you get out there you realise just how lucky we are to have such a diverse and beautiful landscape.  I love living so close to the Peak District and all that it offers, but my absolute favourite place is the Yorkshire Dales. It’s my “go-to” place for a weekend away. I love the dramatic landscapes of the Dales that take your breath away - metaphorically speaking, as well as in reality when walking up those hills!  The Dales are so typically picture-postcard British, with so much to see and do, I love Yorkshire food and drink (including the ales!) - and the people are great too!

What is your dream holiday?

I was thinking of which far-flung destination I would give for this answer, but the truth is that the location is the less important factor here!  I’d like to be somewhere with my family and /  or close friends, where we can have a lot of fun together and share the good times. Maybe a nice villa in rural France with a pool, sunshine, great food (especially cheese!) something cold in a glass and plenty of laughter. That would do me, simple tastes really! 


Harry - Membership Support's picture

Prides 2017

OutdoorLads will be out in full force this summer participating in Pride Parades accross the nation. So far we are confirmed at Edinburgh (17/06), London (08/07), Bristol (08/07), The Isle of Wight (15/07), Hull (22/07), Brighton (05/08), Leeds (06/08), Glasgow (19/08) and Manchester (25/08). Make sure you come along on the day to show your pride, celebrate and spread the OutdoorLads magic!