Climbing, Kayaking and Coasteering: Accelerated Instructor Training 2016/17 – Week 6

It's Week 6 of the Accelerated Instructor Training Course and we've been cruising the coast in kayaks, surfing the waves at Sandbanks, battling the swell at Dancing Ledge and scaling the heights of Portland.


Land & Wave Accelerated Instructor Training: Climbing, Kayaking and Coasteering

It’s Week 6 of the Accelerated Instructor Training Course and we’ve been cruising the coast in kayaks, surfing the waves at Sandbanks, battling the swell at Dancing Ledge and scaling the heights of Portland climbing routes.

We’ve completed another qualification on the list and made a dent in the next few. It’s been an excellent week of beautiful weather, perfect conditions and plenty of adventures.

  • Kayaking – BCU 3*
  • Coasteering – NCC Guide
  • Climbing – SPA


Climbing – SPA

We really are blessed with some awesome locations in Dorset, making adventures on land and sea a real experience. We’ve been utilising Dancing Ledge for it’s climbing and coasteering advantages lately but it was time to head further afield and for the group to face their first real climbing expedition.

We ventured off the island and journeyed to Portland so they could try out their first lead climbs. This meant they were placing their own gear on the routes and using their own ropes. All the group completed 2 severe leads and placed their own protection well.


Matt & Paul went up alongside the during the climb to give them advice as to where to place gear. A really excellent way to get constructive feedback on their placement techniques and a fantastic way to improve for future climbs.

Everyone completed a sport climb at Grade 4 level and they even added a bit of competition time trial! The fastest times were awarded to Jonny & Ted who both completed it in a very speedy 2 minutes 53 seconds. The group on the second day were faced with drizzly weather meaning slippery rocks which made for harder competitive climbing – they’ll be back to trial again in 2017.


After completing Grade 4 climbs everyone had a go at a 6b+, a very challenging climb and a big step up from what they’ve been doing. Special mention goes to Toni who made it to the top – a very worthy accomplishment indeed.

This was the last climbing session this year and they’ll be back to put their skills to the test again after Christmas and try out some new routes in more amazing Jurassic locations along the coast.

Kayaking – BCU 3*

After everyone successfully passed their BCU 2* award and starting to test their skills in moderate water environment on the Kimmeridge journey last week, it was time for a new adventure. This time the swell was in at Sandbanks and the groups were really able to put their techniques into practice.

After a quick warm up on the Poole Harbour side and a brain teaser from Graham about stroke connectivity – they had to paddle around a buoy only using one blade and they were not allowed to take it out the water.


The groups then headed around the Sandbanks chain ferry in very choppy sea conditions. Once at Sandbanks everyone had a go at surfing the waves and honing their stern rudders and low bracing skills. After lots of power flips, yelps of joy and stylish surfs they are all on track for their 3* assessments in the New Year.


Coasteering – NCC

All previous sessions have been gearing the trainees up to start leading their own groups out in the water. The weather this week provided us with the first big swell of the AIT season at Dancing Ledge. Big waves, speedy currents and quick tides really tested their personal fear management and pushed them out of their comfort zones. It meant they all got an excellent chance to build personal confidence in big swell conditions and to focus on different features of coasteering.


Continually working on the principles of C.L.A.P everyone was tasked with a managing the group in different points such as:

  • Checking equipment
  • Utilising waves to exit the water
  • Managing jumps
  • Activities to test participant ability
  • Contingency planning
  • Preparing for eventualities

Special mentions go to Ellen who successfully lead the group through a difficult section in the caves. Also to Georgii who battled with the roaring sea noise and commanded and projected a clear voice to instruct her group.

See for yourself:


Nick Gadd – 25

Why did you choose the course? I was travelling for 2 and a half years and had just relocated to Swanage in 2015 and was looking at career options. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and saw this course locally based so it worked out perfectly. I’d love to get a job after the course in the industry around the area.

What have been the highs of the course? It’s been great not just learning the practical side to the industry but the background and planning of sessions. The marine life sessions have been great and learning about the wildlife in the area. I’d also say climbing is one of my favourite activities and it’s great we’re starting to explore more locations now we know the ropes (pun intended).

What have been the lows of the course? There aren’t really any lows but cold feet probably has to be up there as a downside. Warmer weather can’t come any quicker!


Toni Tyler – 18

Why did you choose the course?

After doing the Outdoor Adventure BTEC I was looking for the next step. I really wanted to do something that would enable me to travel the world and do different seasonal jobs. I’d eventually like to end up in New Zealand being an Outdoor Instructor there.  

What have been the highs of the course?

I used to climb a lot indoors when I volunteered at an Outdoor Pursuits centre in London, so coming down and climbing outside has been great. This week’s trip to Portland was great. I’d have to say Ted attempting to jump over the fence at Sandbanks and failing is definitely up there too, his face was something I’ll never forget.

What have been the lows of the course?

It’s all been great but the wetsuit struggle is definitely a two person job and requires a lot of work. Any injuries on session have been hard, especially when it’s been a close friend.  


Ted Downey – 18

Why did you choose the course?

I came for a weekend with Land & Wave during my Public Services BTEC and found out about the Instructor course and knew it was what I wanted to do next. I’m applying for the Marines next year and wanted to have this for when I leave so I can eventually become an outdoor instructor.

What have been the highs of the course?

Spending every day outside learning rather than in a classroom has been great. Sometimes I forget it’s actually a course as it’s such an enjoyable way to learn, It’s all been really amazing so far.

What have been the lows of the course?

My only low is when I had to go back home for the weekend and spend it all inside completing an induction course for the cadets. Especially as I missed out on everyone going on a coasteering expedition as well. Otherwise there’s been no actual lows on the course, I’ve loved it all.

Next time…

Join us for week 7, the last week before Christmas, to see the trainees undertake their Powerboat Qualification and go on their first overnight expedition as past of their Navigational training.

As always, there’s plenty to see on our Instagram and Facebook.

AIT16 #OutdoorInstructor #MakeTheChange

09 December 2016 by Phoebe Webster

We really are blessed with some awesome locations in Dorset, making adventures on land and sea a real experience

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