Frequently asked questions

Got a question?

We bet we have the answer for you below. If not, just ask us!

Travel
Which airports are nearest your centres?

If you’re traveling by plane, we recommend that you fly to one of these airports. They’re the closest to us and we also offer a free bus transfer from the arrivals terminal right to our door.

Aberdovey, Wales: Birmingham Airport – 125 miles from centre

Loch Eil, Scotland: Glasgow Airport – 140 miles from centre

Ullswater, England: Manchester Airport – 120 miles from centre

Which train stations are nearest your centres?

If you’re traveling by train, we recommend you aim for one of these stations. Some are closer than others, and in the case of Ullswater we do offer a free bus transfer from Penrith station to our door.

Aberdovey, Wales: Aberdovey – 1.5 miles from centre

Loch Eil, Scotland: Loch Eil Outward Bound and Fort William – 0.3 and 6 miles from centre, respectively

Ullswater, England: Penrith – 8 miles from centre

Is there parking at my centre?

At some centres, yes. But it’s very limited so if you’ve got your own car and would prefer to drive, please make sure you check with us before you travel. If you can get dropped off or use our free bus transfer, even better!

What time do your adventures start and finish

All of our adventures start at 17:30 so if you’re not using our bus transfer, make sure you get there sharpish so you don’t miss out on dinner!

They finish at 09:00 right after you've had your breakfast.

How do I get from Glasgow Central Train Station to Buchanan Bus Station?

A bus service (number 398) runs from Glasgow Central Railway Station to Buchanan Bus Station every 10 minutes or you can walk to it, in a similar time.

Summer Adventures
Can my summer adventure be used as a language course?

Outward Bound is a mountain school, not a language school. Unfortunately, teaching in another language is not in our instructors' skillset. So if you’re going away with us in the summer it’s important that you can already speak fluent English.

As a guide, we recommend the following or equivalent qualifications: Cambridge First Certificate, Trinity College Level 7 or above or any examination equivalent to CEFR level B2.

How many people are in a group?

There are twelve of you to a group, and you’ll be lead by at least one adult instructor. Groups are a mix of boys and girls and often have people in from across the country and around the world.

Most of your group won't know each other, so it's perfect territory for making new friends.

Do you accept childcare vouchers?

Yes, we can accept childcare vouchers as payment for any of our summer adventures at our Ullswater and Howton centres, which are registered with OFSTED’s Voluntary Childcare Register. If you need it, our unique reference number is EY443840. For more info please contact us.

Can I do my DofE Award with Outward Bound?

Some sections of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme can be completed as part of your Outward Bound course. For more info check out our DofE Award page.

Are all Outward Bound instructors qualified?

Yes. Your instructor, who will be with you from start to finish, will be fully qualified. In fact, Outward Bound instructors are some of the most qualified in the industry. For more info see our instructors and safety page.

What should I pack?

We'll lend you all the kit and equipment you need to keep you safe, dry and warm during your adventure. Whether it's specialist activity and safety equipment, waterproofs, boots, sleeping bag, rucksack or a tent. We've literally got you covered.

All you need to bring is personal clothing and footwear, including things to wear during the evening, when you're not taking part in activities. You can download our kit list here.

For safety reasons, aerosols and penknives are forbidden.

Do I need any spending money?

Yes, you'll need at least £10 for a refundable deposit on any kit that you borrow. Apart from that your summer adventure is all-inclusive, so you don't need to bring any extra spending money, but we recommend that you do.

All our centres have a small shop, which sells snacks, souvenirs and clothing. How much you need will depend on the length of time you're with us, but we recommend about £15 per week.

Can I bring my mobile phone and other valuables?

We'll admit to being a bit old school at Outward Bound, but fear not! You can bring your phone.

That said, please don't expect to have it all the time, especially during activities. Put simply, wet suits don't have pockets and smart phone can often be the first casualty when your canoe capsizes. Besides, the signal is pants in the wilderness and you won't find many plug sockets in the mountains either.

For the same reason, we recommend you leave any valuables such as jewellery, iPods and tablets etc at home. However, if you really can’t live without them, you will have access to a safety deposit box at the centre.

PS we also have a pay phone and WiFi at the centre which you can use during free time.

What activities will I be doing?*

This will depend not only on the adventure you have chosen but also the other participants, the time of year and the weather. Typically you can expect to do some of the following activities, eg gorge walking, rock climbing, overnight expedition, hill walking, kayaking and canoeing.

What's my insurance cover like?

Your course fee includes fully comprehensive insurance, that'll cover you from the moment you leave your front door to the moment you get back home. The policy covers participants traveling from within the UK & from overseas. For more information, click here.

How do I take care of my personal hygiene whilst on expedition?

Out in the wild, there are no toilets, so be prepared to go back to basics. Your instructor will advise you on the best ways to manage your personal hygiene before you set off on expedition. You can find more female-specific information on taking care of your health and hygiene during your course here.

How fit do I need to be? *

Your Outward Bound adventure will be both physically and mentally challenging, with our longer courses offering the highest level of challenge. Every course will involve an exciting mountain expedition, over two days or more. As part of this, you'll be carrying your personal and group equipment in a rucksack, which is provided by the centre. Having a reasonable level of fitness means that you'll enjoy your experience more and will have the confidence to try new things. However, having plenty of enthusiasm is equally as important.

If you feel you need to improve your fitness in preparation for the course, we recommend using fitness apps like Nike+, Workout Trainer, Strava, Ease into 5K or even Zombies, Run!

Centres
Can I wash my clothes at the centre?

Yes! Here's the deal for each centre:

Aberdovey – A washing service is available to participants who are participating on our 19 day courses. This service is free of charge and will be available at the end of the first and second weeks of your course.

Loch Eil – there is a washing, dry and fold service available to all participants, charged at £2.50 per bag (washing powder etc included).

Ullswater – washing machines are available to all participants and cost £2. The machines takes £1 and 50p coins and participants can buy soap sachets in the shop for 20p. There is also a tumble dryer facility, which costs £1.

What are the rules on smoking and alcohol?

All of our centres have designated smoking areas for over 16’s only. Smoking is not allowed in any of our buildings, during activities or on your expedition. Anyone found breaking these rules will face our disciplinary process and may be asked to leave Outward Bound straight away.

The consumption of alcohol is also strictly forbidden.

What will I eat?

You'll be served freshly prepared food with plenty of variety on offer. Take a look at our sample menu. Our catering team can also meet any dietary requirements, provided you let us know in advance.

What's the accommodation like?

When you're not camping in the hills you'll be staying in a room of about six at our centres, with people your own age and sex. Most of our rooms have bunk beds, with cupboards and draws for your things as well as an ensuite. You'll be given bed linen, but you'll need to pack your own towels and toiletries.

While you're not in your room, you'll be able to hang out on the centre grounds or socialise in the common room in the evening.

What do the dorms look like and who will I be sharing with?

The dorms will be of different sizes and will mostly have bunk beds in them and some are ensuite. Depending on the course, either your school or Outward Bound will put together a plan of who will be sharing a room. This will depend on how many students there are etc. But whoever you will be sharing with – being roommates is always a good way to get to know new people!

Education courses
What do the dorms look like and who will I be sharing with?

The dorms will be of different sizes and will mostly have bunk beds in them and some are ensuite. Depending on the course, either your school or Outward Bound will put together a plan of who will be sharing a room. This will depend on how many students there are etc. But whoever you will be sharing with – being roommates is always a good way to get to know new people!

What activities will I be doing?

This depends on a lot of things; what your school has asked to do, what your instructor has planned based on your learning aims, how many of you and also on what the weather is like. However, to give you an idea, below is a list of activities you might be doing:

  • Expeditioning (camping)
  • Gorge walking
  • High ropes activities
  • Rock climbing
  • Scrambling
  • Hill walking
  • Canoeing
  • Sailing
  • Tree climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Raft building
What can I buy in the shop?

Our shops don’t sell sweets or fizzy drinks. However, you can buy juice, crisps and cereal bars. It will also have a selection of souvenirs such as pens, hats, jumpers etc and also some emergency items like toothbrushes or soap. The shop will usually be open every evening during your free time.

What time will I have to get up at? Will we have any free time?

Coming on an Outward Bound course is not like going on holiday, there is always plenty to do! To fit it all into the day we like to start the day bright and early. Below is a sample outline of what a typical day at Outward Bound is like:

7am: Wake up
7.30-9am: Breakfast
9am-5pm: Activity time with your instructor
5pm-7pm: Dinner and free time
7pm-8:30pm: Activity time with your instructor
8:30pm-10:30pm: Free time
10:30pm: To dorms
11pm: Lights out

Will I get wet?

Yes, there are certain activities where the aim is to get wet (like jumping off a pier or running into the sea...) or others where getting wet is a possibility if things don’t go quite to plan (like raft building or paddling). However, you can come ready and prepared for these activities. Please dress appropriately in clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and don’t wear your best set of trainers. Ask your instructor what is best to wear for the day or the activity if you are not sure – they will be happy to help!

What can we do in our free time?

Most of our centres will have a pool and football table. You can also do some sports activities like basketball and football. There is a selection of board games available from the shop and you can request to have a DVD on in the student lounge, just ask your duty instructor.

Do I have to do every activity? What if I feel like I really can't do something?

Your instructor will encourage you to take part in every activity even if it seems a bit daunting at first. This might feel a little worrying to begin with, but you will soon realise that most things are not as scary or as difficult as they seem. The most challenging things are often the most rewarding!

Your instructor will not ask you to try something that they think is beyond your ability or that is unsafe, so give everything a go, you will be surprised how much you can achieve!

What will I get out of this course?

The answer to this is simple, you will get out of it what you put in! It might sound silly, but it’s true! The course will give you lots of opportunities to push yourself out of your comfort zone, to try new things you didn’t think you weren’t capable of and to work together with others you might not have met before. Only if you take every one of these opportunities and try your hardest throughout the course will you discover something new about yourself and learn some great new skills for the future.

What do I need to bring?

Basically, bring enough clothing to be outside every single day of your course! Bring clothes that you can move around in (like jogging bottoms) and that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. Don’t bring jeans for your activity time as they are quite heavy and you won’t be able to move in them very well. Finally, bring plenty of socks and some old trainers. Ask your teacher to print off our checklist for a copy of our full packing list and remember the weather can be very changeable!

Is there any mobile phone reception or internet access?

This depends on the centre and what network provider you are with. Certain areas are better covered than others, but as all our centres are based in rural areas, the phone signal might not be great. None of our centres provides computers for student internet access.

How many students will be in one group? Who is going to choose these groups?

A group will have up to 12 students and you will be with one of our instructors for the duration of your course. Depending on your course, these groups will be chosen by either your school or Outward Bound. Generally, you will be with at least one of your friends – and by the end of the course will have gained up to 10 more!

Our Online Payment Process
What payment methods do you accept online?

We accept Visa or MasterCard. Unfortunately we can not accept American Express (Amex).

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