Frequently asked questions

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Loch eil 960 expedition water
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!

How do I complete the Participant Information Forms?

Visit our help page, which includes guidance on how to submit your Participant Information Form successfully.

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
How do I complete my Participant Information form?

We've set up this guide to help - Completing your Participant Information form

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!

Jog and dip loch eil 960
Summer Adventures
What dates are available for your 2023 Summer Adventures?

The best place to browse our dates and availability is on our booking pages here.

What time do your adventures start and finish?

All our 5-day, 7-day and 14-day adventures start at 2pm on the first day and finish at 1pm on the last day.

Our 19-day adventures start at 5:30pm on the first day and finishes at 9am on the last day.

How do I complete my Participant Information form?

We've set up this guide to help - Completing your Participant Information form

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 Howtown centres, which are registered with OFSTED’s Voluntary Childcare Register. If you need it, our unique reference number is EY443840. To book your place, use our online form here and pay the £100 deposit. Once we receive your childcare voucher payment we will refund the £100 (unless you are only part paying by vouchers). For more information 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.

Can I wash my clothes at the centre?

If you are joining our 5 Day Basecamp or 7-day Ridge Adventure, we don't offer a laundry service, except in emergencies.

If you are joining our 14 Day Summit Adventure, there is an opportunity for laundry at each centre. There will be a small charge of approx. £2.50.

If you are joining our 19 Day Pinnacle Adventure, as you aren't based at a centre, laundry opportunities are limited. However, there will be one or two washes of clothes available with a small charge of approx. £2.50.

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 (except Ogwen Cottage but there is a local shop close-by), 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.

Can I bring my mobile phone and other valuables?

Yes, you can bring your phone. That said, please don't expect to have it all the time. Mobile phones are not to be used during activities unless approved by an instructor.

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.

We have WiFi at the centres (except Ogwen Cottage) which you can use during free time. This is turned off at 10pm.

What activities will I be doing?*

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

What's my insurance cover like?

Your summer adventure 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 travelling from within the UK and 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 an expedition.

I have a dietary requirement. Will I be catered for?

Yes, our catering teams at all our centres will meet any dietary requirements.

You will be asked about your dietary requirements in your Participant Information Form which is sent to you no later than six weeks before your adventure.

How fit do I need to be?

Your Outward Bound experience will be both physically and mentally challenging, with our longer adventures offering the highest level of challenge. Each summer adventure information page will provide you with a simple outline of the level of experience we expect you to have. For those that involve an exciting mountain expedition, 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're looking for ideas to help build up your fitness ahead of a summer adventure, our instructors have put together some guidance.

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

Can my friend or sibling be in the same group as me?

An Outward Bound summer adventure is an opportunity to make new friends, often friends for life! However we appreciate there are nerves about coming away on your own and also wanting to share some amazing experiences with your good friends. With that in mind we aim to limit friendships to 2 per group of 12.

Please let us know in advance if you wish to be in a group with a friend or sibling, as we'll be unable to change groups on arrival.

Are there any rules to be aware of?

So that all participants and groups can operate effectively and in harmony we have a simple set of house rules, called our Community Code.

Travel (Summer Adventures)
Which airports are nearest your centres?

If you’re traveling by plane, we recommend that you fly to one of these airports.

Aberdovey, Wales: Birmingham Airport – 125 miles from centre

Ogwen, Wales
: Manchester Airport - 97 miles from centre

Loch Eil, Scotland: Glasgow Airport – 140 miles away and Edinburgh Airport 146 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.

Aberdovey, Wales: Aberdovey – 1.5 miles from centre

Ogwen, Wales: Bangor 11.6 miles or Betws-y-Coed 10.7 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 even better!

What time do your adventures start and finish

All our 5-day, 7-day and 14-day adventures start at 2pm on the first day and finish at 1pm on the last day.

Our 19-day adventures start at 5:30pm on the first day and finishes at 9am on the last day.

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.

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

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