From George A

I have found the time being on Adventure Quest mountain skills courses very worth while, not just in the course content but also meeting the instructors who have given support and are understanding with myself and others who attend.

I enjoy the way the courses are delivered by the team at Adventure Quest and how they make you feel relaxed during the the time spent at the many training locations around the UK. The training I feel is well structured and each individual gains valuable skills no matter what level you are at.

I feel it’s a great way to meet others who I understand are at different stages of training or at different levels of experience with the great outdoors. Also the added bonus is the support that is offered by Adventure Quest if individuals need to chat about any mental health issues during the time attending the courses and afterwards.

All in all I enjoyed the time away and meeting others who are in the same position and being able to take time out and being able take part in many of the activities AQ offer to ex service.

Great service and support from all involved.

From Jamie H

“As a wounded veteran, substantially injured by a massive third-­‐degree burns injury, I was fortunate enough to be selected to work with Adventure Quest. This opportunity allowed me to train in the mountains and ultimately achieve my goal: to become a qualified Mountain Leader. With the high quality support and supervision of AQ staff, and instructors, I was able to realise my goal. The course delivery was clearly structured to implement a mature, dignified approach in understanding my specific needs -­‐ given that I’m a man that has endured life changing injuries and disfigurement. Essentially, during the six months that I trained with AQ, I felt positively encouraged and superbly mentored throughout. Aside from the obvious glory of achieving a recognised and worthy qualification in the outdoor industry, AQ has benefitted my self-­‐esteem and personal will to go on, whilst forging a deeper desire to develop myself further. I would highly recommend other veterans to grab the opportunity to train with this exciting company, and allow their souls to be enhanced by the therapeutic effect of working in the mountains.”

From Andy F Injured in Iraq 2003

I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2008 by my GP, she asked me about my time with the Army in Iraq and came to this diagnosis.

Since then Combat stress have increased my diagnosis.

I have been struggling to come to terms with it since and have had some treatment some of which did not help.

Getting the chance to be a part of Adventure quest and being able to complete a qualification in the type of sport i enjoy has lifted my spirits and given me a new lease of life.

Paul is a good instructor with lots of time for attendees with similar problems as my own, going out on the hills walking is fun to me and being with like minded people makes it all the more safe and enjoyable.

I am really looking forward to completing my ML and possible doing some leading work.

From Linda

Just to inform you… A big thanks to H4H agreeing to fund my place through Adventure Quest (run by Paul Lefever), in order to train for the UK civilian Mountain Leader award, you will no doubt be pleased to hear that all my hard work; and Paul Lefever’s excellent instruction has paid off.

I successfully passed my ML assessment in Snowdonia, North Wales over the weekend. I took the assessment with an independent specialist assessor, Phill George Mountain training.

The entire process is challenging: both physically and mentally, as you might expect. However, I believe, that with the right attitude and commitment, other WIS could certainly benefit from the scheme, irrespective of whether they choose to go the whole way towards attaining the ML award. As you know, the mountains can be a hugely therapeutic and encouraging environment to work in and I sincerely feel that others should try to benefit for this type of training and positive exposure to the outdoors. If the ML does prove too difficult for some, then there are easier award options! For example, Walking Group Leader and the newly devised Lowland Leader Award scheme (as regulated by UK Mountain Training).

From a personal perspective, I would recommend your continued business association with Paul Lefever and Adventure Quest, and I would furthermore encourage the BoB team to try and promote AQ’s offers with BoB members further. I strongly feel that others could benefit in many ways as I have.

Thanks again!

From Elizabeth S

The course was structured and informative. We had a set routine which was relaxed and friendly and every part of the week was explained in a way that was understandable and educational.

We went over skills that I had not used in a few years which included, weather systems, the four d’s, route planning, what makes a good leader, navigation, feature recognition, knowledge of the land and animals, history of the land and micro navigation.

We sat together every morning planning our route, researching the weather, choosing a route which was best suited to the weather conditions and to the fitness and state of mind of the group that was heading out. We then had a time to have some breakfast, make lunch, make sure our kit was good (as it was very cold!) and then head out into the hills, taking it in turns to lead and breaking the walk into legs, making mental pictures of the route using features that we were going to cross. Locating ourselves on the map. The instruction and teaching of the information was very good and varied depending on previous experience. The pace was good but the weather conditions were very challenging for myself on the second day and I felt a bit out of my depth. Paul recognised this and changed the route and plan accordingly really encouraging me to keep warm, have something to eat, consciously making sure that my wellbeing was ok, talking to me about how I felt and I found this very beneficial. I was pushed out of my comfort zone, it was the same feeling as I had on tour in Afghan and I think that going back to the way I felt then showed me that I was going to be ok, I was scared and frightened but I am glad that I carried on through the day as it was a sense of achievement. It really did take it out of me though. The next day was very good and I felt much better.

The accommodation was good, the food was lovely and we all took it in turns to cook for one another.

From Andrew B

Also persons involved for a great week at (YHA Borrowdale)

A very professional and well organised training facility.

Excellent tuition and grade A tutors/staff.

Relaxed and refreshing to meet likeminded peers.

Superb syllabus and thorough guidance both professional and personal.

Thank you Adventure Quest.

From Justin H

I have now been on 5 separate week long Mountain Training Packages with Paul Lefever and his Adventure Quest Team, first engaging in the ML programme offered in November 2013. My background is Royal Marines and I have been suffering with PTSD since leaving the Marines in 2004. I came across the Adventure Quest programme on a flyer advertised at the Combat Stress Treatment Centre in Ayr and it immediately appealed to me.

Since leaving the Marines and PTSD symptoms taking a hold of me I have suffered greatly with isolation, depression and lack of confidence and self esteem. So, I was extremely nervous and apprehensive in engaging in this course, meeting new people and opening up to them. My background in the Marines was as a Mountain Leader but totally associated with military operations and reconnaissance.

Paul and his team are experts in what they deliver. They have a very kind, open and friendly approach and I immediately felt welcome and at ease (no easy feat with someone like me). For the first time in years I felt I was among friends and people I could trust. The delivery and content of each course is basically tailor made to the group taking into consideration everyone’s needs and aspirations, pushing and encouraging appropriately and in a supportive manner. I personally felt Paul and his instructors struck the balance perfectly giving everyone a chance to grow in confidence, learn in a fantastic, challenging environment and achieve realistic targets and goals each day.

The Adventure Quest Team are extremely professional, not only in their Mountain Leadership skills but also their knowledge, experience and affinity with engaging with military personnel. It’s methodical, well planned, in good humour, challenging and non patronising.

Paul also brings his valuable Mental Health Nursing experience to the mix, allowing veterans to talk in confidence, at ease in a non formal, relaxed way about their feelings and experiences but only if they want. Nothing is forced or expected, which is what I respected and appreciated as it actually really put me at ease and allowed me to open up for the first time about a few issues. This has helped me greatly.

The Adventure Quest experience has given me a much needed boost to my personal confidence, learned new skills in the mountains, made some new friends and allowed me to feel some ease in myself once again. This type of work they offer veterans is invaluable.

From Paul B

I was diagnosed with PTSD about 18 months ago, all though I realised that I was having problems well before this, I still have some physical limitations due to a spinal injury sustained while serving in Iraq. I have gone through a number of operations and still suffer with much pain, I find it hard at times to deal with day to day life.

While serving with the army I was very active in adventure training of all sorts, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, walking, climbing etc, but since my injury I have not been able to take part in very little, I have just got to the stage where I can get out and start to get involved again, this is when I was informed about Adventure Quest.

I initially spoke to the MD at Walking with the Wounded who informed me about AQ, and that it sounded that I would benefit from what they had to offer, I called Paul (MD AQ), who explained about what his company could offer and how they could potentially help, I found Paul to be very informative, very relaxed which helped me feel confident enough to go and try what he had to offer for a taster week.

I have attended three weeks with AQ, and have found them to be fantastic weeks, I was welcomed by all the instructors, who I have found all to be of the highest of standards, not only have they been excellent mountain leaders but very understanding with individual needs both physically and mentally. The course can be tailored to an individual ability as some days I couldn’t walk very far or not all, the course also includes education about the mountain environment which made me feel that I had gained so much more even though physically I struggled slightly.

It is an excellent course to attend where you can gain the Mountain Leader qualification and potentially help you find work in that field. I feel like have been part of a team, that I have experience and knowledge that others have and can benefit from,

I feel that I have found a place that I feel worth again and that I am not just a hindrance or a liability at times, it has been great to meet other soldiers who have had similar mental health problems who you feel don’t judge you because I might be having a bit of a bad day, I have felt a lot of support not only from the staff but from other soldiers.

AQ has not fixed my PTSD but It gives me a place where I feel understood, where I feel I can contribute and feel part of a team again, this helps me feel normal.

For these reasons I would recommend others to go and try AQ, there is so much to be gained.