The reason we believe we can provide the best outdoor courses is because our staff are highly experienced and qualified. We can therefore provide tailored courses to suit your groups needs. Friendly and helpful we will make sure you have a great time.

Gareth Davies - Operations Manager

Gareth Davies

Qualifications: Mountain Instructor Certificate (MIC), Level 4 Inland Kayak, Level 3 Sea & 5 star, Level 2 Canoe, MSci Geophysics

Gareth has been working as an outdoor instructor since 2002 running courses across the UK and abroad. He holds the highest UK mountaineering qualification (MIC) and coaches kayaking on grades of white water and on the sea. 

He currently also runs Sea 2 Summit providing adult skills courses in walking, climbing and kayaking. For the past 6 years he managed Bryn-y-Mor which provided specialist outdoor education courses for schools and groups until the business was combined into Arete Outdoor Centre of which he is now a director.

Passionate about the outdoors, he believes in the advantages of adventure activities in developing real life skills and confidence building for individuals. His sessions are always tailored for each group allowing everyone within the group to maximize their enjoyment and benefits from the activities and challenges. He has both an academic and outdoor background, with his earlier years spent studying at the University of Leeds to gain a MSci in Geophysics, allowing for a rounded approach.

With a thorough knowledge of the outdoor venues in North Wales and a patient understanding of how people learn, he will make sure the courses at Arete Outdoor Centre will exceed your expectations.

Richard Link - Chief Instructor

Rich Link Chief Instructor

Qualifications: Winter Mountain Leader, SPA, Level 4 Coach Inland Kayak, Sea Kayak, Open Canoe, Level 2 Mine Leader

Richard has worked in outdoor education centres for over 12 years, including at Arete Centre under its original name of Llanrug Outdoor Education Centre. He fully believes in the positive outcome that outdoor education has, having witnessed the impact it has on the development of young people and adults alike. Through his career he has gained a range of qualifications including his Winter Mountain Leader, so that he can guide groups up any UK mountain, over all season and Level 4 coach for kayak and canoe enabling him to coach in all conditions on the sea and rivers. The outdoors is his passion, with a wealth of knowledge and essential experience, built up through leading kayak expeditions to most continents, climbing in the Alps, Himalaya, USA and South America. This enthusiasm easily spills out during sessions, captivating and motivating groups.

He has a true desire to further the opportunities for the young people and feels privileged to currently provide 'once in a lifetime' opportunities for those attending an Arete course.


Crystal Patton - Course Director

Crystal Paton Outdoor Instructor

Qualifications: Winter Mountain Leader, SPA, Level 2 Kayak, 3 Star Canoe, Level 2 Mine Leader.

Crystal's commitment to using the medium of the the outdoors for the personal and social development of pupils is readily apparent to anyone who works with her. She takes every opportunity to promote pupils' understanding of how they can make positive contributions to their relationships with others, and never forgoes an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding about their surroundings.

Crystal has gained a wealth of experience through instructing in both South and North Wales and was an instructor at Llanrug Outdoor Education Centre before it morphed into Arete. Her continuity through this change is therefore a valuable asset to the centre for her understanding of the different client schools and their particularities.

Crystal's enthusiasm for the outdoors reflects both her appreciation for the powerful learning experiences that can be enjoyed there, and her passion for exploring those environs in her own time. She is a keen mountaineer and canoeist with a love of rock climbing and sea kayaking in particular. And she enjoys getting out and about on her mountain bike or walking with her famous dog Maisy!

Crystal holds a BSc in Outdoor and Environmental Education from the John Moores University, Liverpool.

David Barnard - Course Director

Qualifications: Single Pitch Award, Winter Mountain Leader, Mountaineering Instructors Award (MIA), Level 3 Inland Kayak Coach, Level 3 Sea Kayak Coach, 3 Star Canoe, LCMLA Level 2 Mine Leader.

Dave is passionate about the educational potential offered by outdoor activities. He has taught both physics and outdoor activities in three schools across North Wales, and worked as an outdoor edcation instructor for two local outdoor centres. Throughout this long apprenticeship he has questioned and refined his brand of pedagogy. He is therefore able to bring a vast amount of experience to bear in his new senior position at Arete and particulary likes to make explicit links between learning inside and outside of the classroom.

When not working Dave enjoys getting out on the mountains, rivers, cliffs and sea with friends and his young daughters. He has climbed all over the UK, in France, Spain and even Luxembourg but he is more likely to be found in a kayak these days. He has been on many paddling trips to the Alps, Scotland, Ireland and many regions of England, but most of all loves the continually renewed challenges offered by the many white water rivers and tide races to be found on his doorstep in North Wales.

As well as his instructional qualifications Dave has a BSc. in Environmental Science, an MSc. in Science, Technology and Industrialisation, and a PGCE in Outdoor Activities and Physics.


Sophie Holdstock - Instructor

Jon Elliot - Instructor

Konrad Doyle - Instructor

Paul James - Instructor

Matt Hawkins - Instructor

Lou Beetlestone - Instructor