Director, Hunter Outdoor Training
I'm Barry Howard. Age: old. I have been involved in outdoor work by passion since 1968, and commercially since 1972. That is I have been earning a living since that latter year by being out instructing a wide variety of clients in the finer arts and science of living, moving, working, and surviving in the outdoors. I pre-date virtually every one of the current UK practitioners in outdoor learning - and I am still enjoying finding out more and more that I didn't know yesterday.
I am a full-time outdoor educator running many individual projects and, long ago, trained with the late Peter Bradley in wilderness and survival skills back in the 1960's. By 1974 I was involved in polar exploration resulting in becoming a member of one of the last dog-sledge expeditions to cross the Greenland ice cap, at one point as sledge commander. This was a catalyst in my research of pro-and-palaeo-glacial margins which took me all over northern Europe.
I followed my mentor into teaching and graduated in the 1970's from Eaton Hall College of Education, part of the University of Nottingham's School of Education, winning scholarships to study and then do research in Bucharesti and Cluj in Romania. Between 1976 and 1981 I led or was a member of seven remote expeditions per year in Arctic Norway, Iceland, and Greenland. In 1979 I spent four months solo trekking across Finnmark and Arctic Norway, though not following necessarily the plan I'd originally set - broken toes forced a temporary halt. Civilian courses and expedition experience includes leading almost 200 overland and/or backpacking courses and/or mountaineering expeditions throughout the UK and the whole of high-latitude Scandinavia including many remote area/wilderness courses in northern Finnmark. I spent eight seasons instructing the equivalent of up to and including JSMEL and Cold Weather Combat Survival across the UK and in Troms, Norway.
I am Mountain Leader qualified (Plas-y-Brenin), Winter Mountain Leader trained (Glenmore Lodge) and a former teacher with 31 award-winning years of classroom and management experience, 10 years of which was spent as Head of Geography in a very large and very successful comprehensive school; I have been an expedition trainer and former Regional External Verifier and Moderator for 'Sports Leaders UK' over ten years for their NVQ Level 2 (now Level 3) Award in Basic Expedition Leadership, continuing now to instruct over 3,000 people a year in wilderness skills leading expeds to Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
I was proposed by the British Sports Trust to Ofsted as 'A National Example of Good Practice in Outdoor Education' and have been praised and commended in ten successive inspections by Ofsted for management of innovative comprehensive programmes in Outdoor Education and 'Excellence' in education visits management. Ofsted have stated that my schools' programmes are 'Outstanding'. In addition I was the UK's first 'Outdoor Education Champion' as awarded by the then National Association for Outdoor Education for "....determined and productive delivery in the field of outdoor education."
Proposed by David Cox and being elected a 'Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society' in 1974, this was followed up in 2006 as a 'Chartered Geographer' for contributions to geographical fieldwork and outdoor education. I am an Associate Fellow in Meteorology at the Royal Met. Soc., and a former Tutor in Ocean Yacht Masters meteorology for the then Board of Trade. I am also a published researcher in the anthropolgy of Inuit cultures with the Royal Anthropological Institute.
In 2002 I was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship for research into educational visits safety in Norway, Sweden, and Finland - in that year undertaking and completing a 10,000 kms solo overland expedition to the North Cape of Norway whilst en-route around Scandinavia, subsequently being awarded the Trust's Silver Medallion. My proposition was that all UK teachers be trained in off site visit management, and that every school should have an Educational Visits Co-ordinator.
'Hunter Outdoor Training' is my company, conceptualised in 1988 and award winning within eight years of the start. I manage 'The Asheldham Centre' with an auxiliary team of adults enthused about this amazing place. This jewel-in-the-crown 28-bed Centre is located in remote east Essex in a totally refurbished 1000 year-old (possibly 1300 year-old) Grade II Listed medieval former church - a unique and quite outstanding residential provision. I am very proud to have been associated with the place since 1993. Only if/when you visit - and stay - will you realise how special. Don't take my word for it - be my guests and come and have a look around.
Hunter's Schools' Outdoor Education Project conceived, initiated, and developed by Hunter Outdoor Training was the Youth Sports Trust's Benchmark Case Study in the UK for KS2 Outdoor Education in 2012. Cascading this project and its components across other schools in, initially, Essex, in less than four years resulted in excess of 5,700 youth being exposed to quality, meaningful, and gainful outdoor learning on-timetable. This has been delivered to over 60 schools with almost 48,000 hours of pupil activity. It was commended by the Department for Education's National Strategies team.
Another major outdoor learning project I manage is at Lincewood Primary School: www.lincewoodoutdoors.yolasite.com.
Hunter currently (2016) works with over 130 schools in Essex and east London.
I work as mountain guide/leader across the UK, a wilderness/survival instructor and also an environmental education consultant in this country and Scandinavia. Some of this work involves setting up mountain based survival scenarios, some 'just' guiding one-to-one or groups of clients of all ages and abilities: both the technical side of guiding and the 'soft' skills are in demand. Other mountain work includes wilderness behaviour therapy for troubled youth and also in wilderness helping adult with PTSD. All mountain courses take place across the UK from Assynt and the Hebrides in the north to Dartmoor in the south. Come and join me.