Bear Dog Outdoor "I tried something I thought I couldn't do, and did it"
Lottie aged 6
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About Bear Dog Outdoor

Bear Dog Outdoor has £5m public liability insurance and all relevant risk assessments, details of which are available on request. Our instructors are all DBS-checked, first aid trained and have appropriate safeguarding training.

We are a registered food business, albeit a highly unusual one, and have a 5-star food hygiene rating.

Ruth Hubbard

Bear Dog Outdoor is my business, and I am very proud of it. From a very early age I was fascinated by the natural world, roaming the valley and fells in our corner of Westmorland - I wanted to be David Attenborough, not an astronaut. I still love nothing more than to expand my knowledge of botany and animal life, or to paddle the lakes and rivers in the wilder corners of Britain. White-water canoeing has brought me entirely unexpected joy - not being sporty, I thought I'd hate it.

This outdoorsiness naturally lead to me volunteering as a leader with Beavers and Scouts for ten years. Beavers was, for me, particular fun as it allowed me and the team to invent weird and wonderful games and adventures, often based around props and imaginative, themed, problem-solving games.

Ruth and Bodge

These are now very much at the heart of Bear Dog and the events I run for the younger age groups. Scouts was the perfect training ground for running bushcraft camps and canoeing expeditions to the very highest standards; it was a source of great satisfaction to see teenagers trying so hard to learn outdoor skills and to develop as young people.

I believe my forte is taking a client’s vision and then investing time and imagination in creative-thinking and planning. Preparation is all! The result, I like to think, is a completely unique occasion or programme, tailored to the client’s needs and delivered in a way which people of all ages and abilities find accessible, challenging and fun. Visual learning, innovative teaching methods, top-quality teaching aids and energetic, educational games are central to what I do. I firmly believe that any subject can be taught outdoors, to anyone.


Jed Yarnold

Jed is a committed outdoorsman whose trademarks are unfailing professionalism and seemingly boundless enthusiasm, which always inspires and enlivens those around him. He has worked in forestry, in the National Park as a Ranger and has travelled extensively during a long military career.

Jed is a keen and hugely experienced outdoorsman and wilderness canoeist with his own business, True North Outdoor. He is one of the country’s top canoe coaches and has led and taken part in expeditions in Canada, America, Europe and S E Asia. Some of Jed’s most rewarding and fun trips have been on week-long expeditions in the UK exploring the rivers, lakes, and lochs. He has been on adventures with groups of all ages, and particularly enjoys working with enthusiastic youngsters.

The abiding theme on these adventures is Jed’s love of the outdoors; a fascination for the natural world; and an avid enthusiasm for traditional ‘low tech’ skills, canoeing, wilderness living, bushcraft and survival.

AJ Astley-Jones

A keen outdoors enthusiast, AJ was brought up in the valleys of South Wales.  He spent most of his youth outdoors exploring the wooded hills surrounding his home and this naturally led to a career as a commissioned officer in the Armed Forces in which he served for over 18 years.  During his time in the military he served overseas in Central America, Cambodia, and the Middle East and has travelled widely in Europe, Canada and the Far East.  Whilst in service, he was selected to instruct in Leadership and Management and taught at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell for 4 years. 

Having suffered a badly broken leg, he was introduced to open canoeing as an alternative form of outdoor activity.  He has found that canoeing offered the perfect activity to combine his passion for bushcraft, the outdoors, and exploration, and he has undertaken several expeditions to Scotland and Scandinavia. He has gained qualifications as an open canoe instructor and has the gift of being able to raise a smile from and encourage even the most challenged of paddlers.

AJ has worked with youth groups such as the Scouts, the Fairbridge Trust and the Prince’s Trust and has also led groups of adults in personal development programmes.

When not canoeing, AJ enjoys photography, mountain biking and astronomy.

Simon Botham

Simon Botham

Simon has always had a passion for the outdoors. As Under Officer at Pangbourne College he ran adventure training, including annual expeditions to the wildest corners of the UK and an expedition to the Alps. He has organised and led overland expeditions through Africa which included a two week canoe safari down the Zambezi, an expedition to the Okavango Delta and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

As part of his officer training at Sandhurst, Simon completed mountain leader training and led an expedition to France kayaking the Gorges du Verdon.  This naturally led to him running adventure training for both serving troops and new recruits as part of his military career.

Now a serving Police Officer, Simon still competes in various triathlons and long distance runs, though he is proudest of motivating his two oldest children (still at primary school) to climb various Munroes; they conquered their first at only seven years old.  Simon loves working with children, is completely unflappable and delights in the madcap antics of Bear Dog adventures.

Kate Adams

Having always thought of herself as adventurous, but not actually having done very much, Kate has embraced the great outdoors in her adult years. Spending some time in New Zealand she ran a ‘soft’ adventure tour company introducing people to a world they very often had never experienced before. She enjoys encouraging people to the edge of their comfort zone so they can get the very best out of their environment and activities. As a relatively new convert to outdoor activities, she is evangelical about getting the young and less young to ‘give it a go’. Kate has experience in organising, kayaking, sailing, climbing, mountain-biking and hiking trips.

Kate is unusually gifted in her ability to relate to children of all ages and thinks nothing of performing her own version of the Haka or starting a campfire singsong whilst waiting for a meal to cook. Kate likes children a lot, especially with tomato ketchup she says.

Carlo Sisi

Carlo Sisi


Growing up in the beautiful countryside of rural Ayrshire and spending a lot of time outdoors probably influenced Carlo’s decision to pursue a life of adventure and excitement. He joined the Army at the age of 15, was commissioned and served for 35 years, enjoying a range of challenges which included serving with highly motivated airborne and Commando forces across the world.

A keen skier, he competed at downhill and cross-country ski racing and gained his (BASI) ski instructor qualification.  His adventure experiences range from ski touring expeditions across the Hardangervidda in Scandinavia to climbing in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. A qualified advanced open water diver and parachutist, he has also completed Arctic survival courses in Norway. 

Now retired, Carlo hasn't lost any of his enthusiasm or passion for the great outdoors and gets enormous pleasure from seeing the next generation learning from and enjoying the Bear Dog experience.

Mark Dewhurst

Mark's promising early career as a school teacher was cut short when he realised that being in a classroom made him miserable. Fortunately, he had more success with young people who didn't much want to be in school either. Mark ran a hostel for homeless young people for several years and then moved on to develop a variety of projects for young folk on the margins of society, including those excluded from school, young offenders and homeless groups.
As a canoe and kayak coach, Mark has continued to specialise in projects for vulnerable and, to be honest, challenging, youngsters. Alongside this, however, he has discovered the joys of working with motivated groups and individuals who are hardly grumpy at all! Coaching and supporting adults and young people to achieve personal and group goals provides a new and exciting focus.

Mark Dewhurst

Besides canoe coaching for the sheer joy and beauty of the thing, Mark is particularly interested in outdoor living and expeditions. He is a Forest School leader and is developing a range of outdoor courses combining woodland and river skills.


Andy Herrington


Andy was lucky to grow up in ‘darkest rural Essex’, which provided endless opportunities to explore the outdoors from an early age, camping out in ancient woods or sail-camping in the backwaters made famous by Arthur Ransome. This led to an interest in anything to do with the sea. He has sailed everything from 10-50 foot boats, including in races such as the Fastnet. He took up SCUBA diving and studied Oceanography and Geology at University. Geology expanded his interest in landscapes and fuelled a passion for time in wilder places, especially uplands.

He loves opportunities to be outdoors and believes there is always something new to be observed or learned whether you are up a mountain, fishing for wild trout, journeying by water or simply foraging in the local woods. Andy believes everyone benefits from acquiring and applying outdoor skills and knowledge, whether they are 8 or 80, and gets great satisfaction from helping with his local Cub Pack and in passing on his boundless enthusiasm to children

Miles Temple

Miles’ passion for the outdoors started at a young age; growing up in South Oxfordshire he was always in the woods building dens, messing around in boats on the Thames or learning about animal husbandry on his parents’ smallholding. After college he swapped the mud for a life at sea and was commissioned into the Royal Navy as a Navigating Officer, travelling the world to exotic locations from America to the Far East, although he would not recommend some of the places he visited as holiday destinations. After leaving the Navy, working in an office was not an option, so he became a tree surgeon. He says that at fifty feet above the ground one gets a different perspective on the environment and claims he is always willing to lend anyone a rope and harness to experience it for themselves; his ‘profile picture’ amply demonstrates his wry and irreverent sense of humour.

Miles’ passion for the outdoors and keenness to pass on his experiences to others has not diminished over the years, as evidenced by the collection of outdoor equipment in his garage. He believes it is essential every child learns outdoor skills, and feels many are too reliant on technology and home comforts; unsurprisingly, this has meant Miles has been involved with Scouting for years.