About Us

Posted: Thu 28 Oct 2021

Young and old alike, everyone feels better after spending time outdoors. We help get you out on new adventures right here in your own community.

When you book an activity with us, every penny raised goes to support our charitable work in Inverness. We work with schools, community groups and other charities to offer positive outdoor adventures for children & families in need.

Àban Outdoor Ltd. is a Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status. See our entry on the register of Scottish charities here.

Àban’s Ten Principles

Strong relationships matter. A few close friendships are worth more than a hundred online followers. Real adventures create lifelong bonds.

We value the person inside, not how you look. Image, fashion and appearance are irrelevant when you’re outdoors. Fresh air, exercise and adventure help us to really flourish.

Place-based learning. The Highlands are not just an arena for our outdoor adventures. We learn about the local environment and care about our local communities.

Local environment first. More distant and remote venues only when learners are ready.

Real adventures don’t cost the earth. We use good quality second hand clothing & equipment, and we teach you how to maintain and repair it. This breaks the cycle of non-stop consumer culture.

We lend a hand. Having time and ability to go on adventures is a privilege. We have a responsibility to help our community in any way we can.

We leave no trace. We will leave our natural environment in a better state than we found it. This includes minimising our digital trace.

Too much risk inhibits learning. Learners need maximum autonomy. Risk & challenge has to increase progressively in line with skills and experience.

Uncertainty. Outcomes need to be dependent on learners’ decisions and actions. Give learners time to accept responsibility and make choices.

Thrills are short term. One-off outdoor adrenaline experiences may be fun but don’t lead to the same deep learning as authentic adventure.

Want to find out more? Our approach to the outdoors is inspired by the excellent work of Simon Beames & Mike Brown at www.adventurouslearning.org and the Outdoor Education programme at www.esms.org.uk


Johannes Petersen

Johannes Petersen
Johannes Petersen

I come from Denmark, where I started life in a traditional forest kindergarten in the 1980s. I’ve just turned 40, so my career in a snapshot goes like this: a brief spell in the Army straight out of school; MA (Hons) Philosophy at Edinburgh, PGCE in Outdoor Education at University of Wales Bangor; teaching and instructing jobs in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Surrey. All told that’s 20+ years of leading groups which has taken me from weekend children’s parties at Alien Rock Indoor Climbing in Leith to the remote mountains of Greenland. For the past 7 years I've freelanced as a Winter Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor. I live in Inverness with my wife and 2 young daughters, so the whole circle of an outdoor life is starting again.

Lynsey Macdonald

Lynsey Macdonald
Lynsey Macdonald

I'm a Child Services Worker in a local secondary school in Inverness. I am a Duke of Edinburgh leader and help children achieve lots of different awards from John Muir, Saltire, Cycling and Youth achievement awards. I am a mum of two teenage girls and an active hill runner and cyclist. I am very passionate about the benefits of the outdoors and love exploring the local area.

Jonathan Molloy

Jonathan Molloy
Jonathan Molloy

I have been walking, running and cycling throughout Scotland for more than thirty years. I enjoy hillwalking, orienteering, mountain and road biking and have completed more than 50 park runs and 50 munros. I was the Bursar of Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools in Edinburgh for twelve years. Prior to that I held significant roles with two blue chip companies and a big 4 consultancy. I am now working as an Associate Business Consultant with Navigator Employment Law. I have served as a Trustee of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA), Linlithgow Community Development Trust and the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow Reed Band.

Robin Thomas

Robin Thomas
Robin Thomas

I have been a keen climber since my youth and recognise that without the simple pleasures of time in the mountains I wouldn’t have the self-respect and confidence that I do. I have worked as a mountaineering instructor for many years, including over a decade spent alongside the well-known mountain guide Martin Moran. I have climbed around the world from Arctic Norway to Tasmania, Alpine north faces to Himalayan peaks. None of this I would have dreamed was possible when I started camping and climbing on the modest hills and crags of Dartmoor. In the challenging times we are living through I feel it is more important than ever for our youngsters to establish a connection with the natural world on their doorstep.

Staff & Volunteers

Nele Adler - Head of Adventurous Learning

Nele Adler

Born and raised in Germany, I have always been fascinated by rugged landscapes and working with people to help them to reconnect to the natural world. After a first career as a carpenter, I became a nature educator and have since gained several outdoor leadership awards. I have worked with a wide variety of age groups and settings. I moved to Inverness in summer 2022 and am very excited to bring the Adventurous Learning pedagogy to life at Àban! In our fast paced and highly technological world, I believe it is crucial to make space for outdoor time and to connect with others in real life, away from screens and monitors.

Luke Taylor - DofE Volunteer

Luke Taylor

I'm a born and bred Invernessian, attending the Inverness High School in the centre of town. I've recently completed my Masters in Public Health specialising in the environment and the benefits of greenspaces, and hope to stay in the Highlands for the foreseeable future. I've had a keen interest in the outdoors from a young age, and enjoy long days exploring the Scottish

mountains. I've come to really appreciate these experiences, and the benefits they provide to our health and wellbeing. I'm always looking for new adventures, and hope to inspire a younger generation to get out and explore.

Fiona Macdonald - DofE Volunteer

Fiona Macdonald
Fiona Macdonald

A Great Glenner, born and bred. I studied classical singing and piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music but after that just sang in lots of areas: from working with bands to session singing to teaching and performing. All my working life I’ve worked as a broadcast journalist for BBC radio, mainly reading and writing news, sometimes at Radio Scotland but mainly at the World Service in London, to where I commute once a month for a week. I've raised two sets of twins and one other son and have walked hundreds of miles in the hills with my dogs. Reading is my other big love, especially when the days get too dark.

Our Partners

We’re working with the following local and national organisations. If your organisation shares our values and might be interested in partnering with us, we’d be happy to hear from you.

Impact Hub Inverness

Impact Hub Inverness

ImpactHub Inverness is a flexible co-working space in the centre of Inverness established to bring together lone workers, to combat social isolation and to encourage collaboration and social entrepreneurship. It is a space to work and to connect with like minded individuals and organisations.

Social Enterprise Academy

Social Enterprise Academy

The Social Enterprise Academy is a social enterprise that connects changemakers with transformational learning and development.

The Adventure Syndicate

The Adventure Syndicate are a not-for-profit organisation who use the inspiring stories of women adventuring by bike to encourage their audience to push their perceived limitations.

Culduthel Woods Group

The Culduthel Woods Group is a local charity, run entirely by volunteers and first established in 2018. We aim to protect and improve the woods, to promote education and to encourage community involvement.

Highland Children's Trust

The Highland Children’s Trust was established in April 1985, taking over from a predecessor trust scheme originating in 1936. The Trust offers grants to children for school trips, family holidays & attendance at feis. Assistance is provided to young people in low income families.

DofE logo AALA logo SEF logo People's Postcode Trust logo OSCR logo