Our initial start as a small project in 2005 has seen us grow into an independent charity.
ACE specializes in harnessing the power and energy of adventure sports to broaden the visions and aspirations of the people we work with. Our reputation and quality of service delivery has seen our work expand from Girvan to the whole of South Ayrshire.
In 2009 alone we worked with over five hundred individuals using adventure sports and seven hundred young people through an environmental education pilot project. By creating opportunities for people to try adventure sports through initiatives such as our ACE apprentice scheme, trainee placements, work experience, volunteering and employment, we have planted the seeds for greater things to come.
Chris Saunders founded the Adventure Centre for Education (ACE) while managing the Girvan Youth Trust in 2005. His passion for sharing adventure and his love for the local area have seen the development of South Carrick and the Galloway forest park as a playground in which to offer people amazing adventure experiences. Whether its land based or water based Chris has been pioneering many new activities in the area in which to inspire people to get out and enjoy the amazing environment on offer here in South west Scotland. He personally has over twenty years of experience as an instructor both nationally and internationally. He is qualified in many disciplines but the water is where Chris is at his happiest. Whether carving the face of a wave on his surf stand up paddleboard, running the rapids of his local favourite rivers, expeditions, swimming in the sea or riding his mountain bike this is when you’ll see Chris smiling most. He also loves spending time with his family and friends, listening to live music, growing chillies and building fires.
Adrian joined ACE in 2007 and is responsible for the organisation and delivery of the outdoor programmes. Adrian has worked as an Outdoor Instructor for the last 13 years and has trained and delivered activities in a variety of locations across the UK and abroad. Working as an Outdoor Instructor allowed Adrian to combine his experiences from Youth Work with a real passion for anything outdoors. He has a wealth of experience and is qualified in many different areas including land, water and snow based activities. When not at work Adrian can be found climbing rock faces, walking , hurtling down a river in a plastic boat , huddled in a bothy, camping or at music festivals and is usually accompanied by a wet and muddy Springer Spaniel. His favourite things are Scotland, spending time with family, the aforementioned muddy dog, chillies, coffee and not being cold.
Senga has been working with ACE for the last 5 years as the head administrator. Her role involves keeping ACE afloat by making sure all activity participants and instructors involved have the information they need for forthcoming activities as well as the general running of the busy office. As well as office related work she is multi skilled and has been known to assist and lead some of the activities that ACE has to offer including extreme Gruffalo Hunting.
In her spare time Senga is actively involved in her community helping to motivate young people into an active outdoor lifestyle. She enjoys walking her wee black dog Bramble who has been known to abscond in the depths of night. When not in the office you can find her down the street updating her social skills by having a blether with everyone she meets.
Rachael is a lively and enthusiastic member of the ace team. A keen climber, skier, snowboarder and mountain biker, Rachael has had a passion for the outdoors from an early age. Alongside a career in architecture, Rachael’s experience in outdoor learning started as a volunteer scout leader where she helped young people grow in confidence, and gain independence through outdoor adventure. Having found this so rewarding, she left architecture behind, and retrained as an outdoors instructor.
Rachael has been with ACE since 2010, and runs Girls ‘R’ ACE, a project to involve more young women in the outdoors. She instructs a wide range of activities including Forest School, bushcraft, gorge walking, archery and mountain biking. Rachael has led young people on expeditions sea-kayaking in Sardinia, paddling in Norway and trekking in the jungles of Borneo.
When not engaged in outdoor pursuits, Rachael enjoys music, cooking and has nearly finished building an off grid house with her partner.
Julie loves working and playing in the outdoors. She enjoys sharing her love of wild places and of journeying on the water by canoe or sea kayak with anyone who is willing to give it a try. Having started with ACE as a volunteer she now leads sessions in canoeing and kayaking and coordinates volunteer activities.
Julie’s fascination with nature and the natural environment had led her to embrace the ethos of Forest Schools and the value of outdoor learning as a key factor in personal development and emotional wellbeing. She believes that outdoor learning should be for all ages, not just for young people.
Mitchell has been involved with ACE since it was founded in 2005 as a young person on activities. When he was 16 Mitchell started to volunteer as an assistant and soon realised that he had a passion for all things outdoors and began to learn and grow as a young instructor. When he left ACE in 2010 he trained as a chef (safe to say he cooks a mean pasta dish). Mitchell came back to Ace in 2013 to train as a youth worker in sport. He is on the path to becoming a qualified instructor and having a degree under his belt. When Mitchell isn’t working you can find him happily roaming the mountains with his trusty wee side kick (bracken, a cocker spaniel) soaked to the bone and loving it. He also loves hanging off of a rock face and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
Part Time Instructors
Ross has been working on a freelance basis with ACE since 2009. He possesses overwhelming enthusiasm for both the outdoors and teaching groups of young people in an outdoor environment. He has been an outdoor instructor for over 8 years, delivering sessions in mountain biking, hill walking, open canoeing, orienteering, Forest Schools and DoE Expeditions (walking, biking & canoeing). Ross’ ultimate outdoor activity is mountain biking; racing, riding and working with bikes all over the UK and Europe. His favourite areas for riding include his “local trail centre” at Kirroughtree, wilderness biking epics all over the Highlands (Ben Lomond, Cairngorms, Ciaran Path, Glen Affric) and Alpe d’Huez in France. When off the bike, Ross loves a real ale or three, good coffee, a fine Speyside single malt and Creme Eggs – not a good diet when you’re a type 1 diabetic of over 23 years!
Quinten Fyfe has been helping out with ACE as a session worker since the opening of the centre in 2005. He came with learned experience through his love for the outdoors, mainly at that time with walking and tramping through the hills here in Ayrshire and the Galloway’s and indeed the Western Highlands such as Glencoe and beyond. He has lived in the Girvan area all his life and shares a passion to provide and inspire young people to adopt a passion and sensitivity for the natural environment.
Quinten loves to be on dry land and the water equally. Through ACE he gained qualifications leading people in the hills. After spending some time up in Glenmore Lodge he acquired his Walking Group Leader qualification.
He is also a Swift Water Rescue Instructor and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in real and simulated rescues through his job as a Firefighter. He has over 30 years experience in tramping through the hills and over 20 years as a firefighter.
Quinten loves spending time with his family and enjoys his music, he turns up in the most unlikely places with his banjo in tow.
“Be kinder than necessary”
Craig joined our bank of freelance sessional staff back in the summer of 2010. He can be described as a general all-rounder when it comes to outdoor activities and has a infectious enthusiasm for teaching and guiding others in the outdoors. Craig’s career started through College where he graduated from North Glasgow College in 1998 with a HND merit in Sports Coaching of Outdoor Pursuits, specialising in Snowpsorts and Paddlesports. After a stint at Strathclyde University studying Outdoor Education in the Community, Craig spent a number of years gaining valuable employment experience working in the Glasgow area introducing young people to outdoor adventure activities. Most of which was with those with challenging behaviour. Since then his career has taken him around the world from: New Zealand, Canada and the USA to the european alps and all over the UK. His main career highlights include; managing ski schools abroad and in the UK, being employed as a lecturer at three of Scotland’s top sports Colleges and coaching the British Alpine Children’s Ski Team at FIS races. That said, if you ask him directly, he’ll tell you his main passion is introducing outdoor adventure activities to young people closer to home. He loves nothing more than seeing young people challenge themselves through our activities and simply enjoy being outdoors.
He currently holds qualifications in Snowsports, Paddlesports, BASP First Aid, Mountain Biking, Climbing and Hillwalking.
Craig presently designs and coordinates outdoor adventure projects in the Glasgow area and runs a Cycling Development Programme in North Lanarkshire.