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Course Overview

Experience Required

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Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

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What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

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Customer Reviews For This Course

Max railing

Ace week great instruction good feedback each day.

Fantastic Course

Graham Addison

Everything about the course was fantastic although this was undoubtedly helped by the unbelievable weather (I was wearing sun tan lotion 4/5 days - in May!) and getting on well with my roommate [climbing partner for the last 3 days].

Our head instructor Matt did a fantastic job working out the group’s experience levels, climbing ability and goals for the week. In total, there was 8 of us in the group but the instruction always felt personal and I never felt like I couldn't ask a question or for advice even in the big group.

The first day was spent at a small 'secret' crag since it was a busy bank holiday. At the end of the day we went to a slate quarry [bus-stop] to try climbing slate and push ourselves on some harder routes. We did this as one group.

On the second day we again went as one group to the sea cliffs in Holyhead (Crag X). This was an easy beginners’ cliff so we could focus on rope work/ top belaying but the climbing was still interesting in a beautiful setting.

The third day we split into groups of 2:1 instructor and I was lucky enough to get Matt leading my group. This was spent at Clogwyn yr Oen where we did 2 multi-pitch routes, an abseil and a harder single pitch route. Matt was fantastic at making sure we were getting our rope/belay skills correct safely whilst pushing us to climb challenging routes and get in a lot of climbing. At the end of the day we went as a group to the RAC boulders to focus on technique with Kath - another excellent instructor.

Thursday again was in small groups and we went to Tremadog to do multi-pitch routes. The climbs were challenging (although not as hard as the day before) but Matt wanted us to focus on becoming more independent with respect to placing gear, setting up belays, ropework etc. Highlight of the day was pitch 2 of One Step in the Clouds which is a fantastic pitch. Again we did some more abseiling to practice those skills and after another 3 multi-pitch routes I was feeling tired by this point.

Day 5 Matt asked us what we'd like to do, both my climbing partner and I said we'd like to try leading. The first climb we did "expedition" style with backpacks on which was challenging as it was a physical route! I'm glad we did though as one of my stated long term objectives was to do big mountain routes so it was good to experience this. Then Matt let us try leading whilst guiding us up next to us making sure we were never in trouble or too far outside our comfort zones. Overall I think he did a great job of ensuring we were safe, whilst learning but at the same time challenging us with the climbing. I would strongly recommend courses with him and would even consider using him as a personal guide in the future (a lot more expensive than PyB rates!). That said all the other groups also were highly complementary about their respective instructors too.

Overall the food was excellent, especially considering the amount paid for it. Which was a welcome surprise. The accommodation too was comfortable although it could get a little hot at night (probably due to the unusually warm weather) but again for the cost it was more than adequate. I would whole heartedly recommend this course to anyone thinking about doing trad climbing who has a base level indoors.

Amazing Experience


The course was really fun and useful, and I learned a lot. I've had no previous outdoor climbing experience, though all 3 of us on the course had some knowledge on belaying and ropework. We spent 2 days climbing different kinds of rocks. Having a smaller class meant that each of us had the chance to get individual input, and I feel like we all learned quite a bit and improved vastly over the duration of this course. The instructor, James, was a great and entertaining guy. He made everyone feel comfortable, pushed us to improve, but never made anyone do something they are not OK with. He was a real professional and always looked out for our safety. I would highly recommend this course for people that want to experience rock climbing and have had no or little previous experience.

Mountain Skills, 13-14 May

Mark P

2 days of learning anew and refreshing rusty old skills, combined with 2 excellent peaks and the company of a group who were as keen to learn as I. The course was tailored to the needs of those attending, this meant an emphasis upon micro navigation, covering difficult ground and planning/preparation. Over the course of the 2 days we experienced some very enjoyable walking and scrambling. Equipment, where provided by PYB, was lightweight and of a high standard. Topped off with good food, comfortable accommodation and a selection of good ales and whisky in the bar. Thanks to Instructors Richard and Sally for a very enjoyable 2 days

Mountain Skills Course, May 13-14


Great weekend in North Wales learning and refreshing long rusty skills. Useful emphasis on micro navigation and route planning as well as ascending some great tops. Thoroughly recommended if, like me, you are returning to hills/mountains after time away.

Mountain Skills, 13-14 May

Mark P

Great Course


I attended this course to experience White Water Kayaking for the first time. (I had a decent amount of previous Sea Kayaking experience behind me, so therefore had decent balance and paddling skills). This course was spot on for me, the skills progression from day to day gave me the confidence to tackle grade 2 rivers (such as the Upper & lower Tryweryn). Although I'd never 'rolled' before, I managed my first 'hand rolls' using hand pads during the rolling clinics. This course is suitable for those with decent paddling skills, a good level of fitness, and reasonable balance. The ability to roll is obviously an advantage, but I managed ok without it (I need to work on it!)

Great course!

Barbara Carnegie

Thoroughly enjoyed this 2 day course, lots of technical information explained thoroughly and expertly by the 3 leaders and plenty of time on the crags to put it all into practice. A very friendly group with all pretty much the same level of experience which with the leaders made for a really enjoyable weekend. The centre, it's setting and facilities are all excellent and the great weather was a bonus!

Three Star Course? I'm giving it 5 stars!

David White

This was my second course at PyB - I did the Intro-mediate Course last year (see my review). If you've never stayed at PyB before, here are three things that stick in my memory: (1) All the people who work there - and I mean ALL the people - are friendly, helpful and supportive (it must be a great place to work!); (2) you can borrow just about any piece of equipment you might need (and learn how to use it); and (3) everybody looks forward to the food (you'll be hungry and it's really good). Our coaches for the course were Sid (2 days) and James (3 days plus the assessment). They are both top guys - not just good paddlers, they really understand how to help people learn. Two big things for me were Sid spending time getting us to understand the boat and how to work with it; and James pushing me to use my skills in progressively more challenging situations. I never thought I'd have the courage to commit to a cross-deck-bow-rudder for example; and I came out of one zawn with a big grin on my face after avoiding being trashed in the back by a big set of waves - thanks James! I think the BCU 3 Star Course at PyB is a great package. It's excellent value for money. You'll want to go back for more! A bit of advice: read the syllabus before you come. It's worth knowing what you'll be assessed on so you can identify where you are weaker. You have to demonstrate a successful roll for the assessment - you'll get coaching of course - but you might not be able to learn it from scratch. I'm going to be back for another course next year - perhaps that says it all!

Very good course

Andy Stapleton

Course was very good. Instructors were very good, knowledgeable, very capable riders and good at getting the key points across and giving individual feedback and tuition where needed. The course facilities were very good. The track was very good for practice and confidence building. The ability to be taken by van to various routes was also very good. I liked the flexibility in what was taught according to the groups need. I would rather have done more riding on the trails. We did seem to be taking it a bit easy at times. But others in the group were quite happy with the pace. So I accept there was a bit of a compromise. The centre accommodation was generally good. Bar was very good. Bedroom was ok, mattress was a bit worn and lumpy although I did sleep ok. Tired from the cycling probably...

A very useful, thorough and well out together week...

Fred King

I'm really glad I chose the residential ML training at PYB (April 2017) - good clean and relaxed accommodation at the centre and the amazing food makes it a lot easier as you can just focus on what you're doing on the course without worry. I was slightly apprehensive initially about being good enough to do the course, (even as someone who works outdoors with school groups and has walked/climbed in ML terrain for about 17 years)- did I have a good enough handle on the skills, was I fit enough etc. to meet the minimum criteria just for the training? I'd also heard a couple of horror stories about other ML training providers from friends that spent the week absolutely exhausted! But, fear not, as the PYB staff are very good at starting everyone off at the lowest level and then bringing everyone up to the required standard. The only downside of that on my course was that at times I didn't feel stretched, but that wasn't often. Mo Barclay was a great instructor on the course, as were Iona and Rich, but my group spent most of our time with Mo. She gave me some very useful tips and ideas for groups on the hill which will make a big difference and has already come in handy with a DofE group. My only criticism of the course would be that it would be good if the entry requirements were pushed a little more for all candidates, just to minimise the "catch up" element at the start of the course, and really get into stretching the candidates, but I guess that's more of an issue with the course spec as designed by Mountain Training, rather than PYB as a training provider. Overall I'm really happy with the course and any fears about being good enough were soon settled and I found it a brilliant week with useful feedback and a good idea of what I need to do next for the assessment.

Paul Stewart

I've had a few people try to teach me to roll before but nothing as good as this. Andy had a whole pile of exercises and techniques I'd never seen before. Although we were all working through the same stuff there was constant individual coaching - not everyone has difficulty with the same stuff. Managing fatigue was a big issue over 2 days and again Andy was on the ball with breaks etc. The whole group came away with a real understanding of why the roll works or doesn't - I never heard the usual 'Your head's coming up too soon'. When it all clicked on the last day I couldn't stop rolling -"Just one more". Many thanks Andy.

Great Course

Steve Pogmore

Excellent 2 day course, with brilliant instruction from Andy Butler. 6 on course ideal for the pool size. We didn't go outside but that was a possibility if required. Thoroughly and highly recommended.

A great course

Nicole Stewart

Just completed this course and it was fantastic. Andy, our instructor, was simply brilliant and succeeded in getting me to roll a sea kayak. Thanks Andy. I would advise potential attendees to come with, or borrow from the PYB stores, a shortie wetsuit or a long john. Being in the pool all day means you can get chilled but a wetsuit worked well. Also something for your feet. Highly recommended. Get booked on!

Great course for any white water beginner to intermediate

Heather Rosser

I have been paddling on and off for quite a few years now but never pushed myself beyond grade 3 because of my weak rolling ability. Although my roll is not perfect now, it's a lot better and this course has given me the confidence and knowledge to keep working on it and in future push my overall paddling further. On this course we weren't paddling difficult rivers so allowed the coaches and me to strip my paddling back to the basics and others in the group to build confidence on moving water. I saw some bad habits start to slip away and hope to continue with this. The best thing about the course was the coaches (Andy and Chris). Not only did they help me improve my kayaking but also gave us advise as coach's. They were flexible and adaptable to the group and individual needs. They got the vibe of the group right and then set their coaching styles. They aimed to improve us as paddlers and coaches, not just to gain our 3 star and they succeeded.

Great experience

Duarte Pereira

Mike was simply excellent. This is my first First Aid course in a long time. While I will be using the course to support my partner during outdoor explorations (she is an anaesthetician doing the mountain medicine course), I have also had the ability to meet some individuals who may just have furthered my passion for the outdoors and to perhaps even pursue a career in the outdoor. If that isn't the ethos of Plas-y-brenin, I am not sure what is. The stay was, as it always is, comfortable and the housing more than up to snuff. I will be returning very soon.

Eugene Chapman

Really enjoyed the course ,I renew every 3 years here. The course is well run, the environment is second to none, the staff the food the accommodation is excellent.

Useful & Enjoyable

Julian King

The course was pitched just about right. A good combination of tweaking our existing skills and some new skills all together in an enjoyable weekend of paddling. Ongoing advice and tips with safety and sailing sessions. Our coach Dave Luke made a huge improvement to our forward paddling, which we will benefit from everyday we paddle. We were the only boat of the course so Dave was able to tailor it to our needs, but I think even with a full compliment of boats it could be very tailored. As usual PYB was extremely comfortable, really good food and the staff helpful and friendly. It really is a treat to be accommodated at the centre. We have come away with improved paddling, lots of tips and tricks as well as a couple of really valuable new techniques - we will definitely return.

Learning to Lead 5 day


Great course & great tuition

David Turner

I was hoping this would be a zero to hero course for me but even though I stopped short of rolling without a float on the end of my paddle, it certainly taught me loads. Our instructor, Andy, was first class and broke the elements of a roll into bite size and achieveable chunks. With the right timing, technique and energy, you would put these together and have a roll.
We spent two days in the PyB indoor heated pool practicing these elements and the other three classmates all managed a complete roll on day two so I would highly recommend this course, and Andy in particular, if you want to learn to roll and generally gain confidence in a boat.
I will be back in a weeks time for the 5 day intro to kayaking course with my wife!
See you soon and many thanks - fantastic location and great team you have.

Rolling reality


I have attended this course several times over the years, always to improve my existing roll. It has certainly been useful for that, mainly because of having the heated pool available and two days to improve in... made all the more enjoyable by the great PYB atmosphere. Be aware that many people attend this course when their roll simply isn't working at all. But the coaches are not miracle workers; they can only do so much. Prior to attending, I recommend looking at books or at Youtube rolling videos to identify the typical mistakes that people make when learning, and especially, how to correct these mistakes. (Such errors include your head coming up first, over-reaching, diving paddle blade, etc). This not a 'learn to roll' course; it's better for improving an existing roll that is unreliable. Three Stars to warn you not to come with over-high expectations if you don't have any sort of roll in place!

Giencoe March 5-9.

Mick Hall

5 days fantastic hill walking in the Scottish mountains exceeded all my expectations. The weather was generally good but not benign which added greatly to the challenge for man from Suffolk. Our instructor Will was both totally professional and a great guy to spend 5 days in the mountains with. He taught us great skills to enable safety and good technique in the mountains. We were fortunate enough to have Sam helping us for the first three days giving us a ratio of 2:1 instructor.. Must mention my other fellow walkers- brilliant company on the hill and in the bar!! The Alltshellach was comfortable warm and very well run and the food a delight! This trip was long overdue and has already got me thinking about my return next year. Thank you all, Mick Hall

ML preparation for assessement

Alvina Labsvirs

Considering the almost 'winter' conditions this was a great two days. It certainly tested our kit to the full extent if not ourselves!

Gareth was an excellent instructor. Giving information and guidance with just the right levels of gravitas and humour.

I feel much more confident about my own abilities and weaker areas to work on before my assessment in April.

Just hoping for better weather :-)

A BRILLIANT course delivered by BRILLIANT instructors!

Simon P

I'm a fairly competent paddler on flat water but have done very little on moving water so decided to let Plas y Brenin show me the ropes.
I've used PyB on a number of occasions previously have nearly always had amazing experiences and this course was no different.
Our instructor, Karl, was friendly, extremely knowledgeable, helpful and informative. He made the learning easy and interesting with obvious progression between skills.
I've built up the confidence in just two days to be happy on any grade 1 or 2 water and can't wait to get out again.
I would highly recommend this course (or even better, the five day version) to anyone looking to get some beginner experience on white water.

Good course

will horsley

Good course, thanks. Did not use Plas y Brenin accommodation but was a very nice place and nice bar.

Winter ML training Alltshellach 29 Jan - 3 Feb 2017

Roger Everett

Personal details: Male, over 65, attended for personal development, self-funded. I very much enjoyed this course and found it very useful and instructive. I would rate it excellent for value for money, friendliness, quality of instruction, food, accommodation, facilities and cleanliness. Despite the conditions being limiting for Winter ML purposes, we were able to cover nearly all of the syllabus and we got a very clear idea about what would be expected on assessment. I liked the fact that all necessary elements were taught in a practical, realistic manner in a way that one could immediately see the relevance to safely leading groups in winter conditions.
Admin was very good, but I have a couple of comments. Firstly, the kit list on the course information document needs to improve. It does not include at present any of the kit you need for overnight stays in the hills; Goretex bivvy bag, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, stove, pan, mug, cook kit, shovel, probe etc. Some but not all of these items were available from store. OK, it should be obvious, but they should be there on the list! Secondly, although we covered most of the general topics during conversation on the hill and back at the hotel, I thought a bit more on hypothermia and general equipment recommendations could be valuable. To be fair though, all the people on this particular course were obviously very knowledgeable about these things.

Does what it says on the tin

Catrin Williams

Fantastic, professional and welcoming staff throughout. The food was great and there was outdoor kit available for hire.

The room was clean and comfortable.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future events
However a few points I'd like to note:

1. welcome to plas y brenin folder/brochure in room was not bilingual which was a bit disappointing

2. I paid for mountain insurance on the booking website but received no further documents as evidence of this

3. I paid for a single room over the phone although did not receive an email confirmation of this

4. Some guests received Joe brown discount vouchers whilst others didn't (including me!)

Great Course despite lack of snow!

Jamie Grainger

Still got loads out of the course even though no snow. Covered loads of things and instructors were great and really down to earth. Accommodation and food excellent!! Definitely go again.

Had an amazing time

Alex Wade, Alice Geddes

We stayed the weekend for our Welsh Winter Skills course, unfortunately there was no snow but the instructors did a great job of running the course regardless, we got everything we had hoped to achieve out of the 2 days and had an amazing time.

Great people, great place, will definitely look into coming again

Highly recommended

Elaine Bateman

The course provided a good grounding in movement and ropework and allowed plenty of opportunity to practice the skills learned, and also exposure to climbing on several different types of rock during the week. Will and Paul were patient and highly knowledgeable instructors and I achieved more than I thought possible. Although this course runs both as 2 day and 5 day durations, my opinion is that the 5 day option is preferable as it allows much more time to practice and reinforce the techniques introduced on the course. I would would have no hesitation in recommending this course to others wishing to improve their confidence climbing outdoors.



The Bombproof Roll course was everything I expected and more. Having started the week with a roll that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, I came away at the end of the course with a solid white water roll and, more importantly I think, an understanding of WHY my original roll wasn't working, with ways to correct this when my technique gets sloppy. We were also given some great ideas for practising our rolls and progressing with our rolling.
The course instructors were friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, supportive and patient: they pushed us when they could see it would do us good, but not so much that we'd get frustrated. The course participants had a range of abilities, but no one ever felt excluded and no one was left behind. Facilities were great, as you'd expect: we spent a few days in the rolling pool at Plas y Brenin and a couple of days on the River Dee at Llangollen, with plenty of different boats and paddles to try if you wanted.
Accommodation and food were fantastic: lovely meals (huge portions if you wanted), clean and comfortable rooms, and a great bar with some nice beers! All the Plas y Brenin staff were very friendly and helpful.
Overall, an absolutely fantastic week - highly recommended!

Amazing time at PYB!

Charles Philpot

Can't really fault anything to do with the course. Everyday was well structured, we we told of what we would be doing in advance, comfortably got through the material and passed the whole course in 4 days, leaving us with 1 day of pure white water kayaking and I managed to squeeze in a bit of playboating :)
Instructors were amazing, knowledgeable and helpful. Staff at the centre were really good as well and the facilities and bar were excellent.

I did pick up that the centre is trying to be more environmentally conscious and I have a couple of recommendations - make the menu less focussed on meat and dairy products and more focussed on plant foods, but also instead of wrapping sandwiches in cling film possibly encourage people to bring tupperware or their own sandwich bags to cut down on waste.

I will definitely be returning!

Charles :)

Superb course

Mark Rogers

This was a great course. The coaching from Chris was supportive, insightful and effective. He paced the weekend just right ensuring that the content was tailored to each participant. The use of video analysis was especially useful. I now have a basic roll that I can build on over the coming months.

Welsh Winter Skills

Angela Dunne

Great course at a great venue. In spite of the lack of snow Stuart managed to locate enough for us to practice our skills. Sunday provided a great walk and more snow. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Welsh Winter Skills


On the way to Wales I assumed the weather conditions precluded us from finding any snow to really get stuck in with crampon and ice axe use.
However! Stuart our Mountain Guide took us to a place that there was snow on the first day! We learnt so many of the essential things and even tried out digging snow holing!
On the second day we ascended a nearby mountain and consolidated many of the skills we went through including navigation. The conditions were fantastic, so we were very lucky indeed!
Overall, an awesome experience and I cannot imagine having a better introduction to winter skills. Highly recommended! Not to mention the excellent accommodation and catering!

Amazing weekend


Had an amazing weekend and picked up new skills such as map reading and using compass. Our guide was very professional, well prepared and helpful with all of us. Staff in PyB centre is amazing, everybody is very friendly, food is first class!!

Great experience

Robert Vale

First of all,I was amazed at the very high standard of the instructors (Tim and Stu)that we had. Obviously, being Plas Y Brenin I thought that they would be good but in fact they were both right at the top of their game (for example they had both climbed the North Face of Eiger).Despite this they never gave the impression of being bored at covering what to them was obviously very easy terrain and put a lot of effort into teaching us the correct way to go about things.The first day was pretty challenging but after that the day's objectives were tailored to reflect the experience, fitness and ability of course attendees.For the last three days I was teamed (along with another guy) with Stu. I benefited hugely from his vast experience and it was also very interesting hearing about his experiences as a top guide in the Alps.Considering the wet weather we had, it was amazing what we got done (Cneifion Arete was a highlight). It is a big advantage being with instructors who know Snowdonia so well, as they are able to select routes that are doable in the conditions - not everyone (me included) would have the confidence to do this.
The Centre itself can't be faulted - very comfortable rooms and well cooked food with a good choice. It was very useful being able to borrow kit from the stores. However, some of the boots do let water in - in fairness it would be a mammoth job to keep them all waterproofed to a high standard. If you are thinking of using their boots and want to be sure of avoiding wet feet, it would be a good idea to bring a pair of waterproof socks (Sealskins) as back up.

Good music, good walking, good food


We arrived early on the Friday, so we were fed, settled in and signed up for Saturday's mountain walk for when the impromptu music session started around 7:30. Excellent! Very informal and entertaining; good light beer and singing along to old folk favourites.We left regretfully at 11pm, but apparently the bar remained open for beer and music.
Breakfast Saturday - excellent - sticks to your ribs; picked up lunch, filled flask and set off to walk 11km. Had lunch on top of Drum in the snow; cold, but very pleasant.
back to PYB for tea and cake.
Dined, and back into the lecture theatre for a more formal musical event. Wow! Much talent, much enjoyed. We left at midnight, (had to sleep!).
Breakfast Sunday, Excellent, slightly later than usual. Informal music went on till 4am!!!!!(apparently). Breakfasted, packed and room cleared. Gentle 11km through forest to Betwys y coed.
then back to PYB, tea and cake, then away home.
Found out later we could have bought an extra night!. Should have,Sunday night was another informal music session.Next time, we will.
Food - excellent, and plenty of it.
Walking - thoroughly enjoyed, professionally guided.
Music - brilliant. (I have to say we enjoyed the informal session more than the formal Saturday night).
Thank you to all who helped make a weekend special.
We will be back!

Advanced Scrambling - mega!

Sean O'Sullivan

The 5-day Advanced Scrambling course completely exceeded my expectations. We had a fantastic instructor, Tim Neill, who was extremely patient, knowledgeable, friendly, and fantastic at ensuring that everyone understood all the concepts as well as the big picture; Tim pushed us to our comfort levels after which we felt we had had an epic day every day. We covered all the concepts and skills, using a lot of gear, which in the second half of the week Tim was pushing us to implement ourselves while carefully monitoring us and correcting when necessary.

After the first day I thought that lasting the 5 days would be difficult but this was not in fact the case and we all finished an epic week with still a little fuel left in the tank, but full of confidence and knowledge. While the weather was damp or wet, Tim chose locations where impact of the weather was minimal, and the weather conditions did not in any way reduce the experience or training provided - indeed it probably enhanced it as climbing in dry rock conditions can only be easier.

The PYB centre is fantastic - clean, great food (and plenty of it), a nice bar, nice bedrooms, and staff are very friendly. Equipment of all sorts is available free to course attendees, and indeed after trying a scrambling boot for the whole week (that I previously had been interested in but was slow to buy) I went and purchased the boot in the local Joe Brown climbing shop, happy in the knowledge that it was perfect after scrambling all week in a pair. Indeed another attendee on the course tried 3 different pairs of boots on different days until he found the right one.

The drying rooms are great, so you have dry kit every day without having to bring too many changes of clothes with you to the course.

I cannot recommend this course and the centre highly enough; it's a 10/10 course and centre.

4th time at The Big Acoustic Walk and I'll be back for no. 5

Andy McClennon

As ever it was a very enjoyable weekend in a very hospitable and friendly environment. Alan Manouch and Dave Cheetham 'worked their socks off' to make this as special if not better than my previous three visits.
The staff at PYB at all levels are a welcoming and friendly group of people, which contributes to the overall success of each visit.
The scenery, food and ale are hard to beat and this combined with great guided walks and an abundance of live music is just brilliant. (Although the course officially finished on Sunday, the music carried on in the bar on Sunday evening with a small group staying for an extra night)
The accommodation isn't perfect (PYB is not a 5 star hotel) but a problem with a shower one morning was rectified the same day. The rooms are warm comfortable and more than adequate for a short stay. The new policy of being able to book a single room and pay a small supplement was most welcome and will certainly appeal to visitors who are not keen on sharing rooms.
The new layout of tables and chairs in the dining room works well and is easier to navigate with a sleepy head and a plate piled high with a wonderful cooked breakfast. Also, the enhancements to the bar were very pleasing.
A big thanks you to Al and Dave and everyone at PYB for a wonderful weekend, I've still got a big smile on my face.
PS. Thank you to the weather forecasters for being wrong! Two dry days for walking and some sunshine was terrific.

Big Acoustic Walk


I've been to Plas y Brenin four times for the Big Acoustic Walk weekends and will be going back again (soon I hope). The accommodation is warm and comfortable with fabulous food and a fantastic bar. The scenery is spectacular and the staff at Plas y Brenin are brilliant. They are all really friendly, especially Dave and Alan who go out of their way to make these walking/music weekends weekends such fun. I will be back in April, with re-enforcements.

Great weekend


Such an amazing place. You couldn't ask for a more professional and friendly service, excellent facilities, great food and possibly the best view from a cafe and bar in the country. I look forward to my next visit.

Fantastic course

Rob Sowersby

The course was brilliant. We spent 5 days getting thoroughly expert tuition (and excellent company) from Tim Neill, who is as confidence-inspiring as he is tall. It was pretty full-on on day 1 (and I'd done a tiny bit of rock climbing beforehand), and, to my surprise, seemed to get tougher from there! That said, Tim (and latterly Stuart) managed to shepherd a very mixed-experience group up some fantastic, tricky-seeming routes, with only limited help from classics like "the Alpine knee" and "the gentleman's rope". We climbed in challenging conditions (I'm reasonably confident that one of the climbing routes was actually a stream), had stunning days out in the mountains, and learnt absolutely loads. The course left me confident in the basic ropework I'd need to safeguard friends while scrambling (even if I still make a pretty ugly rope coil when left to my own devices). Five of the best hill days I've had: thanks very much Tim, and thanks too to Stuart and the other guys on the course.

superb week

Jonathan Moore

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to develop their mountain skills, it's a good mix of fundamentals and advanced skills, tailored to the needs of the individuals and the group. The coaches we had were both excellent, full of knowledge and skilled at passing that on. Great place to be based, the PYB centre is comfortable and the food is hearty and tasty. The stores can lend you anything you need, from full kit to just a single item you may not have or have forgotten to bring. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and learned lots.

Fantastic White Water Week

Ric Davies

Having had a bad experience, I needed to rebuild confidence on moving water. This course really did the trick. My coach, Colin, really took on board my previous confidence crash and worked hard to push me at a rate I was happy with. Lots of encouragement and positive feedback, meant after two days my confidence was returning and I was enjoying kayaking again. By the end of the week I was feeling really happy in the boat and confident on the drops.
Great catering and accommodation. Thanks Colin, thanks PYB, I will be back.

Just what I had been looking for


Great choice for an all-round mountain experience. Quality instruction, tailored to suit, that enabled us to make the most of the weather and time available. Enough time for those (like me) who were a bit rusty to progress quickly through to taking on grade 3 scrambles bythe end of a memorable week.
We focussed almost exclusively on the ogwen valley but with so much choice on Tryfan, glyder fach etc no-one had any cause for complaint. A great week. Thanks

Excellent Course

Paul Wilson

The course was excellent, couldn't have asked for more. Instructors were good humoured, patient and provided good technical feedback.
Accommodation good.
Food could have been better. Veggie choices at breakfast were very limited.
The dining arrangement with the long benches felt very old fashioned/institutionalized. I was at Glenmore Lodge recently and the round tables there were great for group interaction.
Just being at PYB with it's wonderful setting is a joy.
Paul Wilson

Discover Navigation

Inderjit Oberoi

I found the course informative and thoroughly recommend it to walkers for navigation. My leader Steve was helpful and interacted well with the group and acknowledge our different levels of ability.

BMC ready to rock 17th September

stuart lawler

Thanks again for another fantastic weekend. The course was well structured and paced.
I'd like to thank the tutors Mike (I think) in particular who were very knowledgeable and encouraging.
I've been climbing indoors for about 6 months so found this course extremely useful in improving technique and making the leap to the great outdoors.
Since completing the course I've purchased some basic gear (Joe Browns - thanks for the discount voucher) and have made regular trips to Stannage Edge.
I hope to return to North Wales in the Spring and continue to improve my new passion.
Accommodation was clean & tidy, all staff were friendly, good food provided over the weekend. Thanks to all involved!

I thoroughly enjoyed this course

Siobhan Urquhart

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Chris was very clear about finding out what we wanted to do, and tailoring the course to us. We achieved more than I think we expected to do over the weekend, and I certainly felt I had challenged myself. I left with a good basic understanding of whitewater paddling (coming from a flatwater background), the basic techniques and a better understanding of reading the river. The latter, if nothing else, will hopefully help in my flatwater/descent racing.
We had a good pool session trying to roll. It was only the second time I had attempted this, and certainly got a lot closer - but still some way to go!
Part of the lack of confidence at times on the river was the thought of swimming. Obviously it's easy in our boats, as you just fall out. In hindsight, I wonder if I should have tried a controlled capsize on the first day just to have the confidence of pulling of the spraydeck if needed. That is only something that occurred to me after we left. Of course.
I would be very keen to come back - next time with my whole family, to do some more training here.
Many thanks to everyone at PyB for their help and friendly and positive attitude to us all weekend.

Too Little Too Late!

Dafydd Saer

At 54, it was the first time I'd really attempted anything like this, and I'm really glad I had the opportunity, because I've found I have osteoarthritis in my knee, and if I'd known that before, I probably would have decided against going. But I unexpectedly discovered and thoroughly enjoyed gorge scrambling (it wasn't in the description and I'd never heard of such a thing!), and I want to do it again, and even though I was petrified climbing, I want to try again, so have booked onto a four-week intro course back home in Cardiff.
The only thing I found a bit strange was that I seemed to be the only Welsh person there, and almost certainly the only Welsh speaker - and this in my own country. Some of the tutors mispronounced local place and mountain names, which grated a little: although upon reflection, if the place is not used by Welsh people, who cares how anything is pronounced! I could not help but feel some sadness at the fact that Wales's most beautiful area seemed somehow unavailable to its own native people.
But I hope I'll be back there for more. It's great!

scrambling start

mark thomas

the instructors were top class felt the could instruct on any relative subject inc project management/logistics of days out etc facilities inc accommodation, food kit store excellent. did not feel at all 'what are you doing here' hope to do advanced scrambling in near future. Bit expensive if no BMC subsidy

Brilliant mountain weekend

Giles Clayton

Had a brilliant 2 days in the mountains, being led on routes taking in Grade 1 scrambles that I wouldn't have been prepared to tackle on my own. Simon's deep knowledge of the mountains, and expert leadership, made all the difference. Highly recommended for experienced hill walkers wanting to take a first step onto the rocks.

Outside looking inwards


Working with Spike and Dave Rudkin.
Very interesting working in small groups with other people watching you teach and give you constructive feedback/criticism in a variety of situations.
Intrinsic/Extrinsic learning and reviewing.
Helps to develop and open your mind to new or different processes.
Awesome! Get on it

Excellent Weekend....Again

Matt Fraser

I recently attended PYB again with colleagues from JLR as part of a team building exercise. The whole journey down we were worried about how the weather might affect our weekend, need not to worry as despite the terrible conditions on Saturday morning, Rachael, Mo and Steve still managed to organise a superb day gorge climbing. The attendees enthusiasm was matched by the instructors and together it made for an excellent two days of discovering adventure sports. I felt I could trust the knowledge and experience of all three instructors when being taught new skills for new sports, this feeling was shared amongst my group of three.
The rooms were fine again, as was the restaurant and the bar area. We enjoyed it that much we have returned to work this week and booked on for a third year in 2017. Thank-you Mo, Rachael and Dave.

Excellent Training and Facilities

Andy Wilson

This was my first course at PYB and I was very much impressed with the whole experience. The training was first class, the facilities excellent and the catering very impressive. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful. I would thoroughly recommend PYB to anyone looking for outdoor activity coaching.

Great CPD

Alun Hughes

With six participants and two trainers we were able to disseminate between us a wealth of experience. I would recommend attending this workshop to anybody thinking about delivering a Mountain Training course, irrespective at what level it is.

An excellent course

Jaime Godfrey

Job clearly knew his stuff and was able to pass this on to us in a smart and personable way. Very much enjoyed it and have the confidence to implement what I have learned.

You couldn't have booked the weather but...

Gary Bennett

it was glorious.
Everything PyB could control was up to the same level as the weather. Instructors and assistants were real characters who knew their subject backwards. All the kit was high quality. Food and accommodation was great.
Of course, we knew this would be the case because we had been on the family introduction to paddling a few years ago. We came back to specialise in sea kayaks.
The end result was the same: a really memorable, fun week in the company of a great group of people.

Fantastic Experience!


A Good weekend had by all of the group. Facilities, food and bar were all Hotel quality.

The Course instructors were very good at explaining things and very constructive in their feedback.

Learnt lots of new skills that will enable me to spend hours out on the crags and i am sure i will be back to do other courses at PYB

hill walking weekend

chris farmer

I found this walk very enjoyable but tiring mentally.
I think the Hill walking needs to be changed to mountain walking, i would not describe some of that as hill walking.
The walks were great but in my opinion they were a touch too long 9.15 to 5 on a Sunday was for me personally too long considering as i had a 2 hour drive home after, but someone might enjoy that so it is not a moan. mentally the walks were tiring as you have to constantly watch where you tread and after 8 hours, it gets a bit hard, i could not literally lift my feet in the end. I wont do it again as its simply to long for me. The food was great and the packed lunch was OK. Guide was great and looked liked he enjoyed it also, we chatted and had a good time.

Fantastic Course


Had a great time, learnt loads and we will be back for more real rock.
Not too excited about going back into the wall now but I will look at it as training for the real thing.

Excellent climbing weekend


I had a terrific time on this climbing weekend, which I went on with my boyfriend. It was my first time climbing outdoors, having only climbed indoors before, and we were amazed at what we achieved in two days. Chris, our instructor, was excellent, and his passion for climbing was infections. We felt that we learned a huge amount, and I conquered my fears at the same time! We climbed at three different locations, each one unique, and stunning in its own way. The last location involved abseiling down a cliff to the sea, and the climbing back up again - pretty cool.
Plas Y Brenin is a smoothly run outfit. The rooms are clean and comfortable; the food excellent. The bar is good fun, and there is an adventurous atmosphere. The weekend exceeded my expectations and I'd definitely go back to do another course.

A great introduction to

Andrew webster

Wow - what a fantastic two days
Really good quality instruction and top quality locations all properly thought out with the skill level of the group in mind.
Very good accomodation and food.
If you travel from London or siomilar consider booking an extra night at the end of the stay as the course is physically demanding and a long drive home isnt the best idea.
Very useful introduction to laying anchors and assessing safety - all delivered with a great sense of humour
I will be returning for more in the near future - the plastic of the climbing wall is much less attractive now!

Canoeing and Cake


This course provided an excellent balance of introducing and then developing basic canoeing skills in flat water and moving water environments. Whilst there was an outline programme available the instructors were very flexible, shaping the syllabus to meet the needs and abilities of the group. As a consequence there was never a feeling of pressure to push beyond what you were comfortable with, yet there were plenty of opportunities to stretch yourself. Having never really canoed before this course was a superb overview of the full spectrum of canoeing basics - understanding the water, technical paddling skills, safety and rescue, choice of boats, personal equipment and group management. Most importantly for me, it was almost all delivered 'on the water'. There were also plenty of opportunities to discuss other paddle-sport disciplines with the many expert instructors, or to learn about wider outdoor pursuits at the evening lectures.
In general terms, the Plas-y-Brenin centre is in a fantastic location, with welcoming and helpful staff who are always on hand to advise. The leader instructor for our course, Chris Evans, was outstanding. The rooms are comfortable, bar has a reasonable selection of beer and you will really miss the cake when you leave! The only (minor) downside is that the wireless internet is pretty poor and limited to few locations.
In summary, if you are new to the world of canoeing, I cannot recommend this week strongly enough. I will definitely be heading back to PYB in the future, for now it is time to practice what I have learnt!

Best week ever

Heidi Welch

We had a perfect week at PYB, our first time at the centre.
We're a family of 4, 50-ish year old mum and dad, 2 daughters 16 and 12. All of us are relatively fit except for me (mum) - I hadn't done any sports for years and am totally out of shape. The kids had done a little indoor climbing, abseiling and some of the water sports before, and dad had done a little rock climbing, but 35 years ago.
I thought that it would be impossible that anyone could find activities that suit us all, but out instructor Colin did just that. He tailored the week absolutely perfectly for each of us.
We did canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding and abseiling on day 1, rock climbing on day 2 (I thought I wouldn't be able to do it at all, and I could!), then coasteering on day 3 - that was just the best thing ever - we all loved it! - plus a bit of indoor bouldering in the evening (I was seriously bad at that - the kids were like monkeys), then hiking up a mountain on day 4(I found out it's hard to OD on salbutamol), and gorge climbing on the last day (that was scary and exciting in equal measure.
Our rooms were OK. We had 2 en-suite double rooms above the bar, so good Wifi access (perhaps shower screen could do with a bit of a deep clean). The food was perfect for long days out, very healthy and delicious and an enormous amount of choice (loved the flapjacks!), and the bar is great (loved the Welsh cider). We met nice people, and we loved chatting about the courses they did.
We've taken a lot from this week. The kids had great fun and would love to come back to one of the teenagers-only courses, the husband is planning to start rock climbing, and I was constantly amazed at what I was capable of.
Thanks for a great week, Colin, and for looking after us so well, we loved every minute of it!

An amazing week

Andrew Martin

Just back from an amazing week at PyB on the Performance Climbing course. I was a bit anxious as the course got nearer. As a pretty confident VS climber, would I find it too hard? No need for anxiety. With a 1:2 ratio, and close attention to individual needs, we were able to influence the agenda throughout the week and the outcomes exceeded my expectations.
We spent the first two days seconding, focussing on the skills needed for harder routes, especially footwork. I got very good feedback. My tendency to power through when footholds are scarce would not be sustainable beyond VS! By the end of Tuesday, on Cemetary Gates (E1 5b), it was clear that this approach was paying off. By Wednesday, we were leading on easier stuff (S/HS) with a detailed focus on runner placement and setting up belays. Ian, our instructor, was in close attendance throughout on a separate rope. By Thursday, we were ready to push the grades. Three amazing routes at Holyhead Mountain including a "lead" of Breaking the Barrier" (E1 5b) placing gear with the security of a slack top rope. Friday was our only wet day, but it was good to finish at the Beacon Centre with its huge lead walls, finding rests on overhanging terrain and making good use of the new skills.
In our final debrief, Ian's feedback and suggestions were insightful and detailed, allowing me to come away knowing what the next steps need to be.
The whole PyB experience was a delight. Spending time with other climbers, scramblers, paddlers and trainee mountain leaders and instructors adds depth and puts your own activities into perspective. The accommodation and catering are set up to run like clockwork in the background, so that you don't need to worry about resting or where your next meal is coming from.
Many people there were on repeat visits, and I'd have no hesitation in going back again, knowing that the quality of instruction and care is excellent.

An excellent course

Liz Robinson

A really excellent course to develop climbing skills. Outstanding coaching homed skills throughout the week. We had plenty of leading opportunities and also seconded some classics such as Cemetery Gates (E1 5b). Great week at great venue

Another fantastic week at Plas y Brenin

John Kennett

This was our third family holiday at Plas y Brenin so we knew what to expect and weren't disappointed.

The usual clean and comfortable accommodation, great food and cake, fantastic array of boats and equipment, plus top notch coaching and guiding in great locations.

Thanks to Adam for putting a great schedule together for us and making sure that the programme met everyone's varying needs. Thanks too to everyone working behind the scenes to make it such a smooth operation - admin staff, housekeeping, stores - and especially the catering team.

We'll be back again :)

A Truly Enjoyable Experience

Suzanne Drummond

This course offers a really thorough and easy to understand introduction to navigational skills. It left me feeling enthusiastic about navigating myself on some climbs to continue and improve upon the skills learnt.
Once this practice has made me more confident, I intend to fulfill my ambition of climbing with friends. It was this that drew me to the course. It won't only be the navigational skills learnt that will make this possible but also the expert advice on, and experience of, negotiating different terrain and conditions.
The experience of wild camping was something I would never have contemplated on my own! It was wet and windy throughout but still, due to the camaraderie within the group and the knowledge that we were in expert hands, it was a positive and memorable experience.
We also had the opportunity on the final day to experience some grade 1 scrambling so that, all in all, the course provided diverse and challenging experiences to suit a range of people interested in climbing.
I absolutely loved it!

Does exactly what it says on the tin


Excellent week that delivered exactly what the course description promised - from recap on the key technical skills(belaying, rope work, protection placement, building belays), through undertaking a number of supervised multi-pitch lead climbs of increasing difficulty, to learning how to escape the system in case things go wrong. Everything tailored to our individual experience and goals and delivered with great support and sense of fun and challenge throughout. I would definitely recommend this course and may even come back in a year or so to help me push through to the next level.

Excellet Course

Stephen Burrows

I think of this course as a 'Lead Climber MOT'. Perfect to check out that you are doing things as safely and as slickly as possible. I can't think of any climber, at any grade, I know who wouldn't benefit from this course.
The instructor Mike was extremely professional and tailored the weekend specifically to get the most out of the short time we had. Absolutely essential if you are serious about climbing at any level.
Do it right, do it safely. Get yourself booked on this course!
I'll be back in a few years again. Guarantee I get more out of it next time too.

Amazing experience

Susanna Stokes

My friend and I joined the 'Get Started Rock Climbing' 5 day course several weeks ago and I'm still amazed at how much I personally achieved, both physically and mentally. This is all thanks to the wonderful instructors, Will and Rachael. Apart from 2 hours on a climbing wall a few months prior to the course, I had never rock climbed so I really was 'getting started' in rock climbing. Will and Rachael were with the group of 10 for the first 2 days and then days 3-5 were much more bespoke, with my friend and I with Rachael. This attention to detail was just amazing and helped me build my confidence and climbing ability day by day. I can't praise Rachael enough for her leadership, patience, sense of humour and knowledge, she is a real asset to Plas Y Brenin.
The course was well paced and we were taken to some lovely locations which really mixed up the week.
All instructors that I came into contact with were very professional.
The set-up at Plas Y Brenin is excellent too. Rooms are comfy, meals all delicious and packed lunch great too. Bar area is a lovely spot to relax after a day outside and the evening lectures are really interesting.
I'm so glad that I booked onto this course, I achieved everything I set out to do - challenge myself by putting myself way out of my comfort zone, learn some new skills and have fun. I look forward to returning to Plas Y Brenin for another course in the future and to carry on climbing locally to where I live.

Amazing introduction to alpinism

Alice Willson

We went on the Alpine Essentials course after being bitten by the mountaineering bug on the PYB Winter climbing course. We had some climbing experience and quite a lot of walking experience, and the course was perfect for introducing alpine specific skills (glacier crossing, rope work, how to plan a route to a summit etc). Our instructors (Dave Rudkin and Rob Spencer) were absolutely fantastic; very knowledgable and experienced, but also relaxed and made the course really fun. Following the course the instructors were enthusiastic about helping us to plan routes, so we went on to do several of our own summits using our new found skills. I'd definitely recommend this course!



This course does what it says on the tin! I've been seconding Trad routes around the UK for a couple of years now and have tentatively led a few easy ones and built a few belays. I was looking for a course that would help consolidate what I knew, stop bad practices and habits in their tracks and equip me with skills and knowledge I needed to progress, Oh and a big dollop of confidence too would be nice! I was a little wary that "lead developer" was punching above my weight, but I didn't really want to go back to the beginning and learn from scratch either. So I was relying on the personal touch and "tailored to my needs" bit of the course description. I had nothing to fear, the instructors were great! From day one we were paired up with an instructor so spent the week in our little trio. Dave seemed to know exactly where I was at, and how to stretch me without pushing me so far that I lost my confidence or couldn't take stuff in. His amazing knowledge of the area and climbs meant that despite the weather we always seemed to find dry rock and appropriate routes. He was relaxed, friendly but most importantly supportive and patient. Each day was accompanied by laughter and smiles and vast amounts of learning, which never felt like hard work. From Day 2 we were leading on multi pitch routes with Dave swinging around on a top rope besides us, like a constant little voice in your head - advising on route direction, critiquing gear placements and general cheerleading. As the week went on his input lessened, but he was ever present peering at your gear such that you knew he wouldn't let you get a way with a poor placement. Having him there really inspired confidence but meant every gear placement and move was a learning opportunity not to be missed. On the really wet day we had rope skills, rescue techniques and movement coaching inside- all well worth it and no doubt will have ongoing dividends for my climbing in the future. I can't recommend this course enough, its been a great week full of laughter smiles and achievement. Thanks go to Dave and Mike

Returning to leading

Shane Clark

Having done a lot of lead climbing many many years ago and having a break. This course was excellent intro and update to get me back into lead climbing. It confirmed a lot, refreshed old skills and taught new ones.
The coach, Mike, was excellent, his passion and knowledge for climbing was a gold mine. I really liked the supportive and helpful coaching approach.
As always the cake and tea at 5 pm were brilliant.
Finally, the evening session on the wall was brilliant as it is not a cheap course so I feel, with the evening lecture, really made the course value for money.
Thanks, recommend to any old leaders who want to get back into it..

Brilliant week of paddling!

Anne-Fleur van Diem

Loved this week of paddling to gain my 2 star. I had done a bit of paddling beforehand and didnt quite know what to expect. We had two incredibly knowledgeable instructors with around 50-60 years of experience between them which showed in the way they managed to bring us all up to 2 star standard in a matter of days which we could then work on during our the remaining 2 days of training. PYB really doesnt disappoint in location, food (its famous for it) and accommodation but the real value for money is the fantastic tuition by their very skilled and experienced instructors. Wouldnt go anywhere else and in fact, I am already planning my next course!

What a fantastic week!

Nicole Stewart

My first ever stay at PyB despite driving past it for the last 30 years. Olly and Adam were great. I was in Olly's group out on the water and he was just a pleasure to be around, taught me loads, was very good fun and made the week.

Our room was ideal. Clean, quiet. No concerns there.

The food was amazing value for money but variable. For example on the first night the choice of carbs was either chips or dry bread rolls. Not great. Other nights were better. Portion size was a bit hit and miss depending on who was serving you. And when you've been active all day, that's very important.

Breakfast was good, likewise the packed lunches.

I would recommend PyB to anyone. All the staff were utterly delightful and made you feel very welcome. The hire kit was great and plentiful - no complaints there at all.

Thanks for a brilliant week everyone, especially Olly.


Great course

Miriam Craig

I learnt masses at the Hill Skills course this weekend. The teaching from Kris was excellent - never boring, and always pitched just right. The food was great and there was a lovely atmosphere - over the two days I really bonded with the other people on the course.

I was a little uncertain about sharing a room, but it was fine. Ideally I'd have a room to myself - more for the other person's sake than for me (!) - but that wouldn't stop me going on more Plas Y Brenin courses. The fact that they have a drying room meant that the room didn't get chocked up with damp gear, which was excellent.

Also the fact that you can borrow so much equipment from their stores is really useful, so you don't have buy too much stuff. I tried out poles for the first time and it confirmed my suspicion that I'd like to buy some for myself.

I feel a lot more confident now to plan my own walks. I already felt OK reading an OS map, but there were lots of details I was missing. My understanding of the map, and connecting the map with what things look like around me, feels much more nuanced now. I'm really eager to get out and practise my new skills.


Excellent Course

Ian Gates

Course is very well run with enthusiastic, patient and positive instructors who dealt admirably with poor conditions for beginners over the weekend that I attended.

BCU 3*

Paul Stewart

I've been driving past Plas Y Brenin for nearly 30 years but never been on a course there. Now realise what I've missed. The centre was a brilliant base for days out on the water and the kit was first rate. But what really made the experience exceptional was the instruction. Relaxed, fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. What more can I say. "Thanks"

Great prep for the big peaks


I took this course as a refresher, having been on a skills and summits week in the Alps the previous year. With hind-sight I would have got more out of my time in the Alps if I'd done the courses the other way round. The Alps are big, and glaciers are a bit full on when first experienced, so I probably didn't take on board as much as I might have done if the key concepts were there already.

However, this course was a really good way to brush up what I'd learned, and cement core skills such as moving together and crevasse rescue (simulated) in a situation where it's possible to ask questions (it isn't when you're at 4000m). All this from a competent and helpful mountain guide. I now feel ready to go back to the Alps this year and try something easy without a guide.

Another great course from Plas y Brenin.

Highly recommended

Sarah Coomber

To nick a line from Guinness 'I'm probably the world's worst roller'! Totally sure there's some poor soul out there having an even harder time learning this but it doesn't help :) Andy was absolutely fantastic. He took us through all the techniques we needed to roll reliably and continue to improve our rolls in the future.
Started in the pool with some fun and games which were really about learning what we could do. Tried a roll which actually ended upright. Then we all got to work taking our rolls apart with the inevitable and sometimes funny results. Some paddle floats, a lot of rescues and a bit of swimming later we got to see ourselves on video.

I am for certain my own worst enemy when rolling so Andy did an amazing job of keeping me positive and moving forward. I can't say I managed a moving water roll but I did manage practice ones outside and only bailed once which is really unusual for me.

Loads to work on but I can roll.

Good place to learn

Claire Linier

Very well organised. Despite the very unpleasant weather conditions the trainers have made the course pleasurable. Plas y Brenin is a good place to learn.

Great Course for those wanting to improve their leading skills

Kevin Pearce

The course is structured so that 1 instructor works with two clients of similar ability or aims.
The instructor I had (Mike Thomas) quickly judged where I was at with my climbing and expertly found the right climbs and pitches to take me out of my comfort zone. Having the instructor "jugging" alongside me and giving assistance, encouragement and tips as I was climbing enabled me to feel confident pushing through leads at grades that I previously thought beyond me.
Great course, and one I could do time and time again (this being my third time already !)

Great Course, great venue, great food and an utterly brilliant week!

Paul Bibby

I was a regular Kayaker 20 years ago but after a lengthy gap a friend suggested a Sea Kayaking course. Staying on site made a big difference and the rooms were good and included an en-suite bathroom. The first day we met our instructor Adam and our fellow "students". We spent no time getting kitted out and managed to spend a couple of hours at sea on the coast of Anglesey on a gloriously hot day. Granted the weather is not often that great but the weather was kind all week and we were able to spend as much time on the water as possible each day. Adam gave everyone the benefit of his experience and we all learned a great deal about Sea Kayaking, not least how to stay safe and plan a day out on the water. We all came away with the confidence to plan a route based on the tides, wind and sea conditions. All the required kit was supplied and the drying room was welcome additional. The list of suggested kit prior to arrival was helpful but footwear was not included so a pair of neoprene boots is an advantage. The week was top class, busy days followed by tea and cakes on return and a three course evening meal. Breakfast and a large packed lunch were also included. We were certainly well fed! The bar was busy every night and we enjoyed the guest speakers in the evening. I was a bit gutted to go home but I look forward to visiting Plas y Brenin again in the near future.

A great experience

Daniel Michoux

As a French climber, living close to the Pyrenees Mountains, I am mostly used to sport climbing on limestone, with the odd conglomerate thrown in. In these parts of the world, what we call trad routes “à la française” are actually semi equipped, with bolted belays.   I discovered an ad for Plas y Brenin in an issue of Climb magazine I bought at Heathrow airport, while held up by bad weather. Small causes, big effects. I went on the web site and checked the climbing courses. The choice was large, either 2 days or 5 days. 5 days would make the trip worthwhile. “Performance climbing” looked a bit ambitious, which left “lead climbing developer”. Phrases like “Expanding your skills”, “expert coaches”, “extensive experience”… certianly caught my attention.
The course:
The experience was everything I expected, and more. For a start, the organisation of the course is unique. For such a course, the ratio is one instructor for two students, pretty close to private lessons. It turned out we were only two students. For the first day we seconded the instructor but started to set up belays. For the rest of the week, we climbed as a team, swinging leads, but far from being left to our own devices: as we climbed and placed our own gear, the instructor, on a fixed rope, climbed next to us, checking our placements, giving advice, and being always very supportive. I felt totally safe, and this way of approaching real trad climbing was a great confidence booster. For reasons of schedule we had 3 different instructors during the course of the week. And each one of them was  great! On top of their technical skills, they were supportive, patient, in good spirits.   During the course of the week, we were able to climb on all sorts of rocks in a variety of settings, from the heart of Snowdonia to the sea cliffs. A week of sunshine and warm weather was the icing on the cake.
Added bonuses:
I booked a climbing course, and was prepared to put up with Spartan accommodation, bunking with 15 snoring blokes, eating beans on toast and corned beef. How far from the truth! The rooms were clean and airy; the food was abundant and fresh, continental or full breakfast at 7, packed lunches with fresh sandwiches with cake and fruit (well, to be honest I shied away from marmite, but this a personal taste…). Tea and biccies at 5 awaited the weary climbers, followed by dinner at 7. Soup, a choice of 3 main courses, a vegetarian dish, curry night on Thursday. Good beer and friendly staff at the bar to chill out after a hard day of outdoor activity, in front of one of the finest views of the area.
Cons? Quite frankly I did not see any, and would recommend the course to anybody wanting to improve or discover trad climbing.

Great fun, learnt loads


This is a great course to teach you all those very basics of navigation, as well as some advanced tricks too. It was all taught 'out in the field' to get the most practical experience - really great and lovely to get outside in beautiful Snowdonia! Kris really knew his stuff and was patient and super helpful.

Could not fault it

Patrick Brennan

I could not fault any of the PYB services. Everyone from the reception, catering staff, bar staff, guy in the shop (authority on climbing chalk) sorry cannot remember names were absolutely brilliant and could not be more helpful. The accommodation was immaculate food more than adaquate, and had I eaten any more cake I'm sure even with the energy burning activities I would have put on weight. My first time experience of outdoor climbing, and a relative novice. I would not of ever imagined I would be climbing sea cliffs on my second day, much to the fantastic tuition by our instructor James. The way the course was structured and conveyed was excellent, any questions, and I had many, were greeted with enthusiasm and explained thoroughly. Even with my very limited knowledge of the activity James made you feel at ease and gave you the confidence to proceed, confidently and safely. The atmosphere in the bar was great, with a very friendly and welcoming crowd. Already booked another course. Many thanks to all at PYB.

Thank you PYB! I've learnt so much

Catherine Allen

This course was fascinating and well worth the two day investment. Our instructor was really knowledgeable, and great company, and I learnt so much from the others in the group too. It made me realize how much I have taken navigation for granted of late, even though I'm a competent orienteer. We reviewed skills like pacing, timing and bearings, which I thought I knew, but being challenged to put them all together when you REALLY need them (and how quickly you can end up in that situation) brought it home; that there are some very simple things I should be doing every time I go into the mountains, that will help me and anyone else I walk with, enjoy the mountains safely. I'm really looking forward to putting what I have learnt into practice. Thank you, Plas y Brenin!!

Excellent two days


Another excellent weekend. Lighthouses, cliffs and caves all seen and ticked off, along with seals, guillemots, razorbills, puffins, ganets, shags, fulmars and the set of a soap opera all in unbroken sunshine. Who could ask for more?

It is a comprehensive introduction to leading

Paul Kingston

If you've done a previous plas y brenin climbing course e.g. moving outdoor you might be a tiny bit frustrated with the first three days as you likely will not be 'lead climbing' yet. These days are spent refreshing (checking) your ability to climb/belay/be a second/abseil and build a belay anchor - which, to be fair, does include a lot of placing nuts/cams etc and assessing how good they are. The instructors found some amazing rocks for us to climb. Were very good at sharing as much information, tips and tricks as was appropriate. Introduced new skills at a good pace without overwhelming us. Day four was spent doing several multipitch climbs of the instructors choosing, exploring numerous options to exit the rock after the climb. On day five we led a full day's multi pitch climb of our choosing - which was a much more serious undertaking than I had dreamed of before starting the course. On leaving, we were very excited to go out by ourselves, feeling that we could sensibly decide what first trad climbs we could safely lead without overestimating our abilities and still have fun by the bucket load.

Memorable but not enough!


I had such a great time on this course, I'm sure that it will remain a fond memory for some time. Everything was good, friendly people in the bar (important) and on the course, great instructor who was fun and amazing sea kayaking in the hot sunshine! We saw lots of sea birds and a seal nibbled on the end of my kayak and followed for a short while which was possibly the highlight although this is hard to choose as there was a lot of lovely moments. The only point of development is time on the water (which is the only reason i can't give 5 stars). This was very limited with kit sorting, travel to the coast etc. The centre needs to be more flexible for this course eg. make exception to collect kit night before or early start before breakfast to collect kit and have the briefing and furthermore earlier start on the Sunday perhaps. Thanks for such a memorable and fun weekend though, really inspiring.


Chris Gipson

Excellent course. Chris and Colin adapted the programme to our families specific needs. Finished on a high with a river trip on the Lower Tryweryn. Great family time had by all. Only down side was the rolling pool closed.


Derek Howell

Brilliant Weekend introduction to Scrambling, Day 1 Up Bristly Ridge to Glyder Fach, Day 2 Tryfan- up north face and back down the heather terrace. Big thanks to Karl and Gary. Great confidence builder, went on to the lakes and and climbed Scalfell Pike Monday, and Newlands round Tuesday.

Beyond expectations

David Blackie

This was a great week - great instructors, great weather, a great team of fellow scramblers and great food and beer. Matt was very friendly, professional and encouraging. He tuned into our abilities, knew when to push and when to ease off. Cath and Chris were also really helpful and knowledgeable as was Ian - the sight of him, hands in pockets on Crib Goch while we were on all fours will stay in my memory! I felt challenged to get out of my comfort zone but I never felt pressured and I always felt safe. Time to reflect on what I've learnt and think about the next course.

Ten out of ten


I am now confident to lead after attending this course, which was my primary objective. A valuable and time effective way to form good climbing habits early in your climbing career. Two highly enjoyable days. Now I'm going to have to splash the cash on more gear for my rack...


Chris Chester

Course was very good and covered everything I had hoped for. Instructor was great, helped to build confidence and skills in a safe environment. I was a little anxious going into the course very soon after a recent injury, but this was taken on board by staff and taken into account. The climbing areas we were taken to seemed well selected for the lessons/learning on the course and time of year; also helped by being very lucky with the weather! Had a lot of fun and looking forward to start applying my new skills over the summer. Accommodation was nice - better than I had expected in fact! Would have liked the main courses of the evening meals to have been a bit more generous, although they were good food and certainly sufficient - I just have a big appetite! Ginger biscuits for the packed lunches were really tasty and a personal favorite. Overall excellent and would recommend to friends as well as go back again myself.

The Best week's Moutaineering So Far

Greg Northmore

Thoroughly enjoyed the week. Shared with great people and led by very good instructors. Made climbs I doubted I'd be capable of, and left with a thirst for more of the same. Couldn't recommend it highly enough.

Spike my coach was excellent

Joseph Wood-Heath

All, PYB is a fantastic centre which encompasses all outdoor pursuit madness. Spike my coach was simply brilliant, extremely patient with an ability to switch tactics when I was simply not getting the idea! Coupled with lots of humorous advice when required. I had previous experience all of which was on flat water, which did not matter in the slightest. I was amazed by my progression during the week, from the first day of basically consolidating my skills (or ironing out the bad habits) on the lake to learning the techniques of rolling in the bespoke rolling pool. Then being unleashed on the River Dee - to progress, forget what I have learnt, get wet and learn it again! All under the friendly and watchful supervision of Spike. Food was great, filling and wholesome. The bar forms the hub for all the courses to relax and unwind in, the bar staff are very friendly and well versed in introducing everybody. Already planning a return to PYB with my club to learn, play get wet (repeat) and enjoy with the club. I cannot recommend PYB and Spike highly enough. Thank you so, so very much.

Amazing weekend, great course.


The course consisted on two days of outdoors climbing, top- and bottom-roping, building anchors, bouldering... which is exactly what I wished. Add to it the friendly atmosphere, knowledgeable and compelling staff, reduced groups and the great value for money!

Now I know what I don't know!

David White

*************** This is my second submission - sorry - my cat ran across the key board and submitted the first one before I was finished. This is my completed review. ************** I chose this course rather than the intro to sea kayak because I already had basic paddle skills, and I wanted to start building my experience of sea conditions. And the course really delivers. The coaching is first class. We worked on the basics like forward paddling, edging and turning etc. in a variety of wind and wave conditions. A brilliant afternoon spent on rescue drills - really gives you confidence to contribute to a group out paddling. And the icing on my cake - Pete and Rachel taught me how to roll (in the sea by the end of the week). We got a load of detailed and invaluable input on wind and tides so as a group we always understood the planning behind each of our trips. And out on the water the staff would talk you through their moment-by-moment decision making - which helps you begin to understand how to read the sea. It's really insightful stuff - the first steps towards independence "knowing how much you don't know". I went on the course feeling like a beginner - and I've definitely levelled-up!

Ideal introduction

David H

Two days with a wonderful combination of conditions - sunny and warm on day one, drizzly and poor visibility on day two. But, thanks to the tutor, none of us were fazed by day two, and we diverted over a misty mountain, led only by our new-won skills, and reached base safely with a real sense of achievement. I'd like to go again, after i've used my new tricks a few more times. The tutor was very good, gently giving us just enough push and pull to keep us moving on and improving.

Ideal course for people new to hillwalking

Sean Ryall

Brad our instructor was very knowledgeable. He made the two days enjoyable whilst giving us a good and comprehensive insight to all the basics needed for hillwalking.

Good Skills taught

G Pemberton

Focus was on reading contours, navigating to a specific point and then reading the contours to confirm position. This was at the right level for someone who is confident reading a map, using a compass and really wants know where they are when a GPS is not available. The major plus for me was an improvement in my ability to visualise the ground from the map contours and the reverse i.e. reading the ground and knowing how the contour would look.

Surpassed my expectations

Jonathan Northmore

I attended this course in April to experience higher grade scrambles, having completed the classic grade 1's in Snowdonia, and to gain knowledge and experience with ropework and protection. The course was truly excellent. The instructors were very knowledgable, friendly and adapted to each individuals abilities and aspirations throughout the week. I also learnt a lot from the instructors about the geology and wildlife in the region. The facility was very good with friendly staff and the food was of a high standard. Equipment hire and use of the climbing/bouldering walls was all included in the cost of the course. From the 3rd day onwards we split into smaller groups in a 2-1 person-to-instructor ratio and had the pleasure of tackling some great grade 3 scrambles, all of a different nature. Chasm Face Route on Glyder Fach was a highlight! Thanks to Mike, Matt, Lou & Kath for a fantastic experience in the mountains of Snowdonia. It surpassed my expectations. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in scrambling and mountaineering.

Great Course

Dan Monument

A great course for people of all abilities. Course is well organised, with a good ratio of pupils to instructors. Peters instruction is second to none, with a relax no pressure atmosphere that subconsciously encourages and makes you want to push your skills. This is my third time back, the downhill course will be next.

Ideal weekend adventure

Mike Hoffman

Before going on this course I had been climbing indoors and had only been climbing outside once or twice. The two day course flew by and every evening I fell asleep exhausted having done lots of climbing, learnt lots and having had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Our instructor (Tim Neill) was awesome. He was a great teacher, really good fun, and he was particularly good at challenging each of us in the group despite different capabilities. By the end of the two days we had learnt about setting up anchors, rope types, different types of gear, grading of outdoor climbs, and I even got to do my first outdoor lead climb! I have every intention of coming back and would recommend this course to anyone looking to do some outdoor climbing. Thank you very much PYB!

Fantastic five days


I have just spent 5 days on the intro to white water course - 4th to the 8th April, a fantastic course with excellent instruction - Thank you Chris in wonderful surroundings. First visit to PYB but hopefully not my last, thank you for a great experience, highly recommended .

Five days of pure enjoyment

Kathleen Hughes

What a wonderful place I've found! I didn't quite know what to expect when I made the booking, but I was pleasantly surprised by everything and everyone I encountered. The bookings procedure was simple and straight forward. My room was clean, warm and spacious, the food was fantastic, the staff were all pleasant and helpful, and as for the views from the windows - what more can I say? Our instructor for the five days was Brad. He was completely professional in every way and made sure we all enjoyed the days we spent with him on the mountains. He taught us everything the course promised, plus more from his own knowledge and experience. He encouraged us to think for ourselves and to move a little outside of our comfort zones whilst staying safe from harm. He did this with a sense of humour, diligence and a keen insight into the needs of each individual member of the group. My personal objective was to gain the confidence to plan and navigate myself safely over a chosen route without getting lost or stranded, and to do so within a realistic time frame. I achieved my goal by the end of the week and am now ready to begin the adventures I've been promising myself during my retirement years.

Derek Howell

Excellent facilities, great coaching. Covered everything despite the atrocious weather, wind, rain, sleet, snow and very cold. Still had a brilliant time and will definitely be going back for more.

Yes but no.

Norman Cho

The course was excellent and the instructor, Chris, could not be faulted. It wasn't easy but probably harder than that I expected. However, this is an outdoors course so no complaints there!
1. Instruction and instructor were excellent. This is, I believe, my 4th course here, and have had no complaints about any of the courses.
2. Flexible and responsive. The course I was on was a very basic one but once Chris determined that our level was a little higher, he was happy and able to adjust the course to a higher level.
1. Food was bland with occasional highlights. While I wasn't expecting Michelin starred cuisine, I was pretty disappointed. Being a keen if occasional cook, I would say that the issue is not the ingredients but attention to detail with regard to timing and seasoning. Did no one taste the food before putting it out?
2. Either put soap in the dispensers or remove them altogether. On my last day, I was told by one of the reception staff that towels and soap were provided in the showers. Got there after a wet and muddy day. Stripped off, stepped into a shower, and no soap came out of the soap dispenser. Towelled off, got back into my wet and muddy clothes, went downstairs to complain. Was informed by another member of staff that they do not put soap in the dispensers because everyone brings their own. No one at reception actually seemed to grasp that this is a real problem. This single detail took the edge of a good day for me and was one of the first things that popped into my head when thinking about the week.
3. No safety briefing. Was informed by reception that the first day briefing was to be held in the lecture room next to the bar. Myself and a few others went there and waited. And waited. And waited. Before we eventually found out that the briefing had been moved because Conwy Council had booked the room. Having been on a number of outdoor courses and only recently completed an outdoor first aid course, I wasn't massively bothered. But this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
4. Intermittent wifi only available in the bar. In 2016.

I would have to say that the pros outweigh the cons. The staff were informative, friendly, and professional. The instructors and equipment are first class. I would come back for them again.
The admin and catering waver from good to Basil Fawlty.
I was told by more than one person working at the centre that the installation of a sauna is being contemplated. I would not be unhappy if a steam room was installed but I would say that these are not priorities.
Would I come again? Sure. But I admit that I view it as a place to pick up necessary skills from good teachers.
Would I choose to come here for a holiday? No.

Great! Highly Recommended.


I booked on to the Apline Prep' course because I wanted skills for an upcoming trip to climb Mont Blanc. I felt this was the ideal weekend course to give me the confidence and skills to transition from UK Summer and winter hills and skills to the Alpine experience.. The course delivered everything! With only four of us on the course, it made for a great personal learning experience. Dave, our instructor, tailored the contents to suit our needs. His relaxed style, along with a wealth of experience had me enthused about alpine mountaineering from the first half hour! Topics covered were: essential rope work - coils, knots, moving together roped. Equipment. Prussiking, crevasse rescue / problem solving. Abseiling. Moving from glacier to climbing and protecting the route whilst moving through. Maps, huts, route and guide books / trip logistics. The learning was all hands- on practical in the Centre outdoor training area, then moving to the hills on day 2 to put the skills in to practice on our mini 'Idwal Alpine Expedition' This was great to see how the rope methods and moving together worked on the ground/ rock. - despite awful weather! Add to this, good, wholesome food; tea and cakes; great ensuite room- and you get an excellent value training package! All in all, A super course to make that next step towards the Alpine mountains. Thanks again Dave.

Cannot fault.

Anthony Haigh

Dave, our instructor, has obviously been climbing a long time but never tired of showing us what must be to him something he has done a thousand times. The weather was rubbish and it could of easily been a washout but it was far from that, it was a bril weekend. The centre is more like a three star hotel and the food is a surprise as it's better than expected by far. I cannot fault anything.

Great conclusion to the IML scheme

Darren Axe

The IML winter assessment concludes my two year journey through the award and it was great to feel the jigsaw finally coming together on this course. The base was the El Mouli del Riu in Saint Pierre dels Forcats, a very comfortable base for the week. Ian and Angela the hosts were incredibly welcoming and supportive. The week included outings to a variety of venues across the Pyrénées-Orientales in order to cover all the areas of the winter syllabus. There was a strong focus on leadership skills relevant to the winter-IML environment, as well as snow and avalanche safety. Throughout the week the PYB instructors were supportive and gave a good overview of the plan for each day the evening prior. Individual feedback each evening with the instructor was also invaluable. All up, a great course and a highly recommended award!

All that I hoped for

nick dowling

Course was a good blend of personal paddling, leading and preparing for assessment. The instructor Tom Parker was excellent; he absolutely role modeled what great guiding looks like in terms of giving each of us what we needed in a safe enjoyable way. I would have no hesitation at all in thoroughly recommending PYB, this course, and Tom.



I have now been on 3 PyB courses based at Altshellach and I think that says a lot. I have just had THE BEST week which far exceeded expectations. I went on this course a little less experienced than most but the instructors didn't let that stop us from getting straight on some fantastic classic Scottish winter routes. There were 3 of us on the course with 2 instructors giving flexibilty to climb a variety of routes, pure ice and mixed graded IV to VI. The experience, knowledge and passion of the instructors was evident and I'm sure that even seasoned climbers could learn a thing or two. The accommodation is very nice, having use of the spa with hot tub overlooking the Loch is a nice bonus after a big day out on the hill. They keep you very well fed throughout with as much food as you can eat (and you will need the calories). While it may seem expensive at first glance, when you take into account the quality of intruction, the accommodation, plentiful food and access to PYB hire kit (giving me the opportunity to try out some mono points) I believe that it's is actually very good value. The course detail on the web page can seem a bit vague because what you do does depend on what you want to get out of it. If in doubt give PyB a call I'm sure they will be more than happy to help.

Great week in the Scottish Mountains

Neil Jordan

There were only two of us on this course and we were blessed with two bright sunny days and the rest were typical Scottish winter days with some driving snow and poor visability. Despite some poor avalanche forecasts we got out every day summitting two Munroes and a Corbett whilst practicing the planning, preparation and practical aspects of moving safely in winter conditions. The course more than met my expectations. We learnt about weather and avalanche forecasting and how to plan a safe route, the use of an ice axe and crampons, step kicking, ice bollards, snow holes, self arrest, navigation in winter conditions and then put our new knowledge into practice on our trips. Our instructors Kath and Keith were brilliant and were meticulous in ensuring that we always felt happy about what we were being asked to do. A bit of advice if you are thinking of going on this course. I used all the P-y-B kit and it was all excellent. Spend some time to really get fit. If you have not spent several hours walking in deep snow you may be surprised just how tiring it can be. I trained hard for 10 weeks before hand and wish I had done more. Summer fitness will not hack it. You cannot take too many pairs of gloves.Don't spend loads on gloves before you go. Wet your hands and then see if you can put them on easily. I found cheap fleece gloves were good. Do not forget your googles. They make a huge difference when walking in spin drift and driving snow. The Alttshellach Hotel has excellent facilities and the food is substantial. Thanks again to Kath and Keith for a superb week, breaking trail and guiding us on the Dragon's Tooth. A superb way to celebrate my 65th birthday!

Good for novices

Simon Burgess

Don't expect too much from it this course gives a firm grounding in the basics. I was the only male adult on the course, (2 teenage boys were being accompanied by their Mummy's) if it had not been such a gulf in ability and experience between them and myself I would have enjoyed it more. Food was nice and I had a room to myself. A footpath to the Centre from the junction would be good.

Top quality weekend.


I really enjoyed my introduction to scrambling weekend course. I had a fantastic experience from start to finish. I came away with lots, new found rope skills to route finding. Even though we didn't do any classic grade one routes due to them being covered in snow and in winter conditions we covered other routes. The instructor was great, very knowledgable, listened to what we wanted from the course and did his very best to get everything we wanted out of the course with the weather condition. I can't wait to get out and have my own adventures. A brilliant course that I would highly recommend. Even though I didn't stay at the centre, it does offer great facilities and food.

Luke Fletcher

Excellent course, very informative and the instructors were very knowledgeable. Instructors were supportive and safety conscious. The weather was shocking so staff made the best of the situation. Snow conditions weren't great so I would only say that perhaps it would have been better to cancel the course and reschedule as the full set of skills couldn't be taught due to weather conditions.

Engaging, professional, and loads of fun

Jon Lawson

Can say that the week with PYB has been one of the best I've ever spent in the mountains (we did get lucky with the weather too!!). From the get go we were very well looked after - food and accommodation was brilliant and a pleasure to come back to after a day on the hill. Great facilities. Food particularly stood out, cooked breakfasts and delicious 3 course dinners. The instructors themselves were excellent, you can really tell they know their stuff and are superb at doling out advice and direction when you need it. Dave and Kat were both lots of fun to be around. I was pleasantly surprised that the course covered the range of experience/ability in our group really well - from people who had never walked in snow before to those who had winter experience already. Every person was able to get a lot out of the course and we were all very pleased with what we achieved over the 5 days.

What a fantastic weekend

Kirsten Killander

The first time I went white water kayaking i capsised 8 times - this time I didn't go swimming once. It was great,the coach gave me lots of confidence. Although it was windy, cold and rainy it didn't matter a bit. Where we were kayaking was relatively sheltered compared to those that had come hill walking! I'd definately recommend it and am thinking of returning for the 5 day course.

What a great week, I will be back

Marc Stupples

The course was really good and well worth the money paid for not much more than I spend on a week away camping and walking in the UK. I would highly recommend the Welsh Winter Mountaineering course. I plan to return in the future to do other courses, maybe in the Alps as well. I have a blog and have done a more extensive review here

The instructors I had, Paul and Cath, were great. They were very friendly and incredibly helpful and a credit to Plas Y Brenin.
Thank you very much for a fun and educational week in the glorious Welsh mountains.
A very satisfied customer.

Great couple of days in Wales

Lucas Fraccaro

I've got to be honest and say I didn't really know what to expect from the course or the centre. I was very surprised when I arrived. The accommodation was of top quality and so were all facilities.
The course was very informative and the instructors very friendly. The weather was terribly wet, but again, the facilities and dry rooms meant that we were ready to go out again the next day. Would definitely come back and recommend it.

Awesome week of great boating

Mary C

My 7th course at the brenin, I just keep coming back, and certainly wasn't disappointed by this week.

An excellent week of whitewater kayaking and coaching. Loved the mini adventure of the llugwy trip and feeling awesome of the steep creeking (falling off waterfalls) day.

Lots of coaching was also given on the dee, and my boof is getting there.

Chris Evans was excellent, always encouraging and smiling, with a you can do it and positive attitude. Loved his coaching style.

As always the food, accomodation, cake and good beer make the course experience excellent.

I'll be back!

Fantastic Weekend


This has really whetted my appetite for more Winter Mountaineering. 2 days is short but our instructor really made the most of it. Scotland decided to throw us some of its wild stormy weather on the first day, so that was a lesson in survival against the elements.
We covered moving efficiently in winter terrain, assessing avalanche danger, route finder, using our tools and so on.
The second day we had a fantastic traverse of Stob Coire nan Lochan, putting into practice in much finer weather some of the skills we learned on day 1. It was great to become more comfortable moving in that kind of terrain in the winter, learning to trust the crampons and axe and to feel like we had a proper day out adventuring in the mountains.
Our instructor Paul was very thorough and knowledgable and passed on a lot of information and gave great advice on progressing in mountaineering.

all good

andy cowan

This is my 12th course with PYB and they just keep getting better and better, Dave the instructor it's fairly obvious has a wealth of knowledge and is happy to share this by keeping us safe and teaching us a few little tricks to look cool as well. though out the days the information just kept flowing in our direction. in fact the only thing that I could mention is the cake is much better in PYB wales, not that its bad in Alltshellach. its just very good in wales.
The only thing I have to think about is my next PYB course and what is the chance of getting a discount as it will be number 13 so incentive might be necessary
all the best andy cowan

Rob Melloy

The Centre has an over reliance on non recyclable plastic plastic cups wrapped in a plastic bag in the bathrooms!Plastic bags for packed lunches!
The course was very good. Tom the instructor was the best instructor I have come across in 10 years of swift water and rescue related courses.
The food as always was fantastic and all of the staff very friendly and helpful.
Get over the addiction to plastic bags and it's full marks.

Absolutely fantastic week

Rachel Lardner

I've just returned home from another fantastic week at PyB, brimming with exciting ideas, inspired by the hugely professional and knowledgeable coaches on our course. Thanks to Cath and Paul for all their encouragement, coaching and development advice throughout the week.
I'd hoped to have a week with lots of snow, but it wasn't to be. Despite this, our coaches used their incredible local knowledge to take us to areas with remaining snow patches so that we could have a go with crampons/ice axes/ropes etc, and also to keep us safe in the rather windy conditions. This flexible approach meant that we were all challenged, and had plenty of opportunities to try new things. We had ample opportunities to adapt our existing navigational skills to challenging conditions, and also had the opportunity to learn skills such as use of rope for belaying and abseiling which were totally new to me. All the conditions we encountered were typical of a Welsh winter, so the course did achieve exactly what it said on the tin.
The facilities at PyB are just fantastic. All the staff are friendly and welcoming, the accommodation is great, and being able to borrow high quality kit from the stores means you can really try something out before you buy it.

Stunning scenery, despite the storms.

Chris Mycock

A valuable three days for anyone wanting to progress from summer hill walking or has never experienced true winter conditions. The course develops at the students pace depending on previous experience and fitness, but will challenge you and push your previous limits to another level. You will develop a working knowledge of the avalanche warning system, and once in the mountains you will see for yourself the signs and, possibly like we did, the results of several avalanche's from a safe distance.
The instructors knowledge and experience is obvious from the first time you sit down with them to plan your first walk,to the practical tips while on the hills. I thought I was a good map reader and route planner, with the additional skills I developed during the three days i now know i'm better than i was.
Even in the worst weather the recent storms threw at us, there was always somewhere to get to which was relatively sheltered, though still challenging (North face of Ben Nevis) and allowed us full days in the mountains, the good weather (no storm force winds) on day three was a bonus allowing us to reach the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan, though there was a tinge of disappointment when we realised that despite its height, it wasn't a Munro due to it being to close to another peak!

Brilliant course


I really enjoyed the course, however my mattress/bed was far too soft and needs replacing. The food was good but it was a bit bland and good be slightly more interesting. Lunches were adequate - packed lunch. Breakfast was fine but could be warmer.
Our instructor was very good and knew what he was doing. I've done lots of these courses and had lots of different instructors and I would say this guy was the best.

Exellent preparation for being a Mountain Leader

Antony Hill

Helen and James were top notch instructors; imparting crucial and current information in an accessible and practical style. The course was well prepared and despite awful weather all of the objectives were achieved in excess. The staff at PYB were friendly and very supportive and the food and accommodation were of an excellent standard - The PYB team's passionate support was only rivalled by our passion for the mountains!

Great Course !

Chrissy Keeble

Went on this course with 4 pals and a young lady from regents club (who despite being new to Kayaking did really well. Our coaches Chris, Spike and Ben, were easy going very well informed, and excellent paddlers, always there to help and guide us through rapids and giving honest & helpful feedback. We ran the Dee, Tryweryn (upper n lower, the lower in huge water) The Llugwy and the Conwy. I feel that my paddling came on well, mainly due to learning how to use the water, rather than battling against it, holes were played in, Cobden and Bryn Bras falls etc were all run with no swims, so very happy. Really the coaching was excellent, cannot recommend it enough, the centre is excellent, good rooms, good food, and stuffed full of facilities and kit to use. All included in the price, evening lectures if wanted are there as is coaching in the pool for rolling and bracing. Just like to say how great it would be if they offered a course further afield (france Italy, Slovenia) I'd get straight on it !
Finally huge thanks to Chris, Spike and Ben, your passion for the sport shines through in your happy and easy coaching style, see you the river !



We had an amazing weekend. Thanks to everyone involved. We have mad elifelong friends and will definitely be back to see you all again.

Fab Weekend

Jane McDonald

What a fantastic weekend, had great fun and learnt loads

What a weekend!

Nigel Duckworth

Had a truly great weekend. Plas y Brenin is just everything you want, great instructors (Cath Wilson), great company, quality equipment, great food and then you get the weather. Really enjoyed this course and feel comfortable venturing in out in winter weather knowing that I've had the best training. Will be back for more as soon as I can. Thanks to everyone.

Brilliant course if you coach rolling


This course was really fantastic. I'm a Level 1 coach for my club and had been asked to take a series of sessions aimed at teaching teenagers to roll. To be honest I arrived at the course feeling my coaching toolbox for teaching those teenagers rolling was pretty empty! I left with a stack load of tools but more importantly an understanding of a structure for using those tools to journey towards a good roll. I've ended up feeling both confident and really enthusiastic about heading to the pool to coach rolling next week!

On the first day we practiced exercises ourselves that lead progressively towards a good roll. The second day we had a short warm up period and then our willing guinea pig came in. She'd never tried to learn to roll before and we took it in turns to run sessions to take her towards a roll. Between us we videoed most of it and that forms a great resource for reminding us of the exercises. Loads of other stuff was covered: stretches, troubleshooting, different rolls, making a roll robust, using video feedback etc etc. Our instructor patiently answered every question we had - and there were a lot!

Highly recommend this course if you coach rolling.



Excellent course, highly recommended.
Can't fault the accommodation and (especially) the food at PYB, excellent value for money. Chris, our instructor, was excellent, upbeat and enthusiastic throughout.
The weather was a bit grim, so we spent all of our paddling time in the pool. The pool was warmer than other reviews had led me to believe, but worth wearing a longjohn wetsuit anyway (provided by PyB if required). If you're at all bothered by chlorinated water, it's well worth having a nose clip and swimming goggles.
I did find two days focussed entirely on rolling a bit intense though. It's a bit of a dilemma - on the one hand you're keen to practice practice practice, to make the most of the coaching and the time in the pool. On the other hand it gets very repetitive and fatigue sets in pretty quickly, which in itself creates problems with technique. By the time I'd driven home my shoulders (on the 'preferred' side in particular) were pretty stiff!
Given the choice I'd have preferred to do a slightly longer course, 3, 4 or even 5 days, and have the time to take a break from rolling, mix it up with some other paddle strokes or just a bit of general paddling, and then come back to the roll again fresh.
Nevertheless, the 2-day course was well worthwhile for me. I went in having rolled once or twice before on flat water, but with no real idea how to improve. Came out with a much more reliable flat water roll which is still not 100% reliable but crucially I now have a much better idea of how to go about practicing to improve it further.
Although the course I did was the Sea Kayak Rolling Clinic, we spent most of our time in white water boats. It seems odd that there are nominally separate white water and sea kayak courses. As far as I can tell the skills are 100% transferable so a sea kayaker should not be put off doing the white water rolling course or vice versa if the dates are a better fit.

Whats to complain about

Luke Clark

I can firmly say this was one of the best courses I have ever done and the conditions were excellent. The course was carried out on the hill allowing us to truly learn the skills required for winter mountain walking. The instructor ratio of 6 students to 1 instructor was perfect allowing us to mix with the group and allow interaction with the instructor. The subjects covered were relevant and delivered in an enthusiastic manner with bags of knowledge backing it up. As a result of this course I now feel confident that I can walk into the hills in winter conditions which at the end of the day is the objective of the course.
The facilities at PYB are excellent with the rooms being very comfortable and the food being plentiful and of a very high standard. To be honest I’ve stayed in worse hotels and paid more. The price of the course was worth board and lodgings on their own.
The only slight niggle is that when we first arrived there was a lot of information on what was required in the morning, did we need our rucksacks packed or brought down with us etc. To be honest though this was a very slight niggle and didn’t really impact on the course whatsoever.

Really fantastic week


I would thoroughly recommend the 5 days winter mountaineering course up in Snowdonia. It was a great mix of micro and macro navigation skills, avalanche awareness, safety and survival skills, rope work and some scrambling with ropes, axes and crampons in snowy conditions. Out every day and learning lots. The instructors were really friendly and knowledgeable and fellow course attendees very amiable. Also, the accommodation and food was incredible value. Useful to have a decent level of fitness but the instructors were flexible with us and the prior experience we brought. Any kit we didn't have we could borrow from stores, and this was of a high quality so I managed to stay warm and dry. I left inspired and much more confident tackling difficult winter mountain conditions. Brilliant way to spend the week.

Oustanding course

Huw John

Could not fault this course. Led superbly by our instructor Lou, our group of 6 were spoilt by the conditions that Snowdonia laid on for us. Considering the course is only 2 days we managed to gain a large amount of skills and knowledge from which to work on. Plas Y Brenin itself was spot on - clean tidy bunkhouse with the all important hot showers, food was great and the atmosphere welcoming. This is the perfect introduction to the winter hill walking with patient and knowledgeable instructors.

Overall Top quality and Great people

oswald Marsh

The PYB centre offered a plethora of options and help.This winter mountaineering course introduced me to this wonderland.
Had 2 "guides/instructors" both with different styles and opinions.
The pace was just right for me, at the top end of my physicality as I was the oldest in the group by a good 10yrs! however I do not feel that I was of any hindrance to the random chosen group, maybe this could a way of grading large (we were 24 people) but I also understand in reality all groups have different abilities and skills.
Due to the activities embarked upon a lot of technical discussion and advice over clothing was not possible which I think would benefit myself.... I know that my individual efforts of research seem to mostly be led by biased arguments made by individuals with a commercial interest underlying these choices...a leaflet available as a download before booking a course ? I feel the experience of the PYB team in the "right kit for the job" mantra would cut through a lot of marketing Hype as all PYB courses will require specific kit to perform specific jobs.
I was very impressed with the facilities and how they were managed from point of view the stores was an efficient outlet for "clients" to try out options without the financial outlay etc.
R & R was all one needed, and good knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff completing a very enjoyable overall experience.

Great course

David F

A great training course that exceeded my expectations of the week.

The centre and it's staff were excellent, whilst Chris Evans, our instructor for the week was great.

After listening to what we hoped to gain from the week, we then worked through a wide range of skills, starting with flat through to moving water and some exciting river trips at the end of the week.

Plenty of opportunities throughout the week to ask questions and moved at a pace that worked for all of us.

As per Steve's more in depth review below, will also be back for the WW course.

Big thanks to Chris and all the PYB staff for a great week.

Good - but not quite as good as I'd hoped

Paul K

This was my second trip to PYB so I knew what to expect on the accommodation and food front. All was fine. This was my first rock climbing course, and my first time climbing on rock in the UK. The instructors were competent and friendly enough, but I expected the instruction to be a little more focused and systematic. On day one, after an introduction at the bottom of the crag we did a lot of climbing, and I had expected a little more instruction during that period. Over the two days we did cover most of what was promised in the course notes, except for 'Principles of leading and a leader's rack', which I thought would be a main part of the weekend. The main instructor dealt well at the start of the weekend with one member of the group who had a bit to learn on the safety front. (He had planned to use a cycle helmet and started smoking near the ropes.) The second instructor did not engage very much with the group. I was disappointed at the group ratio: I had been told it would be 1-4 instructor to participant (it's 1-2 on the non-BMC version of the course), but in practice it was 1-6, with two instructors for a group of 12. This was not commented on by the instructors - if it had been due to staffing problems and this had been explained, I'm sure we'd have understood. With instructors also having to set up ropes, this often meant we were climbing without any instruction. All in all, though, I was pleased with the weekend, and with the BMC discount it's extremely good value.

Great way to improve


Good course with detailed analysis of rolling technique and pointers for improvement.
Staff and instructors were positive, encouraging and friendly.
Accommodation was good, food excellent.
Location was good with plenty of local rivers for practice and skills Development.
A great way to improve your roll and raise skill level in a week.
I would highly recommend it.

Welsh Winter Hillwalking


The accommodation was excellent and kept to a high standard. The food was very good for this type of activity holiday. A nice bar overlooking the lake proved a great area for a 'get together' at the end of the day. The staff were genuine in wanting to help with enquiries. The administration both prior and during the course could be improved slightly, but this is an active place and any shortcomings in this area are understandable. The course itself was excellent it delivered what it described and more. The instructor was extremely capable, knowledgeable and pushed me to and at times beyond my comfort zone. I have returned home wiser with loads of new skills (and without a single bruise on my body). Thanks to her these new skills will open up many opportunities for me. I will now travel more confidently not only on the hillside in all weathers but also more widely. If you are female, slightly over 50, of reasonable fitness reading this I would highly recommend this course. It is physical and at times a little stressful but the knowledge and skills gained will more than compensate. Maybe have a one to one chat with an instructor beforehand. I would have got more out of the course if I had spoken to somebody first.

Excellent course all round

Dave Fenton

Booking the course in April, well in advance of the course dates, was always going to carry the risk of 'no snow' for winter skills. There was no snow - plenty of rain but no snow. However the instructors were able to adapt the course content to create a hugely enjoyable and worthwhile weekend nonetheless. We learned the skills around crampon and ice axe selection, fitting, movement up, down and across slopes on PYB's own 'artificial snowy slopes' (well, very slippery railway sleepers). In the classroom we covered loads of stuff dealing with winter equipment, avalanche forecasting and avoidance, basic ropework, navigation and route selection. Out of the hill - (imagine it was snow) - we put a lot of the classroom stuff into practise, especially the micro-navigation and terrain considerations - i.e slope angle, slope aspect in relation to wind and weather. All in all it was a great weekend. Great instructors, great group of people on the course, great location, great meals, great accommodation.

Thanks guys!

Excellent Course

Steve Phillips

I have been kayaking for a few years but have increasingly preferred taking the canoe out. Having had very little instruction in a canoe I decided that the Solo Canoe Master Class would be a good option. Without a doubt this turned out to be one of the best training courses I have ever been on.

If you have never been to PYB the facilities are excellent, the center is clean, warm and importantly the food is very good.

The course:
There were only three of us and Chris as our instructor. We all gelled and the banter between the four of us was good and added to an excellent course.

We started off on the lake by the center on day one on basic paddle strokes and by the last day were running rapids. We covered a huge range of skills and Chris linked them all seamlessly through the week.

Some of the skills covered were emptying boats and re-entering in open water, lining through boat breaking rapids, river reading and running, paddle types and choice, boat trim and different paddle strokes, plus we even tried poling.

During the week we paddled two lakes and two rivers, tried out different canoes including white water and racing canoes and had a great time.

The things Chris could do with the canoe was impressive and would inspire confidence in all of us as we were aware of what an open 16 foot canoe was capable of. Watching Chris surf the play wave at the Dee Mill and spin a 16 foot open canoe gave me the confidence to surf the wave (for a short while) and was my personal highlight to the week.

The only downside was that the week went so fast. A few weeks on and I have ordered a new open canoe and have been out in an OC-1. I will have to do the white water weekend course now.

Thank you to all the PYB staff that contributed to a great week.

Really excellent course

James Bruton

Learned loads and had a lot of fun. It's good that there's flexibility and scope to tackle more challenging stuff depending on whether you feel comfortable with it or not. There was great camaraderie among the attendees and the instructors made it very enjoyable while imparting a lot of whitewater knowhow. Would definitely recommend this course and hoping to get on another one soon.


Jane Smedley

This is a great course if you like kayaking and want to try the white water. It's scary at first but the Coaches we had (Andy and James) were very good and helped us face our fears.
The lads were very skilled both in the watercraft and working with a group of individuals to help them achieve their own goals. Bags of enthusiasm - GREAT FUN!
Would highly recommend this course and the centre. Food was great and plentiful. Rooms basic but comfortable.
Have a go you won't regret it.

Great weekends ride

Neil Oakley

With a varying ability group the Instructor made the 2 days worth while. I have definitely came away from the course wanting to return back to the mountains and terrain of Wales and with the skills and confidence to challengs my self.

Didn't live up to expectations

Andrew Garside

Unfortunately this didn't live up to expectations at all for a number of reasons.
First I have to say the instructors and other staff were very friendly.
There was also just over an hours useful instruction on a pump track on Saturday Morning.
The first issue with the course was it was far too mixed - ranging from a person who had never ridden a mountain bike before to very experienced technical riders. There was no pre-course questionnaire to assess skills levels.

Saturday afternoon to be honest consisted of a lot of waiting and only 6 miles riding in the whole afternoon. Not a lot of instruction or feedback. Nothing very challenging either.

To try and sort this out they added a third instructor on Sunday. Unfortunately the Sunday ride was a massive letdown.

1) 1 mile/ 15 minutes climbing on a tarmac road
2) Just 7 miles off road - with quite a few stops over 2 hours.
3) 10 miles of flat tarmac back on the Sustrans route from Conwy to Dwygyfylchi - taking about 2 hours with stops

To spend over half the time on Tarmac on a mountain bike improver course is very poor. I think I would describe most people who attended in my group (mid of the three) as both frustrated and bored.
To give people an idea of my skill level I've been back mountain biking for about 3 years - and am reasonably comfy on blue and red runs.
I specifically made the 9 hour drive to get experience in more mountainous areas.

Exceeded my expectations

Claire Linier

The whole experience exceeded my expectations. The facilities are good. The food very nice.
The course is well designed with plenty of opportunities to practice the skills learnt and gain confidence. Being outdoor all day is a bonus. Our tutor Matt was friendly and keen to share his knowlege with us. Everything was perfect.

Just the Ticket

Ian Dann

The course probably needs re-naming, this course does not only take you through rolling you Kayak in a moving water environment, but also teaches you about reading the water, and making best use of the conditions to make progress.
Our coach made you at ease in the conditions, making you believe you could achieve the best from your paddling.
also our coach managed to tailor the coaching to each of us in the group
Thanks to Chris our coach, and to my colleagues in paddling for the duration of the course Graham, Pat and Gordon.

Challenging but Fun Course

David Biggins

This was an excellent weekend that more than met my expectations. The weekend started with correctly setting up our bikes - being mostly a group of roadies, the first thing to do was letting most of the air out of our tyres! We were then taken through some basic bike skills before heading off for a couple of hours riding on the red (difficult) graded Marin trail. Whenever anything technical was encountered we'd stop and discuss the techniques needed.
My expectations of this introductory course were that we'd perhaps be riding bridleways and forest tracks, so getting stuck in to more difficult terrain so soon was a surprise. We were quite a fit, group with good-quality bikes and good levels of cycling competency - the course is tailored to the experience of the group - so we were doing the most technical terrain that would be covered on this course. However I'm always happy to stretch myself and James, our instructor, was careful to emphasise that we didn't have to do anything we weren't comfortable with ... there's no shame in just walking.
The first day ended with an hour back at PyB on maintenance. On the second day we had another, short, session on the PyB skills area before heading off for most of the day. James had offered us the option of spending the day on much easier forest tracks and trails, which would not be technical. However, the group was up for something more demanding so we headed off to the Penmachno trail (red). This was a very physically demanding and technically challenging day, but I've not enjoyed myself so much in ages.
This was a great course that was enormous fun to do and I learned a lot. James was highly competent, friendly and never pushed anyone into doing anything they weren't comfortable with. I've now much more confidence on my bike and in setting out onto more difficult terrain. It was great to have the opportunity to try out more technical terrain with an experienced instructor and I'd be lying if I claimed hurtling down the Penmachno descents wasn't at times a bit scary, however such courses are an excellent way of testing the boundaries of your comfort zone. I'd certainly now consider at least, slowly, exploring a red trail which I'd not have done before this course.
I'd say to get the most out of this course you do need a reasonable level of fitness and a moderately decent. well maintained bike, not something you got from Tesco for £50! Most of our group were riding mid-range hard-tail cross-country type bikes.

Great Course - Be Open Minded!!


This course more than met my goals of a) learning more about setting up & maintaining my bike & b) learning some riding skills to enable me to ride more safely & enjoyably. It took place in a great environment: PyB is a fantastic centre for outdoor activity & the staff & instructors are very friendly & competent. The weekend course was reasonably priced, the accommodation was comfortable & the food was plentiful (I'm on a special diet & they catered for me). The number of participants was perfect (5 of us on this course). The course itself started as I hoped: with bike set up (we initially all had it wrong!) & then going through some basic riding skills. However, because of our collective road cycling backgrounds & the fact we all had decent bikes, we were then thrown in at the deep end & taken to a red (difficult) trail for the rest of the day & did red trails the following day. I wasn't entirely comfortable with this (I think the others felt the same) & I didn't manage to cycle some of the trickier bits with much skill, but I did get over everything (usually with plenty of gurning & swearing!) - in hindsight I feel that this probably stretched me more than just doing stuff we were all comfortable with. The instructor will tailor the course according to how s/he perceives the group; but if you d Remember it is an introductory course & there's no shame in doing easier trails. I hope that this experience will now enable me to ride blue (moderate) trails with confidence (which is what I was hoping for), but I wouldn't tackle any red ones on my own. I recommend the course to any beginner, but have a little bit of experience before you go to get the most out of it.

Thoroughly enjoyed the course and time at PYB

John Burns

After some indoor climbing which I've been enjoying I wanted to know whether outdoor climbing might be for me, and what skills were required for the next stage, top rope climbing outdoors. This course perfectly fitted my requirements. It's not about coaching climbing moves, though the instructors were very encouraging on the climbs, but a course about getting the skills to safely develop your climbing ability outdoors.
Along with the scrambling essentials course I attended earlier in the year I would not hesitate to recommend this course.

Delivered exactly what I wanted

Andrew Johnson

I took this course having become fairly proficient at grade 5-6 indoor climbing, and having had some experience of outdoor climbing about 15 years ago. My objectives were to gain confidence on rock and learn some of the necessary technical skills. I feel that I was the kind of person the course was aimed at, and it more than fulfilled my objectives.
On the first day the instructors, Dave and Lou, look us to a crag in the Ogwen Valley where we got familiar with the crag environment (tip: bring a cloth to clean your rock boots) and climbing on rock with top ropes. Then we rigged our own anchor systems for more top roping. On the second day we went over to Anglesey to climb routes on sea cliffs, and learned the different technical skills required for belaying from the top of a route.
The instructors maintained a pace that was appropriate for the whole group, as well as helping individuals with different levels of ability to get the most from the weekend. I felt that they also made it fun and challenging while keeping us safe.
This isn't a course that'll teach you how to climb. We spent more time on anchor selection and evaluation, belay construction, rope handling, etc. than actually climbing. This perhaps surprised some members of the group, but was exactly what I wanted to learn.
Good company. Clean, comfortable rooms. Excellent meals and lots of good cake. Good beer in the bar. I highly recommend Plas y Brenin and this course.

My worries were put to bed

Greg Hood

I was a little worried starting off, as I had led before, and was on the course with my partner who hadn't. I was worried that I wouldn't get anything from the course as it was at an entry level.
My worries were put to bed quite early on in the first morning brief when donald and jamie asked us about previous experiences and came up with a plan that seemed to fit us both quite well. Meaning I got to lead a few routes, while my partner was shown the basics.

(She went on to lead 2 VDiffs at Castle Naze a week later)

Fantastic, very helpful

Hannah Cross

Don and Jamie were fantastic instructors for this course. They were patient, helpful, informative and friendly. Jamie realised that one of us was much more proficent than the other and allowed for them to develop their skills even further and gave helpful advice without being at all patronising. A worthwhile course for intermediate /advanced climbers and competent seconds who wish to develop their skills and start to lead. You will go back to basics in some aspects but this will make you realise that actually, this is beneficial and will help you improve where perhaps you may have forgotten skills. A knowledge of how to climb is recommended before patricipating in this course.

Amazing experience!

Tom Phillips

This was my first time at Plas y Brenin and was unsure what to expect at first. I have some experience of kayaking on lakes and calm rivers but not white water as yet. It was only a small group but this was ideal as everybody had a chance to hone their skills and develop as a paddler. Our instructor James was very calm and professional and gave everybody a chance to ask questions and was also insightful. I felt that over the course of two days I had developed new skills as a kayaker and have increased in confidence on the water. Everybody was very supportive on the course and this was really helpful and confidence inducing. I was impressed with the accommodation on the course and the food really was outstanding and above par.
I would highly recommend the centre and I am already looking at booking another course. Top marks and a life changing experience!

Fabulous Weekend

Gerard Hickey

The course on basic navigation was exactly what I required. Neils the instructor was obviously very proficient in his subject knowledge but his ability to transmit that knowledge to the group was excellent. Would unreservedly recommend the course to someone who is looking to get a grip on the basics of navigating in the mountains. 5* weekend!

Great course for all canoeists

Will Tutton

This course is the best canoeing course I have been on (I have been on other courses at PYB) it gave me a new perspective on open canoeing, despite paddling for over twenty years, as well as helping me hone an array of skills. The coaches, Chris Evans and Pete Catterall, were fantastic, adapting our schedule and location to suit the variety of aspects we wanted to cover and the variance in experience and paddling ability, as well as being highly personable and willing to discuss all aspects of canoeing in great depth. I'd really recommend the course to those coming into open boating or having been an open boater for sometime, since the key philosophy was to enjoy the experience and learn from the journeys we took and above all not to push one outside ones personal limits which seems to be the idea at some other centres; you are guaranteed to learn something everyday. Pete also introduced us to Ray Goodwin who we bumped into one day, proving much entertaining banter with Pete, and wisdom on poling in an Explorer 15! The course is really inspiring, and has reinvigorated my love of open boating, as well as North Wales, having been brought up nearby on the Wirral. I'd really recommend the Plas Curig Hostel if PYB is fully booked (2 min drive from PYB), awesome rooms and facilities.

Still learning and it's great

Mike Riding

Three days out on the water with Spike (instructor) gave me the opportunity to learn new skills and practise them with an expert. Great coaching, great course. 10/10

Super Summer ML training

Guy Willson

I would thoroughly recommend the course at PYB. Not only were all the staff both friendly and well trained, they were also personable and entertaining. The food on offer is very good, indeed better than expected and the same goes for the accommodation. The location too is fantastic and we could access most relevant areas straight out the centre with minimal road travel. Overall a superb experience and I'll be back next year for the assessed. Cheers!

Tandem canoe skills

Dan & Linda C

We asked PYB to improve our basic skills as tandem paddlers and introduce us to new skills - sailing, poling and capsize recovery. Our coach, Chris Evans delivered all this (and more) in a very supportive manner over 4 structured and hugely enjoyable days. At the conclusion of the course we knew a lot more about paddle techniques, canoe dynamics, trim, safety tips, staying safe on white water and even a bit of Welsh language. This is a course we wished we had taken much earlier. Our confidence in the canoe is much improved and Chris has given us welcome advice on continuing development of our skills away from PYB. If you want to improve your paddling skills in an ideal location with great catering to boot, get in touch with PYB

Great Weekend

Beverley Wood

Great weekend learning canoeing. Thanks very much Chris :)

Solid, well paced training

Martin Phillips

Really enjoyed this course. As a boulderer, 95% indoors, I was clueless with all the knots, rope-work etc. Day 1 got me going with some top-roping and the instructors (Spike and Karen) were very patient as were my belaying/climbing partners. Loved the slate quarry.
Day 2 on the sea cliffs was a very gentle intro to putting in gear, all made sense and I felt way more comfortable trusting the ropes, gear and my partner.
Day 3, 4, and 5 with Will as our instructor was awesome, Will set a good pace with safety in mind at all times and we had a blast. I was exhausted every evening as being 100% alert at all times is not what I'm used to!
Good solid (relatively easy) climbs but top notch instruction on trad climbing in a really safe environment. Definitely panning to do the next course up in the Spring.

Great Weekend

Paul Emery

Enjoyable way to explore the Snowdonia area. Niels the Instructor was brill as there was only a few of us, all wanting brush up navigation skills he tailored them spot on. Sun (yes Sun in Wales glorious) we walked up Y Gran and had lunch overlooking the Lyn Ogwen.
Day 2 mist, rain and wind what a different day, putting to good use what we’ve learnt day before. Covered pacing and had a couple of games working pacing and compass found everything. Then mist and rain lifted views outstanding.
Be looking to book again

Fantastic value and good, safe, educational, fun

Diana Dewhurst

The course did what it said on the tin. It was great to have two Instructors to 12 of us. We were a mixed group males and females who unless they traveled in couples had not met before. I went on my own (female) and arrived a bit anxious not knowing what to expect.

I found I had been allocated a room on my own (lucky me) as usually you do share with complete strangers.
Rooms were really clean and very warm, towels provided but bring your own soaps, shower caps and shampoos.
I wandered down to the bar which appeared to mainly be filled with very fit competent looking males. I felt a little on my own as I couldn't identify who I would be climbing with on the Sat or Sunday - might be something in that for PYB to perhaps do something about identifying people - give them colour coded badges for those that want to identify with others.

The following morning breakfast was served at 8am - the best breakfast ever and I ate too much, a little to my regret when I had to walk up a steep hill to a crag a bit later. Mist was over the lake and I took some awesome photos of the lake and bushes laced in gossamer spider webs - like a fantasy land.

Reception told me to go to the Lecture Room for 9am and I waited all excited and time ticked by and approached the staff after a big line of people in front of me. Told to go somewhere else and interrupted their meet and greet (embarrassed by now) and then eventually ended up outside the shop at the canopy where my group was having their pre meet and chat. I was late by then and a little annoyed with reception - perhaps they had been given incorrect information.

Some people arrived with very little kit and they were kitted out with PYB equipment - all included in the cost. The Instructor made a note of our aspiration for the weekend and our name and what we had done before.
We were told where we were going and we set off in the mini bus.

Second day followed much a similar pattern but the group was split into two and the ratio was 1:6 at two different crags. By then the group had bonded and swapped photos. We were all a bit more chilled with each other having shared some experiences in the bar the previous evening.

The instructors were clearly very knowledgeable but we did comment on them being very quiet with us on the first day and lacking some humour. Sometimes we felt we were ignored - perhaps they did not hear us when we asked a question.

The second day climbing showed a definite improvement in communication and sharing knowledge and would be what I would have expected more of. The group also commented on the marked improvement. I did challenge nicely one of the Instructors if something had been wrong the day before for them to be so quiet and they seemed genuinely surprised by my question. However that definitely made an impact and the second day of climbing Instructor led was 100% better.

I am grateful to the BMC for the reduction in cost and would very much like to come again to keep building on the experience.
The facilities are fantastic - perhaps sort out the location in the dining room for everyone getting their tea/ coffee from the machine as it causes a bit of a back log queue and you can't put your toast in etc. However just a minor detail in the most fantastic of weekends.

As a group everyone bonded well and we opened a shared group on Facebook for sharing our adventures and photos. Good times to always be treasured - thank you PYB. thanks to the Instructors too as despite the little niggle about communication on the first day - they were helpful and tried their best with us all.

4 stars due to reception mis-information re: meet location and the communication issue on the fist day from the Instructor otherwise would have been 5 star.
Everything else was class.

Very informative and helpful

Gareth Jones

Mike and Paul ran a very well planned out course which gave plenty of information for those who plan to assess in a mountain environment. I found it practically helpful to further my understanding of the assessment and feedback process which will be great as I am working toward my MIA and training and assessing mountain leader and single pitch awards.
Personal thank you to Paul who passed on some valuable knowledge which will defiantly come in handy.

Go for it

Dave Oakes

If you're thinking of giving kayaking a try look no further than this course, you will receive expert tuition, thanks James. A very good selection of boats and equipment to try out on lakes, rivers and at sea, you'll leave hooked. The accommodation is very clean and comfortable, the food is first class and there's a well stocked bar. Go for it!!!

Positive,cheerful constructive coaching


Group size, 5 people, meant that we received close supervision / support. Problems were swiftly dealt with. The people whose canoe capsized were attended to very quickly and sympathetically.

Pre-course kit list appeared to be a generic one. A more specific one would be better.(e.g.We did not require wet-suits, but they were on the list.)
We practised our skills in interesting, beautiful venues.
Breaks were at appropriate times. Overall, very enjoyable. I felt I learned a lot.
Our instructor was excellent. Very supportive, encouraging, interesting and entertaining. A very good teacher.

Thank you very much

Simply brilliant

Simon Johnson

This course is simply brilliant - I still find it hard to believe how much I learned, and how much fun I had, in four weeks. I arrived as a middle-aged near-beginner, with limited skills and less confidence. By the final day, I was enjoying a VS route on the sea-cliffs at Gogarth.
Simon Lake, the course director, did an excellent job teaching the skills and inspiring the confidence that we needed to progress. Three things in particular stand out: his attention to detail, particularly in matters of safety, his constant assessment of our progress and tailoring of the course to suit our developing abilities and our aspirations, and his ablity to develop each of us through positive reinforcement, demonstrations, and learning exercises. He also has a genius for finding dry rock even in the most unpromising weather - we were outdoors 19 days out of the 20. Ian Craigie, Bryn Williams, Andy Stotesbury, and Dave Evans, who assisted with instruction, also made great contributions to the learning experience.
In addition to the instruction itself, the whole Plas y Brenin experience was high-quality. The accommodations are comfortable, the food is plentiful and excellent, and all of the staff are friendly, positive, and welcoming. The setting in North Wales meant that we were able to experience a wide range of rock types and complete routes on a number of famous venues including Gogarth, Dinas Cromlech, Milestone Buttress, Idwal Slabs, Tremadog, and Dinorweg Quarry.
I highly recommend this course for anyone with little or no experience who wants to immerse themselves in climbing, make tremendous progress, and have a great time in the process.

Great course would recomend

howard Rose

Me and a friend attended the 5 day advanced scrambling at PYB in Sep 15.
We had a range of instructors which really helped me learn, as between them there were strong recurring messages, such as take smaller steps and look down more on grade 2/3. So this helped the message home.
In addition to this each instructor brought their own individual tips and techniques we could all learn from. The last three days were on a 2:1 ratio and each of these days taylored to our own needs and ability along with the prevailing weather.
If you want to take your walking to the next level and learn how to scramble safely whilst making good progress then this is the course for you. We even did a bit of climbing for good measure.
Fun and flexible learning in a great environment.

Terrific Course

Jenifer Hewett

Only 6 people on the course allowed the instructor to manage the different skill levels competently and make sure that we all achieved what we wanted. All my boxes were successfully ticked and I came away a better paddler than when I started.
We tried 3 types of kayaks on flat water, moving and white water and the sea. All of which was helped by the most idyllic perfect weather.
We had an enjoyable time in the heated pool learning the elements of confident capsizing. This was one of my main priorities.
The course enabled me to decide what I like to do most so that I can spend more time practicing to get better.
Thoroughly recommend Plas y Brenin and this course to anyone who wants to try Kayaking. I would also recommend this course for any age (I am late 50's).

Got started and rock climbed...

Chris Riley

Attended the 2 day 'Get started rock climbing' course as a refresher to some very rusty skills I learnt over 10 years ago. Excellent course, tuition, content & pace delivered by our instructors Ian & Dave who were extremely knowledgeable, highly skilled and great guys all round. There was a group of 11 of us in total - 9 of which were complete novices - they were climbing competently and safely within the first hour of arriving at our first climbing location.
The facilities at PYB are also spot on. Could not fault anything. I will be returning as soon as possible to progress my skills and develop my climbing ability/knowledge on one of the follow on courses. Well done to all the staff at PYB - a quality weekend.

Useful Course

Ray Hollis

I have been hillwalking for many years but have always been content to be lead .I therefore thought it was time to learn to do it for myself and to gain the confidence to go out into the hills alone or to take the lead .
The course is very pratical with most of the time spent on the hills doing rather than being classroom lead .
Martin the instructor had an excellent way of getting you to understand the skills needed to be able to use the Map and plan a trip .
At the end of the weekend I felt I had gained important skills and importantly confidence to have a go .
This was my first PYB course and I have been very impressed by the general organisation ,the facilities and the instruction .What also made the two days so enjoyable was Martin's local knowledge .
I would recommend the course to anybody who wants to build their confidence in taking to the hills .The course will be helpful to those with little or no map reading skills or those like myself who know the basics but wanted to learn some key skills like taking bearings .
I am already beginning to think what to book onto next .

In Alps this summer - used our skills

Liz Davies

We were very glad of the skills we gained from our Alpine Prep course we did with Dave Kenyon and Paul Warnock. Paul was very thorough and we used much of what we learned (apart from getting out of a crevasse - thankfully as we did not fall in one). The ropework when moving together was much better than last time we were there and our moving together on the glacier much slicker. We still in many ways are beginners but are feeling much more confident now. I can very much recommend it. The only aspect we could not practice on the course was actually building a snow belay. However I do recognise that in summer in Wales that is a difficult thing to achieve.

Absolutely rockingly fabulous.

Trysha Hunt

I want to say a very big, 'Thank you,' to the instructors, Dave Evans and Mo Barclay, for their amazing instruction and encouragement to the four of us that attended the 5 day trad leading course this September.
I had only done a bit of low grade leading before the course and needed some 'quality' instruction and lots of time on the rock face. This was perfect.
On the first day we did some bouldering and then went to the slate quarries, where we top roped some great climbs. Assessment of our climbing abilities/skills!
The next four days we visited various crags and started off with seconding routes and then quickly moved on to leading single pitched and multi pitched routes, building belays, setting up abseils, escaping the system, improving our techniques .... and all under the watchful eyes and guidance of Dave and Mo.
Their continuous encouragement and instruction was top class!
I would definitely recommend the 5 day course. This way you get intensive training, climb different rock types, and really get into 'the swing of it.'
I loved it.
Now have to consolidate all that I have learnt.

Does what it says on the tin

Rolling Reconstruction

Excellent course that took my intermittent roll apart and put it back in a more reliable shape.

Lots of fun, well coached and with lots of useful training tips and exercises to take away to help improve on it further.


MIA Assessment

Aaron Vandenberg

Good food
Hot showers
Comfy beds
Free wifi
Beautiful location
What's not to like?
The course was well run, especially the problem solving on multipitch crags day. The needs of the students (us) are complex, in the sense of the instructor putting us in a MP environment, safeguarding themselves and us as we swing about loading our anchors doing rescues! The planning and expertise were there.
My feeling of the week; there was assessment pressure. The staff made an effort to minimise that where they were able so that we could show our best.
Thanks to M R and the team.

Fantastic Weekend

Beverley Wood

I had a fantastic weekend at Plas y Brenin. Coaches Glen Rostock and Chris Evans (and Will as a stand-in) were knowledgeable, approachable and patient with the group. I learnt some useful skills and felt safe and confident on my first trip on the sea. Thanks very much guys :)

A fantastic introduction

Gareth, Helen, Jennifer(11) and Alex(9)

The other reviews pretty much cover how wonderful this week is.
Our main concern before the week was that our youngest, being of smaller stature and not that sporty, would struggle with the week - we shouldn't have worried.
From pool to 'rapids' at Llangollen in 5 days. He was hooked.

Great course and course leader

Paul K

This was my first visit to PYB and I really enjoyed it. I'll be coming back for other courses as soon as I can. Four stars rather than five only because of the points under 'Accommodation' below. Course:
A really good introduction to navigation skills, I now feel I have the basis to get through most situations I'll encounter in my adventures. It was good to brush up on skills and knowledge I'd half-forgotten and mis-remembered, and really good to leave the paths behind and just wander across the hills under our own compass. Course leader:
Martin was fantastic, imparting his knowledge clearly and concisely, shepherding us over the hills efficiently without making us feel we were under control. The fact he was a local and a Welsh-speaker was an added bonus, particularly as my next stop after this course was a Welsh-language course. The way he introduced elements of local folklore and place-name information into the course added a huge amount of value for me. The places he took us to were so perfect for testing the skills that we found it difficult to believe he hadn't been to them before. But he proved the point at the end of day two when he challenged us to find a path marked on the map that turned out not to be there on the ground, and we ended up doing an entertaining slide down through wet, unstable and very steep woodland floor to get back to the van. Food:
Copious and good. Big cooked breakfast, adequate packed lunches, and an evening meal just on the right side of stodge. Soft drinks in the bar not cheap, though.
This was my first visit to PYB, I was travelling alone, and I was not aware I would be sharing a room. Reception told me the website makes clear accommodation is based on sharing. But the website really doesn't make this very clear up-front - you have to click purposefully through a few pages before the information is there. It wasn't a issue per se: I've no problem sharing with a stranger if that's how things are. Now I'll know for the future. It's possible to ask for a single room when booking, but this is 'pot luck' and can't be guaranteed, reception told me. And that night there were no spare rooms.

But the problem on this visit was my bed, which was very creaky. Not quite enough to stop me sleeping myself, but when I woke at 4am for the toilet, my room-mate asked me angrily if I could 'move less in my sleep'. He had been unable to sleep all night, was tired, frustrated and annoyed, and I was the target. I offered to switch beds so that he could control the noise himself, but he didn't want to. So this created an awkward, almost hostile atmosphere, which made me uncomfortable - especially since the guy was to be on the same course as me. In the morning he complained and was given his own room, after which all was well. And it meant I also ended up with a single room. But the beds are not great quality and I wonder how many other creaky ones there are. Otherwise the room was fine - basic but clean.

The best week ever!


The instructors are really friendly and accommodating. People who are indoor climbers with little outdoor experience and people who have done trad leading already all got lots out of the course.
The first few days were more skills based (like setting up belays) and by the last 2 days we were leading multipitch climbs. From day 3 we worked 2 to 1 and also did a few abseils. Even though it was pouring with rain at the beginning of the week in the mountains, the instructors somehow always managed to find dry places to climb (we went to Anglesey the first 3 days, then the Moelwyns and Tremadog).
In the centre, if you ever need anything, just ask, everyone's so helpful. I'm vegetarian and the food was really good (you never went hungry) and a highlight was rushing back for scheduled cake at 5 every day. Evening activities included using the abseil tower and bouldering wall, as well as inspirational talks and orienteering races. Although constantly busy, there was still plenty of time for socialising in the bar in the mornings and evenings and meeting people on different courses.

From zero to rapids in 2 days!


Where to start? Well I'd never even sat in a kayak before this course.
First morning spent getting your kit (tip - they supply virtually everything! All you really need to bring is: swimming togs, towel, wetsuit boots - your feet will be wet for most of the day, oh and a rash vest) Bimbled back and forth across the lake learning our new basic strokes.
We spent the afternoon heading up the lake with instructors Andy and Colin, practising our new skills and learning more as we went along. Breathtaking scenery.
Don't expect to be babysat, you will be moving the kayaks around and the trailer will not load itself!
We all slept soundly that night.
Day 2 - The River Dee - well safe to say we were not looking forward to it. I thought I was going to die of fright! Andy and Colin gave us all a bit of a serious talking to. We did each section slowly, stopping before the next one and getting another talking to in how to get down in one piece.
Be warned, Colin will sing Jaws music as he goes past you!
We bypassed the really scary rapids by carrying the kayaks around it and we stood and watched Colin and Andy do it instead. We did do Chain Link Bridge rapids though. Holy swear words that has to be the biggest rush I have had for a looong time! Words really can't describe it, only that when it's time to get off the river, you wanna go back up to the top and do it all again.
So big thanks to Andy and Colin for putting up with 12 of us novices, fantastic instructors with patience of saints.

Great course.


This was a great course. Will was a really good instructor who knew Snowdonia really well and had loads of experience. When the weather turned bad he took us gorge walking which was really good fun. The centre is set up so well for adventure holidays - nothing is ever rushed. The catering was fantastic and the rooms and facilities very clean. Although not cheap, the course was very good value

Amazing Introduction


The quality of instruction was incredible, the instructor-student ratio was great. The locations were awesome. All the equipment you could need. Lovely accomodation in an amazing setting. Lots of fun, I would definitely recommend it :) Only drawback was the level of variety in the group members' needs which needed to be taken into account when planning the day.

Varied & pragmatic


This 2-day course had a day on a lake refreshing key paddling skills, towing, and rescues, followed by a day on day's journey on the N. Anglesey coast.
For the skills day I appreciated Dean's pragmatic approach to focussing on a few key skills, cutting out some of the more elaborate stuff you see elsewhere; and explaining the "why", not just "do this".
The day ended with a trip planning session for the next day, where we worked through the implications of tide & wind, having picked a location.
It was very instructive to experience those factors in real life, having had Dean's descriptions of what to expect (e.g. wind at headlands). Helps me to put verbal descriptions into some context. A nice side effect of PyB's equipment stock was I was able to try a different kayak each day to feel the different handling etc.
This was a full weekend, but avoided information overload.

Superb Week

Max Taylor

Absolutely fantastic week. The thing that really makes the week is the experience of the instructors. We had Dave R as our instructor and he had so much knowledge of the area. The weather forecast looked grim for the week but Dave managed to find the areas of dry rock on every single day. We could also show him a picture of any climb in north wales, or point out a random bit of rock on the side of the road and he could tell us the name of the climb and how good it was to climb. If you are thinking of doing this course, then definitely do it! I am certainly coming back next year.

Fantastic five days

Matthew Jones

Activities and instructors were amazing, the food and especially the cake at 5 pm was great, will defiantly be going back to do another course and had a grant time and made some new friends with like minded people.



This was an excellent course. No classroom theory, just straight out into where it matters and practicing/learning on the ground, in the rain ;-). Had some stunning walks, ascents, views. This course assumes previous knowledge, and I think is perfect for those that can already navigate but want to hone their skills or learn important points they may have been missing. The instructor (Martin) was excellent and let everyone do their own thing as well as making sure they were safe and learning the skills needed. Everything covered was pertinent and to the point. Great course. Great accommodation. Great food. Will be coming back for more.

Brilliant course


Brilliant course, very flexible and as there were only 3 people in our group they tailored it to exactly what we wanted. All the kit - wetsuits, cagoules, spray decks, helmets were provided by the centre and you could swap kit during the week to suit weather or planned activities. Lots of tuition and chance to try different boats for different conditions.
Thanks Andy and I hope to come back for another course.

A great experience

Nicola Sztuka

I had a great weekend with my two girls on this course. Andy was a great instructor - very patient and understanding of some of some of the unexpected fears young children have when with learning a new activity.
Although I completely understand why we went out on the open water first, my youngest daughter found this daunting and was more comfortable in the pool and in the enclosed lagoons and by the jetty on the lake. It may be worth considering switching activities if there are young children who have never been on open water before. Other than that, it was perfect and we would definitely try this or something else again.

Great Guide and Course

Dave Bolton

Chris our guide did a great job on skills transfer he also made the course more enjoyable by lending me a left handed kayak paddle. Food was very good and plenty of it. Only comment would be that it should be easier to book a room for single occupancy. Not being able to do this would be the only reason why I would not attend further courses.

Climber gets spanked on bruvers

Mick Jones

Mike was an affable and very patient trainer who offered great tips and then empowered you to put them into practise on the climb. However, he was ready to step in if he could see I was struggling. Course was great and bespoke to my needs. Mike was really receptive to where I was at as he had gone through this to get to where he is. He gave good advice on next steps. My confidence was boosted and I came away with a load more tools in the box to help me move forward. Absolutely loved it. Thanks Mike - you're a legend!

Exhilarating 2 Days

Keith Horlock

We had 2 days of grade 2 and grade 3 scrambling. There were 4 of us on the course/holiday and we were split into two groups of two with a leader for each group. This meant that we had very close contact with our leader at all times and the instruction and attention to safety was very good at all times.

Thanks for a great week of biking

Benjamin Bird

The instructor (Pete) was a very capable guide and gave some really good advice. I really enjoyed exploring some of North Wales' best trails with him and thought that the week could not have been better (unless we had better weather). The level of riding was perfect and I found that I could push myself to new levels and make my basic skills stronger. Food and great accommodation with a good range of fun evening activities meant the week lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Finally the centre always had a great atmosphere about it with friends staff and lots of new friends to make. Many Thanks once again.

Be The One Doing It!

Guy Boardman

I've seen the brightly coloured specks up in the hills and wondered how much fun they are having? How difficult would it be?
I joined the Scrambling course to acquire more of the skills I will need for much bigger trekking and climbing mountains . . . later.
But the coolest thing is 'being there, doing that' and climbing ridges and gullies that I might never have tried to tackle. . . and gazing down on the picnic woofers and caravan parkers, all looking up at me and wondering.

Martin, Harry and Ann were professional, knowledgeable, careful, patient and enthusiastic. "Set your own challenge" said it nicely; pick the route that you feel safe on knowing you are learning as you go.

Centre was great, staff helpful, chocolate cake awesome!

Back soon for more, picnic not included!!


A Week of Firsts

Emma Foxley

I was slightly concerned that the course was a geared up to tweak those with a current moving water roll into a bombproof version. A call to PYB prior to booking help clarify the prerequisite.

My group had 4 people with varying aspirations and standards in their rolling success rates, one sided or both etc. That we all got very individualised coaching and guidance was a credit to our instructor, James.

As a slow learner once underwater or stressed by the environment I’ve been looking for help turn a pool set up roll, with some dodgy habits, into something I would be willing to try in unplanned circumstances. It seemed I had no natural inclination to try to roll and the swims as a result were holding my paddling back, bruising me mentally and physically. My initial hope, on booking, was that by the end of 5 days spent in and out of water the course would help me rewire my very strong desire to bail no matter what. If at the end I could come away with an inclination to try and roll it would be a huge step. As it turned out the week delivered so much than that.

We had a solid first day in the pool, then some outdoor play mixed up with smaller sessions in the pool. The mix worked well for me as pool alone I found tiring and then potentially frustrating with no escape when it didn’t go so well. The thought of playing was also a big step as it’s something I generally avoid it as swimming /draining boats has little appeal. Turns out in the right environment it can be fun.

My breakthrough day came on Thursday. That morning we had agreed on a quick hour in the pool with a shorter day outside at Mile End Mill after. In that pool session working with James on some of my underwater confidence areas turned out to be good preparation for the river session. Later, on the Dee was my first ever attempted to roll unplanned. A big moment. That would have been good enough for the week. But two unplanned rolls later that day and Friday, with tries on all the other capsizes just capped everything off. I could not have asked for anything more out of the week.

Since returning home I’ve continued to hit new firsts; playing with the risk of a capsize on some easy water. First ever attempts and successful rolls on Lee Valley Legacy course, previously a nemesis environment I wasn’t keen to return to. I’m aware it’s still a work in progress, with practice required and as ever the head game needing most work. At some point I may learn to dwell upside down long enough for an eskimo rescue or succeed with a high brace. But I’ve come away with new tools to work on what I wanted to, and am also aware I need to employ these in manageable chunks in places that won’t stress me.

I would strongly recommend the course. Having gone on clubmate’s recommendation to me it was everything I thought it would be, and more.

great holiday


Had a great time learning lots about trad climbing in wonderful surroundings. The accommodation was excellent, waking up every morning with a lake view was fantastic. The food was plenty and the variety was good.
The instructors (Simon and Dave) were very knowledgeable, explained everything that we wanted to learn they tailored the course to fit our experience levels, boosted our confidence to climb safely. Went out every day to a different crag with different types of rock different scenery. Even added some self rescue when the rain did not allow us to climb outside which was very handy to learn.
All in all I had a great time, would most definitely go back for more :)

Fantastic week out in the hills


I was looking for a course to help improve my confidence in navigation and mountain skills and this course was perfect. I was a bit nervous about coming on my own but it seems that this is very common as all 6 of us had come along individually. We were all about the same level based on our nav skills, some with more experience in the hills than others. I definitely had less experience but our instructor was very skilled in making sure everyone had a good day out in the hills and we all took away what we wanted from the week. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone at times, but in a way that I don't regret because I feel like it's made me more confident in the mountain environment. The overnight camp was a highlight for me and that night you also do you night navigation which was quite a unique experience! We also incorporated scrambling routes into our days and some rope work which was very useful. Our instructor Ross was fantastic.

Overall, the PYB centre is very good. There is ample food and free access to the climbing wall.


S & S

We have just come back from a fantastic weekend at Plas Y Brenin. Our instructor Dave was patient, skillful and very knowledgeable, or to use his CLAP mnemonic:
Considerate: although there were only three of us in the group, all of different standards, he taught us the skills we wanted to learn and that Communication in a tandem was very important. Laughs: it's a serious course, where we were taught the necessary skills to navigate rivers confidently, whilst in full control of the canoe. However we also laughed a lot, especially when we sailed across the lake(pink and yellow sail)as a tandem with the two canoes tied together, whilst one of us was playing the ukelele and we all sang along. Very surreal!
Anticipation: we knew what we wanted to learn, but didn't anticipate, that with the right skills and techniques, we also gained the confidence to canoe white water safely.
Personable: Dave is full of amazing and crazy stories, but he always had time to talks things through very patiently and skillfully showed us what we had to do.
Thanks for yet another great course!

Can't wait to get back for more

James Tozer

We had an amazing time with Rob for three days in the Alps around Chamonix - learnt an enormous amount, and went from being complete novices to having enough confidence and skills to attempt some Facile and Peu Difficile routes on our own.
Rob was a great instructor, very easy to get along with, very clear about what we needed to know, and great fun as well. We'd recommend this course to anyone looking to begin some mountaineering, and can't wait to get back to the Alps next year for more.



Good 5 days instruction & practice


Very good 5 day course starting with the basics of navigation while out walking everyday. Hardly any time inside, mostly all day on the hills learning and using basic navigation. Also spent a day scrambling up Tryvan which was a great last day. Beautiful location and walks. Be prepared for full days on the hills.

It never rains in Wales!


Our weeks scrambling course was truly blessed with fantastic weather. From the minute I arrived all the staff were so helpful, the accommodation was first class as was the organisation of the whole course. On the first morning of our course we met our leader who asked each of us what our objectives were and by the end of the week they were well and truly met. Cath was our leader and her subtle way of teaching and giving us confidence to go further was a true quality that I believe make the staff at PYB so special. Everyday was well thought out and every evening I came back feeling I had achieved more each day. Our group had a great sense of humour and when we had more demanding but achievable scrambles to tackle 'Team Cath' just got on with the job with a great big smile at the end of it. I can thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who wants to go further than walking the normal marked walkers path, it certainly has inspired me to reach the summit through more interesting routes.
A very big thank you to Cath for everything, especially for always keeping us safe and bringing us off the mountain in time for tea and cakes! Ready to book my next course now. Thank you all.

Good instructor

Steven Williams

Thanks to Will for a great weekend of climbing. His high level of safety has set a good standard for me to follow when I'm rigging ropes for climbing and abseiling.
An added bonus was his knowledge of geology and local plants and flowers

Pretty much 'on the nail'.

Trevor Brewster

We decided to join two friends on this course (Liz Davis/Pete Carter) as we'll probably be meeting in the Alps this year. I and my wife (Sue Fox) have done some scrambles and 4000ers before at lower grades and felt we needed to hone our skills. The guides (Dave and Paul) were excellent and split us into 'natural' groups. Paul who we worked with mainly was excellent both technically but also socially. I felt that he rapidly identified our strengths and weaknesses (eg that I am a very rusty climber and was glad of the top-rope). I felt that even on this short course there was no hiding place and that he had the dynamics of our two pairs sussed from the start. He was both challenging and supportive but also perceptive.
If there was any criticism (and I am nit-picking)it was that the 'plenary' sessions could have done with a little more managing. Some members of our party were more vocal than others and dominated the sessions. I felt a little sorry for the younger members of the course who didn't get much chance to speak and may have (wrongly) assumed that we were more experienced.
I (we) felt much clearer about some of our practices by the end of the course and from my point of view perhaps have a much more realistic view of my own abilities. I felt I had had a good value weekend both in terms of a learning experience but also good mountain days in good company.

Great in every way

James Thomas

Friendly staff at the centre. Supportive and confidence-giving instructors (Alex on Saturday, Dave on Sunday). Wonderful food - the roast pork with fennel especially - on Saturday night.

A good all round course

Steve Schooling

With this particular course there were just the three of us, thus the instructors, Simon & Niels could devote considerable time to developing our skills. In this instance we all agreed that our map reading was something that needed to improve. So, in effect, we spent five great days honing our skills with a wild camp on the Wednesday evening as well a becoming more familiar with understanding the weather and forecasts and how these effect a planned day/s out in the hills.
Map reading is what suited our small group but don't be afraid to ask to cover other topics such as clothing, equipment, camping, what to pack in your rucksack etc. The ability to read a map is crucial but depending on your level of ability and confidence you might want advice on other aspects as well.
Needless to say the course is great value for money. Three good meals a day, the hire of almost any kit, comfy rooms and a great atmosphere. A small shop has recently been added to the stores and is well worth a visit.
All in all a week well spent and I'll be sure to return.

Great course!!!

Martin Dyson

Very well put together course with the added bonus of the stunning views of the snowdonia mountain range.
Course Director, Olly was absolutely superb! Couldn't of asked for a better guy to show our group the ins & outs of the art of Navigation.
Myself walked away from the centre after the 2days feeling satisfied with what I'd accomplish.
Worth every penny! ✌️

Fantastic course

Stephen Chapman

This course delivered exactly what I needed. I have done a little rock climbing 10 or so years ago but always as a follower with no teaching so what I wanted out of this course, along with climbing, was to get to grips with all the rope work that is involved. This course did precisely that, day one we headed out to the crags after breakfast having collected a hearty packed lunch and our gear where Mike, our instructor for the weekend, set up a couple of pitches for us. We were shown the correct method of belaying while also being able to get onto the rock straight away. As the day went on we progressed as more information was given both for climbing and the equally important belaying. Day two saw us heading to a second crag where we built on what we had learned on day one this time with us primarily placing the gear at the top of the routes. All in all this was a great course, Mike really knew his stuff (as expected) and was really chatty, friendly and always complimenting on a job well done. The facilities at the centre are excellent, the food is simple but wholesome and well cooked (oh and plenty of it). The rooms are again simple but well done and lets face it you are probably only going to fall asleep in there. A great place and I will be returning.

Just what it said on the tin.

Chris Morris

This course was perfect for what we needed, which was to learn the basics of placing gear, setting up anchors, belays etc so we can start climbing independently (on easy routes of course...). Donald, our instructor got the balance between instruction and practice dead right and was there with all the right feedback. We had a lot of fun and will be back before long for more courses.

Superb experience


I came to the course to acquire the skills and confidence to start trad leading and left with exactly that.
Our guides were not only very experienced but also superb in passing this experience on. Having a 2:1 ration of participants to guides allowed for a very tailored course.
The Plas Y Brening center was an experience in itself.
Fantastic setting, nice rooms, good food, good facilities and an extremly friendly communal feel.
Will be back!

Instruction was excellent.

Neville McBain

The location is fabulous, the facilities at PYB are very good, the food was great and most of all the quality of instruction was excellent. I was fortunate to be in a small group so we had personally tailored instruction from the first day but I would imagine that the same level of care and attention is paid to larger groups. The pace of instruction, the learning of skills and their practical application, the level of challenge and personal stretch, the confidence-building, the attention to safety were all spot on. It was a very enjoyable week that I would recommend highly to anyone wanting to advance beyond level 1 scrambling.

Great place and experience gained from course

John Smith

Enjoyed the course and the location is beautiful and the course instructor Neils was just brilliant and very knowlegeable.
Only negatives found were:

1. The TV in the room on Freeview kept losing signal intermittently whilst making 'popping noises' which was annoying.
2. The packed lunch you help yourself too to take on the activity does not include a bottle of water and should do.
3. The check-out times (10am) are not appropiate on the last day as there is still a full day of activity to complete. The morning is busy enough getting in breakfast before the activity but then you also have to clear your room out. Ideally you should be able to check-out after the course even if it is in the evening. I know there are staff shower rooms avaible that you can use after the course but it is the fact you have to vacate all your personal belongings in the morning when you are busy as it is.
4. It would also be nice to have an evening meal too on the last day as the courses can be quite demanding after a full day and to start the long journey back home so it would be nice along with the tea and cake that is already offered!
5. The store room could do with more exterior clothing and sizes for extreme weather conditions which may be required for the course.
6. Lastly, the course Discover Naviagtion was educationally enjoyable and using maps and navigating with a compass but I must stress that it is not as described and is quite demanding as you are going up steep and sometimes trecherous hills which the course does not mention so this should be clearly mentioned.

Regain some confidence and find my smile

Alex Carney

Being 42 and not having ridden much after breaking a few bones in a cycling accident several years ago; I was after a course to help me regain some confidence and find my smile. With the help of Chris and Plas y Brenin, that is exactly what happened. I had done a fair amount of road cycling and some gentle off road stuff, but nothing extreme. The two days have helped me to discover just what I can do, and what I’m not quite ready for. There was about half an hour where I decided that this wasn’t for me and chose to push my bike. I needed to see that. I wasn’t expecting to find myself rear wheel hopping backwards off Snowdon, but I do now have the basic skills that I need in order to get back out there and start having some fun. Thanks guys.

No more rolling!

Terry Speed

Chris - our course tutor was encouraging from the onset!
I have been rolling a lot of obstacles that in the past I would of tackled without thinking (big falling off some months ago!).
Chris assessed my skills and immediately began to reinforce my existing skills, tune what I was doing right and wrong!
I went away feeling a lot more confident and wanting to go to my local trails and practice!!
Thanks Chris, and a special thanks to Colin who took us to a new down hill route - I'm confident I would havef done this a lot quicker if it wasn't for those pesky walkers and sheep lol!!!

The Best Instructors

Sean Harris

We were a mixed group of paddlers. The instructors quickly assessed our abilities and expectations and provided a program that everyone in the group would benefit from. I am returning to kayaking after many years break as my children are beginning. We all gained significantly from the instruction given.
The accommodation was high quality and the food was great.

If you're not falling off you're not trying hard enough...

Martin Knight

An excellent weekend with two superb instructors (Chris & Denry).

I saw the course advertised on facebook as a last minute deal 24 hours before the course started so booked on the spur of the moment.

I was very impressed with all aspects of my time at PyB, particularly with Denry & Chris who were good fun, highly knowledgeable and worked hard to push everyone further. The en suite room was great, food good, beer, coffee and views from the bar memorable. I learned a huge amount that I have already been able to apply to my riding and I haven't fallen off since.

I am currently talking to other members of my local cycling club about coming back to do the course (or something similar) as a club booking.

The only 'notes' I would give to Pyb would be a greater investment in AV gear. An important part of the course for me was the video playback debrief so better cameras, tripods/flexipods would be perfect.

Brilliant week - real progress made, skills developed.

Steve P

PYB deliver again. This was my third course as I begin my paddling adventure and it was the best yet. The real highlight is the instruction from Andy. His natural enthusiasm for paddling is clear and never fades throughout the week. Andy provides clear coaching and skills/drills that are tailored to the group and individual alike. He also recognizes the needs of the individual and importantly how they are feeling at any point through the week as energy levels and confidence vary. This personal attention creates an environment for learning, provides confidence to push on and best of all a really great time on the river.

Thanks Andy for a great week, thanks PYB for another great course.


David Adler

Just excellent all around, thank you so much. Matt was our climbing instructor and he was just terrific.

Breezy week...

Mark Watlow

Very enjoyable course. Weather was fairly rough, yet instructor managed to find options appropriate to the ability of the group. Came away feeling I had learned new theory & mastered new skills, as well as cementing already existing knowledge & skills. Leader was knowledgeable, approachable & supportive in his leadership Food was great. Beds a bit small & mattresses not the most comfortable. I will be returning for further courses & would recommend you to others.

Brilliant 2 days - well worth it

Bob Wilson

Just back from a brilliant couple of days at PYB. The Performance Climbing courses they do are a fantastic way to help you spot weaknesses and build on strengths. Our instructor, Dave Rudkin, really put the two days together well, helping me to address the area I most wanted to (ie. placing gear on E1 terrain). Despite really variable weather, we spent at least 12 Hrs on dry rock plus a coaching session in the wall. Amazing to get so much in. Thank you again!

All the alpine fundamentals

Matt D

A fantastic and intense weekend of learning all the essential skills for keeping you safe in the alps. With great instruction on the first day it was easy to quickly learn how to rope up and move together at the centre and then put it into use on the second day. We also covered prussiking up a rope (great fun!), crevasse rescue, route finding and guidebooks, good footwork and even a bit of abseiling.
The instructor was incredibly experienced and knowledgable and it was very useful to be able to ask them all the little questions that come into your head throughout the weekend, especially regarding kit.
Definitely recommend this course as it's great to have the basic skills nailed before you're out in the alps, giving you more time to go explore.

Great course


Booked onto the course to see if I could pick up any tips or methods to improve my trad climbing and wasn't disappointing. Despite the miserable forecast, Dave's local knowledge was great and we managed to get two full days of climbing done (one day in sunshine). Covered basics of a structured approach to training, practiced gear placement and got lots of handy tips along the way and got dragged up some much harder stuff than we were used to to see gear placements, rest positions and tactics.

Overall well worth the time.

Cannot recommend highly enough!

Rowan Austin

Being far too lazy, I very rarely bother to leave reviews, but in this case I feel compelled to.

This is a brilliant course.

I had a kayaking holiday booked to the White Nile in Uganda, the destination for BIG white water, three weeks after taking this course. Ambitious for a novice/intermediate kayaker. However, to get the best from Uganda, I really needed to be able to roll - or face a huge number of very long swims.

Before this course, I had tried various hour-long sessions here and there, with various outfits and different club coaches, and some efforts on my own in the pool.

So I knew what I was trying to do, and I could just about roll on my onside, but with relatively little confidence and about a 50% success rate - and no offside roll at all.

In fact before I started the Rolling Clinic, I told the PYB instructor I very much doubted I would be able to roll on the offside, whatever his efforts.

So, I invested the time, effort and money in a PYB course, not really knowing much about it.

It was absolutely fantastic. Good food and accommodation, but more importantly an excellent instructor, who was supportive and hugely perceptive picking up on even the tiny minor things that can affect the success of a roll. The video analysis was extremely helpful, and the balance between pool work and analysis was just right.

By the end, I had reached the stage where I was rolling 100% of the time on the onside, using different types of roll, in a variety of different kayaks. Incredibly, because I never though I would be able to, I also got to 80% effectiveness on the offside too.

How did this work in terms of transferring this to Uganda, and combat?

I explained to my instructor out there that I had done a rolling clinic but never rolled in combat, in moving water. Fast forward a couple of days, and he was amazed at how well I could roll (especially as I was capsizing a fair bit)! When we discussed the PYB course he mentioned that he would recommend it to others to enable them to get the best from their holiday. I did swim a handful of times in those two weeks, but generally only in pretty impossible situations. So the roll I learned at PYB got me up an unbelievable number of times...and I even managed an offside roll in the middle of a raging class IV rapid!

If this sounds boastful it is not meant to be, I am trying to paint a "before and after" picture as the credit really goes to PYB, not me...

So it goes without saying that I would hugely recommend the Rolling Clinic. If you want to learn how to roll, this is the way to do it - in my opinion, much better than a brief session here or there. I got WAY more out of it than I expected, and this was proved by my experience on the Nile.

Thanks very much to PYB - this helped make my experience in Uganda absolutely amazing.

Just keep Rolling along

Neil Jordan

This is the course if you want to consolidate your roll and/or take it to the next level. Expect to spend a couple of days out of the 5 in the pool and the rest of the time out in the rivers or the surf. We combined rolling with great whitewater days on the Llugwy and the Dee.
Chris Evans, our coach, was brilliant helping us individually with our rolls and also our whitewater paddling. He was unfailingly enthusiastic even when standing in the chilly water of the Dee in a leaking drysuit!!
Just a warning that the course is intense and both physically and mentally tiring so anything you can do to ensure you arrive with a good level of fitness and flexibility is going to help you get the most out of your time.

What a weekend

Matthew jones

The course was amazing learnt a lot to improve my biking. The coaches were amazing is an understatement for them what a bunch of guys couldn't of asked for mores helpful guys..
Carn't wait for next years big ride .... 😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃😃


Clive Howell-Williams

Just like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all at PYB for the Big Ride (organisers, coach's, helpers, Scott bike's, kitchen staff & even the cleaner's) for making the big ride weekend such a success it was very well organised and ran very smoothly.
I found it very helpful and hopefully I'll be able to keep practicing and master all the useful coaching tips I was shown.
The only 2 thing's that could of been better was the weather and my car not breaking down and needing towing home!
Thanks again hope to join you for the next one. :-)

How not to scare yourself !!!

Frank Scott

Excellent course with two days of practical training on the mountain with an excellent instructor Matt Stygall. Starting with route finding & progressed through ridges & gullies to Glyder Fawr & Tryfan respectively using new found skills. As usual an excellent selection of kit, Scarpa Charmoz boots suited me perfectly, to try out. Just need to get out there now & practice what I've learnt.

Taught in a way that really sticks with you.

Had a great time.

The food was good and the sleeping quarters were clean and comfortable. The actual centre was well equipped and was easily able to supply me all the paddling equipment we needed.

The course itself was also good.
The locations were quite beautiful along with being ideal for what we were learning (if a little cold).
The teachers were both friendly and competent, I felt safe practising risky procedures around them and they taught in a way that really sticks with you. They were also very helpful in making sure I was comfortable. At one point there was some rapids to kayak and you were given the option to paddle it or do riverbank safety for it. You're not forced to do anything, refusal just means that you're making safety based choices which is good.

The Big Ride Feedback

John symmons

Really enjoyed the weekend and feel my skills are vastly improved. Non-res so can't comment on facilities massively but majority were entirely adequate. Better/more bike wash facilities would save queues and frustrations. Adam Harmer instructed on all 4 sessions and deserves a mention. Excellent instructor big thanks. Perhaps the port unity to do 4 sessions of skills or 4 of trail work (more flexibility) might be a benefit. Why not offer SCOTT bikes to all rather than a bit of a free for all?
Overall a great experience, see you again!

Fun, Informative and Inspiring

Joseph Standen

I don't think I could have gone anywhere better than PYB to get started rock climbing.
I had some previous experience on indoor walls but having the opportunity to climb on some great crags out in the country with great views at the top, I'll find it hard to go climbing indoors again.
Our instructor was brilliant, very patient and explained everything in detail. He took us to some great crags and really gave me the confidence and knowledge to be able to go out and go climbing with my friends.
"The weighted foot will never slip"

Never been climbing, bit scared of heights? Don't let that stop you.....

Paula Redman

The forecast was for amazing weather and I fancied a bit of a challenge, so I looked on the last minute discount page, saw the 'get started rock climbing' and signed up last minute on a bit of a whim. I took 'no experience necessary' literally... I'd never been on an indoor wall and, with the exception of a few trees, I'd never done any outdoor climbing either. Oh, and I'm not that great with heights either, but I figured we'd get tied to something and I'd be facing the rock most of the time, so it's not like I'd have to look down....

I was the novice amongst the novices, but everyone, not just the instructor, was really encouraging. Our instructor Dave had been climbing pretty much since he could walk, and his passion for the sport was evident. For me, being taught by somebody that loves what they do is a big part of the experience - their enthusiasm rubs off on you too - but as a complete novice you also want to trust the person that is teaching you. Dave was constantly checking our knots and devices and explained everything in a way that was easy to understand. I may have struggled more with the actual climbing than everyone else, but within two days I lowered myself over the top of a 25m cliff, climbed to the top on several 15m pitches and even took in the view half way up a rock face! In terms of knot tying, belaying, set-up and safety, I was just as good as everyone else by the end of the two days. I loved the bouldering session - a really useful part of the course that allowed us to practice foot placement and attempt fun challenges whilst only a few inches off the ground. Much of the challenge of rock climbing for me was psychological - trusting the tiniest bump as a foot-hold a few inches above the ground is far easier than trusting it several metres up - but I still managed much more than I thought I would. I think we all ached at the end of the course, but it was totally worth it - I've already chatted to a couple of friends that climb about going bouldering...

A Great Course!

Rachel Woodward

A great course, tailored to individual need with experienced and motivational instructors. Lots of different rock and climbing styles. Instruction on mental and physical aspects of climbing to take you to the next level. And an amazing sunny and warm week!

Hard work but totally worth it!


Fun two days spent at two different climbing locations. Day 1 was spent learning the basics of climbing and belaying and then Day 2 built on that but also added in how to tie the ropes and anchors safely. Dave our instructor was very knowledgeable and patient. He gave lots of useful tips (and little rhymes to help us help us remember those tips!) and was always reinforcing the safety aspect of everything we did. I now feel confident in venturing outside away from indoor rock climbing. I would definitely book again with pyb :) Especially if they can arrange the weather to be as sunny as this weekend!

Brilliant 5 days

Frithe Johnson

This was an excellent course, the coach was top notch, the accommodation comfy and warm, the food plentiful and tasty and the beer great! Can't wait to get back on the water. Highly recommended.

an ideal course for improving technique, confidence and experience

Jonathan Gregory

This course was exactly what I needed to improve my competence and confidence as a trad lead climber on crags and mountains. It was immensely helpful to spend so many hours actually leading, at grades which were challenging for me, with the instructor alongside giving advice, feedback and encouragement about gear placement, climbing, and other aspects of technique. My climbing partner and I took the same course and we appreciated the experience it gave us of climbing multi-pitch routes together. The evening sessions on building belays and climbing efficiently were very useful too. The whole course benefited from the friendly environment of Plas-y-Brenin, good tea and cake, and continuous excellent weather, although the last aspect cannot be guaranteed.

What an amazing week!


What an amazing week. 5 days of blue skies and sunshine, and I learned so much! From single pitch climbs and starting to learn about gear placement on Day 1 to Multipitch climbing high above the Llanberis Pass on Day 5. The instructors were brilliant - judging the level of challenge and support perfectly throughout. I'd barely climbed outdoors before coming on this course, and now feel confident to go out to the crag and put what I've learned into practice.

Excellent, comprehensive coverage of teaching and coaching indoor climbing

Patrick H

The course consists of CWA Training, FUNdamentals 1, FUNdamentals 2 and Foundation Coach Training run back-to-back. As such, it is a great way to immerse yourself in the subject and soak it all up for 5 days. The different courses are closely inter-related so there are strong connections between all of them and it's good to see how they relate in practice - but inevitably there is some overlap too.
On the positive side, taken individually each course was excellent with fantastic tuition and information. The duplication could be taken as a positive reinforcement of the learning.
On the other hand, there is probably an opportunity to make much more of this as a week long course by removing some duplication and making it more than just 4 courses bolted together. The same mandatory objectives could be met (in terms of MT and BMC training course criteria) but the scope of the course could be wider and deeper. This would probably be easier if attendance were based on it being a 5 day course rather than separate sections that people attend in isolation - there are other opportunities to do that.
The individual sections of the course get 5 stars, but as a whole I think it lost a bit because of duplication (hence 4 stars). Still a really good week, but it could be made into something even better.

Fantastic two day sport climbing course


Just completed the two day sport climbing course and cannot recommend it highly enough. Our instructor, Paul, was fantastic. He set the course at just the right level and tailored it to our needs and goals perfectly. Bad weather didn't get in the way (when it was raining too heavily Paul took us indoors for plenty of really useful and fun coaching on technique, stamina and climbing psychology). I learned a huge amount from all of Paul's tips and instruction - but at the same time he made sure we got stuck in and did loads of great climbing! Thanks Paul and PYB for a great weekend.

Great micro navigation refresher course for Summer ML assessment.


I was lacking in confidence with my micro navigation and thought that this course would help. I am very pleased to say that I was correct. After two days I was suitably 'refreshed' and the night navigation was a fantastic help. Going out on your own is very different from going out in a group, and I learned that I had a tendency to veer to the right. After this was pointed out I was able to correct myself. I am pleased to say that I sat my Summer Mountain Leader assessment in the Cairngorms and passed. I know that Plas y Brenin's help in micro navigation and night navigation was a significant help in me passing my Summer ML assessment.
Thank you!

Great Weekend

Fraser Gregory

Wasn't sure what to expect

David Done

Really wasn't sure what to expect from the Scottish Winter Mountaineering Course but after reading the great reviews decided to give it a go - and so pleased I did.
Although March weather was appallingly Scottish still got into the high mountain coirres and hills around Glen Coe using crampons and ice axes every day.

Our instructor Will, ably assisted by Karen, was brilliant - relaxed but very professional, encouraging us to try new challenging things in a safe way. Highlight was climbing steep snow / ice gulley at the top of Stob Coire nam Beith - really tested my resolve / nerve a few times but felt brilliant giving it a go.
Alltshellach is a great base - rooms clean and comfortable, food excellent, small bar and friendly, helpful staff.
Highly recommend this course to anyone with a spirit for adventure and a love of the mountains (and some good waterproofs!).
Yes, you do need to be fit as they are long days with big assents / descents - but not beyond most active people.
Give it a go, you won't regret it - I've certainly caught the bug for more mountains.

Welsh weather for skills on the hills!


Having booked this course to get some practise at walking in challenging conditions I should have been delighted with the weather over the 2 days. Saturday saw plenty of snow so gave the perfect opportunity to practise with the crampons & ice axe which was great fun & made me feel like a 'real mountaineer'. Sunday however was very, very wet & I'm very, very happy to say the day was cut short to return to base for tea & scones & watch instructional films instead. I would thoroughly recommend this course & will definitely be returning to Plas y Brenin to sample another weekend of weather & walking!


Tim Gould

Thanks to PyB and our instructor Lou Tully for a great weekend of Welsh Winter Skills. I've wanted to do something like this for years. I'm also particularly pleased my sons now have the map & compass skills to navigate in the mountains. The PyB 'glacier' was great fun. Good luck to Tom for Nepal and Chris for the Pyrenees. Looking forward coming back to PyB in the near future.

Awsome course

Bill Johnson

The course covers the basic steps required to roll a kayak. however the attention to detail and continuous tweaks to adapt these steps to individual flexibility and body shape made the whole learning process both great fun and gave me a real insight into the mechanics of the roll. All the myths dispelled and the video reviews each day were a brilliant learning tool.
The course I was on had 100% of the students rolling successfully by the end. The instruction was absolutely first class with very personable and knowledgeable Guy who was so tuned in to what was going on at all times it was as good as having a one to one trainer.
What I found great was the lack of pressure which made it fun and my progress was then a natural progression as I learned each step finally being quite surprised when I did my first roll.
The rooms, food and facilities at Plas y brenin are all brilliant someone is listening to feedback because everything is really smooth in operation. Reception are very friendly and helpful and everyone made my stay a real pleasure. I will most definitely be back. My greatest respect to Chris the instructor, thanks again.

Great course

Len Wallace

Course was really good with some top tips for improvement from Paul Warnock (Instructor). After Day 2 I really felt like I had improved and had a good idea of what the assessment involved. The ride on day 2 was really good fun and a good test of fitness.

Got a lot out of my two days

Tom Meikle

Lou Tully was an excellent instructor she found snow when there was very little about. She adapted the days to suit the conditions and the groups mixed needs. I felt very safe at all times and got a lot out of my two days.
I enjoyed staying at the centre and would come back again.
Both myself and room mate were surprised to find we were sharing a room not sure this was made clear at time of booking. If it was it would be a good idea for reception to remind guest at check in so that one did not spread ones belongings out too much.

Excellent Course and Excellent Instructor

Chris Evans

An excellent course run by an excellent instructor. Although there was little or no brief prior to the commencement of the Masterclass course, Chris rapidly assessed what was expected from the four days and despite challenging conditions (strong winds, rain and sleet) expertly sought out locations in which to achieve the days objectives. Despite my initial apprehension on each of these days, Chris's judgement was found to be 'spot on', and my self-doubts were soon found to be baseless. The progress that I achieved as a result of his excellent guidance and client awareness was most rewarding. His honestly and openness concerning his own approach to stressful/demanding situations was particularly helpful in developing my own coping strategies in unfamiliar canoeing environments. Work in both single and double canoes further extended my experience beyond what was expected, and thereby broadened the scope of what was achievable in the future. I would have no hesitation in recommending Chris or paddling with Chris in the future - thanks for a great four days.

Can't wait to come back!

Eve Sullivan

I was slightly apprehensive about the weekend as it was chosen by a friend and I had reluctantly agreed to go along.
Wow, what a fantastic time I had!
I couldn't praise the centre and the instructor more.
There is a real sense of community in Plas y Brenin from all the fellow students to the members of staff.
The setting is idyllic, the accommodation spot on and the food was great.
All the staff are willing to assist at all times and with real enthusiasm.
I have now discovered a love for winter mountain walking and am looking forward to my next ice axe and crampon encounter.
I think I might just be able to navigate my way up and down a mountain now too!
A big thank you to Plas y Brenin and my fabulous instructor Gareth :-)

A great experience at a great centre in superb location

Dom K.

We had the full winter experience - all the elements you could imagine, but thanks to our instructor Gareth, who did us proud, we had a great and safe time. Staff are all very helpful and friendly. Gareth gave very useful, interesting instruction, professional approach, but in an enjoyable way.
Kit hire was very good, organisation throughout the centre excellent too, as were the facilities. Rooms comfortable, food was superb! Evening presentations were really interesting - avalanche and Scottish mountain adventures by Greg. Would love to come again and hope my health allows it. 10/10 in all respects!

Top place, top instructor, top weekend.

Ignacio de Murtinho-Braga

First-timer at Plas y Brenin, but I definitely plan to come again. An amazing spot, run with heart by experts that love what they do, and want other people to love it too.
Gareth, our group's instructor, was inclusive and informative from the beginning. We were a varied group in terms of ability, fitness and temperament, yet with unflagging patience and humour, Gareth pulled us together and taught us, by example, that the most useful skills of all on any trek or expedition are people skills.
Many thanks also to Will and Christine who were on desk and driving duty; best of luck to you both for the future.

Amazing introduction to winter hillwalking!

Xiaosu Jiang

The course was brilliant. By the end, we were reasonably confident in walking up steep snowy/icy inclines with crampons and ice axe. The scramble up Tryfan was tricky but really satisfying. Learning how to use the rope in the hills was great fun. It far exceeded my expectations!
Everyone at Plas y Brenin were really friendly and helpful, especially our instructor. The food was fantastic, and just what you need when you spend all day trekking in the snow. The accommodation was clean and comfortable.
All in all, a great experience. I would highly recommend it to all those interested in hillwalking.

Crampon novice


I've just had 2 great days out in the very fresh air of Snowdonia, learning some new winter skills.
Day 1: A walk up to the summit of Moel Siabod, with my first go at using crampons and ice axe. Our instructor was informative, very encouraging/patient and great fun. The snow at the top of the mountain was fairly deep and so it felt like an alpine experience. The views were stunning and the weather wintery. A real sense of achievement for me personally.

Day2: A walk to the summit of Crimpiau. Today I learnt how to pace & guage distance, set OS map, take bearings and interpret OS map. It rained good & proper. What struck me today, was how good our instructor was at catering for the different abilities within the group - supporting those who were finding some of the paths tricky, but also challenging others to do more complex map work. Some lovely views again.

I feel energised, and can imagine making another visit - perhaps during the summer.

I would like to try the routes we tackled over the weekend and feel confident that I could do that safely.

Thank you Gareth!

I really enjoyed meeting the people who were on the same course. The facilities/food at PYB was fabulous. I enjoyed Greg's talk about Scotland.

A great way to spend a weekend! Thanks everyone!

Excellent course

Dave Green

Great instruction by our leader Greg. Had full on days getting out into the hills looking for snow and Ice. learning skills and then trying them out.
Good lecture on Avalanches.
Kit hire very good.
Accommodation and food excellent

Excellent introduction to Winter skills, crampons and walking axe

Steven Hunt

Excellent course instruction. The format was ideal being out on the hills most of the day and the instructors were very knowledgeable.
Being able to use the loan equipment was one of the most important deciders when booking the course as it gave me the opportunity to trial Winter skills without a large outlay for equipment. The centre facilities were of a high standard and provided a really pleasant experience.

Highly recommended if you are up for a challenge.

Jo Chell

What a super week I had and a full spectrum of winter weather to learn some new skills. I had never worn crampons but there was plenty of opportunity to get used to them with a fair amount of snow and ice on route. We also learnt some techniques for using an ice axe. Our guide was excellent, sharing lots of winter weather tips for the mountains.
I'm normally a summer hill walker (mainly the Lakes)and this week was challenging, but in a good way. A good level of fitness is needed, as I found you have to work much harder in winter conditions. Our longest day was around 23km and 5 peaks in the Carneddau.
I'll certainly do more winter walking now, but also recognise the winter conditions need lots of experience and more is learning needed for me. I'll be back to Plas y Brenin and thoroughly recommend them.






I would like to thank all involved for a good week

i will be attending further courses in the future and openly recommend the center to any outdoor people due to the high level of instruction and equipment that is on hand

The Big Winter walk review

Sue Low

The facilites and accomodation were great. I was informed that I would have to share a room. When I arrived there was a list of the walks on offer but none of the instructors knew any details about the walks or whether you needed any previous experience with ice axe and crampons as the conditions were snowy and icy. After making a phone calls one of the instructors provided us with more details. I would have liked each walk to be presented with details and maps of the area with amounts of ascent. The food was fab but there was limited amounts of each menu choice so the favourites ran out quickly. I would have liked to have chosen what I wanted the night before so everyone could have what they wanted. The lamb hot pot and cheesecake looked lush but both had run out by the time the queue had died down. The instructor was very good and I would come back to do another course. Hopefully my suggestions might be considered in the future.

Sue Low

Amazing Course

Dermot Maxwell

From the amazing view from the dining room, to the excellence of the instructors PYB did it again .

We were lucky to have winter conditions, climbing in and around the cwms in the Snowdon massif to a wonderful day up and over the Carneddi . We were guided by Olly and Gregg to achieve new skills and scramble in places we would never had considered , quite brilliant.

The eight of us ranged in age from 20's to erm a lot older - ok mid sixties!

Not a problem everyone muck in and helped each other. You do want to be fit though, we had three very enjoyable full on mountain days before a quieter day learning the skills of ice climbing before going up and over a cwm wall and back down again just to keep us in trim!!!.

Really recommend this course to help you gain the skills and confidence needed for winter exploration in the hills.

A great weekend at Plas y Brenin

Timothy Smith

My first course at Plas y Brenin and I can't wait to come back and do another !

The facilities were a real surprise - very luxurious and comfortable, and the food was great - plenty of choice and a lot of it. (I also enjoyed the bar - a bit too much!)

The real reason I came was to expand my skills to enable me to do more in my favourite mountains in Snowdonia - but in the winter. I have walked lot in this area, and really love it, but must admit being a little put off when winter came - I really wanted to get up there and take in the views - but didn't feel confident with ice axe and crampons, or knowledge of the conditions.

Our first day was spent with instructor Louise, who took us up from Cwm Idwall to the top of Y Garn, and then back down the other side to Nant Peris. Louise had time for everyone, despite our varying abilities, she advised us all on what equipment to select from the very amply stocked stores, and took the day at a very relaxed pace, but also took the time to explain as many winter skills (including practical use of ice axe and crampons) as possible during our walk.

Saturday evening was a real eye opener with guest speaker Stephen Venables talking through his astonishing life experiences and slide show.

The second day I opted for some training on navigation and instructor James took us into the woods at the base of Moel Siabod, we spent several hours rehearsing practical navigational skills before pushing on to the summit. Again James managed to pitch the training exactly right for our small groups experience and abilities, and delivered it in a very friendly and up beat manner.

I now feel a lot more confident about how to approach Snowdonia in winter, and how to use the equipment I already had, but was gathering dust in the garage, and my improved navigational skills are going to be useful all year round.

Spending a weekend at Plas y Brenin, surrounded by such fantastic scenery, with other people who love it just as much as I do was a dream, I will definitely be back (the winter ridges course sounds really good)- just got to convince my wife that the kitchen re fit will still get done this year as well ?

Lack of Programme

Mark Chapman

I was made aware on arrival that the content of the two days training would be weather dependent, none the less it would have been helpful if a programme of the relevant subject matter had been provided.
This could have been online and accessed beforehand, so as not to encroach on the physical mountain-day side of the training.
The two days could have done with being a more structured rather than giving the appearance of 'off the cuff'. Being made aware beforehand of what subject matter was being covered, would certainly been more beneficial to me in the learning process.
The instructors, accommodation, speakers etc were all top notch and what I would have expected from the National Mountain Centre.

Excellent and enjoyable course

Doug Bye

I went on this course to try out PYB with a view to doing a summer ML course there at a later date, and to accompany my son after a friend of his dropped out of the Winter Skills Course. Reception staff were very friendly and the room and facilities were excellent - we had a twin en-suite room which was very well equipped and very comfortable. The bar was our first stop after a long drive and although they do food in the bar, we arrived too late for that but enjoyed the beer nonetheless! Food throughout the weekend was of a very high quality and there was plenty of it - including cake at 5pm as the day's training finished. Saturday morning began with a briefings on safety and kit, before kit issue for any items we needed. The kitting store is very well equipped and it is an ideal opportunity to 'test drive' expensive kit (mountain boots, crampons, ice axe). The weather was ideal for the training, snow and ice on the ground both days, with snow and limited visibility on the Sunday as we bagged 3 summits over 2 days. Group sizes ranged from 4-6 plus instructor and the instruction was very comprehensive, allowing us to use the techniques and kit with confidence. The weekend also included lectures if you wanted to attend (which we did) and both were very good. Carl our instructor was great company and very knowledgeable. In summary this was a hugely enjoyable weekend for me and my son and we'll definitely be looking to go back to PYB for further courses.

Very Good

Stu Meese

Course was good and covered all the relevant topics

14 peaks - minus Crib Goch plus 2 extras = 15 peaks

Janet Johnson

This was a great week in Snowdonia. We booked the 5 days to get fit for ski touring, and found this was the challenge we needed. Despite coming home late two days in a row after summitting 4 peaks on day one, and 6 peaks on day two and a mixed week of weather and conditions, Cath Wilson our guide kept us to the schedule and our challenge of 14 peaks. Sadly on our final day up Snowdon, Crib Goch was too windy and my scrambling needs to improve. An excuse to return on another course.
Would recommend the challenge to anyone who wants to go up Tryfan along the heather terrace to emerge in the howling wind and snow as we turned to the summit and find Adam and Eve, hike up the Glyders in beautiful late afternoon sunlight, walk along the length of Carneddau range in light snow swirling around. Our extra peaks were Moel Siobad on a very windy day, and on day one - Foel-goch before Y Garn.
We'll be back to bag Crib Goch and the Snowdon horseshoe in the summer.


Matt Burgin

We took this weekend course to learn new skills and to confirm our current knowledge was sound.
Our instructor (Keith) was extremely knowledgeable and I felt completely confident with him guiding my son and nephew (and the rest of the party) into the snowy mountains.
We've never used crampons before - what a revelation-fantastic piece of kit!! Accommodation was great (similar to YHA)and the food was good and plentiful - tea and cake on immediate return from mountains is marvellous idea.
What we have come back with is confidence and a very serious thirst for more pyb weekends! Excellent! see you again soon. Cheers, Matt.

Winter Hillwalking

Janet Greenslade

This 5 day course was thoroughly enjoyable.
The staff at the centre who took us out on the hills were extremely professional and very knowledgeable.
I was impressed with their patience, positivity and "can do" attitude.
The accommodation is clean and comfortable. The catering staff were pleasant and the range of food available was very good.
I learned new skills from day 1 through to day 5, and brushed up on others that had been lodged in deepest darkest recesses.
I was taken out of my comfort zone in such a way that I found myself on one afternoon at the top of the climbing wall, something I had not anticipated or expected to complete - I have a particularly bad fear of heights, but after the initial shock wore off, I had a euphoric feeling of achievement such as I have not felt for many years.
Well done Dino and huge thanks to Paul for 2 fantastic days out.


Mari & Reu

We did the five-day course in mid-November as part of a group of 8 paddlers. Despite absolutely no rain we had a great experience and were really inspired to continue white water kayaking.

Due to the lack of rain we spent all five days on the river Dee, alternating between journeying down the river to Town Falls in Llangollen and spending time playing around the features at Mile End Mill. As we returned to the same spots our coaches Spike, James and Chris could show us different moves and advice us when redoing features, focusing on specific techniques. Two of the evenings were spent doing rolling clinics for those who wanted to get some advice from Spike and Chris. All three coaches were really approachable and encouraging. They were great at stretching you when you wanted, helping you with picking lines down features, trying out surfing waves and advising you on how to continue advancing your paddling after the course.

Aside from the great fun paddling, the centre itself provides all necessary creature comforts. As a couple, we had our own en-suite room with an easy drying rack. In addition we all got our own spot in the large drying rooms in the basements, where you can also do some laundry if necessary.

The food was hearty and delicious. Every day provided a new range of choice for a three course meal. Breakfast and lunch was also provided. We never went hungry.

In all, a superb, fun and enriching experience that has definitely left us better paddlers, given us new skills and much to work on for the future.


Mark Susca

Came not knowing what to expect, with an understandable level of apprehension both for the course and the group I'd be with. The group were great, good mix of people from very experienced to lesser so, either way it didn't matter. The course was fantastic and delivered in a way that no matter your level of previous experience you felt that you got a huge amount from it. The facilities are second to none and more than your monies worth, and that's just in food alone! You'll not go hungry nor will you feel you're not getting something from it about becoming a mountain leader. Had two amazing instructors, Simon Lake and Lou Beetlestone - different teaching styles but just awesome! Highly recommended... clue is in the title I guess - The National Mountain Sports Centre!

Absolutely Awesome...

Rich Vincent

... and thats just the cakes!! :) Seriously, it was an awesome week, in awesome scenery with awesome people and instructors and we even got to experience some pretty high winds and wintery showers to boot!
This didn't matter as it just added to the experience and the training. With limited experience compared to others in the group, I was a little apprehensive about whether I'd be able to take it all in. I didn't have to be, the instructors, Simon and Lou, were excellent and took us from the basics and built on that knowledge throughout the week. I learned a lot of new skills that I hadn't even tried before, such as rope work on steep ground and crossing a river. I left armed with what I need to work on and develop and have now set I time frame for my consolidation period before I had back to the Brenin for my assessment. Although I may be there sooner as have seen a couple of other courses I'd like to attend :)
As for the accommodation, it was clean, warm and comfortable. The food was excellent with various choices, friendly staff and the beer didn't go down too bad either!
The facilities were great with some of the group making plenty of use of the climbing wall, although I headed outdoors for a night run at the end of most days. The stores had plenty of equipment and clothing and took out some boots while mine dried dried out.
All in all it was a superb course and I'll be back for more.

Outdoor First Aid

Joanne Parker

The REC Emergency First Aid was everything I expected to be, a mix of outdoor scenarios and indoor teaching whilst in a friendly and supportive environment.
A range of topics were covered, from heart attacks to moving a casualty safely the information given was informative and memorable. The instructor, Mike, knew his stuff! From experience, shared knowledge and training others he was approachable and put everyone at ease.

I feel a lot more confident taking groups out on the hillside knowing that I now have the knowledge of what to do should an emergency occur. I would highly recommend this course and Plas-y-Brenin itself to anyone interested in staying safe outdoors. Five stars.

A wonderful weekend making the best of the conditions

Martin Bray

We had two demanding and rewarding days in North Wales, with good snow coverage on the Saturday, allowing an ascent from the Pass to Garnedd Ugain and then along Crib y Ddysgl and Crib Goch, to descend the demanding North Ridge. The weather on Sunday was warm and very wet, with strong winds, but Simon and Dave still took us up North West Face route in Ideal and then the classic Cneifion Arete - quite a day in those conditions. As ever, the instructors were flexible, attentive but also prepared to take us up climbs that challenged and developed our skills. Another great course at PyB!

highly recommended

Tim Spruell

Very good course indeed. Friendly and highly competent instructors, great accommodation and food. Cannot think of anything which could be improved!

Would highly recommend.

Excellent Weekend

Karen Jones

Initial booking was easy and the room was easy to locate, very nice warm room with all the essentials provided. All the information required to start the weekend was provided and the walks were displayed to tempt us. I decided to do a moderate walk on the Saturday up Moel Siabod. We were assigned Lou and she explained what we were going to be doing and the equipment we would need including crampons. I didn't borrow any kit but part of our group did and I think a few made mistakes with incorrect fitting boots, cold feet expand later in the day. I have never experienced walking on a boulder field before and felt very comfortable following Lou who was very calm and patient.
The following day the weather was less than pleasant so we decided to do the Llanberis Quarries, interesting tour then onto the quarries. Greg was a font of knowledge of the place and Mike very patient when I found the slate steps a bit daunting.
It would be nice to have a break out area where you can enjoy a drink in more comfortable seating, we did experience rather enthusiastic attendees who had been in the bar sometime and as a group we decided to relocate to one of our rooms.
Good food and plenty of it, excellent leadership and warm accommodation. I think our group will be back next year.

Amazingly fun


Really enjoyed the week, highlight of my year

Another excellent weekend from the PYB crew

Carl Sprake

Another excellent weekend from the Plas Y Brenin crew. And a weekend of two halves in terms of the weather. On the Saturday Rusty and Greg took us up the South Ridge of Snowdon in truly winter conditions. Although we did not need crampons, the ice axes were good to have, with deep snow on the ground. Crossing the ridge, covered in snow was a fantastic experience.

We got back to the center in time for mulled wine and mince pies. A quick (but powerful and hot) shower and we were ready for dinner. This being the big Christmas walk this meant the full Christmas dinner. As usual the PYB kitchen crew did a great job catering for so many hungry mouths.

Sunday dawned wet and windy. A few brave and hardy souls ventured up on to the Carneddau and Glyders but went with Lou and Carl to Cwm Bychan. Lou led the whole group from the car park at Pont Aberglaslyn up to the head of the valley, where Carl led us up to the summit of Moel y Dyniewyd. We did not linger as the wind was very strong. Instead we hastened to catch up with the rest of the group in Beddgelert, where we visited Gelert's grave and continued back to the bus via the Pass of Aberglaslyn - an interesting and exciting path next to the river.

Back to the bus and back to the center for a surprise. Despite having been to PYB for several courses I did not know they had separate showers available. So, having checked out of our room in the morning we were able to make use of the showers and refresh ourselves before heading home.


Kev Homewood

Highly recommended course, had tried for along time to roll, with little success. Chris's input was the final piece of the puzzle, rolling just before lunch on the second day.
Goggles and nose clip are a must, if you have your own kayaking gear, take it along (pool can be a little cold).
Food, accommodation and staff all excellent, will be using PYB again.
Thank you.

Quality Informative Course

Ryan Stamp

I attended the above course this weekend, I gave my feedback on the written feedback sheet that Spike gave out after the course.

I would just like to reiterate that I found the course very enjoyable, informative. The course content was excellent with the director and tutor (Mike & Spike) allowing the students to share ideas and working practices with eachother. The course was very student led which for the course and it's participants.

In the precess of the course, day 2 was a teaching day with mock students. The group that I worked with had a trainee from PYB as thier student, her name was Hannah.

Hannah gave some feedback on the sessions at the end of the day, however in the review process at the end of the day I would have liked some more detailed feedback from Hannah on my lesson with her.

Thanks for a great weekend.


Tailor made performance coaching

Ian Lambert

I enrolled on the Performance White Water Kayak course as an introduction to modern white water kayaking techniques and equipment (plastic boats!) after many years absence.

The course was excellent, everything I was looking for and totally flexible to different ability levels/aspirations.

Expert and perceptive coaching from Chris Evans maintaining the right balance of critique, motivation and fun. This combined with clear competence and guidance on safety, river and community behaviour.

Plas y Brenin is a superb venue in any event and able to manage variations in rainfall / water levels without compromise to the course.

Highly recommended.

No snow? Still go!

Marcus Blackburn

The final days of November 2014 - dry, sunny and no snow!

Day 1: In and around the center, theory and some practice.
Our instructor (Dave Kenyon - a very experienced mountaineer) made great use of the wooden railway sleepers to teach movement with crampons and ice axe. With the aid of plastic sheeting we were able to practice ice axe arrests sliding down the lawn. So OK, I still need to practice on snow - but I now feel able to do so.

Day 2: Out on the hills, Cwm Idwal on this occasion. An almost perfect proving ground for skills training. The lack of snow and ice meant we concentrated on improving security using a rope. Another great day.

In 2 days I feel I gained enough knowledge and practice to be safer on the hills in winter.

A small first step - but in the right direction. Great course - thanks Dave and PYB.

Really enjoyed the course


A perfect transition for indoor climbers. I feel confident and inspired. Excellent course - really reccomend.

MTB downhill skills course


Booked a weekend course with a friend. There was 1 other person on the course so 3 of us to 1 instructor. The instruction by Chris was very good. We used a purpose built skills course and later went out by bus/uplift onto open mountain trails which was great. Lots of useful tips as well as the actual instruction. Accomodation was fine. Food was OK but the canteen was rather cramped so eating wasn't a terribly pleasurable thing just a necessity. Beautiful surroundings. We were lucky with the weather which made all the difference. Overall a good weekend and would do it again

Just what I wanted

Bruce Matheson

The course was very well pitched for beginners such as myself. There was some basic instruction then out we went into Cwm Idwal to practise on the ridges and in the gulleys. The instructors coped well with one lad having a dizzy spell. Instruction continued through the day on a variety of terrain.

Food and accomodation excellent as usual.

Fantastic week


It was a fantastic week despite the truly terrible weather. The instructors were great; friendly, knowledgable and enthusiastic.

The course was a little hampered by a very bad week of weather. Despite that I learnt a huge amount and have definitely been inspired to try some more challenging routes in future. With some people in the group having climbing experience there was a real mix of experience in terms of rope work and other key skills. This variety in levels of experience was dealt with very well.

The centre itself is brilliant; nice food, comfy beds, and ultimately a clean, warm place to relax after a hard day out in the hills. It was also great to be able to try out kit from the stores over the course of the week. The various bits of kit I borrowed over the course of the week were in a good condition and certain a decent quality. My kit replacement wish list has certainly grown!

All in all a great experience and one that I would definitely repeat.

Fantastic and Thrilling 3 days riding

David Jones

Plas Y Brenin - Great Welsh Rides Mountain Biking, 3 days

Pros: Quality of staff. Diversity of riding, food, accommodation.
Cons: None

I attended the Great Welsh Rides course Wednesday 5th Nov - Fri 7th Nov 2014.

I usually do a 2-3 day solo mountain bike break each year. I saw a advertisement for Plas Y Brenin in Men's Health magazine and the prospect of riding a new area with guides with the opportunity for help with my riding appealed to me.

Leading up to the course the bookings and reception staff where friendly and attentive. They gave me advice on weather and what to expect on arrival. The course began with a relaxed introduction to the two guides/instructors over a cup of tea, discussing my abilities and what I expected from the 3 days. To my surprise the instructors were willing to give me advice on map reading and setting up my bike for optimum comfort, giving me tips on maintenance and bike adjustments.

The first day was like riding with two friends. The conversation was mixed with regular advice on riding style, techniques and tips. The second day was tailored to the inclemental weather by visiting a trail centre in sheltered woodland. The 50 minute journey there providing a fascinating insight into the local area.

The third and final day was the best, despite the wet weather. We were treated to uplifts at a fantastic trail centre called Penmachno allowing us a number of runs with very little uphill cycling.

Overall my experience at Plas Y Brenin was fantastic. The accommodation was comfortable and clean. The food offered enormous portions at a high standard. The staff were all friendly and accommodating. The senior instructor was by far the best I've had the honour of riding with, including rides with guides in France and the USA. His knowledge, patience, teaching skill and conversation skills I can't imagine there being better. His colleague who was a junior instructor had an enormous amount of riding and bike maintenance knowledge. The riding, from trails to cross-country, was world class.

Overall the combination of the quality of staff, the setting and quality of riding made my experience unforgettable. I learnt map reading, bike maintenance, riding technique, trail knowledge and improved my riding enormously, all in a beautiful setting with great people. I would recommend Plas y Brenin in a heartbeat and look forward to returning at the earliest opportunity.

ML training (summer)

nick dimmock

I was a little nervous about the training as ive not really done any training before apart from my 16hr first aid (with another company) but I was soon put at easy by Dave & Ross.
They were both very friendly & approachable with extensive knowledge of the outdoors in general no just about the ML training coarse.
PYB as a whole I was very impressed with as it was my first visit & I can honestly say I will visit again not only to do my ML assessment but just to stay when I want to explore the local area a little more, the food was great with plenty to go round, the room was great with everything I needed, PYB is very clean & tidy with all of the staff being very friendly.
The stores are very well equipped & I think its a great idea to be able to test out other gear.
Thanks very much to PYB & I will see you soon!!


Walking by day / music by night


This weekend was completely brilliant. ...I think what made it extra special was that not only did everyone there share a love of mountains and outdoors (which you get whatever you're up to at PYB) but for this event we all have a love of acoustic music in common too. As a result it's mega easy to chat and make new buddies all over the place!
The musical talent was superb but it's Worth noting that you don't need any musical skill to attend this weekend, just the appreciation :)
As usual, the food was superduper, the instructors were wondrous (Harry's ukelele rendition of Flight of the Conchords 'You got it goin' on' on the saturday night was pantwettingly funny), and the rooms were most marvellous and cosy.

A superb way to spend a weekend

Keith Cocker

What a great mix of music and mountains a superb way to spend a weekend, Al's organisation of the session on friday and the open mike concert on saturday was very good,the challenging walk up Glyder fawr on saturday was well led by Adam in difficult wet and windy conditions, sundays walk led by Harry up Snowdon was also excellent good company not so good weather, would recommend to all musicians and mountaineers. Well done PLAS Y BRENIN

Five Stars

Roger Utting

What did I like - Everything! The staff, the facilities, the stores and loan equipment/clothing, the drying rooms and especially the food.

A weekend of rough weather but still enjoyed

Thomas Sauka

The weekend was 60mph winds and rain but we still managed to get some scrambling in. It was a pleasure to be guided round and still learnt a bit. Not a total loss

ML “Refreshing Refresher

Joynul Ahmed

This was a very informative and helpful course all designed around the needs of the group.

We had to deal with challenging weather conditions 50-80 mph winds and rain, Just what we needed to remind us of the beauty of nature.

Our Instructor gave us good trip, pointers and suggestions that were real and useful for improving mountaineering skills, the best of which was to “book an assessment ASAP, as one will never feel completely ready for it.

Definitely recommend it to anyone who need to brush up on existing skills.

Well done

Stewart Shuttleworth

I thought the course was well done. Most people on it had some previous experience and were underpinning their experience in a learning environment which was conducive to it. The two leaders were able at putting across the decisions and dilemmas that one might already have faced and how you might go about solving them They drew upon the resources of the group in a way that drew it out. At the beginning of the weekend I was stressed with work etc and by the end of the weekend 'chilled' - so there's an outcome!

Informative and enjoyable weekend

Chris Leake

The instructors were excellent in assessing what the group could best do under the poor weather conditions and maximise the amount of information imparted. I learnt more in 2 days than the previous 10 years. The brief course gave confidence to be able to undertake Grade 1 scrambles and I look forward to applying what I've learnt.

Great week with plenty of variety


Fantastic week showcasing the best of north Wales - we packed in 3 days of river fun and 2 days in sea kayaks. All days were really enjoyable and I learnt loads from our instructor (Karl). Would recommend this week to anyone looking for fun in a boat!

good course

tery horan

great time, content ok as introduction.would like a little longer days ie. 1hr more (08.30-17.00) to ensure longer activity time.

Excellent two days of skill reinforcment


First off, my friend and I struck lucky with group size with it being just the two of us.

Our instructor was happy to listen to what we were after and help us achieve this, whilst offering improvements or alternatives.

We walked away after two days of constant climbing with reinforced skills on how to set belays at the top or mid point of a climb, how to escape safely should you need to and finally how to play with leading gear.

Our instructor (Sam) was friendly and easy to get along with making it feel like three friends rather than 2 + 1. There was a good feeling of constant observation and her knowing when to step in and point out a correction or error but first allowing us to have our turns and use our memory. At no point did we ever feel unsafe or out of our depth.

The room (2 people sharing) was clean and tidy with a large spacious bathroom, TV and kettle with regular amenities. Downside the ceiling was low, but that is a building feature and one that only annoyed you in the morning when you stood up and stretched out having forgotten.

Food, not here for the food but as it keeps us going I'll comment. The breakfast was adequate. The portion size was ok with my as I rarely eat breakfast, however for most it probably needed an extra rasher of bacon/egg etc. You may have been able to ask for seconds, but I didn't try this.
Lunch was plentiful, with a range of sandwich options, I just didn't think the quality of those sandwiches was up to much, but with fruit and flapjacks on offer I wasn't too fussed.
Dinner, best of the bunch, 3 courses should you wish with a good range of options given the mass catering nature of the canteen.

My only real gripe of the weekend was that the drying room didn't even touch the sides of my kit and after a wet Saturday putting on wet climbing shoes was not overly appealing. The kit would have done better in the room.

Great Course


I completed this beginner's course fro climbers at the end of September and was very-very satisfied with it. After having read the syllabus of the course I was positively surprised by how dynamic the course was. The initial schedule of the course indicated that we may only be seeing the indoor climbing wall of Plas-Y-Brenin, which by the way is an excellent facility, but I didn't want to pay £180 and drive 4 hours to be in an indoor wall, when I can visit the one that is 15 minutes away. Nonetheless, I was prepared to learn the necessary skills and was hopeful we would get to do 'some' climbing on the second day. My expectations weren't great, but I thought I had to start somewhere.

To my biggest surprise, after a fairly quick safety briefing and some introduction, our instructors, Kathy and Harry, told us to go to the store room to get our gear and meet at the minibus as we would be heading out straight to do some climbing. Fantastic!!!
We got to the crag within 20 minutes and whilst Kathy was teaching us some essential skills and passing on important knowledge, Harry was setting up the ropes. He set up 4 ropes and they put us in teams of three: one climbing, one belaying and one second roping. After climbing for 2-3 hours Harry said because the team was making good progress (bragging!!!), he was going to set up another three ropes on more difficult routs, which is what he did. So we carried on climbing for another 2-3 hours. Everyone was enjoying the day and we were making real good progress, so the instructors agreed that we would stay out longer on Saturday, as the weather was great as well, sunshine all day in September...in North Wales!!!). Kathy was great at giving technical, weather and safety advise, whereas Harry was running up and down the crag, fixing ropes and doing demos. When we finished with all the lines, we asked Harry to put up a rope on a difficult route (not something that I was expecting to be doing on my FIRST day of outdoor climbing) so we could try to climb it. Again, he was very flexible and didn't hesitate to run up and set up a rope for us. Then, he gave us a demo (climbed it very easily, of course) and we started our battle with the crag. The three of us all failed to climbed it, but it was such a great feeling to try something so hard. We had been trying to complete the problem for about an hour, when a girl from our group said she would give it a try. She climbed it on her second run, which was an amazing achievement for someone who had only just started climbing. It was great to have been given the opportunity to do these things.
The second day started pretty much the same way; no messing around, straight out to get some climbing done. We first went to the RAF Boulders, just a couple of minutes from Capel Curig. Here, my technique developed more in the 3-4 hours we had spent here than in the three months spent in my climbing wall. I learned how to smear, rely on and subsequently trust my feet, balancing and so on. Harry was great again, I learned a lot from him.
We then moved on to a crag by the east side of Tryfan. After Kathy and Harry had set up six ropes for us, they had explained the basics of a climbing rack and how to use certain equipment, a nuts, hexes, slings and camming devices. When I say 'basics', what I mean by this is that if you want to get out and climb safely, you would need to do another course or have someone teaching you all the necessary techniques of using these tools, but it was comprehensive enough for me to know what is what on a climbing rack. For me personally, it was great.
So, we had 6 ropes and all routes were a lot longer and a lot more difficult than the day before. We were in pairs this time (no second roping), so we could spend even more time on the crags. I think we all managed to climb all but one route, so it was an overall success again.
I cannot tell you too much about the accommodation, because I was camping with my friends every night, but I didn't hear anyone complaining from my group. The food was great, I always made sure I was there 30 minutes before leaving the HQ to have some breakfast. The dinner was even better!!! They also have great communal places, a dining room and a cosy pub.
Very-very satisfied overall.

Awesome weekend

Dan long

Quality two days spent learning to paddle white water, great instructors helped us achieve more than I thought would be possible at the start. Throw in great location and value for more money, and we'll definitely be back

Apprehensions removed

Colin Gimblett

As we drove into Capel Curig, I was feeling quite apprehensive about the weekend. As an award holder, would I show myself up or come away with new skills?
Saturday morning we meet our instructor "Mo" who was very friendly and asked a few questions to understand our backgrounds and what we wanted to get out of the weekend. then it was off for a full day on the Hill. At times this pushed me to my limits, but at no time did I feel unsafe or made to feel uneasy. The walk off the mountain took a lessor known track that I really enjoyed especially going through the waterfall!
After cake (a PYB ritual) we had some rope work practice just across the road and then it was off to the good evening meal and then after a drink in the bar my colleagues and I attended the friendly easy going Saturday night lecture. Ours was in kayaking in Kenya, which isn't usually my thing, but in the end really enjoyed it. Sunday morning was spent on practising our rope work skills, where I was introduced to the South African Abseil (not part of syllabus in my day), which was interesting and a lot more comfortable than previous ones! The afternoon was micro navigation around "The Horns" on the slopes of Snowdon, which I enjoyed nearly as much as Saturdays decent. In the end I think that did show myself up, but this is my own evaluation of how I coped with the rope work. Mo was very professional and very supportive throughout the whole weekend and helped me identify my own development needs. The facilities at PYB are excellent, the rooms, the bar and the food all good. I would happily come back again and definitely recommend it for anybody considering that they need a refresh either before or after taking their ML.

Great course, great instruction.

Lisa E

I took this course with my boyfriend as a means to enable us to do more kayaking/canoeing activities such as sea kayaking and open water kayaking in the future. Having done our one and two star canoeing and kayaking awards at a local tarn near home, I had lost confidence while struggling with a type of rescue. This rolling course at Plas Y Brenin did so much to restore and build on my confidence. Chris, the instructor, could not have been more patient and understanding. The group was small enough that there was plenty of time for close tutoring and we also got to see recordings of our rolling in order to learn our strengths and weaknesses, to better understand what we needed to work on in the next water session.

Having goggles and a nose clip really helps to remove the distraction of getting a head full of water, and helps you focus on what you're doing, so I'd definitely recommend having those with you. You can buy them on site.

The accommodation and food was also great, all the staff we spoke with were really friendly and enthusiastic. We had a really enjoyable time, and though we were completely frazzled by the end, we could not have been more carefully looked after.

We will definitely be back!

Moving Out 2- Day 26-27th July 2014

Harry McGhie

Luckily we had four people on our course, more or less the ideal number. We also had very fine weather on Sat 26th, when we visited Willy's Crag nr Little Tryfan and when it looked threatening the following day, we found excellent sunshine once more at Pant Ifan Upper Tier,Tremadog.

Our instructor was Harry McGhie, and we all found him most impressive. He started by asking us what we wanted from the course and establishing what our previous experience was of climbing inside & out.

He gave us a wide selection of instruction, from setting up belays and anchors to the actual process and techniques of climbing on rock. We also did some abseiling and a memorable 90 minutes'bouldering at the RAC rocks on the first evening, something which at least 3 out of the 4 of us had not done before and which we found most entertaining.

Harry worked us pretty hard- at least, there wasn't much standing around, but although the emphasis was very much on safety,he made it first and foremost a fun experience so that we learnt techniques and picked up information without much effort. Since the course, we have managed to 'take it outside' and have climbed on limestone in our NE Wales home range, so Thanks,Harry,you did get through to us!

Plas-y-Brenin itself is an extraordinary place, with excellent solid food and a good bar, but the accommodation can be rather a compromise- when the success of your course depends a lot on getting a good night's sleep, it is ludicrous to have bedrooms without adequate ventilation and windows overlooking kitchen extractor fans which apparently bellow 20 hours out of the 24! Overall, though, an excellent weekend and one which you would not hesitate to recommmend.


Keeping Up to Date

Richard Souter

Attended an ML Summer Refresher this weekend over 17 years after passing the assessment.
Although I've been continuously active in the intervening years, it was very reassuring to see that my skills were still of the required level and up to date.
Many thanks to our Instructor - Mo Barclay - for the tips and tricks she showed us, her unending enthusiasm despite the rain and for two very enjoyable days.
It wasn't my first course at PYB and it won't be my last :-)

Many thanks,


Another fantastic course from the Brenin

Carl Sprake

I booked this course at the last minute, only a week or so before the scheduled date and it turned out that we were the only two booked on the course. This was ideal as it meant we received personalised tuition from our instructor, Mike.
My partner wanted to improve her confidence in tackling scrambles and I was looking for hints and tips to improve my own technique as well as how to interact with groups that I might lead.
Mike sat us down on the Saturday morning and talked us through our experience and our goals for the weekend and then suggested that we try Tryfan. It was a great day with Mike leading us up an interesting route that was exciting but manageable. We went via the cannon stone and it culminated in me jumping from Adam to Eve (or vice versa).
Saturday evening we had a session on the training wall, learning a bit of rope work, above and beyond what I had done for my summer ML.
On Sunday Mike led us up the main Gully above Alphabet slab at the back of Llyn Bochlwyd. This is not something I would have attempted by myself, especially in the wet conditions we had on Sunday, but with Mike leading I felt safe all the way.
Mike was cheerful, enthusiastic and supportive the whole weekend.
As usual the food and accommodation at the Brenin was top notch. Definitely worth the money, and we will definitely be back.

Great course

Emma Pickering

I attended the Ready to Rock to learn how to set up safe belays for top-roping. I had done some climbing outdoors previously and wondered if the course was going to be too beginner orientated. It wasn't at all!

The instructor found out all our needs at the beginning and then managed to tailor the course so that everyone got what they wanted. As well as teaching everyone about climbing outdoors and providing experienced advice about the difference between indoors and outdoors (i.e., loose rocks), and teaching about rigging up top ropes, he also coached our climbing, which was a great bonus.

All in all excellent value and although knowing some of the basics - I still learnt a lot more and felt I'd had a good two days worth of instruction.

Great course

Andy Moss

Great course. very knowledgeable instructors. Valuable skills and safety experience learned.

Great times


Would really recommend this trip if you are interested in kayaking or have dappled a bit on holidays but are not sure you want to take the hobby further. Coaches were great fun and introduced us to a range of kayaks and paddling techniques before letting us loose on first the lake at the centre and then on both sea and rivers. The people on the course were a great mix with singles and couples of all ages and back grounds making for a good team and some good conversation in the bar each night. Course was adaptable to the variety of abilities on the team and coaches were ever ready to support, help and encourage where necessary whilst letting the team control the pace of the day.
Facilities at the base were top notch and food (especially the deserts/cakes) was great. Lectures in the evening were well worth attending.
Fully plan to attend again soon for a introduction to another adventure activity and want to make it a regular holiday experience.

Learnt lots and had a great time

Naomi H

If you are thinking about booking this course then I'd recommend that you go for it.

Our instructor, Jon Green, was excellent. He imparted much knowledge with us, mostly out in the hills, with a small amount of classroom time when needed. We covered everything the 'syllabus' suggests. The first day was mainly focussed on navigation, while moving over steep ground was the focus of the second day. Learning new skills and developing old ones in such a great environment with a nice group of people made for a very enjoyable weekend. Added to this was the bonus of some brilliant late September sunshine.

I used the minibus pick up and drop off service which meant I could get the train to and from the course. This is really useful.

The accommodation was good, a shared twin room with ensuite. Three meals a day were provided, plus cake in the late afternoon.

I hope to return to PyB to learn more skills on another course at some point in the near future!

Much more than expected


What a great five days. Paddling around different parts of Anglesey. A mix of weather conditions and sea states. Learn't about planning a paddle having backup plans If conditions changed, been flexible.
The course included an overnight camp. I thought I was to old and grumpy for camping but loved every minute.
PYB centre was perfect great food and accommodation. The bar was a great place to swap stories about your day with other coarses.
To sum up fun, challenging and a real boost of confidence.
Many thanks to James B and fellow paddlers for a memorable 5 days can't wait to do it again!

To be recommended!

Newbury Mountain Club

We booked two instructors through the Plas y Brenin Centre to update and develop our members personal navigation skills.

Our instructors Karl and Adam were great and took into account the range of abilities in the two groups that they took out. A lot of patience was required for some-thank you!

We all came away feeling more confident with our map reading and navigation skills so hopefully we can go out and lead walks, not just to follow or rely on others.

Top Tip! Don't rush out and buy a compass before starting the course as it may not be good enough. You can buy the recommended one when you are there.

Thanks for putting the photo's on your Facebook page.

We will definitely be back!

Fantastic weekend

Heath Huntington

After what turned out to a hellish journey due to traffic I was desperate to arrive at P-Y-B and from the moment I stepped into reception all thought's of my road trip hell disappeared.
I was met with a smiling face and a warm welcome, check-in was a breeze and everything I needed to know was explained thoroughly without me having to ask. I got to my room and found it clean, modern and everything I would need for the weekend. After another warm welcome in the bar and a few drinks I retired for a good night's sleep, mind full of thought's of what the next few day's would bring and those two day's would not disappoint at all.
After breakfast the following morning we were introduced to our instructor for the weekend Jon Green, and I was immediately impressed, as well as being put at ease by his relaxed, friendly and welcoming personality. A brief introduction to my course mates and what was to be expected over the weekend followed and then we was off into the mountain's, it was barely 10.30am!
The rest of the course was spent out on the mountain's of stunning Snowdonia, learning by doing and doing what we was learning, Jon's ability to teach students of varying experiences and level's was very impressive and I never felt out of my comfort zone or like I was being lectured to, and his knowledge was database like.
If you are looking to take your hill walking to the next level then this is the course for you, away from the beaten track and navigating to places you have always wanted to go, onto grade one scrambles onto summit's in a completely new and exciting way. A1 facilities, A1 instructor, great company and a truly fantastic weekend.
Don't think about it, book it.

Awesome course

Martin Jackson

I am not a natural in a kayak and have had two coaching sessions before this course and still could not roll. If I could not roll after this I was going to give up on the three star. I needed to roll so that I could get the three star for the centre I work at towards my UKCC Level two. Chris was a great coach, very calm and supportive with lots of positive feedback. I went from no roll, to rolling different boats and from going under in different ways and sides. Really good course, worth every penny. Thanks Chris.

Fantastic experience. Highly recommend!

Christina Simmonds

Both instructors were friendly and gave excellent guidance. We even got to take the sea kayaks from Conwy to Dolgarrog! Thoroughly enjoyed the experience and Andy really helped me to overcome my nervousness about capsizing! Thank you Plas y Brenin :)

great weekend on Nav Skills Course

Diana Gardiner

I had a really great weekend with instructor Simon Lake and learnt to lead climb (single and multi pitch) along with required rope/anchor/belay work.

Simon also fitted in an abseil opportunity which was great.

I would recommend anyone interested in taking the leap from seconder to lead to book on this course as the course agenda includes all that is required to propel students into applying the knowledge and information going forward. It is all about practicing what you learn and Simon advised repeatitive use of the achronym IDEAS in addition to all the great skills he taught us last weekend.

Course dates 27th - 28th September 2014.

Many thanks for a fabulous stay in a great place with expert tuition and great food!!

Kind regards,

Great introduction to outdoor climbing

Martin Wall

Looking forward to gaining further experience before attending next level course.

Fun and Skill developing

Julian Briggs

Our excellent instructor, Glen, was able to keep each of us on our learning edge throughout the week.
I enjoyed the White Water and Sea.
Sadly no Surf. I hear the right Surf conditions are rather rare in N Wales.

5 stars

Simon Knightley

Absolutely chuffed

Julie Murdoch

I achieved more than I felt possible. Garry instilled confidence in my own ability that I did not realise I possessed. I am absolutely chuffed at how much I improved over such a short period of time. It has opened up other possibilities for me in the future. Thank you.
All staff were friendly and helpful, my room comfortable and clean and the evening food plentiful and tasty.

I look forward to my next visit.

Absolutely 1st Class

John Cornell

A big thank you to Karl, Harry and Chris for an instructive and throughly enjoyable introduction to kayaking.
The quality of tuition was first class, Karl easing our group quickly from the initial nervousness of our first strokes paddling the adjacent lakes, building confidence on the day trips, exploring the Conwy estuary, experiencing white water rapids and sea kayaking the rocky coastline off Anglesey.
Superb value for money; all kit, equipment and transportation provided; good and plentiful food (and cakes), clean and honest accommodation with lashings of hot water. Efficient dedicated heated drying rooms for wet kit to dry out overnight.
A beautiful location with wonderful views
All in all a great week, I learnt a lot with a really nice friendly group of guys and girls, laid back but thoroughly professional tuition throughout.
I will be back for more.


Helen McKeer

Brilliant, a fantastic 5 days! James Bruton's professionalism and patience as our instructor was exemplary - I cant praise him enough. Our group of varying experience and ability didn't phase him at all and he catered for all of our abilities and needs. Not to mention his cat like reflexes following and unplanned dunking mid-rapid!
I've had a great week at PYB, the introduction to white water kayaking course was just what I was after. Overall, I finished the week keen to find another white water trip - I'll definitely be back to PYB!

the penny dropped.

Stuart Murray

Had a great weekend with Harry & Ollie. I'd previously done similar training but still struggled with the basics.
The way they describe things and the techniques they use are very visual and easy to understand, and miraculously over the course of the weekend the penny dropped and things appeared much clearer.
These guys have a lot of experience between them and they are able to explain things to all people on different levels. prior to this weekend I have always walked with a group but now would have no worries venturing out on my own. Cheers lads.
PYB itself was very clean the food was great and the atmosphere in the bar is very welcoming.One last mention for Chris who gave the evening lecture on white water kayaking, great talk, very entertaining.
Thanks all for a great time, see you soon !

Challenging but fun


Loved the routes (Seniors Gully and Seniors Ridge, descent via Y Gribin and then Tryfan via the North Ridge and down the West Gully). Will provided lots of info and anecdotes and knew when to leave us to it and when to step in and offer help. Built my confidence after too long away from the mountains and ahead of a trek in the High Tatras next week. Thank you.

Does what it says on the tin!

Exactly as with the previous course I have attended at PYB, this was spot on. The place, staff, course and food were excellent. The day started with a discussion around everyone's previous experience and then covered what we all hoped to get from the weekend. We had differing levels of ability and all were catered for. We covered all the basics on the first day and finished off ready and confident to plan a trip. The second day was excellent, many hours spent on the water which was a true taster of what this activity has to offer.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed myself and felt the course was exactly what I was looking for. 5 stars as I'm not sure what else you can ask for.

Very professional & very well looked after

Steve Priday

My overall thoughts about the week I spent at PYB were that it was a very slick, organised & professional undertaking from the Instructors through to the catering & accommodation staff.
I was made to feel very welcome & very comfortable when in the building before & after the activities. The bar area was welcoming & comfortable & the food available throughout the week was faultless although the dining room was a little over crowded at the beginning of the week & would have benefitted from a little re-organisation.
The instructors were at all times supremely knowledgable, confident, understanding & patient.
My only very slight critisism would be that the lecturette given on the Tuesday evening was poorly delivered. The person giving the lecture didn't even introduce herself, rattled through some very picturesque slides (60+ of them!) in a very monotone & uninterested tone of voice. It could have been a little more dynamic & interesting given that it followed a difficult & strenuous day for many of the attendees.

A Fantastic weekend with lots of Variety.

S Jackson

Arrived very late on the evening before our weekend course to friendly helpful staff(Emily). The warren of corridors lead us to a cosy and comfortable room for 2 with all you could expect for a 2 night stay. Presented well and very clean the room was a good retreat for the weekend. The day started with a powerful, hot shower and was a perfect lead up to the 8.00am sharp breakfast. Plenty of choice for your fuel for the start of the day, cereals, full english, tea, coffee and juices. You also collect your pack lunch for the day at the same bar with again a variety to choose from. A very friendly meet and greet after breakfast with the instructors to talk through your time table and set you going...
From that minute onwards I can only say that the weekend was a fun packed and the activities were fantastic. I will not say to much as you need to experience this yourself but you will not be dissappointed. Suitable for all levels of skills as we were novice in all aspects.
100% recommended for small or larger groups even individuals wanting to meet others on the course. Food, Accommodation, staff and all activities add up to a fantastic weekend which will be booked again...

After a nervous start I left totally hooked

Jacqueline Pipkin

Two weeks before the course started I nearly cancelled, the only thing that kept me going was the word "Discover" as I figured it could not be anything too extreme.
I have really only played about on a sit on top surfing and pottering around a local coastline. I can get very nervous.
Well! I can honestly say I am so glad I did this course. It was absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Whilst I have no intention of being a fully fledged Sea Kayaker I certainly intend to return to Play Y Brenin to do improver courses. Both Martin and Greg were brilliant and personally I cannot thank them enough for their efforts. They got me to do things I never imagined I would do, one of which was getting the opportunity to paddle the Menai Straits - a real WOW factor for me and whilst it initially filled me with horror, I knew I could not pass up this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity so I went for it and embraced it. This is a definite 'must do' course!

Very good, inspirational course

Patrick Hanlon

Had an awesome weekend. I learned more than I thought I could over a weekend, and the enthusiasm of the instructors was infectious. I feel inspired to get out there and develop my own personal climbing, as well as develop the skills required to help others in there climbing experience's.

Brilliant Couple of Days

Andy Glisson

A friend and I couldn't find an appropriate date to do the "Lead Climbing Developer" course, so we followed the "Create your own Adventure" link to book a private course on a specific date. Over all we had a great time, Dave Rudkin is a brilliant instructor and incredibly talented climber, plus nice guy. We have one complaint, which is, when we arrived we discovered that we did not have any accommodation booked...< Luckily, there were spare rooms that the very helpful staff booked us into (for a pretty reasonable fee). I would strongly that it is made more apparent that if you personalise a course, this means it becomes non-residential, by default. I was under the impression that all courses included accommodation, as there was no mention of requiring accommodation (only the single line "we'll give you an exact price - with or without accommodation"). I had previously done a similar thing at Glenmore Lodge, and the customised course / private instructor hire included accommodation. So I was very surprised at reaching Plas Y Brenin. I don't think any one is to blame for this, I simply think it is not well stated, and you should be made aware that a price does or doesn't have accommodation included, but it was simply not mentioned at all during any communication. Still had an ace time out on the rock!

Good intro to climbing outdoors


I am a seasoned indoor climbing, however I've only climbing outdoors a few times. This course eased me in gradually by looking at climbing techniques through the use of some outdoor bouldering. The course also taught how to set up the equipment for outdoor climbing and gave us a chance for hands on experience.
The instructor was very knowledgeable about outdoor climbing giving us tips on researching elements related to outdoor climbing such as where to buy equipment and places to go.

A wonderful experience

Tessa Smith-Winnard

My daughter and really enjoyed our weekend of sea kayaking. The instructors were great the other people friendly and it made for a lovely weekend.
We did however think it might be helpful to raise a few niggles which you might find helpful. Firstly the accomodation was great apart from the smoke alarm in the centre of the ceiling which emitted a green glow after putting out the lights. Also the mattress springs were distinctly pinging and not supportive.
These problems did not detract from what was a wonderful experience for us but we thought it worth mentioning.

Kind regards

Fantastic Course!

Andy Holland

I just want to say how much I enjoyed the recent WGL-ML Conversion Training Course. It was my first visit to PYB and it will definitely not be the last. From the moment I arrived to the time I left I felt a real sense of homeliness being in the centre, the staff were always helpful and friendly and all the guests the same.
The course content and deliver was excellent by all 3 of the Instructors Mike, Ric & Martin. Each of them were clearly very passionate and knowledgeable, nothing was too much trouble and they all conveyed a genuine interest in helping us to learn as much as possible and making clear we knew the standards expected at assessment.
I have no complaints about anything but would like to offer some suggests which would I believe enhance and improve the PYB experience for future visits.
Meals - The standard of all meals is second to none, choice and variety. The dining room and food service area seems very small given the numbers on courses at certain days, this leads to chaotic meal times with enormous queues and people rushing to get packed lunch items at the same time as breakfast to ensure they get what they like.
Whilst it may be a case of making do with what is available in terms of capacity/space my suggestion are to perhaps stagger times when you can get meals, offer sitting times ie- 8.00-8.30 and 8.30-9.00.
Packed lunches could be done on a pre-order basis and a portable chiller unit could be placed in the bar area which is closed of a morning, sandwiches can be ordered in advance and placed in here, you then collect them as well as the other items (in bar area) after having breakfast and heading off to your activities.
Room Sharing - Although it does say you may have to share a room, you should be made aware this will be the case before attending and perhaps even put in touch with your room mate beforehand so you can correspond.

Evening Meals could again be staggered as some nights the queue 20 mins before meal time was out of the dining room door into the reception area. One huge highlight of the course for me was the evening cakes. all home made in house and all fantastic!
Big shout out to all the staff who worked in the bar, kitchens and cleaning who do a great job and it shows no matter what peoples role at PYB they all do it well and it shows in my highly enjoyable experience.
Thanks again all and I look forward to my next visit PYB.

Swimmer Keep Your Feet Up

Gordon Keddie

Having been paddling for a few years with friends thought it was time to get some proper training under the belt for their sake and mine.! On approaching this course I held the FSRT, had read WWSR by Franco and had participated in many bank based recues and chase boating but had no experience in rope work for entrapments or pinned kayaks/canoes. My main aim was to get as much hand on practice in these areas as possible and also to try swimming in a re-circulating stopper.
I'm glad to say from day 1 Chris took us back to basics with active swimming from the casualty to: Shout, Reach Throw and Go, Tow was for tomorrow. The new swimming skills involved dealing with disorientation, turning direction mid flow, powering across eddy lines, tucking up over drops (make sure the helmet really is on tight)and pushing off obstructions. This was rounded off with surfing across a recirculating stopper, lots of throw line practice and live bait rescues, a great exhilarating fun day with lots of tips for future use, SWIMMER KEEP YOURE FEET UP!
Day 2 started with Swimmer and equipment rescues in real situations from our kayaks and putting into practice all we learnt from day 1. This was followed by the anticipated rope work with special attention to the 'Clean Line Principal'. The use of 3 karabiners to get a 4:1 pulley was good to see and practice and the scenarios of foot/kayak entrapment without doubt brought home the need for all kayaking friends to get some up to date training, a real eye opener on how quickly you need to react, be prepared!

Awesome Instruction

Andy Dunmore

A friend and I hired Dave Rudkin for some private instruction in lead climbing and multi-pitch routes.
Had an excellent time, and Dave really knew his stuff.
The weather was looking pretty grim, but both days Dave managed to get us to a dry crag and up some pretty incredible rock.

Would recomend


I've just completed my ML training and have nothing but praise for centre and staff. The centre is clean and warm with plenty of facilities for down time, the staff are friendly and approachable and full of mountain knowledge. The food is great with cake at teatime. I am defiantly going to do my assessment back here.

Even 'oldies' can enjoy this course :-)

Debra Burbery

I went on to this course very unsure of what I was letting myself in for and wondering whether I would cope with the physical side of it all (being 57 & female) but I needn't have worried quiet so much! The instructors (Chris & Jenifer )were empathetic and responded to all our group's sometimes seemingly daft questions with charm and gave us confidence that we could achieve more than we thought we could. I was glad I survived the capsize drill in one piece in the pool (I was not looking forward to that) but it came in handy a couple of times when I had a unexpected but exhilarating dunking when trying some small rapids on moving water! The lake paddling was testing in the windy and showery weather conditions but we had plenty of time to try out/practise the new skills we had learnt. By the end of the 5 days I had learnt new skills,pushed my unfit body to do more than I thought I could, found a sport that I could carry on with and made a few new friends. Maybe I gained a few bruises but they will fade but my memories and enjoyment of a sport that I hadn't really considered before will last a long, long time. Thank you.

Another great week

Gordon Burge

Because of low numbers, the course was combined with White water, Sea and Surf for families. One girl, two boys, two mothers, a father and a grandfather, age range 11 to 70. Instructors James and Dan. The course was very flexible, responding to weather conditions and the desires/abilities of those attending. The result was: Day 1: Kit issue, local lake, indoor pool - basic skills, kayak games and capsize practice. Day 2: White water. Great fun, frequent short bursts of activity, many capsizes. Day 3: Menai Straits. Sustained activity in surprisingly fast moving water. Journey out, lunch and return. Day 4: Sea. Sustained activity. Journey out, lunch, return. Part of journey a distance out, some between the rocks. A great confidence builder. Day 5: White water (by popular request). A longer river journey, lunch on the way. As ever at Plas y Brenin (this was my third visit) the instructors were highly competent and enthusiastic, patient with beginners and slow learners whilst generating enthusiasm and a desire to succeed in the course members. At the end of each day four satisfied but tired adults watched three kids attack the climbing wall and wondered at the remaining energy levels. They slept well. A measure of the success in building the kayak attitude was that by day 3 we were hoping for rain to put more water in the river! Course consensus - thank you James and Dan. We are coming back for more!



We had an amazing week. Met lots of new friends and did some amazing new things. Plas y Brenin is a well good place. Go there.


Erik Gale

Did this course back in July, sorry I'm late in filling this out....or maybe I have already, I can't remember!!!

The week was absolutely brilliant, the centre, accommodation and food were great, but the staff and especially the instructors were excellent. So knowledgeable and excellent teachers.

I came away after the week, more determined and feeling so much more confident in my abilities out on the mountains. Since the course I have been out 3 times and found all the course information so useful. Though I haven't eaten quite as much of the local flora and fauna as we tried :) !!!!!

I would recommend PYB to anyone wanting professional training in outdoor activities, I can't wait to return.

Many Thanks


Will definitely come back


Owen was a very nice, competent and patient instructor. All the information was there together with plenty of practice. Even the wheather was just perfect!
Will definitely come back.

Many thanks,

This course is really amazing and very well led and instructed !!!

Christopher James prior

I have to say this was a really good course that well well set out from start to finish chris our instructor was very kind considerate and well knowledges in paddling . I attended a white water sea and surf course her nearly 12 years ago whic he led and it was just amazing !! The standard of leadership and instructional shill had exceeded my expectations of the course and help up the good name pyb has for its courses. Chris is an inspiration to us all and should be commended for his efforts ! His ability to break it down and cater for everyone's needs and different styles of leaning especially a dyslexic like my self , makes him as great a coach as he is ! I will be attending more paddling courses in the future especially if chris is leading it !! Thanks plas y brenin for yet another great course and fun week. Hope to see you soon in October/November for level 2 coach training .

Yours sincerely

Christopher James Prior

Mountaineering Skills

Guy Martin

This course went beyond my expectations and was certainly very practical. I had some experience in navigation and leading from university cadets years earlier although I had lost a lot of confidence during the intervening years. The course is perfect for those who might be aspiring to attend the Mountain Leader Training Course but would like to know where they stand whilst brushing up and learning new skills.
Our instructor Jamie was highly knowledgeable and approachable and struck the perfect balance in delivering a course that was both challenging and rewarding but at the same time a nice holiday for all of us!
This was my second visit in the same summer to Play y Brenin and I will no doubt return for other training opportunities. The centre staff are very helpful and polite and it's a very relaxing place to be after a day of adventure.

Great instruction

Paule Constable

Just completed the week long Mountain Skills course with Jamie Barclay as our course leader. Had a fabulous week. Jamie's instruction was absolutely excellent and the rate at which we moved on was breath taking, challenging and thrilling. He had a very can do attitude. I have come away with a huge amount of new knowledge that I am very keen to keep using.
I would also add that one of our group developed a slight injury which Jamie managed brilliantly. His strategies for keeping the group interested and stretched while accommodating a slightly under par member of the team where excellent and the situation really wasn't easy.
I think we were a slightly tough and exasperating group in many ways. A massive range of ages and life experience meant it was hard for us to become a team. We could have done with a little more steering/challenging in this area. Not easy I know - but it would have helped the week.

Fantastic week for the whole family.


I don't normally write reviews but after a fantastic week at Plas y Brenin I thought I would just write a few lines to recommend this holiday. Myself, husband and 10 year old daughter had a lovely week in the sun, wind and rain doing a range of activities. Accommodation lovely, food fantastic, people all helpful and friendly, professional instruction, hire of superb equipment was very beneficial and just overall all good fun. Thanks to Greg (the instructor) who was very patient and great with the children. Now looking at what course to book next.

Mountain Leader Training

Mat Grafton

A challenging, interesting, fulfilling, enjoyable 6 days learning about the whole scope of the Mountain Leader Training. Great location, instructors, accommodation, instructors and food!

I came away more enthused and more committed to the Mountain Leader qualification and with a greater knowledge and love of Snowdonia.

Just amazing!!

Josie Moss

I think I just had the best week ever!
You are with a group of people that are a similar age to you. Conversation is easy and you find you have a lot of things in common.
The views you got from the climbs honestly took my breathe away every time. It was a lovely experience. The different crags were just the best. the last three days we went multi-pitching which was just the best feeling ever. We climbed to about 280m one day and it was just the best.
The instructor are lovely, you are never bored there is always something for you to do. The evening activity's were always fun. You got so tired during the day that you were ready to go to bed.
It was the best time ever. You interact with other people on the different courses and everyone is so friendly.
Well worth the money. It was just FAB!!!

Excellent course and instrcution

Shane Clark

What an excellent course!
First day on the tryweryn swimming and rescuing in the rapids - cold but great fun. The instructor, Chris, was excellent managed to fish me out of the pinning on the "chipper". Day two more rescue skills and in boat. The course covered all the requirements of the course and Chris's knowledge, understanding and experience of the subject is world class. A course i would highly recommend by a provider that is world class..


Jenny Burtwell

This course gave me what I have been lacking for some time, confidence and experience, and I received some of the best coaching I have ever had.
By the end of the 5 days there was a marked improvement in my paddling, and because we reran rivers we had done earlier in the week my skill improvement was easier to see, although my ability to come out of stoppers the right way up is still something I need to work on!! My 5 days at Plas Y Brenin were packed full of fun, excitement and adrenaline rushes. I will definitely be wanting to go back next year.

Amazing Week!

Tom Offin

Cant rate this course highly enough. Our instructors (Simon and John) were fun, knowledgable, safe and most of all down to earth and really easy to get allong with.

We had a very mixed ability group that were caterd for really well with no one feeling they had to do anything beyond their ability or indeed feel like they had not pushed themselves. We hit all weather conditions available and got on some brilliant routes up to hard grade 1.

We shared many beers after dinner in the evenings chatting about the day and the days ahead but not before the hot tub and ledgendary Alltshellach three course dinner!....trust me you wont gi hungery at this place.

If you want to have an awesome week in the Scottish mountains either as a beginer or someone who has done a bit of winter stuff before but needs to pick up on some skills then do it! You wont regret it!

Fantastic weekend


Spent a very wet and cold weekend in August last year canoeing. Staff were very knowledgable and kept us interested the whole time. Definitely recommended.

Achievable, memorable and utterly inspirational

Russell Fancourt

I cannot thank Chris our coach enough for two thoroughly enjoyable days paddling. Due to low water we had to travel each day to the Dee but it made a nice change for someone else to be doing the driving. Chris observed us warming up on the water and gradually introduced gentle challenges to test our skills. He was accurate in recognising problems in technique and guided me towards small achievable steps that seemed to really make a difference. It was good to be given the space and time to practice and to reflect on what I was trying to do. Progressing to slightly bigger rapids over the 2 days was made achievable with careful bank inspections and decisions on what line to take, followed of course by Chris' impeccable demonstration.
The accommodation, the food and the quality of care at the centre was just brilliant. Everyone was just so friendly, so welcoming and so positive. I knew that I was having a good weekend because not once did any thoughts about home come to mind .. I was completely relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed a bit of “me” time.
I came away from the course feeling inspired to go on and do something else, either in terms of further skills development or even looking again at where I am as a coach and what might be useful to do next. In both cases Chris’ advice has been so helpful.
For this “old” level 2 coach who has spent so many years doing the same things, paddling the same trips with the same people, this experience was an utter joy. I recommend it without reservation so you too can be inspired.
Thank you all so much

Good value

Luke Philbrooks

The course was extremely useful, the instructors, simon and dave were very professional but also very fun, and made the whole experience very enjoyable, i will definitely be doing my other mountain training at plas y brenin

How to avoid epics.

Simon Longley

I decided to do this course after having a long 8 year lay off from Alpine climbing due to having children come along. Now in my late 30's I thought maybe it was time I learnt how to do the alpine thing properly and stop some of the epics that seemed to characterise my earlier trips.
This course was perfect to review skills I had half forgotten such as glacier travel, crevasse rescue and moving together over mixed ground. But more important were the numerous little small pointers I picked up along the way on things like how to minimise faff in the early hours of the morning when setting off for your climb and moving efficiently as a team during the day. All these types of things taken individually appear inconsequential but when added up together mean the difference between having a good day finishing with a cold beer and a smile in the valley as opposed to flogging down some horrible gully in the dark wondering how anyone finishes the climb in the time stated in the guide book!

Excellent training in a relaxed environment

Simon Bereit

My summer ML training course has been superb. Excellent facilities and the food was amazing. Got to mention the tea and cakes too! Both Kath and Harry were superb with their knowledge and experience and the course was delivered in a relaxed but very informative manner. If you are looking to gain your Summer ML award then I would definitely recommend PYB for your training week. They are excellent.

Very good course


Great course. The max four to one instructor ratio worked very well and they tailored the course to our ability. Location is awesome with some really beautiful climbing. Instruction was very clear and there was lots of opportunity to practice setting up top ropes and making safe anchor points. Also lots of great climbing on different rock types. Felt like great value for money, all meals are included and there is a lot of good food. Highly recommended!

Great Climbing

Neil Williams

Great course, very good climbing, learnt lots of very neat equipment tips and a vast amount of very good climbing advice.

Outstanding course

Nick Hinchliffe

As a self taught kayaker many years ago I had very little idea what I was really doing. This course was a tough week that gave me the skills to build on in both kayak and canoe and to understand why I was doing things. The instruction was always challenging yet supportive allowing the group to progress at different levels. The highlight was seeing a porpoise whilst canoeing in the Menai straits.
If you are not sure, just book this course, you will have a blast and come away with a whole new world to explore !

The most fun you can have on a rope...

Andy Grudzinski

Frankly no need for words...if you fancy trying climbing, book the course. Whether you've given had a go climbing in the long and distant pass and fancy trying it again, or you've never tried on a harness, I would recommend this course. Arrive a novice and leave with a ton of knowledge, great experiences and a smile from ear-to-ear, trying to decide how/when you can next escape to learn / practice some more. Friendly, professional and understanding instruction from Harry, which he adapted to our small groups progress across the whole weekend. Plenty of time to try out the climbing, ropework, making belays, abseiling and playing with a myriad of kit, all whilst overlooking North Wales. All the basics covered and recovered until people are confident; one-handed double hitches now a doddle. Ask any question and there is an answer and example: I mentioned I was thinking about ropework for scrambling and got advice a plenty...

All in all a great course, a great instructor at a great centre... 'nuf said.

Fantastic weekend

Christine Worsley

The course description was spot on. I really feel like my riding has progressed to the next level, thanks to the excellent instruction.
Our instructor, Pete, quizzed us on our riding experience and what our goals were for the weekend, then tailored the course around us.
We had loads of variety and there was a perfect balance between learning and developing techniques in the skills area and downhill riding on open trails. Pete's instruction was clear and easy to understand, with analysis of our riding and plenty of feedback and encouragement. He gave me confidence in my riding, and I had a brilliant weekend - the course was so much fun and I feel totally inspired. Thanks again Pete. Also thanks to Jack and Jen and all the staff at Plas Y Brenin who made this a really great weekend.

Discover Navigation

Diana Gray

This was one of the best weekends I had for a long time. The instructors were very good in explaining how to read a map and use a compass. I must admit, I didn't expect to be so exhausted after the two day course, but there was not only a lot of walking, there was also a lot of thinking involved. I would recommend the course to everyone, who has like me I was not a clue about direction. this is worth the money and also not to forget the location of the PYB is great and the food is also great.

Excellent Instruction and amazing places to ride!!!

Clare Woodall

I have previously completed skills courses with many different places and instructors and had heard mixed reviews on Plas y Brenin but came with an open mind. I currently ride red/black trail centre's and natural terrain but I have to say this course exceeded all my expectations! Pete the instructor is an incredible rider with an excellent teaching manner, making the riding very relaxed but challenging at the same time, the skills venues and chosen riding areas were just an amazing. I would definately recommend this course to anyone wanting to gain confidence and learn getting air off various rock drops and riding steep loose terrain. With the benefit of concentrating on downhill skills with very little climbing (perfect for me!) Big thanks to Pete, Jack and Jen at the Centre for providing an excellent weekends riding!!

From lost to found

Kevin Gray

If your a complete beginner to navigation (as I was) this is definitely the course to set you in the right direction. Even if you have some previous this seemed to be a good course too. We have 2 instructors between 8 so it was nice small groups. There was very good instructions and visual aids to help along the way. The course was set out very well with helpful tasks set to help get your skills in the navigation world. Plas y Brenin centre is a great place too, the food was excellent and I have eaten worse in some restaurants before. Clean, friendly, helpful and social, what more can you ask. I am currently looking to see which next course I would like to book. Highly recommended and the amount of courses they have on offer should satisfy everyone.

Surpassed all expectations!

Adam Kitson

It's been a while since my climbing partner and I took this course. We took it on the BMC subsidised booking, without knowing what to expect, feeling like it wouldn't be that costly if it turned out not to be that useful to us.
It's fair to say we were both blown away by all aspects of this course, and would quite happily have paid the full whack and more for what this course gave us! The tutors were excellent. Simon and Spike found us the perfect locations, tailored aspects of the course to our requirements, and delivered some fabulous course content in an understandable and fun way, with plenty of time for practical practice. The course content really does more for you than the course title assumes. I think having some experience of sport climbing, I.e confidence climbing real rock, and some limited knowledge of rope work and the theory of climbing safety gave us a huge advantage in stepping up our knowledge and expanding our climbing repertoire. That said, the very novice climbers in the group likewise had a course that was perfect as a first step outdoors.
Could go on for ages about how useful the course content has been for us, but in short, it's fair to say that we use things we learnt on this course EVERY single time we go out, and it has expended the range of possibilities for routes for us to climb many times over.
My only criticism would be that as a sport climber with little desire to try trad climbing, this course got me so hooked that I have now spent a fortune on my lead rack, and have to spend twice as much time climbing! ;) Probably not Simon's fault though, and certainly nothing I begrudge.
If you want a solid base to start from, a decent intro into top/bottom roping, and an intro to trad gear and it's uses, you can't go wrong with this! The centre, food, bunkhouse and bouldering wall are top notch too! Will be back soon!

A Grand Week Scrambling

Phil Brown

I attended this course partly as revision on correct rope management, to correct bad habits and to fill in the gap between 'walking in' and actual rock climbing. In all respects my expectations were met, although not quite in the way I had expected. In reality this week prepares someone to lead a moderate or difficult rock climb and then abseil off, so it's a lot more than clambering over steep rocks. The highlights were an ascent of Cneifion Arete in very strong blustery conditions (not for the faint hearted) and the 50 metre abseil on a single rope in very wet and windy conditions from the top of Lockwood's Chimney. At the end of it all, I really appreciated that the objective dangers around scrambling can be as serious, if not more so than middle grade rock climbing i.e. not to be underestimated. Thanks to Spike, Donald King and Adam Harmer for their excellent instruction.

Do this course!

Simon Smith

This course was so much more than I expected and I have come away with the skills I need to confidently set up single pitch climbs for both top roping and bottom roping. Not only this the instructors gave us climbs which exposed exactly where my weaknesses were and gave tips on how to improve this. The locations were superb. Day 1 was in Ogwen Valley and day two was a secret cliff on Anglesey which was the highlight of the course.

The accommodation, food and facilities are perfect and it was good to meet like minded people who I intend to meet and climb with in the near future. And just to top it off there was the goody bag at the end which gave you a DVD and magazine on climbing to keep it fresh in your mind.

Superb, hats off to everyone at the BMC and PYB.

get ready to rock on cliffs


Fantastic course, very practical, constructive feedback received, pleasant atmosphere, great instructors - Paul & John. The center is clean with great views! Food is fine. Staff helpful. Highlight of the weekend was definitely climbing the cliffs! I would be back for other courses in the future!

Highly recommended course

Garry weston

There is no substitute for good professional practical instruction,which was evident on each of the five day course. We had 4 different instructors (David,Simon,Mike and Harry),each giving consistent advice with the added bonus of different past experiences which proved entertaining and useful. The only improvement I could suggest would be to offer the night navigation that was impractical in June,at a later date in the year .( this would involve a simple admin task of e-mailing previous summer course students who might be interested ,and creating an "add on" course of perhaps 3-5 people to keep costs down) The accommodation was to a high standard,the food outstanding. I am hoping to return later this year for the introduction to scrambling course.

An absolutely wonderful weekend all round.

Chris Bellamy

I have driven past Plas Y Brenin for years on my way to Llanberis, and always assumed that it would be like any other Outdoor Centre. I could not have been more wrong, it was a truly wonderful weekend from start to finish. Every bit of bit was super - instruction, food, accommodation, facilities, location. Thanks you so much!

spot on

mark winter

Hi thanks for an excellent 2 day course cannot fault anything apart from i wish the tv/safe worked in the room,both instructors where first class and can always fall back on a comedy double act in the future (spike/chris).pyb is a credit to all the staff who work there and i cannot recomend highly enough.oh and one last thing the cake was superb.....even for an old mountan biker like me.

brilliant experience


We climbed on three different rock types during the week, and the instructors managed to find warm, dry weather every day whilst back home in Herts was deluged with rain !
Safety was paramount and I felt utterly secure all the time, even when the adrenaline was telling me the height was scary !
The instructors were fantastic - thorough, knowledgeable, encouraging, patient, flexible, & friendly.
We had quite a wide range of abilities on the course, but we were all accommodated with ease.
I learned so much and now feel confident to join in trips with the local climbing group. Massive thanks to all at PYB !

Excellent introduction to Mountain Sports

Jonathan Leake

I have done a fair amount of hill-walking, scrambling, and other outdoor sports but wanted to introduce my eight-year-old daughter to the hills - and try out some new stuff myself.

Accomodation: Very comfy twin-bedded room. No wi-fi as centre had been hit by lightning that week! But that was a bonus. No TV - also good. Food was plentiful and excellent.

Group: There were just four in my group - myself & daughter plus another father and his son, aged 11. It turned out to be a very good mix.

Day 1: Kayaking - Learning to paddle followed by some gentle rapids. Great fun.
Day 2: Coasteering - low level scrambling and traverses on rocks in Anglesey. Beautiful scenery and good for building kids' confidence
Day 3: Rock Climbing - Great setting, the pitches (climbs) were a bit too hard (HVS) for novice kids, especially small ones. Much better to stick to V Diff & Severe to get a sense that they can get to the top.
Day 4: Gorge Walking - stunning climb up the Afon Ddu gorge, a tree-lined canyon with a series of waterfalls and other very wet obstacles to get through. Great fun.
Day 5: Walk & Scramble up Tryfan. Walking up steep hills is a slog for everyone but especially kids so initially it was quite a struggle but the scrambling section revived my daughter's spirits. Ours was a mixed ability group so the instructor was challenged to find a route that suited everyone and this was a good compromise.

Instructors: We had two - the first for three days and the second for two. Both were excellent - very experienced and knowledgeable but with good 'people skills' too.

Overall a great week. My daughter burst into tears at the end because she didn't want to leave! But she is now hooked on outdoor activities and wants to go back.

Great way to spend a weekend!

Rachel Burke

I had a great time on the course. The instructors were friendly, approachable, knowledgeable and a good laugh, and I came away from the course feeling like I'd learnt a lot. The pace was perfect and I would definitely recommend it.

A very enjoyable week

Wayne Kilborn

Although I started kayaking quite a few years ago, I am not a member of a kayaking club and I don't go paddling on a regular basis, and when I do, it's nearly always just a short flat water trip. Therefore I regularly come to PYB to get my "fix" of paddling on white water, under the watchful eye of the PYB instructors. Well done Jon (Spike) and Chris for your expert guidance and instruction, and for making it an exciting and very enjoyable week.

Brilliant course :)

Rachel Porter

I thoroughly enjoyed my mountaineering skills course.
I had a fair amount of experience in the hills, but wanted to brush up on my navigation, and be able to use a compass so I could go out into the mountains, mist or not, with confidence.. and also do multiple trips on my own.

I definitely came away with far more skills, and we covered more on the course than I expected - rope work, weather interpretation, emergency techniques, plus advice and discussion about different kit and camping gear.

Our instructor was really good (Harry) and the course well paced, and fun. We had a mixture of lengths of days out, with a two day camping expedition at the end of the week. It worked really well having the trip at the end of the course, because we could then take all we'd learnt 'out into the field', and use the skills. Great fun :)

Plas y Brenin is in a beautiful location, the accommodation and facilities are very good, and the climbing wall was great.

The course was very well taught, enjoyable, and a happy investment.
Thank you

Julian Griffiths

This course was billed as being for those who have a mountain bike, but never really use it; who ride on the road, but find the off road stuff a bit scary.

The teaching of the basic skills was well done, though it was unfortunate that it was cut short on the second day by mechanical problems. There were also useful bike maintenance tips interspersed throughout the course.

What worked less well was the choice of trails used to put these skills into practice. At times I felt I was on the mountain bike improver course, not discover mountain biking. Yes, you have to move out of your comfort zone to progress, but there has to be a balance.



Attended this course at Easter. Had 2 wonderful days. Tim Neil was our instructor and he was fantastic. Took us to our limits and beyond but felt completely safe in his hands at all times.
Centre was great. Accomodation first class and food terrific.
Would certainly recommend the centre, this course and the instructor.

Instructors Experience & Knowledge

Julie Stallard

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Chris. His knowledge and experience is second to none right from bike maintenance to MTBing skills. He is extremely motivating, encouraging and supportive. He includes everybody in the group equally regardless of the difference in abilities.
Thank you very much Chris :)

Excellent advice for budding alpinists

David Blower

Tim and Matt really helped me prepare for this summer in the Alps. They took great pains to ensure that we were secure in our new skills and were full of relevant advice. All this was delivered at a pace which ensured that we covered the necessary ground and had all our questions answered. Excellent value for money!!!

Yep, these guys are really as good as everyone says

Steve Bartle

Yep, all these good reviews really are correct. I've just had an awesome week of outdoor rock climbing on the Touching Stone course. A week of dry weather certainly helped. On day 1 we were top-roping single pitch routes on Holyhead mountain, Anglesey. By the final day we were climbing (and leading pitches on) the brilliant multi-pitch route 'Grooved Arete' on Tryfan - a proper mountain adventure. The instructors really are brilliant and will tailor things to suit your progress whilst encouraging you to push yourself if you're comfortable to. If you're unsure about whether to book on the course...Just do it!

This course was just brilliant - even in the wet

Howard Binyh

I went on this course to get my confidence back following an accident last year (broken wrist) and it certainly did that , despite a weekend of rain nothing could dampen our spirits and we managed two full days of riding. In particular the use of video was extremely helpful, coupled with the instructor following each of us down red routes and giving a running analysis.
We were a small group of mixed ability and we all improved with individual tuition and feedback - so I would say what ever your level you will get something out of this course
As ever the facilities and food at PYB were first class ( we even managed a session at the climbing wall in the evening )
Now I just have to go away and practice, and start saving up for a return visit

A great weekend that does exactly what it claims...

Else Jacobson & Nick Cleland

We thoroughly enjoyed this course. It does exactly what it says... gives you the skills & knowledge to move from climbing indoors to climbing outdoors on your own. We felt the instructors were very clear & thorough & went through safety aspects & correct techniques really well. We were very lucky in that we had a very high instructor to student ratio which really made the weekend. The instructors were fun & helpful & even put up with my fear of heights! We have used the skills we learnt and gone out and bought some of our own gear and have been climbing in the Peak District on our own. We felt safe & confident in what we had been taught & were able to apply it easily. Many thanks to our instructors & all the staff at PYB that made our stay so comfortable. The rooms were very comfortable and the food great. Thanks very much, we will be back!

Great instruction at superb surroundings


This course focuses mainly on setting up bottom & top rope anchors for single pitch climbs, using wires/nuts/cams. I find this particularly interesting and useful, as it enables me to do a similar thing in future with confidence.
It would probably have been better if it was a week long course in order to consolidate knowledge, learn more techniques and visit more beautiful climbing sites in north Wales.
The instructors were very professional and heavily emphasised on safety and best practices.
Accommodation at PYB cannot be faulted, great healthy food too.
I was having so much fun that I wish the course lasted longer during the day, in order to get more climbing time!


Claire Waters

Very enjoyable, thank you, will definitely be back soon! Guides were great and food was great!

Great weekend of cycling

David Waters

Very much enjoyed the Monster tour, took in a lot of miles and hills! Facilities were great and in a perfect location to see the beauty of the area. Will be back!

Not just for beginners


I've done several previous courses at PYB, mainly kayaking, with my partner. I love the place - brilliant atmosphere, great food, packed full of people with interesting tales to tell, and one of the most gorgeous settings on the planet. So when she booked a cycling course that was way out of my league, I needed to choose soemthing else from the courses on offer that weekend so I could have another weekend there.
I chose Discovering Navigation. I've been hill-walking for about 50 years and started learning to use a map and compass before I was turned 10, so I was hardly "discovering" navigation, but there's always something new to learn and I'd done very little work with 1:25,000 (OS Explorer) maps.
In the event, I learned much more than I expected I would and really consolidated and made connections between what I already knew. Day One was spent walking up Crimpiau and on Day Two we did Moel Siabod, both by off-the-path routes that taught and tested new skills. We covered a range of techniques suitable for all conditions from summer days with distant views to white-outs, including following a hand-rail of "tick features", measuring distances by timing and by pacing, following a bearing (and "boxing" if this will result in you falling over a cliff), identifying and finding a grid reference and lots of work on using map markings (and contours especially) to visualise a destination, work out where you are on the map from what's around you, or to follow an off-the-path route.
Unless you are already totally familiar with all of these techniques, then this course will enhance your confidence to navigate your way through the hills, on or off the path, in any conditions. And even if you are, then the cakes are just brilliant.

Superb Experience

Graham Smith

Before I write my review, I think it relevant to mention that I have spent a significant amount of my employed life working in the adventure travel industry as an expedition leader.
The centre: PYB is in a stunning location, with all amenities on site and of a high standard. I liked all of the photographs about the place. The meals were great and there was always more than enough food. The room was neat and tidy.
The Coaches: Dave Luke led us for 2 days - He was charming, charismatic and showed his lifetime of experience. He explained things in a straight forward way, which made it easy to understand the subtle improvements he was looking for.
Chris Evans led us for the final 3 days - Once again his experience, and his own natural fluid paddling style were used to demonstrate how we could make things easier for ourselves.
I would rate both coaches as exceptional.
Other staff: All of the staff who produced the meals, served beer, and ensured we had a good time were polite, happy, and very helpful. I would like to highlight one person - Josie the Irish lass. She was exceptional - Always smiling, happy to serve behind the bar, happy to help me do some rolling in the pool in the evening, and happy to help other staff when they were busy.
Overall Impression: I was sad to leave, and I am already trying to find a way to get back to PYB as soon as possible.

Great course, interesting content

Darren Axe

Highly recommended course for those looking to progress through the IML scheme. Accommodation is comfortable and the instructors very knowledgeable and thorough.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Mark Mills

I came to this course with a number of years whitewater kayaking and coaching under my belt. When I did the majority of my qualifications, this course didn't exists.

As I am getting more and more involved in coaching on moving water again, I thought it would be prudent to undertake the course and see what the latest thoughts regarding river safety and rescue were.

On arrival at the centre, I was really impressed with the set up and the Professionalism of the staff. Welcoming and helpful. The rooms are by far the best I've ever stayed in whilst on a course of any kind.

The equipment that we had at our disposal was of the highest quality, and as we would be sharing our mini bus and trailer with Adam Harmer and his 4* course we quickly loaded the boats into the trailer and jumped on the mini bus and were off. There was good banter between the two courses and tales of what to expect and what to look out for on the rivers that we would be utilising that weekend.

Our coach for the weekend was Chris Evans. Chris was professional, highly enthusiastic and had a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt. He broke the syllabus down into achievable goals for each member of the group, and mixed the groups up every so often, so the students worked with, and learnt from others past experiences.

At the end of the day we returned to the centre to a hearty meal and a few pints in the bar. Or as Chris put it "self reflection time".

The next morning we set off bright and early to maximise the most of our time on the river, and I say that it was time well spent.

I can honestly say that I came away from the weekend with a new outlook on the principles of rescues and river safety. I would definitely return to PYB for further courses.

Brilliant open canoeing in lakes and rivers

Brilliant week of open canoeing with my husband. Tandem and solo on flat water and moving water. Tuition was first class. Instructor had a gift for changing communication styles to suit each individual thereby not upsetting either myself or my husband! A true gift.
Also known as the "divorce boat" I would encourage tandem canoeing as a means of developing effective communication.
We will certainly return to PYB. The facilities were good and the staff friendly. Food excellent. PYB seems to be able to cater for every need.
We were also blessed with 4 days of wall to wall sunshine. Blissful.

An awesome introduction to Winter Skills

Joel Rodker

The PYB centre is located in stunning Welsh countryside and this alone is worth the visit. But from arrival to departure I was impressed by great hospitality and first class service. Our coach/course tutor was very professional and experienced and was able to cater to all abilities in our group.
The course starts with an introduction with some basic but very useful guidance about kit and equipment. Although there was only patches of snow at higher ground we were able to make use of this to learn and practice various winter skills. This included when to put on and take off crampons, how to walk in crampons, how to do various ice axe arrests and some informal advice about walking in the mountains in winter.
The weather forecast for the second day was for rain and gale force winds so a sensible decision was made to do some micro navigation at less exposed altitudes. This was really good fun and we were able to do some decent walking in the wind and rain while testing out some important navigation skills. On Saturday evening we also had a lecture on avalanche awareness which was really interesting. And there were some great talks by world class kayakers that night in the main lecture room.
The facilities were of a very high standard - clean and spacious rooms, good canteen, well stocked kit store. A highly recommended course in a top class location.

Highly recommended for beginners

Andrew McRae

Great instructor. Well planned 2 days of rock climbing and abseiling.Easy and difficult climbs to suit all abilities.Learnt how to climb safely, to belay and abseil.Felt very safe.Thoroughly enjoyed it. Great value for money. Fee covered instruction, lone of kit, 2 nights B&B,evening meal on Saturday, and packed lunches. Very good accommodation in beautiful surroundings. Food was amazing. Met lots of new people with same interests. Very friendly environment. Highly recommended.

Learning and Fun - Winning Combination

John Preston

I wanted to improve my navigation skills in the hills, did that! I also thoroughly enjoyed learning from brilliant instructors and interacting with team members and meeting people on other courses over meals and in the evening in the bar. The facilities were great, the food was tremendous and the experience totally immersive. A tremendous break from day to day life. The location is beautiful and inspirational! Definitely recommend it.

Excellent - does exactly what it says


I had a fantastic Easter weekend on the 3day Explore Adventure Sports course. Was surprised only 5 in the group (expected it to be full due to holidays) but there was plenty of fun, laughs, banter and encouragement amongst us all and our instructor (James Bruton).
Everything was well organised and we were given options throughout. All kit was provided, some of us had our own climbing shoes, wetsuits, but is readily available in PYB stores if you don't own.
We were fortunate with the weather, sunshine for our first day - climbing. We opted to go to 2 sites to experience different surfaces and challenge ourselves. After a sugar fix of tea and cake, we ended the day indoors on the climbing wall. Day 2 was on the lake by PYB. Another fun packed day with different boats - canoes, kayaks and SUP board. Lots of laughs especially by me after I capsized after I tilted too far turning. James had clearly explained what to do in case of this, and it was as easy as he said.
Our final day was weather dependant, and luck held out. Another sunny day so we headed to Anglesey to experience sea level traversing - mixing scrambling/climbing, zip lining, the option to jump off rocks into the clear sea and for me a lot of water! - It was great fun, I got annoyed with my cheap trainers as the grip was awful so I swam more. the grip was that bad I slipped on the dry rock - some nice bruises as a result.
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was pitched at the right level, we had great fun whilst learning in a safe supporting environment.
I've always loved being active and outdoors but sadly haven't been much recently. This weekend has re-affirmed my love of being active and I've already contacted local clubs and found climbing / kayak courses.
I will definitely recommend PYB and will hopefully return for future courses.

Great Course


This is an excellent course for improving navigation skills, with a day close to PYB going through key techniques and then a day on a bigger walk. The instructor was very knowledgeable, made sure he knew what we all wanted to get out of the weekend, and went at a pace that worked for everyone. He was also hilariously funny. Job done, Harry!

Plus you get a lovely, warm, comfortable place to stay with great food. Thanks to all the staff involved.

Just as relevant even when you hold the qualification.


The majority of attendees were prepping for assessment, but as an award holder I found the course just as useful. The excellent instruction and differentiated approach provided confirmation, reassurance and progression of skills. Excellent.

Great Course to update and progress

Daniel Claricoates

I took this course to help refresh my skills and to update myself in preparation for an ML assessment.
I would strongly recommend this course to anyone who is in the same position looking to either develop themselves ready for assessment or to update themselves if time has passed since last using the qualification after assessment.
The course itself was brilliant, a very experienced instructor gave good direction and information as well as making each day interesting with local information which all MLs would find useful.
The course allowed us to cover Micro navigation and rope work skills, it also allowed us time to work on other aspects of the ML syllabus we were unsure of. The course was very practical and took us to various locations in the Snowdonia National Park and was set at a good pace.
The staff taking the course and in the centre itself were all very friendly and professional.
The Centre has great facilities and accommodation, very clean and with very good food and has an informal, friendly and enjoyable environment.
In summary a great course, great value for money and worth the time. Great for feedback and to plan and discuss the next steps either towards assessment or to use your qualification in the future.

Great nav course

Matt & Will Walker

Attended this course in April 2014 with my son Will(age 18). We were looking to improve our nav skills and learn some new techniques and tips. Well the course really delivered. High quality instruction from our mountain leader guide Harry. Really impressed with Harry's enthusiasm, knowledge and humour. Learnt a lot more than we expected. The PYB centre is excellent, good food, accommodation, beer and very good company too. The evening lectures were very interesting. Planning to book on more courses to improve our skills in scrambling and winter hill walking. Downside - weather was too nice, long drive to suffolk - but cant do much about that. Matt Walker
Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Performance Mountain Bike Review

Rebecca Hill

This was a really fantastic course. With only 2 people on our course I gained so much individual coaching and feedback. I have gained a significant amount of confidence and skill in just two days and feel my riding is far more fluid and powerful.
The course was adapted to rider level and focused on a mix of what we felt we wanted to work on and what we needed to work on - ensuring we were able get what we wanted out of the weekend. Using video and photos was a great way to understand and visualise.
Riding both skills courses and trails we worked on body positioning, drops, jumps, cornering, step ups and put everything together on a longer ride with sections of loose and rocky terrain.
We were given advice on bike kit, setting up the bike properly, I was contemplating buying a new bike and we had long discussions about this!! We even covered work-out routines for improving bike fitness, and food – the course really is adapted to what you want it to cover!
Pete (the instructor) was constantly searching for features to practice and test us on, giving understandable, clear feedback that really made a difference. He was so encouraging, fun and enthusiastic it was impossible not to enjoy the weekend!
The food is really good too!

The best trip preparation you can do!

Neil Miller

First class course, really boosted my enthusiasm to get out there and put the new skills into practise.

great course, undersold on the web site.

David Battell

It was a great introduction to ski touring, each day we did a little bit more than the day before. My off piste skills were low, but i wanted to see if touring was for me, This course turned out to fit the bill just fine. Off piste is a bit better now, which is more my lack of talent than the very patient instruction, and the empty mountain which is just 5 mins round the corner from a busy piste is a joy which i will be going back for. We spent the first day mainly on piste, with a little off piste, and some avalanch search practice, second day we were off on a short skin away from the crowds, subsequent days more skinning and further off piste, finishing the week with an overnight stop in a hut. Obviously depends on the weather and how the group feels but pack a sleping bag liner, you will probably need one, and dont bother with piste boots you wont need them!

Very useful and lots of fun!

Sue Foster

Late March course. We had plenty of sunshine . . . and low water levels all week. We spent three days on the Dee, one on the Tryweryn (we got lucky with a release on the Thursday) and one day having a steep creeking taster. (Unexpected and loads of fun!) Also got to do some rope work - anchors and systems to raise/lower boats for the steep creeking day. Useful pool session with video analysis. Chris Evans' coaching is excellent. He made very effective use of all of the water that was available at the time. Chris is a great observer and gives spot-on feedback that you can take away and work on.

100 Percent

Steve Phillips

I could occasionally roll in the pool but the people with me could work out what I was doing wrong when it didn’t work. I on the other hand couldn’t work out what I was doing right when it did work. There are a few companies/organisations that offer rolling clinics and the reviews on Plas y Brenin influenced my choice.
I arrived late at night; booking was efficient and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the room. Breakfast was good, equipment was issued where needed and we were in the pool to show what we could do. In my case it was a part roll as usual, unlike the first two people who could roll which were off-putting.
I should not have worried; we were split into pairs, one in a boat and one to assist. The instruction was first class; both instructors were very calming and pointed out small tweaks. The instructors were good at spotting when we should swap over with our buddy and after lunch I tried a paddle float. With the float I could roll and shortly I moved to a small paddle float. After repeatedly rolling with a small float and the end of the first day approaching I removed the float and 4 out of 5 times I could roll!
Early evening we had a debrief session where we were shown film footage and had positive observations on how we could improve. The second day was a similar format but by now I was tired and stopped late afternoon to remain positive. Incidentally the two people who could roll when we started could do left handed rolls and hand rolls by now, impressive!
I fell in work and injured my shoulder so could not practice my roll for three weeks. I need not have worried; my roll is now a 100% even with the wave machine running in the pool. If you are worried about booking don’t, Plas y Brenin is warm, clean and the instruction is really good. As a veggie it was also refreshing to have a choice of food. I will definitely book another course.

Great course

Caroline Light

I only booked this course 8 days before it started, and was a bit nervous about the course. I had nothing to worry about, apart from problems with heights. The course was fantastic and I could not recommend the course enough. The course stretched me and pushed me, well and truely out of my comfort zone, which I wanted and needed, for me to develop and grow, I have only been walking in mountain areas for 10 months. It also taugh me lots of valuable skills, so I could be safe in the mountains in winter conditions, it gave me more confidence in my ability, and will enable me to try slighly more challenging walks. I will be coming back to do a scrambling course, I am looking forward to doing that already.
The site and accommodation is as good or better than many hotels I have been in around the world. The food is good, it's not a resturant, but it gives you everything you need to do the courses, I did not go hungry. Loaning of kit is great, included in course fees.
The instructors Simon and Dave, were great, and even though they pushed me passed my limits, I had every confidence in their ability, training and professionalism in running the course. Thank you for a fantastic course.

Faith Restored

Nigel Stephenson

Really pleased with my week at PYB. The coaches did a great job of supplementing the 'How to coach' focus of the Level 2 training with some excellent sessions on 'What to coach'.

I'm not a great fan of the BCU/UKCC approach, and considered stopping coaching after the level 1. I think its really important that coaches understand what they're teaching .

Having had a few days to digest the experience, I'm confident that that I'm more equipped than ever to deliver some good quality coaching. I'm really looking forward to the next season.

I'm really pleased I chose this course and thank my club (North Avon) for helping to fund the experience. A definite 11/10!

PS food and accommodation weren't bad either ;-)

A great week, despite the river levels.

Ian Nunn

I arrived for the course a week after the wettest winter in history had ended and the only river running in all of North Wales was the Dee. The Tryweryn wasn't even releasing. "Just my luck," I thought. We had no alternative but to use the Dee for every day of the course. Nevertheless, it turned out to be really, really good ! Spike expertly used the features on the Dee to give us some really detailed coaching. We kind of went back to basics and built things up again from there. It's amazing how, when you think you know how to do something, there is always so much more you can learn to make things better. It's also amazing how many bad habits you pick up over time and how much more efficiently you can paddle, when you have them corrected. At the end of the course, I wasn't too disappointed that we had not been able to run different rivers each day as the quality of the coaching Spike gave us on the Dee more than made up for that. I came away a more precise and efficient WW paddler, which is what I wanted. There is still work for me to do but I now know what to work on. Overall, I'd thoroughly recommend this course if you're a grade 2/3 paddler and you want to become more precise and efficient in your paddling, so you can push the grades a bit more. The accommodation and food is really good too!

Brilliant Course


Thought this course/Module was very well structured and delivered. It was fun and the Instructors kept us totally engaged at all times. Totally recommend it to anyone thinking of furthering their coaching skills.

Foundation Coaching

Josie McGee

Fantastic course and delivered to suit all the client’s needs. I really enjoyed the balance between theory and practical throughout the day. It was also a lot of fun. Thanks

Sea Kayak Rolling Clinic 8th 9th march

Richard Hood

For me a very good weekend food and accommodation very good.
The coaching was excellent. Very methodical from stretching and going through the motions on the side of the pool through to joining all the dots in the water. I managed a roll on the first afternoon. Although we didn't manage to progress to the lake because the others needed more work in the pool. Andy kept pushing me until I was completing Re-entry and rolls which I was amazed to be doing at the end of a 2 day course before which I had never done a roll.
A very successful weekend for me.

Welsh Winter Skills Weekend

Rory Campbell

Our instructors were Dave Percy and Stuart, freelancing with PYB for the weekend.
We spent the first day climbing Y Garn to take advantage of the snow near the summit and every opportunity was taken to relate to our surroundings and the local conditions, in terms of the skills and knowledge needed to operate safely in the winter environment.
This was nowhere more obvious than in the choice of activity, with regard to the weather, as the day started in bright sunshine (turning to rain, sleet and snow) so we took full advantage on day one, as the forecast was for rain and high winds on the Sunday.
We were given a sound grounding in the use of ice axe and crampons and had the chance to try these in a range of conditions and in the deployment of a number of techniques.
Both instructors were excellent in the depth of their knowledge, but also in their ability to convey this and interpret it to a mixed group of individuals from a range of backgrounds.
Despite the weather and the lack of much snow in the vicinity, I would still rate the course very highly, as there was no wasted time and even without the snow, we were able to practice and develop essential winter navigating skills and even to use crampons on the timber glacier!
There was also some quality input on avalanche risks, interpretation of weather weather maps and the types of health risks and injuries involved in winter mountaineering.

FUN :)

Francesca Mancuso

I came here with a friend as we wanted a proper introduction to winter skills.
I was a bit worried as I didn't even know how to wear crampons or what to do with an ice axe.
Luckily most of us were novices, and everybody was easy-going, nice and friendly.
Our instructors were absolutely amazing!
I haven't had so much fun in a long time! We all learnt a lot and laughed a lot :)
The accommodation is stunning, the food delicious, the course highly recommended to anyone.
My friend and I decided that we'll do a navigation weekend at Plas Y Brenin in a few months.
All my fellow mountaineers recommended Plas Y Brenin to me and now I would recommend it to anyone too :)

Excellent week.....


Thank you for an excellent week in the Scottish mountains. The Scottish Winter Mountaineering was a great week lead by very capable, motivated instructors.

Great Intro To Ice/Mixed Climbing.

Phil Gray

If you want to get your first taste of Winter climbing this is a great place to start. I was fortunate enough to have Tim Neill and Dave Rudkin instructing for the week; both of them are massively enthusiastic and knowledgeable, inspiring confidence in first timers with their seemingly effortless climbing.

I was climbing with Dave for most of the week and I don't think we climbed anything less than a grade IV, including a few classics. The climbing was tough and challenged everyone in the group but it felt good to have been pushed out of the comfort zone and there were always stories to tell over a beer at the end of the day.

We encountered different weather and conditions on each day from bomber ice to unconsolidated snow. On the last day when it got pretty awful we got to climb indoors on both plastic and ice (complete with Tim's hilarious commentary) and had a chance to practise some more advanced ropework away from the hill.

The supplementary evening lectures included talks on avalanches, winter navigation and slideshows of expeditions all of which were informative and added to what we were learning everyday.

Some proper winter...


During the week we experienced some proper Scottish winter from strong winds to poor visibility to snow and rain. However this allowed us to see the decision making processes involved in winter mountaineering and the course has helped me to understand more about the parts that make up these decisions, such as avalanche risk, snow conditions etc. It also increased my confidence in the skills required to cope with these conditions.
Overall this was a fantastic week with great teaching and a wonderful location. I learnt a lot and would recommend it to anyone interested in winter mountaineering. Thankyou.

The start of great times

Ruth James

I have been to PyB a few times for day visits so I knew before arriving that this week-long residential course would be good. But it was better than I ever hoped for!

The quality of the coaching was great, and perfectly aimed at me - a novice paddler. It was challenging at times but not scary.

Following my week at PyB I wanted to do more paddling, so I joined a local club and was easily able to join in their club white water trips to put all my new-found skills into practice.

I'll definitely be back to do get some more white water coaching at PyB.

Inspiration and adventure!


This was quite simply the best week's boating ever! The course was really inspirational for me - opening my eyes to a whole range of new kayaking experiences ... We did a day of skills on the Tryweryn (at 16 cu!), a day steep creeking, a day of big volume (on the Dee at high volume), and a couple of days of great river trips (Llugwy and Dee). Each day I was out of my comfort zone for at least a while (in a good way) - and really felt my confidence soar. The instructors were great at making us feel we could go for things I wouldn't have normally - and Tom's stock of jokes never ran dry! Can't recommend it highly enough - go for it - you'll have a total blast! Just make sure you have a reasonable white water roll - as you will use it!

Top rate instruction

Brian Middleton

This was my first course at Plas y Brenin. An excellent course with good winter conditions. However, what really made this course was the top rate instruction and leadership given by Andy Teasdale.
My confidence in his ability and instruction was quckly gained. Andy clearly explained the plans, the decision process at every stage. Almost a running commentary. I found this extremely usefull
and informative.

I could not fault the course, the venue or the instruction.

I have done several winter skills courses in Scotland and although the instruction was very good, it was easily bettered by that given by Andy. I am grateful and we will be back.

Excellent course for rock climbers of all standards

Bob Hotchkis

Excellent course led by Dave Kenyon. Dave's knowledge, experience and personality made for a great weekend - he covered the whole course syllabus (and more) ensuring that we learnt the techniques and practiced them both indoors and out. He is also very inspirational.

Accommodation, food and beer also excellent. Refurbishment has been done to a high standard.

I was allocated a single room - this was good for me and for whoever might have shared with me - I tend be disturbed by other people's snoring and I know that I disturb others with my snoring. I'd be happy to pay a bit more for a single room in future and would like the option to request one at the time of booking.

Windswept Wales was worth it.

Dipika Price

Despite winds above 60 km and the the initial fear of being with big strong walkers I came home informed and happy. Young Harry was incredibly encouraging and made additional effort to make sure we understood all the instructions. Great accommodation. Good food and beer. Thanks Harry and Andy. I survived your course! Roll on Mont Blanc!

Fantastic Course, Learnt so much!


This is a fantastic course that I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking to improve their winter skills. It gives you a through grounding in the key aspects of snow and avalanche awareness, movement skills and what to do if it all goes pear shaped. The instructors were fantastic, filling you with loads of useful information, top tips and inspiration. This course has made me more aware of the risks involved in winter mountaineering and most importantly how to minimise those risks.

First time

Mike Gregory

After hearing a lot about Plas y Brenin I thought it was about time I gave it a try.

I signed up for the Navigation skills course to refresh what I already new as a result of hill walking and orienteering.

The course threw a completely different angle on what I already new. Emphasis was on planning, strategy, awareness and safety on the hill, as well as a lot of navigation exercises "in the field". Our Instructor was brilliant, explaining things along the way, and letting us make our own mistakes. There were only 5 of us in the group which was really good. I came away from this course with a whole new approach to walking on the hills, just need to go out and practise now.

My son was also at Plas y Brenin the same weekend on a Winter Skills course, which he also thoroughly enjoyed.

The staff at PYB were all very friendly and nothing was to much trouble, if you wanted anything you just asked and it was done. The food was great and plenty of it. Once I have got competent with the skills I have been thought I will be going back to PYB for the next course.

There was only one downside to the weekend, and PYB could not be blamed for that "the weather", high winds and plenty of rain. But looking on the bright side, it was good practice to navigate in bad conditions.

To sum it up A GREAT WEEKEND,

Thanks PYB

Oh nearly forgot, PYB were in the process of upgrading TV and Wi-Fi in the rooms so these were not working - a minor detail.


Rhys Owen

Course was great. Really enjoyed. Was at the right level, with the rightt balance of theory and time on the mountain. Matt stygal is a good instructor and delivered it well.

The auxillary staff were great also in the reception and canteen, everyone was very friendly and helpful. Room was lovely clean and tidy.

Realistic pragmatic real world assessment

Peter Matthews

Having just completed my SPA assessment I can say that the approach taken by the instructor (Steve Howe) was the most real world and realistic assessment I could have wanted. Strongly recommend PYB for the quality of their staff. Completing an SPA assessment when it's snowing is pretty intense but Steve kept us all on track and encouraged us to deliver what we needed to deliver.

Facilities at PYB are excellent, and getting better every time I visit. The rooms are comfortable, albeit the pillows could be with being firmer. Not having to think about accommodation or food and knowing both are part of the PYB experience and are fantastic means you can spend more time concentrating on the important things you are learning or delivering. I highly recommend PYB and always have. I'm back in a few months for my ML training and I know that I've just got to turn up and learn and will have fab accommodation and scrummy food provided so there's nothing else for me to worrk about. 10/10 PYB!

Welsh Winter Ridges

Phil Thompson

Great experience in atrocious weather (February 2014)conditions. Instructor was flexible and innovative providing indoor tuition when out door was limited. Course was tailored to our particular needs. Instructor (Dave Kenyon) had good interpersonal skills, was obviously competent which inspired confidence.

Great course - and I managed to roll!

Lindsey N

I was a complete beginner, so started with no knowledge at all. Andy was an excellent tutor who made the whole process of learning to roll very simple indeed. Of the five of us on the course, all starting from a different level of knowledge, we all rolled by the end of the weekend.
I was there in February, and we were only in the pool, all equipment was provided by Plas y Brenin, and was excellent. I would certainly recommend this course to anyone struggling with their roll.

A bit dissapointed

Peter Watson-Brown

Good individual coaching from Chris, a bit dissapointed with amount of time actually spent on moving water - not enough.

Great course for building confidence

Rob Armstrong

Very good course for a thorough introduction to various aspects of being safe in the winter hills.
First class from the moment of arrival through to departure.
Accommodation, friendliness of staff, skill level of instructor (Dino was very likeable, professional and extremely competent), food and facilities all very good.
Add to that good beer and cake.....and you can't go wrong!
Will definitely be back for further courses.

Great course

John Allton

I came on this course at short notice with a friend who was interested in attending.

The weather wasn't great on the first day but there was plenty to do around the centre to polish up old skills or learn new skills.

Following snow overnight we were able to get out on the hill and practice some of the things we had discussed and practiced the day before. We did not do much navigation or ice axe arresting on the hill which was a shame. However we did plenty of crampon work and some rope work.

The instruction was great as was the accommodation and food.

A fantastic course!

Frances Cavanagh

This was a fantastic course! A great balance between theory and practical, keeping everyone interested throughout the day :)

Another great course, what next?

John Spooner

The real value of this course has been proved on returning to my usual track at Cannock. The trail took less time, was more relaxing and generally easier. I was carrying more speed through corners and feeling much more confident in all areas. I could equate taking this course to switching from hardtail to full suspension although much cheaper. I still have a lot to work on both in terms of fitness and technique but now understand far more and know where I can improve.
The course was well run, Pete was enthusiastic despite the quiet students. He took time at the start to understand the level of the students and what we wanted to achieve. Amazingly despite forecast rain he managed to get us inside during the only shower of the weekend.
In our case there were only three students on the course and we focussed on skills for both days. This was a relief for me because I would have struggled on a long trail. Pete found us three different sites with various obstacles to provide us a range of techniques and even ran a quick gym session to show us how to improve when not on the bike.
At the end of two days I was tired, aching and had a very full brain. Ricky Gervais and Big Serge have helped me to remember some of the techniques and I now need to practise as much as possible.
Thanks to Pete and also to the staff who made the residential course so pleasant. Good meals, packed lunches and drying rooms are all much appreciated.

Excellent weekend for Winter preparation.

Richard Allen

Had an excellent weekend despite a lack of snow at ground level. Surprised by what I learned about what happens to snow at higher levels and this gives me something to think about. Still able to learn the use of crampons and ice axe in the 'no snow' area. I would certainly recommend this weekend to learn the necessary skills, especially the navigation in low vis. Good instruction from Oli who also made it fun.

Unbeatable value for money

Peter Goulding

Two great days, for only a hundred quid. The food was well beyond what I expected, the instructors were excellent and the whole place was super-friendly: from every member of staff to all of the people doing courses.
The course itself was an excellent introduction to the basics of winter mountaineering: weather forecasts, navigation , ice-axe and crampon use and avalanche awareness were really well taught.
If you want to go to the mountains in winter, this course should be your first stop.

Solid Skills Training - Great Environment

Anthony Dobson

Well organised, nice and dynamic programme taking advantage of prevailing conditions. Dave Kenyon - the instructor - was very obviously a pro and his laid-back, yet authoritative presence made the the whole course something special. The facilities were great too - everything from the drying room to the stores were there when you needed them. Front of house staff always willing to go the extra mile to help, whether that be scrounging some laundry detergent or giving advice on the weather and kit.
The "open-to-all" climbing lecture was truly inspirational despite some AV/internet issues - great team at PYB who are all so obviously passionate about what they do!
I was so impressed I stayed an extra 2 days taking advantage of the fabulous location as my climbing/hiking base-camp so to speak! Very good value bed & breakfast with good food too. Bar prices weren't bad either.
Couldn't recommend the place more highly!

welsh winter mountains were superb

David Cochrane

So, we didnt have the weather. My disappointment faded quickly though following my first day improving my navigation skills halfway up a welsh cwm with Steve Howe in abysmal rain, wind and thunder and lightning, this enjoyment just grew and grew as the week passed under the guidance of Dave Evans - what a fantastic instructor. He was measured, patient , encouraging and bloody good company.
I had such a great and unexpected time on the course from the people I met to the small challenges we undertook...it was great realise ideas i had had for a while and be part of a group that were realising their own at the same time.
I cant wait to return to PYB. Hopefully to do my SPA or ML.
David Cochrane

What a weekend

Darren Brooks

Winter skills course but not a lot of snow......
I did think it would be a problem little snow but Dave led us to one place he did think there was snow and there was!
So we were able to use ice axes in the real world.
It was also cold but not too cold, so it was like a Welsh winter but not too hardcore which made learning the skills was fun in not too harsh conditions.
Great weekend, at a great place with loads of friendly faces.

Sunshine in winter

Rob Mitchell

Just spent the weekend completing the BMC Winter Skills course with my son-in-law. A wet drive down didn't fill us with hope, however we awoke to a dry Saturday and blue skies on the horizon.
Dave our instructor quickly briefed and got the group kitted up and off we went. Throughout the day Dave continued to update us with useful and interesting information about the landscape, weather, snow conditions and the pace we were setting (typical military striding it out. We reached the sumits having practiced the use of ice axe and positive stepping with the edges of our boots. Word of the day was'Graupul' small ball bearing shaped hail which was lying all about as we appraoched the snow line.
After a great day on the hills in glorious sunshine it was back down to PYB for a well earned tea and cake before tucking into a great dinner later that evening. To top it off Dave was doing a lecture that evening on Winter Mountaineering and climbing the Eiger - very interesting and inspiring
The following day waqs spent with winter navigation, crampon techniques - yes on the rail sleepers - which actually are a useful training aid, fall arest and avalanche understanding.
The weekend was made all the better with the great accommodation which, was spotless, the great service and great food from the canteen staff, the ambience of the bar and the friendliness of al the PYB staff.
definately will be coming back - maybe to introduce the wife to paddling.
Thanks for a great weekend

Llugwy Ogwen Conwy Dee

John Doyle

Fantastic experience. 5 days of coached white water kayaking is just so good to move on your skills and confidence. It’s a good mix also between days of full-on coaching and whole days of simple river running where the onus is on yourself to put your skills into practice, and the coaches are more there for guidance and safety.
The best things about the course:
- excellent coaching staff, full of enthusiasm, and they will challenge you and push you but there is no obligation to do anything you are unhappy about (except insisting I practice my offside roll in the pool after a hard day out on the river!)
- great selection of rivers – we did 4 rivers in the 1 week even though water levels could have been better. Scenery fantastic.
- the other people on the course: supportive, humorous, inspiring, and good swimmers(!)
- the pyb centre – very impressed, accommodation better than I expected, food excellent and plentiful, kayak rolling pool (heated), good beer in the bar and many other people to meet in the evening if you can keep your eyes open

Any bad things? The only things I can think of are unpredictable river levels and the fact that Snowdonia is so far from Southampton where four of us travelled from.

Will be back.

excellent 2 day course to develop your coaching skills

Shane Clark

This was the first time this course has been run. Day one was about coaching and mentoring each other to make sure you had a great 'coaching roll'. First part of the day focusing on the theory and then using the pool to coach each other. Great Learning environment and feedback from Sid and Andy. Day two was about coaching a paddler how to role. An excellent second day.
Overall excellent value. 2 days coaching from national coaches, unlimited use of the pool, excellent facilities of Plas y brenin and two days accommodation. Outstanding.

Dry tooling fun


Excellent instruction on wide variety of topics relevant to winter climbing. Particularly enjoyed the dry tooling session. Also was very useful to try out the latest kit, including the more extreme climbing axes and monopoint crampons. Joining instructions could be improved (send the proposed schedule!).

Good course despite the mild weather

Bruce Matheson

The slopes made of wooded sleepers were some compensation for the lack of snow. Classroom sessions were good with the basics covered and plenty of information to follow up. Simple roping work exercises on the slope of Y Garn were appropriate to the sort of mountain walking the participants envisaged. Food and accommodation excellent as usual.

11 - 15 November 2013

Rob Tresidder

It's a little difficult to be dispassionate about this course because it was an assessment and I passed!

But allowing for that and the fact that we all (or all but one?) passed, I felt it was a very fair and thorough assessment.

Briefings were good. Assessors all gave very clear instructions and asked unambiguous questions.

The weather was exceptionally unfriendly and showed up the extent I had still not sorted my torch/specs/magnifier protocol.

I was introduced to Nature In Snowdonia — an added bonus.

Food: excellent.

Room: comfortable and convenient, though surely it should have been possible to arrange the furniture differently so that I could get out from behind the desk!

The accommodation is I imagine hotel ***, but as well as towels, most hotels provide soap at least. It would be sensible to warn guests that this is not provided.

I would definitely recommend PyB to a friend.

My thanks to all.


Just a perfect day...or two!!

Bob Gibbs

Under the enthusiastic guidance of Chris and 'Sid', I had a few 'perfect days' enjoying some sporty white water in N Wales (albeit it was a bit dry!). Excellent instruction combined with safe practice and play spots made this a great few days to build confidence, improve skills and extend kayak knowledge.
Accommodation, food and hospitality were excellent - important considerations when you are paddling on cold rivers for a few hours.

Special thanks to Chris Evans for his endless cheerfulness on the coldest of days!
Would happily recommend this course to anyone wishing to extend and/or consolidate their kayaking skills.

Thanks to all.
PS Please spell 'intermediate' correctly (it is not 'intromediate'!)

Great Week - despite the lack of water!


Despite the lack of water in Wales - Plas y Brenin delivered an excellent week as expected - with Chris and Sid making the best of what was available (the Dee).
Chris Evans has bags of enthusiasm (always infectious) for paddling and coaching and is great for skills and confidence building and getting the best out of you and your paddling. A really positive and skilled coach - so a brilliant week with a great group of people.
This was the second time I had done this course - so its great for refreshing skills and getting a weeks intensive paddling into a busy lifestyle. Recommended.

A great week on the water


Really enjoyed this course, I hoped to gain a bit of technique and a bit of confidence and I did both, the instructors were extremely competent and always cheery which instantly rubbed off on the rest of the group. The centre is a superb base, warm and comfortable with good food and plenty of it.

Great Weekend on Nav Skills Course

Paul Morton

A fantastic weekend with great instruction provided by Karl from the centre. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who is new to the mountains or who has not been in the hills for a number of years who merely wish to refresh their skills. The accomodation is dry, clean and warm with plenty of facilities to dry out your gear, food was plentiful and sustaining. As is the case with all of these types of events the weekend can be enhanced if the group you are with are like minded people and for me personally we had a great group which consisted of Kate, Sarah, Dave, Nick and Rich who ensured we had a number of laughs along the way to becoming "navigators" in the true sense of the word. In the words of "Arnie - I'll be back!"
Paul M

An amazing winter atmosphere


I really enjoyed my time! Lots of knowledge, friendly staff, wide range of activities and lots of enthusiasm that created an amazing winter atmosphere.
I'm quite sad that is already Monday: time passed so quickly!
Hope to repeat my experience at Plas Y Brenin, well better on mountains, soon!

Winter wonderland

Stephen Fletcher

Great weekend, lots of positive psyche , instructors inspiring ,all in all,a great experience.

First class

Phil Toth

First class coaching, first class accomodation first class food.A week on this course will help any grade 2/3 paddler progress. Spike Adam and Chris brought the best out of our group of eight we all got the chance to run plenty of grade 3 with a little 4 thrown in if you fancied.Also a great opportunity to meet up with past paddling buddies and make new ones. The facilities are the best there is, after a cold day on the water it doesn't come much better than large drying rooms hot meals good banter in the bar then a warm en-suite room, will be back.

REC Mountain First Aid, delivered enthusiastically in a friendly environment.

Neil Wills

Great Course delivered by knowledgeable friendly trainers.

Absolutely everything about the course was relevant and up to date. The trainers pulled on their own real life experience and that of the group to ensure that real situations were examined and acted out.

Plenty of hands on practice with a good combination of indoor and outdoor practice.

Whilst the overall group size was possibly larger than expected there was more than one trainer throughout the course which alleviated any potential problems of low contact time.

Food accommodation and facilities - as usual were top notch.

Thank you for a great - long weekend.

Scrambling Private Instruction

Sarah Chadwick

Had a brilliant weekend and the course was excellent - suited what we wanted to learn. Instructor was very knowledgeable and approachable and really helped to progress my scrambling skills. I now feel much more confident which is what I wanted to achieve from the course. I cannot fault the weekend as I really enjoyed myself and learnt a lot of new skills and techniques. I would not hesitate to book another course with PYB or recommend your courses to friends!

Thank you!

Great Course & Great Food


Have just completed this course in Nov '13. Had a really good time. Our coach, Adam Harmer was really good, he was patient and very insightful and obviously very skilled. The food as usual was fantastic and the newly refurbished rooms are very nice.


Simon McGreevy

Great accomodation, good food, excellent facilities, great staff and excellent bar!

Brilliant fun, great coaching, fantastic water

Gordon Kediie

Heading to PYB for the Performance White Water weekend turned out to be money well spent! Putting myself at the intermediate level and with Ian and Claire also on the course of a similar level the group dynamics worked really well which was a big relief. Back this up with our coaches ability (Chris Evans) to bring the best out of us and always highlight our positives the course was exceptional at pushing my paddling form cautious grade 3 paddler to loving anything Chris could through at us! The water was running high and increasing as the storm was just beginning to batter the mainland (Oct 26&27) and for this reason and to check out abilities Chris took us on the Llugway where we went through power transfer, vertical paddle strokes and boofing. Once this was mastered, well almost we set off to Js bridge the slot and my highlight running Cobdens(?) fall, never believed that 2 hours ago I would be running that one, even if the line was unconventional. After more paddling we headed back to PYB where the tea and cakes fill a hole before dinner. In the meantime the debrief with video feedback was great, truly worth seeing ones self paddle and having a good instructor pick out the positives and of course one or two areas to work on. The next day although tired and with the water even higher we headed for the Galslyn which was a short blast where we practiced an unexpected mid stream rescue, where the whole group took tips away. After a dry lunch in the warmth of PYB we headed for the Nant Grwyryd; which I must say a Mountain stream in spate was miles away from my cautious grade 3 and a real hoot, making ones brain constantly think and run on adrenaline all the way to Garth farm falls! Who would of thought that for a couple of hundred pounds some good company, warm food and great coaching that one could learn so much in a short weekend? I can't wait until next time, Cheers Chris.

Great course but may not have been needed if previous course were better structured

James (Bryn)ly Roebuck

I attended the course as I got deferred on my ML Assessment for navigation, the main reason for this was my lack of experience on 1:50,000 maps and having the tools to relocate when out of position for example aspect of slope and taking bearings on known features to assist in identifying my location.

Simon covered this (and much more) and we spent a whole day on 1:50,000 maps which is just what I needed to give me the confidence to book my ML re-assessment. Overhaul the course was excellent and well delivered and met all my needs. The feed back was that I should have no problem on my ML re-assessment, based on my performance over the course.

My only criticism is not of this course but the previous courses I have attended for ML Training and ML Refresher courses. At no time on these two courses did we ever use or get trained/experience on 1:50,000 maps. I think this is definitely a short fall on these two courses as navigation on 1:50,000 maps was a major part of the ML assessment, which is where I struggled.

Bryn Roebuck


Toby Cronshaw

Really enjoyed this course and I fully plan to come back and expand upon the knowledge learnt with another course.

Lou was great and seemed to have a great understanding of our ability and expectations. The course was challenging without being unfathomable.

The Eiger here I come ; )

Lots of learning on a very wet weekend

Sarah Towers

Great course. Good balance of theory and practice - balanced in between torrential rain for us anyway!

It was good to learn with a group of women - all similar ability and speed - although I think we embarrassed poor Paul a few times!

Very relaxed and friendly atmosphere for the entire weekend - will certainly return.

Great weekend

Jon Taylor

Had a fabulous time. The accomodation was clean and the food was excellent. The guides led us on superb walks and we were lucky with good visibility on the second day! The music evenings were also brilliant - the first night very much an informal get together in the bar with talented musicians and beginners alike - the second evening was mic night and perhaps a bit too formal for this type of music - no fear though - as soon as back in the bar the "jam session" atmosphere returned.

Would definitely do it again - wish I could play an instrument really but happy to listen and enjoy!!

Many thanks to all at Plas y Brenin

Great info

Lots of tea and cakes, actually too much tea and cakes.

A rather relaxing course that I expected to be a bit more intense.

Lots of information on the greater ranges, while great info it was at the expense of information about Europe which is where the qualification is necessary rather than voluntary.

Invaluable and fun!

Paula Bates

This course is excellent, it has taken my paddling to another level giving me the confidence to go into water I would have avoided previously, with the luxury of 2 instructors we all gotplenty of individual instruction. The instructors were, as always at PYB patient and understanding, this course is exhausting and worth every ounce of energy as well as the cost. Thanks Jake, Chris and Pete.

Underwater Kayaking

Andrew Firth

A quick review of ‘The Bombproof Roll’ course
There were five students on the course and throughout the week instruction was shared between Pete, Jake and Chris. All brought something different to the party and provided excellent instruction.
The first day was spent mostly in the pool moving out to the lake in the late afternoon. We had our rolls analysed and were given tips to improve where required.
During the pool sessions our rolls were filmed so we could be shown where we were going wrong and how to improve.
The rest of the week was spent in progressively more challenging environments putting our rolls through their paces, often in anger. This was interspersed with practicing other skills. Venues included The Dee, Four Mile Bridge and The Tryweryn.
The course was varied, fun and I certainly took a lot away from it and cannot wait to return for another instalment.
The accommodation whilst basic is clean and comfortable. The other facilities are excellent particularly the drying rooms. I never once had to put wet kit on in the morning.
We had the use of the rolling pool in the evenings if required although nobody on the course had the surplus energy to take advantage of this.
The catering was varied and appetising and to be fair there was more food than I could eat. Somehow I actually managed to put weight on through the week.
In Summary, do I have a Bombproof Roll?
Probably not, although it is hugely improved. My first instinct now is to attempt to roll before swimming. I also have the confidence to practice my roll away from the pool environment.
I would thoroughly recommend this course.

perfect 2 days

Colin Pierpoint

Cath James gave just the right mix of advice, information and personality to make a pleasant relaxed atmosphere for my two days at Plas Y Brenin. We did Heather Terrace and over Tryfan summit on a beautiful day with classic views. On the second day an ascent of Y Gribin on Snowdon, and over Y Lliwedd in mist and wind. It was interesting to talk about the relationships between guide and client, not just us two, but also the other guides I have had.

A Great Time


We had a great time and hope to be back for the next one, with folks in tow! Let us know as soon as you know when that will be so we can arrange things.

A Cracker!

Dave Carvell

it was a great weekend and friday night was a cracker!
Saturday evening's open mic' was a revelation as everyone really sparkled. There were a few suprises too as 'learners' and solo singers really impressed all of us. What a pity I missed the saturday bash in the bar - I thought I'd have a little snooze and that was that.
I do a lot of walking in the Warwickshire countryside at about 150', mostly in wellies however, Saturday's walk was very 'interesting' up there in the clouds. The great thing was that nobody moaned and just got on with it.
I'll never forget eating our lunch huddled inside the stone cicle with a 45mph wind howling over the top of our heads.

Thank you for a great weekend

Pam & Mac

Pam and I would like to say thank you for a great weekend. It's the first time we've been to Pas Brenin and we thaought everything was brilliant. We particularly liked the endless tea & coffee - a great touch.
But of course, the walking and the open mike combo was fantastic. Our leader, Dave was great with us and led a brilliant couple of walks, especially the Sunday walk, which I really enjoyed.
See you next year, we're definately putting this on our calendar. Just let us know when it is.

Great Weeekend

Dave Atkinson

It was a really good weekend and great fun.
I think it was a good idea to mic it up on Saturday, it takes some out of their comfort zone and gives them an opportunity to try it.
Hopefully may see you next year and already had a few people asking about it.

A very big thank you


Thanks for organising such a fantastic walking and music weekend. I hope to be back next year, if not before (maybe with a few chords and a song to offer).

Great Fun


Many thanks for the weekend. The Friday night jam was great fun, as was the Saturday, and despite doing only one song on Saturday that was the first time that jim and myself had ever performed in front of more than 3 people,(we just play for ourselves usually after beer and only with close friends around) but we both agree that guitar practise will commence again


John and Briege

Thank you so much for the weekend. Briege and I had a brilliant time and are still very much on a high. We met a fantastic group of people with a shared love of mountains and music.

Brilliant weekend


Friday night's session in the bar was brilliant, it left me feeling like I knew everyone, having heard them sing and/or play. I awoke on Saturday eager to hear everyone perform in the open mic evening. It was lovely to watch each person take the stage, with a little snapshot of their personality in place
from the previous evening. It felt like I was watching a roomful of friends perform which made the evening hugely enjoyable. Saturday night's 'apres-open-mic' bar session was another cracker too and I take my hat off to everyone who managed a full day's walking on Sunday.

The course was excellent

Jane Hitchings

Please pass on to our wonderful instructors, Pete Catterall, Jake Holland and Chris Evans, that the course was excellent. It met all of my expectations and more. It has built my confidence so much that I ran the Upper Dart this morning, for the first time this season and I actually slept the night before instead of lying awake worrying and I didn't come out my boat once. In fact I didn't need to roll in anger but played on the waves and practiced rolling. I even ran Euthanasia falls on river left which I have never done before and the smile never left my face. The course has deffinately taken my kayaking up to the next level and I am so grateful. Did Jake get his level 5 coach qualification? And if he did , did he enjoy the champagne? Whenever I do a " stern squeeze" I think of him! The course was varied, interesting, demanding and it delivered. PYB was brilliant, the food the rooms the helpful staff , everything about it. THANK YOU! Jane Hitchings

Amazing experience and learning opportunity

Raphael Fanti

This was my first alpine experience, and I was looking for a course that would grant me the techniques and confidence to (1) understand all major disciplines in mountaineering (2) map my capabilities and improvement areas and (3) define my next projects and go after them. This course was exactly what I expected.

Stu is a very accomplished climber (to the point of feeling honored just by climbing with him), and an incredible teacher. Very attentive to all details, he goes beyond the techniques to explain how everything comes together in the mountains. As a result, in the second week, we climbed more like a group (Stu and Radek leading but all of us participating in the think process and decisions). This experience, coupled with the techniques learned in the first week, gave us the confidence much needed to progress.

More than climbing, this was also an intense social experience. We spent 2 weeks interacting many hours a day, and good friendships arose. On top of that, Stu contributed to create a friendly, funny environment much needed for relaxing after hard days.

For those interested in grades / difficulties, we managed to climb some ADs on the second week, which is a very good progression for two weeks of experience. However, one has to keep in mind in the Alps we climb what the weather and the group capabilities allow. This was also an important learning, different from the sport climbing mindset that most of us have.

In sum, after much research in options for mountaineering courses, I'm confident that the Complete Alpine with PyB is the best way to build a cornerstone mountaineering skill-set. Don't get fixated by Mont Blanc! After this course you will realize that the Alps has much more to offer.

Finally, in terms of preparation, people tend to have an over-focus on climbing. Indeed, we climbed pitches, but most of them were simple, and someone climbing 5+ confidently on the gym would do fine. What really mattered, though, was physical conditioning (good old cardio). The combination of height, weather and sleep creates harsh conditions, therefore being in good shape will help participants to focus on the techniques and take the most out of the course.

Well organised event

Terry Hunter

All aspects on the Catering - Hospitality side were either excellent or very good. The room was spacious and the evening meals were of a high standard, especially when one considers that it is canteen style. One small complaint would be that the dining room seating can be a little cramped when the room is busy.
The music side of the weekend was well organised and it was good to see a separate room provided for the Open Mic session. Also, the jam sessions in the bar were most enjoyable.
With regard to the walks, I felt they matched the Gradings given in the programme and were professionally led.


Jennifer Davies

As a newbe to kayaking i was a little unsure if i'd be able to attend this course. I rang Plas y Brenin for a chat & after having been asked the relevant questions about what experience I did have, we concluded I could attend. The instructors Helen Teasdale, Jake Holland & Pete Catterall are outstanding. They put there all in to every second they are with you & are very willing to share there knowledge. It was a fantastic week at the brenin, food was awesome, room & facility's are great. Can't wait to go back.

Amazing weekend


The BMC Ready to Rock course did exactly what it said it would do. We were taken outdoors, and taught the basics in a very easy to understand way. There was also lots of climbing throughout the weekend in really lovely locations, which had a range of climbs we could do. The instructors Simon and Jen were great, and we managed to learn a great deal and have a lot of fun!

The accomodation, food and social activities were also done really well. Great course, location and crowd!

Ready to Rock


I used to climb outdoors with experienced climbers about 20 years ago. I stopped for a goo 16 years and the started climbing indoors leading up to 6a+.

I wanted to take my son outdoors but knew that my experience of setting up a belay point was limited. So when I saw this course and what good value it was, I jumped at the chance.

In groups of 3 we had a go at climbing a 15m wavy rock face which was a great re-introduction to rock and then we got down to the task of setting up for the rest of the first day and almost all of the second.

This was exactly what I wanted, as I know feel much more confident that I can place gear and evaluate how good it is and also set up the ropes which previously I had no idea about.

The instructor was very knowledgable and patient with our mixed bag of experience and ability. Pitching information at the right level for each of us as and when we needed it (which was often in my case).

Excellent course. Makes me want to go climb outdoors.

The centre was full with the Big Acoustic Weekend walkers who were a lively and interesting bunch.
Food accommodation and beer were all excellent and I had a great time.

I would totally recommend this course to anyone thinking of going climbing outdoors. I learned some essential skills.


No regrets

Roy Ibbotson

epic week, great facilities, great instructors. You wont regret choosing PYB

A fab weekend away!


The rolling course was great fun. There were 5 of us on the course, which was about the right amount for the size of the pool. Chris (the instructor) worked with us all individually, and also went through video clips of us so we could troubleshoot on both the Saturday and the Sunday.

I had the impression that it wouldn't be that much fun, but my husband and I both really enjoyed it. it was hard work, but it was definitely worth it.

Three of the five of us managed a roll before the end of the course, and the other two of us (me included) managed a roll with minimal float help on the paddle. The instructor said to me that I was probably a bit tired after the intensive two days, but I had the right skills and next time I tried it I would manage it no problem. He was right - I tried it three days later and it worked.
I can really recommend this course, the instruction was great, and the facilities at PYB are second to none. It is expensive, but it is worth the money.

Conquer your roll

Hernan Morillo

Excellent course. You could take your time and learn to roll your kayak over several days/ weeks or you could just get on with it, commit a weekend and learn to roll properly in a structured, thoughtful and progressive manner.
The course is entirely based in the excellent, heated pool. Working in pairs we took it in turns to roll /assist. Chris , our instructor managed to break down the day so we could maximise our practice time without becoming worn out. He used video analysis as an aid for self-progression and feedback.
Equipment you might find useful:
All the equipment you need is available from pyb at no additional cost. I did bring my own wetsuit (3mm long sleeved) and this was more comfortable than the long johns and better than a shortie. The pool is heated but you do spend an extended period in the water. You'll need a nose clip (as a minimum) and some goggles. Even better, use a snorkelling mask. It really helps with orientation when you are trying to swing your paddle upside down.
Two days is long enough to give you a chance to get to grips with your roll. You probably will need more practice to completely consolidate your newly acquired skill but you will make significant, rapid progress.
As usual for Plas y Brenin, the standard of instruction was the best available. Other good points include: Course buddies, meals, accommodation, views/location

Great to build confidence on grade 1 scrambles


This is a great course if you want to build your confidence on grade 1 scrambles. The instructors will take you out of your comfort zone, but if that is what you are after, if you are willing to give it a go and get a little scared (but not too much!) then this is the perfect course for you. Day one was a tester on a ridge with easy escape to less challenging terrain followed by some basic rope rope theory. Day 2 then involved scrambling up the north ridge of Tryfan, taking in some rope work along the way to get through an exposed section - a few adrenaline inducing moments but a real sense of achievement by the end of it. Accommodation, food and atmosphere in the PYB centre were excellent. Overall a great weekend in the Welsh hills.

Great Weekend...

Steve Daniels

Had a great weekend thanks. Workshops were run in small groups and we learned plenty of stuff.
Bedroom was pokey but more than adequate and very clean the food was smashing. 'Brenin' Dark Winter Ale was one the highlights.

Anna Sutherland

I had done quite a lot of walking in the hills but not for many years and I had not done much navigation. The course felt like exploring in the hills with some summits. The instructors were kind and extremely competent. We were often directed or led, we also made our own way and sometimes one of the instructees led. The instructor checked we knew where we were and where we were going and showed us how to orientate ourselves. Under direction we made and followed our own bearings. We practised pacing and learnt to read our maps more effectively and did some route finding. We found features on the land identified on the map. There was quite a bit of scrambling and coming down steep slopes. The instructor spotted us if we needed it. Reading the Hillwalking book on the list before coming might mean that new techniques are not a surprise. Everything was explained very carefully so it was easy to learn. For novices or people brushing up it will probably be important to practise more but after your course you will know what to do. There were fascinating evening talks from climbers and a kayaker about their adventures. The weather was good. Plas Y Brenin was overall very friendly and welcoming. The food was good and the rooms were fine. A course well worth doing

Fantastic, Friendly, Fun Training Course

Andrew Leah

Just got back from a fantastic few days completing my ML(s) training at The Brenin. My experiences from start to finish are something that will live long in my memory and the stuff I have learned will make me a better leader for years to come. I'll start with the accommodation:- comfortable, clean, twin en-suite rooms. Shower is good and hot. There was a TV on the wall but not connected until end 2013 - this was not a problem as there is very little time to watch TV with such a packed course.
After initial introductions we spent the first afternoon on the hill praticing Nav techniques. If you you think you know it all already you may be in for a surprise.
Second day was spent learning Group Management Skills on steeper ground in the Glyderau. The instructors all the while imparting the benefits of their experiences.
Third day was mainly classroom based and allowed the instructors to cover opics which cannot be cmpletely covered on the hill such as environmental, route planning, access laws etc.
Fourth Day covered some of the recently changed procedures for river crossing and ropework and we put these into practice close to the centre.
Fifth and Sixth days are the exped with overnight wild camp and night nav. This gave us chance to put all the newly gained skills into action. Personally I found the 1:50000 nav the most informative and something I had not done a lot of before.
Food throughout the course was excellent with many choices and always vegetarian options (which I sometimes went for despite being mainly carnivorous!) The legendary 5 o'clock cakes certainly lived up to their reputation. Most days there was a lecture available in the evening or for those who wanted to just chill, the bar area was very comfortable and friendly.
I would like to finish by saying a few words about our instructors, Simon Lake and Matt Stygall, both very different in teaching style but both very knowledgeable, at times patient and always willing to give that extra piece of info that will make us better leaders. Thanks to you both and to all at PYB.

Fun + focus + skills based week = confident + optimistic+ crag hopper

Maccs Pescatore

It's a privilege to be instructed by professionals at the top of their game. And to share some fun with them too. I hadn't understood that the more technical scrambles actually require rock climbing techniques to keep safe (ropes, belays etc). I hadn't properly taken the time to look at a grade 3 scramble or an easy to moderate rock climb. So, it was both exciting and exhilarating to be led onto the rock and to discover that. There was never a doubt that we wouldn't get to the top with guidance from Matt Styggal and Helen Teasdale. Their relaxed but totally attentive style prevented any fear from materialising. Instead my head was filled with anticipation. And I never felt unsafe. Each day was tailored and progressed from the previous. And both were careful to make sure that we provided input to the day's programme. Despite the week being generally filled with rain, we managed to navigate that to maximise the time out on the rock. Each day we learnt more and pushed further. By the end of the week I felt totally comfortable in leading, in taking a good shot at finding good places for wires and in belaying. Generally, I came away with a basic competency in keeping safe. Both instructors, and the observers that joined us for part of the week, were personable. In fact, everyone at the centre was friendly and relaxed. It was a great place to have a glass of wine at the end of the day.
The accommodation is a good standard. Each room beds two so if you arrive alone you'll be sharing with a stranger. Whilst I can see the economic benefit of doing that, I would have found it a little uncomfortable sharing with someone I didn't know. Particularly as the rooms are snug. But maybe that's just me and my age! The food is excellent; plenty of it, an extensive selection and good quality (sourced locally where possible). They even bake the bread. My workplace canteen could take a lesson from PYB's cooks and kitchen staff. In summary, the course was rewarding and has given me the confidence to start a journey into rock climbing as well as scrambling. There's more to learn, so I'm sure that I'll be back at PYB soon.

Yippee Kayak!

Erin M

Really good weekend, learnt so much and as only a few people in our group we managed to get more time to perfect the things we found difficult. Instructor really patient, and informative and really knows his stuff.
Perfect course for somebody interested in Kayaking and wanting to learn more without spending an absoulte fortune and doing a week or so learning something you may not enjoy. Reccomend to anyone interested in Paddle Sports.

Great instruction


Friendly and spot on training. We learnt lots and Chris kept the right pace for everyone

A very good course

Richard Grimes

A very good course delivered well. Difficult with the weather but pitched at the right level. Many thanks.

a fantastic course!

Sam Huguet

A really great 5 days!
The instructors are nice and they know how to teach, whilst ensuring that you're safe when on the crag. Also, they seem to give you climbs in accordance with your ability which is good.
I recommend this to everyone!


S Davenport

Mo was an amazingly conscientious and vivacious instructor.
she didn't stop working at anytime during the weekend. She was knowledgeable, enthusiastic and patient. We all thought we were very lucky to have her as our instructor.

A lovely, invigorating weekend

Sally Carr

I really enjoyed the weekend. The group were all of a reasonable standard which meant that we could be a bit more adventurous than I was expecting (which was good). We saw one working lighthouse and one more that was no longer functioning, lots of cliffs - with lots of sea-birds, including peregrines - and plenty of caves. So we couldn't ask for our money back. On day two we paddled from Red Dwarf Bay to Puffin Island and then came ashore after going through some "exciting" water. It was nice to do a one-way trip. Adam and Ben were fun to be with, led us well and showed good appreciation for our abilities. I'll probably do it again sometime. I also loved being back at PyB, having not come for a while. Love the new en-suite rooms!


A brilliant course from start to finish.


A brilliant weekend with plenty of amazing hills

Highly recommended

Excellent course, fantastic weather, amazing landscape.
Thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days.
Good starter for those without any experience and for those needing a good refresher after many years out of practice. Highly recommendable.

Happy Days

Lol T

What a hugely enjoyable week, our instructor was a hoot and fate also gave me a good group to be with. Every day was spent up in the hills getting to know our maps and techniques. Walking a distance of around 10Km a day we enjoyed some great scenery and some tricky tasks too. The evenings saw an interesting talk and/or a short classroom session and of course piles of excellent food.

My only comment on the course content is that I think that we should have spent more time up in the poor visibility of the clouds to try to find our way around.

The centre is well looked after with perfectly acceptable rooms - hot showers were never a problem. I look forward to returning on another occasion.

a great course


I really enjoyed the course and the instructor was very good. I liked the fact that there were 2 assistants there so there was always someone to answer questions. The locations of the crags were really good too.

I would have liked to spend more time on placing gear and setting up anchors, maybe starting on the first day. But apart from that, it was a great course!

ML (S) Training - Take me back!

James Drury

To start off from the beginning, booking onto the course, dead easy stuff with good communication between PYB and myself by both email and snail mail.
On arrival greeted by centre staff at reception where you can get your room key and key information for the next morning (Namely breakfast time), followed by a short shuttle run of kit from the car park to your room. I personally shared with one other bloke (Sorry for my snoring Sam), comfy beds with extra blankets if it's a little cold for you, kettle and brew making gear, en-suite shower/toilet with constant hot water, plenty of space to store a weeks worth of gear including a wardrobe for two. Everyday starts the same and generally ended the same, wake up to a hot shower then a cracking hot and cold breakfast with plenty of tea, then on day one its a quick brief by the duty manager then meet your training team.
For me it was a week of intense learning, experience and fun. Nearly everyday out on the hill learning new techniques and practising them, except for the middle day which was all practised around the centre, then a two day mini break out in Snowdonia.
Other cracking facilities included packed lunch every day, hot food for evening meal, drying rooms, boot cleaning sinks, washing machines, all the tea you can drink, centre run bar (with local ale!), stores/shop, climbing wall/bouldering wall and not to forget, every day at 5pm each course gets cake!
Cheers Dave and James for a cracking week! Looking forward to coming back.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes

The PYB instructors were very knowledgeable and friendly, and always able to answer questions. They were always happy to share their knowledge and I made the most of this opportunity! I found them inspiring and a good role model in the mountains. I have never used a guide or leader in the mountains before so this course also gave me the opportunity to observe the instructors to learn what made a good ML.

The food was great, accommodation comfortable, rooms clean and modern with a good shower and kettle. No TV in rooms, and some didn't get Wi-Fi (not a problem to me, and Wi-Fi is available in the bar area).

There are a lot of things to learn before becoming a Mountain Leader and this course teaches you what makes a good leader (the instructors are a great example), what you need to learn, and how to learn those skills. The skills are taught well and knowledge freely shared, but they do need to be practiced and developed further. You won't come away from the course an expert in any of the fields but you will have the confidence and the foundations to develop these skills and knowledge further.

I look forward to practicing and building on these skills during my QMD's. I know what I need to learn and how to learn it. Look at the consolidation period as "home study".

It is a training course and not an assessment so enjoy it and don't be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions, that's what you are there for. I also found each day less physically demanding than I expected, which allows you to put all of your energy into learning.

Great Experience

Alex Burgess

This was my second alpine course after doing an introductory course a previous year also with plas y Brenin. Knowing what to expect from the guide-teach style of the Brenin guides was my main decision for this. You are not simply led around the mountains, but taught the necessary skills for mountaineering in the alps as well as given insight into the decision making that goes into the planning before a climb and during it. Enjoyment is also a key component in the week and makes for a great way to spend your holiday. We were really well looked after by the yeti lodge team which allowed us to really make the most of relaxing in the valley. Overall after this course, I left feeling that I had gained more skills and experience which would give me confidence when next returning to the alps. I also left inspired and excited and can't wait to get back out there!

Simply fantastic!

John Kennett

I went on this course with my son (11) and daughter (9) and we all had an amazing time. It was hard work, and at the end of it we were all exhausted, but we loved every minute and were really sad to be leaving at the end. We're already planning our next visit! We had two instructors during the course, starting off with Andy Grimes for the first two days, then Chris Evans for the rest. They are both skilled coaches who were able to analyse what we were doing, and give easily understood feedback to help us improve. They were great to spend time with too, and were very good at pitching things so that they worked for everyone in a group with quite mixed abilities. The structure of the course is very loose, and the instructors tailored each day to fit our aspirations and abilities. Do tell them if there are things that you want to do - we were able to have a lot of input into what we did and where we went which was great, but does mean making a bit of an effort rather than just going with the flow. Plas y Brenin has masses of kit, all top names and all in great condition. We were able to try out a variety of kayaks, and once we found one that we liked we could keep it for the whole course. The accommodation is all very well kept, and although the rooms (and beds!) are a bit small it was more than adequate. The food was excellent and plentiful, and the cakes lived up to their reputation.

Excellent instruction at a great place

Emily Seccombe

The instructor on our course was amazing and the group was relaxed and friendly. The food at Plas y Brenin was great - especially the afternoon cakes everyday. One of the advantages of this course over other places is that we had lots of access to the pool for practicing rolling, as well as the on site flat water. The equipment was also all very good. In the evenings there was a couple of talks, an open mic evening and we had a throw bag session one night so we had activities to do all the time. All the staff at the centre were very helpful and the catering staff were especially friendly. I would definitely recommend this course to other people looking to do their BCU 3 star white water kayak qualification as the instruction was of the highest standard and that's what really matters.

Great week.

Richard Allen

I had an excellent 5 days. I was a bit concerned how I would handle this course being 60, but need not have worried. Cathy accessed how I coped over the first couple of days and from then on she new how to help me get the best of my ability. I gained in confidence and when I had self doubts Cathy talked things over with me and encouraged me. I learned a great deal and am able now to go forth well prepared to improve my ability (with practice) and scramble with my sons. I can wholeheartedly recommend this course, as a way of improving personal skills, learning to read routes, and knowing you will be well looked after. I would like to thank Cathy for her tuition and caring attitude, and not to forget her personnel skills.
Many thanks.

Dont forget your lunch

Garreth Stockton

I had a great time on this course during late July. The content and pace is amazing, and you quickly learn to eat your sandwiches on the bus as you don't stop during the day.
Fantastic instructors with a massive wealth of experience and knowledge and a great group of colleagues to work with.
The crag evacuation day was highly memorable. 5 hours of problem solving in the heaviest rain I have seen in Snowdonia. Still if its not raining its not training.

Excellent holiday


We had thought very carefully about this course as we weren't sure we'd manage the suggested 10-15 miles. There was no need for concern. I reckon the trips were around 8 miles, & so well planned by Glen that the tide & wind were always helping. We saw some beautiful scenery, seals, dolphins, porpoises & birds, and experienced a variety of sea states & features. The atmosphere was relaxed & supportive with just enough excitement & exertion to keep it interesting. PYB is not on the coast! This meant AT LEAST an hour in the mini bus each way, each day, through the beautiful scenery of North Wales to get paddling.
The centre is excellent, with a lively, friendly atmosphere. This is our third visit, & as always the food and facilities are first class. And as always the rooms are stiflingly hot and the beds murderously uncomfortable.
Glen (our guide) did no coaching at all (which was great) put us under no pressure (which was great) but kept things moving along. Knowledgeable and entertaining, he felt totally solid, safe & dependable. Some of his stories will stay with me for a very long time!

Excellent week

Alison Pritchard

An excellent week paddling. 5 classic trips, with dolphins, seals, porpoises, cormorants, fulmars and lots of gulls thrown in for good measure. Cliffs, caves, lighthouses and arches, this week had it all, and mostly in glorious sunshine. Even one day paddling without a cag.

Great week and the sun shone


Great week canoeing Llanberis, sea kayaks on Anglesey and white water at llangollen with the sun out. Good food and instructors. Best way to learn about canoes i can think of.

Excellent course

Dave Falcus

This is a very well structured 2 day course, with a fairly easy grade 1 scramble the first day and a tougher one on the second. Lou gave valuable instruction and encouragement and I now want to do the advanced scrambling course to progress to grade 3 routes. The centre offered good food and beer, as always!

A significant improvment in skills

frank woodhead

A very good course - I'm probably regarded as an older participant but felt fully engaged in the course - our instructors - Andy and Jake were first class. Andy though appearing relaxed, but with a sharp eye for the important details - keeping us safe and on the right track - and Jake who could not have put more into his contribution to help us have a full experience.
I have genuinely come away with a feeling that I could implement 100% of what was being taught albeit limited to my own competence, an important caveat that was sensibly reinforced . Its rare in my view to pick up so much in such a short time. A testament to the quality of instruction and the balance of the course.
A very enjoyable experience.

Excellent Climbing for Beginners

John Edwards

Two days of excellent tuition. Course content covered beginners skills on selection of anchor points, tying on, belaying etc. Instructors had good teaching skills and encouraged confidence. They were very professional and thorough but also taught with a good sense of humour and people skills. Would definitely recommend this course for people new to outdoor climbing.

My intro to sea kayaking

Martyn Hodgson

I'd done an intensive 6 month training through the scouts to get 2 star but was keen to try sea kayaking as I felt it was more my kind of thing with the weather, tides & navigation thrown in to the mix.
Very enjoyable with seas at up to force 3 with a stretch of force 4 - tested me to my limit.
Leaders Adam and Ben had good judgement of the conditions and group - made me glad to be in a group as I wouldn't have had the experience to know how to read the tides and winds.

highly recommended

Will Steedman

Having arrived early Friday evening, I was beginning to think what have I got myself into, I was sat in the bar looking out over the lake watching the storm clouds gather, and boy were they gathering. It had rained most of the night, the wind was picking up ideal for a 4 star assessment.
The first day began with the introductions, and the briefing on what would be expected of us throughout the assessment.
Intros over it was time to begin, loading up strapping down, checking we had everything, checking we had all the right kit and the right amount. And with that we left for the lake.
On first sight of the lake it was big, not the lake the weather.
We unloaded kit up safety briefed and on we went it was gusting force 4-6, changing direction and it was full on, with the rain it was wet, very wet but surprisingly warm, we completed all the obligatory assessment tasks taking it in turns to lead and be lead, lake over we returned to Pyb this time to the river and some poling, still an art in itself.
Day 1 over, time to dry the kit for tomorrow and a few relaxing beers in the bar.
The second day began much the same except the sun was out, it was a glorious sight looking out over the valley, and then we were introduced to the mock students for the day, I'm still not sure who looked more nervous us or them, again the briefing informed us of what we were being asked to do, it was decided for the river day would launch from Pyb a distinct advantage for the home candidates, however after a few discussions about the river I now had an idea of what lay ahead of us. There's a lot to the river section of the 4 star, it went well, the river was flowing and the mock students were full of enthusiasm for the day, again with all tasks completed we returned to Pyb for the final debrief and the results, it was success, not just me but for all the candidates, we had worked hard for the past 2 days and it was worth it.
It has to be said that, on the assessment the instructors Dave Luke and Pete Catteralls laid back approach but managing to cover all aspects in a very professional manner was excellent all the information was clear and any questions were answered thoroughly. Both instructors instilled confidence in all the candidates. In all I enjoyed the weekend. I felt I gained a significant amount of personal development as well as becoming a stronger lead.
Not forgetting the facilities at Pyb were outstanding and the staff were helpful and friendly and I would highly recommend the course and Pyb to my friends.


a new 4 star open canoe paddler

great climbing, great skills deveopment, great food


A fortnight back from my 5 day touching stone course, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Top marks to our instructor team lead by Kath. We had a full week, with lots of varied and enjoyable climbing, whilst at the same time learning to set up belays, place gear, and abseil. The highlight was 2 multi-pitch climbs on a sunny Friday at Tremadog. Instruction was supportive but challenged us to push ourselves - with huge efforts made to tailor the experience for the differing aims and abilities of all 8 members of our course group.

We all went home full of confidence, and since being back I have tried indoor leading, and had a day outdoors at a local Yorkshire crag - so the course was everything I hoped in terms of building skills and confidence.

Also top marks for the food - the poached salmon with fresh veggies and lemon posset was my favourite, but fantastic cooked breakfasts and great afternoon cakes too.

hope to come back sometime soon



Steve Gray

"Warning! Scrambling can be dangerous." This doom ladened statement is at the front of every UK scrambling guide. If that's what is putting you off getting the most out of exciting mountain journeys, then this course is for you.
The week starts on grade 1 ground, translating guide book route descriptions, moving over steep terrain and looking ahead to establish the route. From then on you progress to grade 2 & 3 routes. Learning strategies to safe guard your journey, using ropes and belays whilst still maintaining the speed and simplicity that draws us to scrambling.
Inspiring Instructors who deliver information in a calm, clear and concise manner and who clearly love being in the mountains.
By the end of the five days your skill set will have improved dramatically and you will have climbed some of the best scrambling routes in Snowdonia. Do it!

A great week

Mike Saunders

As someone with an intro course under my belt and a few short trips this course was great for getting more confidence through exposure to planning and executing longer 10 to 15k journeys including some brief spells of exposure to rougher water and paddling in higher winds. It did include a refresher on some basic skills and a couple of sessions working on rolling but the main focus of this one is getting out there and doing it. Top marks to our instructor for the week Ben who always seemed to maintain a chilled out approach. Recommended.


Watson Family

Family of four - children aged 14 and 9.

What a week, it couldn't have been bettered!! Instructors are excellent - they make it fun and know how far to push your limits. We are a family of 4, and despite each one of us having prior experience in different parts of the week's activities, the instructors managed to fully cater to all abilities. They really know how to teach - and I am saying that with 20 years of University lecturing experience including leading numerous field trips. Accommodation and food is very good to excellent, particularly the food and constant supply of hot and cold drinks.

Only downside are a few aches and pains on your return home - but honestly that just shows that you have had a great week.

Are we going again - for sure! When? As soon as possible.

Well done to all at Plas y Brenin.

Fantastic alpine climbing with top notch instruction

Jeff Gilmore

For someone who gets giddy and excited thinking about climbing in the mountains, going on this course was like being a kid in a candy shop. Climbing in the alps with PYB was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I loved the whole thing: the climbing, altitude, the road trips, banter, hut nights, route planning the night before, getting packed, and even the early starts. Our guide, Stu, poured heart and soul into the course and it was fantastic. Despite the uncontrollable weather, we never wasted a day. If the weather was bad in Chamonix, we went to the Italian or Swiss side and as a result had exposure to a lot of terrain (and great coffee!).

We received top notch instruction from Stu at every stage, while being immersed in mountaineering. It was a privilege to go climbing with someone of his experience and ability, who is clearly passionate about the mountains. He welcomed questions, and fielded them throughout. There was a healthy learning environment. The first couple days were an adjustment, to get into the mindset of moving efficiently, as a disciplined unit, minimize pfaffing, and avoid packing the kitchen sink. There were frequent sharp rebukes from Stu, reminiscent of being in the army, which I actually really appreciated. I didn't quickly forget the correction, and as a result have greatly improved my alpine mountaineering skills.

We also learned about using the huts, and a familiarity with the alps which would enable us to return to Chamonix and plan our own trips. Rather than being just tourists, Stu let us in on the route-planning and talked us through the decision-making that happens, taking weather and other factors into account.

Radek was a great additional guide during the 2nd week. He is a very strong climber, and also a very friendly and likable partner. He brought some variation to Stu's style, and caused us to think through different (legitimate) techniques. Both Stu and Radek kindly took and shared photos of us, and gave us the occasional ride into town. They were very helpful on and off the mountain.

There was a good progression to adjust to altitude and also ratchet up the technical difficulty of the climbs. In the 2nd week we did 2 AD climbs. We got great street credit for making a James Bond style appearance on a balcony at the end of the Cosmic Arrete! I was pushing to do some harder climbs, and would have really liked to (though there was much for me to learn and improve on with everything we did).

Having the weekend rest days in the middle was very good. As a Christian I take Sundays off for rest and worship (like Eric Liddell from 'Chariots of Fire'!), and was happy to be able to do that while in Chamonix.

The Yeti lodge was great accommodation with a nice common area, however I shared a very small room with another big guy without enough room for both of us to unpack. The hot tub was nice (only used 1x).

I was glad to have gear available to use, since I didn't own much. I had a pair of B1 or B2 boots that worked for a while, but was happy that Stu went to the trouble of renting proper B3 stiff boots for the 2nd week.

I would highly recommend the course.

High quality instruction and great facilities

Tony White

Well sadly due to injury before getting to the course, I had to sit most f it out. However, my wife and daughter totally enjoyed. it. Loads of fun, great instruction, new activities and great food.

For me the best part is the quality of the staff, and in particular, our instructor - Jake. I spoke with him at course start about my injury and he made suggestions throughout how I could take as much, or little, part in the activities as I felt comfortable with, while still remaining part of our group. He did add a group activity where I could take part in at the end too - thank you.

Consequently I will be back once I get fit(er).

Food - excellent and loads of it.

Bar - quality beer with well informed and helpful bar staff.

Tea/coffee - endless.

Great course


Everyone got something out of the course, and helped to pick up my confidence that i am nearly ready for my ML assessment.

very good course


really enjoyed the drip fed techniques and time spent on open water /sea. would rtecommend this course and will certainly be attending a follow course myself. food as usual was good as was the bar. as a light sleeper i really appreciated that i could reserve a single room as it made my stay that much better.
thanks and see you soon

Amazing value BMC course

Anna Ryan

The weekend Ready to Rock course is heavily subsidised by BMC and is unbeatable value for money. Designed for people who have had indoor experience and want to go out onto real rock. The trainers were very enthusiastic and knowledgable and teacher: student ratio was a very good 1:6. We learned about setting up belays for top and bottom roping on single pitch crags and there was some tuition about abseiling as well. The climbing wasn't easy and most of the participants had spent quite a lot of time on the indoor walls and were good climbers (ie this isn't a course for absolute beginner climbers). Having said that even if like me you're not particularly skilled or brave there is so much to learn you'll get a lot out of the weekend regardless. The accommodation food and atmosphere at PYB are brilliant - it was our first time there and we're already planning to go back. All in all a brilliant course, you'd pay at least three or four times as much anywhere else for the expertise of BMC tuition and the professional set up of PYB.


Dave Thompson

My wife, daughter and I had a wonderful time, gorge walking, rock climbing, kayaking, hill walking and much much more. The instructor was excellent, accommodation, food and location superb. I'd thoroughly recommend the course and Plas y Brenin.

Kayaking is brilliant!

Martin Tyler (aged 9)

Dear all,
On my first day i learnt the basic skills.they got more advanced very quickly.Not hard,just advanced.
So,i think anybody into kayaking than wants to try should come to plas y brenin. If they have a child/children that wants to try kayaking this course is recommended Thank you Chris and Andy for being my instructors.

Great fun and not too scary!

Steve Cresswell

I don't have a great head for heights so this course seemed an ideal way to find my limit!
North Ridge of Tryfan and Bristly Ridge on Saturday, Crib Lem on Sunday.
I felt a little exposed at times, particularly on Crib Lem in the rain, but an excellent instructor (Simon Lake)and a supportive group got me through.
Simon didn't 'hold our hands' but he was there with advice and guidance when we needed him - ideal.

Plas y Brennin is an excellent base: good food, good beer and a comfortable bed, and lots of people with the same outlook on life so good conversations too!

Highly recommended!

Thank you for another excellent course!

Nigel Higgins

Very Happy with my Mountain Leader Refesher course.

The course did exactly what it said on the tin & demonstrated where I'm at as far as my assessment goes & gave me direction on how to address the issues I have i.e. the only point I could reliably locate with any precision was the Lush summer ale pump in the "Small local pub of the Year" (CAMRA) :)

A Navigation Skills course will be completed before going for assessment.

Particular thanks must go to our course director Dave. His relaxed, friendly & common sense approach really showed us what leadership was about & he never missed an opportunity to make us stop & think about exactly what it was that we were trying to achieve (or completely cocking up!)

Look forward to to relocating the centre again soon.

ML Refresher Course With Dave Evans

Martin Brooke

I just wanted to saay a MASSIVE thank you for ALL the PYB Team. I was a the ML Refresher Course on the 10-11 August. I wanted to think about the experience I had on my long way back ome after this course, and give it the attention it required.

I came up on Friday night, later than I thought, ad was greated witht a Warm Welcome and Smile on reception. this made me feel welcomed and relaxed after a stressful journey. The accomodation was very good and the facilities were what i thought and expected from PYB. The Course was exactly what I expected from it would be, and I gained exactly the right amount from it. The standard of the instruction was spot on and helped me get from the course what i intended.

I understand that the Instruction is only part of the experince and that the other half is all the background staff that you don't see or get the recognition that they warrant. I am a coeliac so can not eat Wheat or Gluten, this sometimes can be an issue with some places i've stayed at. But at PYB this wasn't the case and my needs were met and the Kitchen staff were warm and friendly and nothing seemed to be too difficult.

Once again Thank you to all TEAM members and my experience was brilliant and just what i thought it would be from the National Mountain Centre.


Fantastic weekend spent in the mountains!!

Andy and Ollie Jerrett

What a fantastic weekend. Took the opportunity to take up discounted BMC offer to bring my 16 year old son up to the mountains for his first 'Snowdonia' experience. Luckily we were the only 2 people booked on the course so instructor was able to tailor it to our needs (Dave Luke, absolutely great guy, made the weekend what it was, cheers Dave) and even managed to fit in some scrambling on the way.

Really Enjoyed it

Sam Abbey

I really enjoyed the week. The coaching, accomodation and food were all great

A fantastic week at Plas y Brenin

Chris Werner

We arranged a private, 7-day course for our family of four doing a combination of rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing.
Our instructor was Georgina for the entire stay.

From the youngest (11) to the oldest (55) we all had an excellent time filled with challenges, learning and fun.

Instructor: Excellent in all aspects, was outstanding with our kids, and is knowledgeable and flexible

Location of Centre: Really outstanding with a little lake in front of it and well placed to get to all activity locations easily and quickly.

Rooms: We had two double rooms and they were absolutely good, quiet and clean

Food: Very good food for breakfast and dinner + great lunch packs to take to the activities

Rock Climbing: Wide choice of climbs in all difficulties, there were plenty routes for us beginners, but there are also very severe routes for experts

Kayaking: We did both lake/river and sea kayaking, there are many alternatives to learn a lot

Canoeing: We did it on a lake and it was great, including the capsizing

In summary: The prefect activity holiday, highly recommended



The Plas y Brenin course - Rock Improvers - was awesome. Four if the five days we had two to one coaching. We climbed on everything from volcanic at tremadog to sea cliffs on Angelsy. In the evenings we worked on things related to our course - like setting up and equalising belays and other challenges not related (team building) and socialised (cheat was a very popular game!). One evening we even had a bouldering competition which was very popular. The prizes were rope bags for first and a spork for the runner up. However, the spork was deemed more popular! The staff were really enthusiastic and really inspired everyone and were friendly. The food was excellent. In terms of coaching it was awesome - the instructors picked routes that challenged you but never to far out of your comfort zone. You even got the chance to lead! By the end of the course, I was fairly confident leading easy climbs and setting up belays. I would recomend this course to climbers wanting to learn to lead outdoors or climb harder as the instructors will help you meet your target. Overall, I had a great time and made friends. It was awesome!!!! :D

the most amazing place

Robert Boswall

Plas Y Brenin is the most amazing place. The instructors are fantastic at what they do, supportive and professional at all times. It is a fully kitted out centre with activities and films laid on in the evenings or you can just relax at the bar and play cards etc.
The course itself was perfect, the instructors tailored it specifically to our group, starting with the basics so we knew belaying and how to stay safe. Then we moved on to how to build anchors and did some multi pitch climbing and outdoor bouldering, which was awesome.
BY the end of the week Plas Y Brenin had transformed a group of inexperienced teenagers into a group of people who were not only in control when climbing but who also deeply enjoyed it.
I would deeply recommend this course to people looking to improve their climbing.

excellent course and value


took my daughter on this course as she is desperate to get outside climbing , after recieving excellent instruction she was confident enough to build belays and use them correctly , great day in the mountains and a great second day on the sea cliffs , instructor simon was great not only with information but also pushing my daughter to climb steeper grades , will be looking at coming back next year with my daughter for her to learn leading outside in a safe and fun enviroment , also staff are a credit to the center and couldnt do enough to help .thanks pyb for a great weekend

The most amazing thing I could do with my summer holiday fund for 2013 (15th-19th July)


Spending five day at PYB was the best thing I could have done with my holiday fund. As a novice to the different disciplines of kayaking it gave me the opportunity to just discover what they were and try them.

As a person who has disabilities I thought I may struggle to keep up with the others on my cause but no, both the coaches Andy and Chris made sure we were all ready before moving on.

The whole week was full of laughter, fun and banter as well as fun trips to the beach and rivers. The laln for the week changed occasional due to what the weather was like and how people were feeling.

This trip has instilled a lot more confidence in my abilities as a paddler and that my fear of open water has well and truly gone with the occasional wobble on a rapid. The coaches were there every step of the way for support and to answer any questions we had. Thanks to both Chris and Andy for making me feel like a part of the group and making me feel like i want more on leaving the cause.

The accommodation was grate to I was expecting something very different and was presently surprised to see what was lurking around the bedroom door. the food for the week was amazing to it was nice to have the food n the evening whilst chatting to the other people on our cause.

overall this week has probably made the final dissension for me to become an outdoor educator myself. Seeing Chris and Andy do to the work they do has inspired me to push forward in my own career and follow in there very big foot steps.

I would highly recommend this cause to anyone who is interested in kayaking or just want to try it. I cant wait to come back and do some more.

Thank you to very one who works there for making me so welcome because you will get the same welcome as i did


Enjoyed a quality kayak experience!

Tony cook

A quality kayak experience awaited us in Plas Y Brenin when we booked on to a white water kayaking weekend. Chris Evans led the training; his approachable manner and his skill base guided us through the training sessions, safely and expertly.

Plas Y Brenin is not the cheapest training provider available but the expertise of the instructors are second to none. It was great to come back after kayaking to the facilities: warm showers, decent cooked food and a pint to reflect over the day! I am looking forward to booking another experience!

Many thanks Chris!

No Country for Old Sheep

Rob Thomas

Day 1
Breakfast conquered we head round to the lecture room for a short safety briefing & introduction to our guide for the next two days. We've been allocated Matt, who takes us off into the sunshine to get aquatinted. We have quick chat with Matt, he give us some tips on books for climbing the Alps, The 4,000 Peaks of the Alps, The Mont Blanc Masif & Alpine Mountaineering by Bruce Goodlad. The pleasantries over we head out onto the lawn for some rope work. Matt hands me a rope & tells me to tie a knot. I ask if a bow will do, Matt laughs, then it dawns on him this welk has absolutely no idea how to tie knots. So I learn to tie a figure of 8, over hand knot, clove hitch (at least my shoelaces will never come undone again). Anyhoo, we spend the first part tying knots, fastening our harness & feeding through rope. You might think it would be tedious but actually it was kinda interesting & of course essential if you don't want to fall to your death in the Alps.

Next follows some crevasse rescue on the crevasse strewn lawn. There is a heck of lot to learn, but the lawn is a dangerous place, glaciers even more so, so it may well be this saves our life one day. First Jo needs rescuing so I set the anchor, tie on my French Prussic, then my Clemheim which I slide down to my damsel in distress. I come up with a handy guide to remembering, the Prussic, being French can retreat along the rope, the Clemheim being German only advances. Anyhoo, I hook up this complex pulley system & Jo is safely back on solid ground. Jo returns the favour by saving my life a couple more times before lunch.

After a quick pitstop we're out to put our training to the test on the local mountains. It's a quick drive, quick trot & we're at the base looking up the near vertical rock face we're about to ascend. I say near vertical as its clearly not vertical so not too daunting, that is until we start our climb. It's pretty tricky, lots to remember as we each have jobs, belaying, retrieving anchor points from the rock face while pushing on up the increasingly serious climb. Funny how much more important a foothold is at 100m up as oppose to ground level. Quick rest at the halfway point before belaying Matt on the second pitch. We dutifully follow soon after & other than Jo's grunts reminiscent of our ice climb we make a pretty good fist of it. We carry on scrambling, climbing & a bit of rope work before summiting the peak. Views are spectacular as the day remains glorious. We make our way back down the path (I suppose we could have gone up the path & not bothered with all the climbing malarkey).

Day 2
Short drive to the already fairly busy parking area, then head off into the wilds. It's another absolutely glorious day, clear skies, brilliant sunshine & warm temperatures. I'm sure this is all pretty grim when the weather turns so we're going to make the most of this rarified heat wave. Trot along the path, by the side of the lake, then climb up to higher ground. The scenery really is stunning in every direction, dramatic & wild but green & pleasant at the same time. We're followed up the steep path by a couple of tourists thinking we could be good unofficial guides, that is until they see us climbing into our harness & tying up to our ropes & they head back down. We're off for a scramble first up, not too tricky but tricky enough to be glad you're attached to someone. After about 45 mins we reach the top & it opens out into a big grassy field, or rather a crevasse infested glacier as we practice for the Alpine, skipping across streams as we go. Next we come to a quite formidable rock face, giant slabs of granite jutting up from the hillside, so up we go. To be fair it's mostly a scramble, albeit a steep, high scramble. The climb ebbs & flows in difficulty & precariousness until we make it to the next grassy area where we enjoy a nice little walk before the final climb. This is a craggy escarpment with shards of sharp rock along a narrow ridge. We make a quite passable attempt at it & although none of us fell to our death, it was pretty hairy at times. Loose shingle, disappearing footholds & exposed ridges to climb prove quite a challenge to novices as ourselves. Matt on the other hand makes everything look ridiculously easy as his telescopic legs bound over sections that we're about to tremble over. However, we all make it to the peak in one piece, well three pieces actually

As we settle down to our packed lunch Matt breaks the news to us that this isn't actually the summit of this mini mountain, it's an hours trek along the ridge. Thing is we can trek to the summit but we'll have to head straight down, whereas if we head down now we can do some more crevasse rescue & abseiling, we opt for the latter. About half way down Matt sets us up with our pretend Alpine rescue, this time we're tucked down the bank to add to the realism. Fortunately Matt leaves it at that rather than breaking limbs & administering frostbite. We take it in turns to rescue each other, I'm down the back so long I begin to think that Jo & Matt have eloped but we both make it out alive, eventually. Next up its time for a spot of abseiling where Jo "I've done everything" Malster jumps at the chance to be first up & off our little 50m cliff. Both safely down it's time for a spot of afternoon tea & final chance to chat to our affable guide. Matt asks if there's anything we haven't covered, I suggest a spot of hang gliding wouldn't go amiss as I gaze towards the not inconsiderable trek back to the car. Alas no so we hike down the last couple of kms, which actually goes in no time as we chat along the way.

Of sheep & men

Joanna Thomas

Day 1
Breakfast conquered we head round to the lecture room for a short safety briefing & introduction to our guide for the next two days. We've been allocated Matt, who takes us off into the sunshine to get aquatinted. We have quick chat with Matt, he give us some tips on books for climbing the Alps, The 4,000 Peaks of the Alps, The Mont Blanc Masif & Alpine Mountaineering by Bruce Goodlad. The pleasantries over we head out onto the lawn for some rope work. Matt hands me a rope & tells me to tie a knot. I ask if a bow will do, Matt laughs, then it dawns on him this welk has absolutely no idea how to tie knots. So I learn to tie a figure of 8, over hand knot, clove hitch (at least my shoelaces will never come undone again). Anyhoo, we spend the first part tying knots, fastening our harness & feeding through rope. You might think it would be tedious but actually it was kinda interesting & of course essential if you don't want to fall to your death in the Alps.

Next follows some crevasse rescue on the crevasse strewn lawn. There is a heck of lot to learn, but the lawn is a dangerous place, glaciers even more so, so it may well be this saves our life one day. First Jo needs rescuing so I set the anchor, tie on my French Prussic, then my Clemheim which I slide down to my damsel in distress. I come up with a handy guide to remembering, the Prussic, being French can retreat along the rope, the Clemheim being German only advances. Anyhoo, I hook up this complex pulley system & Jo is safely back on solid ground. Jo returns the favour by saving my life a couple more times before lunch.

After a quick pitstop we're out to put our training to the test on the local mountains. It's a quick drive, quick trot & we're at the base looking up the near vertical rock face we're about to ascend. I say near vertical as its clearly not vertical so not too daunting, that is until we start our climb. It's pretty tricky, lots to remember as we each have jobs, belaying, retrieving anchor points from the rock face while pushing on up the increasingly serious climb. Funny how much more important a foothold is at 100m up as oppose to ground level. Quick rest at the halfway point before belaying Matt on the second pitch. We dutifully follow soon after & other than Jo's grunts reminiscent of our ice climb we make a pretty good fist of it. We carry on scrambling, climbing & a bit of rope work before summiting the peak. Views are spectacular as the day remains glorious. We make our way back down the path (I suppose we could have gone up the path & not bothered with all the climbing malarkey).

Day 2
Short drive to the already fairly busy parking area, then head off into the wilds. It's another absolutely glorious day, clear skies, brilliant sunshine & warm temperatures. I'm sure this is all pretty grim when the weather turns so we're going to make the most of this rarified heat wave. Trot along the path, by the side of the lake, then climb up to higher ground. The scenery really is stunning in every direction, dramatic & wild but green & pleasant at the same time. We're followed up the steep path by a couple of tourists thinking we could be good unofficial guides, that is until they see us climbing into our harness & tying up to our ropes & they head back down. We're off for a scramble first up, not too tricky but tricky enough to be glad you're attached to someone. After about 45 mins we reach the top & it opens out into a big grassy field, or rather a crevasse infested glacier as we practice for the Alpine, skipping across streams as we go. Next we come to a quite formidable rock face, giant slabs of granite jutting up from the hillside, so up we go. To be fair it's mostly a scramble, albeit a steep, high scramble. The climb ebbs & flows in difficulty & precariousness until we make it to the next grassy area where we enjoy a nice little walk before the final climb. This is a craggy escarpment with shards of sharp rock along a narrow ridge. We make a quite passable attempt at it & although none of us fell to our death, it was pretty hairy at times. Loose shingle, disappearing footholds & exposed ridges to climb prove quite a challenge to novices as ourselves. Matt on the other hand makes everything look ridiculously easy as his telescopic legs bound over sections that we're about to tremble over. However, we all make it to the peak in one piece, well three pieces actually

As we settle down to our packed lunch Matt breaks the news to us that this isn't actually the summit of this mini mountain, it's an hours trek along the ridge. Thing is we can trek to the summit but we'll have to head straight down, whereas if we head down now we can do some more crevasse rescue & abseiling, we opt for the latter. About half way down Matt sets us up with our pretend Alpine rescue, this time we're tucked down the bank to add to the realism. Fortunately Matt leaves it at that rather than breaking limbs & administering frostbite. We take it in turns to rescue each other, I'm down the back so long I begin to think that Jo & Matt have eloped but we both make it out alive, eventually. Next up its time for a spot of abseiling where Jo "I've done everything" Malster jumps at the chance to be first up & off our little 50m cliff. Both safely down it's time for a spot of afternoon tea & final chance to chat to our affable guide. Matt asks if there's anything we haven't covered, I suggest a spot of hang gliding wouldn't go amiss as I gaze towards the not inconsiderable trek back to the car. Alas no so we hike down the last couple of kms, which actually goes in no time as we chat along the way.

What's not to like!

Simon Ford

My first PYB course. Impressive facilities, friendly staff, knowledgeable instructors, fantastic weather, a UK wimbledon champion. What's not to like.
The first day was all classroom based with Sid, with a good mix of listening and doing exercises. The supporting documentation was excellent and it was used to assist the instructor - not the other way round as is often the case.
For the other two days good weather meant we didn't experience particularly challenging conditions, but doing multiple rescues in tide-races was a good and confidence inspiring exercise.
Adam was great at making sure the syllabus was covered as far as was practical given the weather.
All in all it was an enjoyable and valuable few days and I would recommend PYB as an ideal venue.

Everything I'd hoped for and more!

Alexandra Reuer

Arguably, 5 days of climbing in a heatwave in North Wales was always going to be a pretty amazing experience - but whatever the weather, this course would have been a winner either way!

I had only done a tiny bit of single-pitch trad leading before I came on the course, and when seconding on multi-pitches I had always felt rather dependent on the leader to know what they were doing in terms of ropework etc. I came on the course to become comfortable with ropework, building sound belays and placing solid protection.

Our instructors Dave and Cath achieved this without ever making it feel boring, uncomfortable or terrifying; I felt that they assessed all of our needs and levels really well and built the course around what the participants wanted to get out of it. We started with building belays and rigging abseils and progressed to placing protection while on a top rope, through to leading multi-pitch and sea cliff routes by the end of the week, with some extra fall and rope ascension training thrown in some evenings.

I cannot thank Dave and Cath enough for giving me the confidence to finally progress in trad climbing. Thank you for being fun and encouraging, but also quite no-nonsense where necessary.

Plas y Brenin facilities are also brilliant: fantastic veggie food, clean rooms and bathrooms (not that you'll be spending much time in your room), and beautiful surroundings that allow for a swim in the lake or an evening boulder! 5 stars!


Nigel Peterson-White

We booked this course as a treat to explore Snowdonia with a guide as a mini holiday rather than a skills course. The guide ....Mo Laurie.... was excellent. We were involved right from the start designing our days out with several oprions....which was great as the temperatures in July were pushing 30 degrees so the first day was spent on the coast near Holyhead on Anglesey. We spent a leisurely time rock pooling, identifying wildflowers and gentle walking with a visit to South Stack and the lighthouse. Great great day. Could not be improved. Mo's knowledge was vast and she put things across in an easy relaxed manner. Back to basee for more excellent food and a relax in the bar....a harder day for Sunday was on the cards. The temperatures were still high and today was a contrast.... a mountain day in Cwm Idwal following gorges and streams and looking at bog plants and lots of geology...then a climb up Y Garn and back round and down the steep Devils Kitchen. Excellent even though I have a weak right knee and my head for heights isnt the best, Mo was there with moral support. :) We opted to stay an extra night at Plas Y Brenin to relax and finish off the weekend. This was a great break and would recommend it. So much to see although if the weather was bad then some options would have to be reconsidered.....we could imagine the cliffs in a severe rainstorm !! so off to save up for the Quarry trail and some others now. fab fab fab. Oh yes, everyone at plas y is sooooooo friendly from past tutors to the kitchen staff....nothing is ever a bother. well done. House Point !!

Open The Door

Stephen Fletcher

This course allows you to open the door on a whole new aspect of climbing.Instead of wondering whether you can climb in the Alps this course gives you the confidence to say yes. Everything from the accommodation at Yeti Lodge to the time and care taken by the instructors is first class.

Fabulous Week Learning to Canoe

Trudy & Adrian Davies

We would certainly recommend Plas y Brenin and this course to anyone who is interested in open canoeing. We learnt so much on this course, it has given us the confidence to go out and paddle on different types of water. The tuition from our instructor Karl was excellent, we learnt in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and his patience and humour made an enjoyable week. The facilities at Plas y Brenin are great, you are surrounding by beautiful scenery, all of the staff are helpful and friendly, the accommodation is comfortable and clean and the food is superb and there is plenty of it! - but after a day out on the water, you will be ready to tuck into everything - especially the delicious cake at 5 o' clock! We can not fault anything at Plas y Brenin, it surpassed all our expectations. We can not wait to return for another course, the only problem is deciding on which one to do next!

A great introduction to open canoeing

John Robinson

I would thoroughly recommend this course, which gives an excellent introduction to open canoeing. Plas Y Brenin is a great place to stay as well, with good food and accomodation. Don't miss the inspirational evening talks!

Amazing Experience

Callum Astle

Absolutely fantastic course, I learnt so much during the two days. I decided to do this course after having done a lot of scrambling around Snowdonia, so I decided that I needed to move on to rock climbing. The instructors, James and Lucy, were both fantastic and explained everything very clearly and helped me every step of the way, they had me doing things that I never thought I could do, there excellent guidance and instruction made the course and gave me confidence I never knew I had. The room that I stayed in was brilliant, it was very clean and a very comfortable place to stay. The meals were very nice as there was plenty of choice to choose from.
Overall an absolutely amazing experience which has truly inspired me and given me the knowledge to start rock climbing.


Ray Watkins

Overall excellent, need WIFI in the rooms.
It would be nice if the bar was open at 5.
Will return.
Ray Watkins

Spot on!

Keith Rutherford

This course was focused on the skills required for leading and was tailored to our individual abilities. We had a 2:1 training ratio and this worked well. The climbing was at a comfortable grade so that we could really focus on the placement of gear and setting up correctly. I admit we were very lucky with the weather and had two perfect days. For me personally it was also great fun! The food was great and the days well organised. I came away with exactly what I needed, which was confidence that I was placing gear correctly and now being able to judge routes from both guide books and on site. It also corrected a few bad climbing habits! My experience and something other people may find helpful is that they really did tailor to my existing level of ability.

Does what it says on the tin!


Really good course, covered exactly what it said it would and even with a range of skills across the group, we covered everything and had plenty of time to ask questions, practice and most importantly climb.
Even with very mixed weather, Cath our intstructor managed to find good sheltered dry locations, even some sunshine.
Would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the technical aspects of learning to climb outside, understanding better belaying techniques and the differences in belaying a lead on sport/trad, anchor points, abseil points and safety, placing and removing gear and then lots of practice.
Good fun, nice staff at PYB, interesting talk on the Saturday evening and great food.

First Moves - 22/23.06.2013

Mick Byrne

Fantastic course. I was a little apprehensive about the level of the course although it said discover rock climbing.
Spike was an excellent tutor. The ratio was 1:6 which meant that he could pay close attention to each student.
3 students had done some kind of climbing. I was a novice.
I couldn't believe that so much was packed into the course but Spike took us on a fantastic journey.
Learning was great in ideal locations. He easily met every one's needs. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and taking myself out of my comfort zone.
I felt safe and secure all the time and was really impressed with the attention to safety.
Saturday was a full day which finished up with abseiling down a tower. We all finished on a high.
The following day was consolidation of everything we learnt and even more challenging.
The facilities and food are excellent. All the staff are welcoming and help in anyway they can.
I now need to put the skills taught into practice.
This is my second course at PYB. Just go for it, you will have no regrets.

A big thank you to Spike and the staff.

superb in every way


I have been rock climbing for a number of years, but only as a second. I was concerned that i might not learn as much as I wanted on this course. How wrong could i be!! 'Spike' the instructor taught us everything we needed to come away with a high degree of confidence in our new skills. He explained everything with humour, detail and made sure we were all safe and enjoying ourselves. This is a great course for complete novices or people with some knowledge and experience who want to start gaining more independence on the rock or in the mountains. The centre itself is just great. The food is excellent and the accommodation is hotel standard. A great place to spend time!!

Everything you need to start climbing

Dave Tucker

This Course was perfect as a very solid and practical base to begin climbing. I came back with a lot more knowledge, than I was expecting and this is down to the huge wealth of knowledge and expertise imparted by the Instructor. Pyb instructors are incredible and the more you ask the more you learn - seriously make use of their expertise. The course groups are relatively small and a great format to share the learning process, practice sessions and get to know and have a laugh with some good people along the way.
I can confidently say I am ready to go out set up and climb a crag after taking this course.

150% Worth It!

Donna Falconer

I have been climbing for a few years now and have quite alot of experience climbing up to VS and HVS as a second with experienced lead climbers. However, whilst my technical climbing has continued to improve, I have not been getting the opportunity to take the grade down a peg or two and try leading on trad for myself. I have done quite a bit of indoor leading and a little bit of outdoor lead sport climbing, however had been suffering a real mental block for leading on Trad. Physologically, this seemed like a really big step for me, and to say I was aprehensive about it is a major understatement! However, despite my reservations I was equally determined to overcome this fear and learn to be a safe and confident lead climber in my own right. I also felt this would help me become a more useful second where I could assist with stance management, rope work and anchor set-up if required.
The first day I felt instantly put at ease after meeting Dave and Luke (the instructors). It turned out that each of us (4) students had quite varied climbing CVs, yet Dave and Luke seemed very positive from the outset that we could have a great couple of days. On day one we went to a beautiful, hidden single pitch crag with no one else insight. It was perfect for practicing setting up anchors at the top, practicing belaying a second from above, and trying out leading from the bottom with a botom rope as back up. I really appreciated their approach to break down trad leading into it's component parts before putting it all together on the second day.
To my great approval we spent the whole time outside on the crag - no class room work at all! However this was probably helped by the AMAZING weather we had on both days... 20+ degrees with not a cloud in sight :-)
The process of leading was broken down into the following main elements:
- Gear placement and setting up safe anchors
- Belaying the second from above
- leading climbing (on a safety rope)
- Then putting it all together - however this was greatly helped by having Dave on a fixed line next to me to provide confirmation of the gear placement effectiveness and also to calm me down when I started to wobble!
We also covered multi-pitch routes and abseiling in great detail - getting the chance to put it all into practice.
I was so pleased that by the end of the course I could say I had led 3 routes, 2 multi-pitch and safely escaped via abseil! I really didn't know if I was going to have the confidence to do so - so was super happy that I did!
The instructors were first class, answered any questions, had loads of helpful easy to remember tips and really helped me break-down the (at first intimidating) process of lead climbing into managable bite size chunks. I also feel everything i learnt has really sunk in. This is something I wasn't sure would happen - as previoulsy trying to decipher a belay set up has really bamboozled me :-)
I'm now just really excited about getting out on the rock to practice what I've learnt and consolidate further.
Whether you are a technically good but nervous lead climber or a brave novice, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this course! It's excellent, and I feel like i've made a massive improvement in my technical skills as well as shifted a major roadblock in my head.
Very happy :-)

Excellent Course


I would recommend PYB and the Discover Navigation Course to anybody who is considering learning map reading.
PYB is a great place to stay. The staff were very friendly and very professional. We were greeted at the reception by Josie who provided a warm welcome, checked us in and gave us all of the information we required to get settled. The following night Josie was working in the kitchen and was still as cheerful and on the Sunday she was working in the stores. She seemed to be everywhere and was always laughing and full of fun. I wish I had staff with the energy and drive she has!!
The course itself went above and beyond expectations. The instructor (Mike Thomas) was a very experienced Mountain Leader, with a passion for the outdoors and climbing, and this showed. He was very professional and understanding of how to tailor the course to a group, of mixed ability, at the same time. Based on the lecture he gave, on Saturday evening at the Centre, about his climbing experience I would not expect to get a person at this level of experience leading this course. But he did and he did it very well. I came away from the weekend feeling confident that I could plan a route for a day or days in the hills and know exactly where I was on the map at all times. Our group definitely learnt more than just basic map reading.
I will certainly be returning to do other courses in PYB because it is definitely quality teaching at very reasonable prices.

Fantastic experience

Ken Mason

Having only limited lead climber experience from over twenty years ago and more recently followed sport climbing, this course has totally re-ignited my desire to get back to traditional climbing.
Patient instruction that pushed me beyond my comfort zone, coupled with tips and good practice led to the most amazing weekend of learning, refreshing lost skills and sheer enjoyment of the mountains.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough.
Thanks Dave

The Anthem of the Novice Canoeist

Peter White

To Plas y Brenin this old man came
From St Albans, Peter is my name
To learn to paddle a canoe
(I'm always trying something new).
But I'm unteachable! Thank Heaven,
PyB has this man Chris Evans;
A competent, reassuring man
If anyone can teach me, this man can.
A five-day learning trip became
The holiday of a life-time:
The feel of body, paddle, boat
In increasing harmony afloat,
At one with water, current, breeze,
Moving with improving ease.
With stimulated mind and heart,
Of the environment I became part.
A variety of waters we tried,
Estuary on a falling tide,
Canal and lake, moving water and still,
Each requiring a different skill.
One thing that I thought I'd never
Find in Wales was prolonged good weather
And the comfort and friendliness
Was PyB at its very best.
Images remain,of tide-water surging
Swirling eddies, sandbanks emerging:
Water whispering against paddle-blades
Is this North Wales or the Everglades?
Narrow water, both banks within reach,
The crunch of boat on gravel beach.
Back home, serene , these images I ponder.
I capsized twice, but didn't stay under.
The strain on arms and shoulders eased
And I've forgotten the pain in the knees.

Peter White, 03-07 June 2013

Great instruction

Sam Arnold

We had a great weekend. The instructor built our confidence with pool experience and we quickly graduated from lake to moving river and then the estuary. Fantastic. We're inspired and will be tapping into their facilities for more in the future. 10/10.

Really good!

Dan Horgan

Really good!

What a great course !

Steve Clark

I have just returned from one of the best courses I have ever attended.
I am now so keen to practice everything I have learned.
I hope to return next May/June for assessment.
Great food, too !!
I would recommend PYB to anyone wanting to MLS traning.
Many thanks indeed to all staff involved, especially Kath, Jake, John & Cath.

Instruction, coaching and confidence......

Malcolm Wade

My 5 days at PYB on the 3* Complete Course was extraordinary. With 3 delegates, we were luck to have 3 instructors so there was never a moment of inattention. The training, coaching and instruction from Pete, Andy and Sam was highly effective and inspired confidence to 'have a go'. Technical proficiency was evident but the coaching from all three was superb. They were able to diagnose cause and effect with alarming ease and help ingrain good habits to replace the bad ones.
The syllabus was extensively covered and the ability to practice skills in all environments was ever present.
I was struggling to perform a flat water roll and it was really getting to me. On the final day, Pete spent an hour with me after lunch on the River Dee at Llangollen and coached me with my skills. His ability to see what I was doing right and not so right were confidence building and delivered with consummate professionalism.
On the first day I would never have thought that I would be running the Serpent's Tail on the Friday!
Thank you Pete, Andy and Sam - this was one of the best courses I have ever attended and has inspired me to do more!
A great week - you are all a credit to the Brenin - thanks you.


Mark Philipson

I had wanted to do this course for a few years, to fine tune my climbing skills and to gain confidence on the lead.
I expected lots of coaching and movement skills throughout the week and a gradual rise in leading harder grades.
Sadly 2 whole days were spent seconding the instructor who had lead the routes. Although I did experience some harder climbs than I can lead, I can easily put up a top rope to achieve this. Whilst the instructor was belaying 30 m + above, they could give no feedback on my climbing.
Time was also spent top roping and building belays, which again did not offer me the climbing coaching I wanted.
At the end of the week I had only led 3 pitches and tried a 4th. Not the total, I would have expected on a weeks intensive course.
Also sadly there were no training aids to watch/read in the evenings and no course notes.
Over all the course did fine tune some of my rope skills and iron out a few bad habits. My overall skills belaying and organizing multi-pitch belays probably have improved, but I feel the course offered poor value for money, considering what it seemed to offer and what I had expected to gain from it.


Martin Brice

Very professional staff, well organised, good accommodation with loads of good food, ideal prep for Ml assessment.


Derek Woo

Excellent refurbished accommodation and facilities. Climbing course was well planned and conducted thanks to a very experienced instructor. I learnt what I signed up for and I highly recommend this course to anyone who is looking to experience outdoor rock climbing. As advertised on the website, no climbing experience is required and you could learn at your own pace.

From rock worrier to rock warrior?


I cannot speak highly enough of Dave Rudkin and his team. Having attended a couple of courses at PyB before, I had high expectations of an entire month of climbing instruction, but even they were exceeded. The teaching and safety ethos of the centre was as strong as ever, the accommodation comfortable and the food excellent. The combination of local knowledge and minibuses meant that we were able to do most of our climbing on dry rock in a wide range of environments, including coastal cliffs, mountains, quarries and roadside crags. We were, however, able to use the couple of unavoidably wet days to work indoors on movement skills and rescue techniques. Our group was very disparate in terms of prior experience and aspirations, but because of a well-structured course and high instructor/student ratio (1:1 on occasions), we were each able to progress at our own pace.

I'm still not a rock warrior, but I can say that I enjoyed the course enormously and feel much more confident about leading, placing protection, setting up belays, abseiling, route-finding and looking after both myself and a partner.

Just great - did exactly what it promised!

Claire J

Terrific weekend - learned a huge amount from Mike, who was a really patient and professional teacher, and now feel confident heading out into the wilderness with a map and compass.


Shaun & Connor

Anyone wanting to have adventure in North wales? PYB offer the most amazing setting, food, accommodation and instruction. The week was a non stop frenzy of activity, well organised and the instructors were extremely well qualified , yet able to take the time to ensure everyone was happy and having fun. Amazing place, very friendly we will definitely return.

Big thanks to Spike and Paul.

Great weekend of Climbing

Kay Roberts

What a great weekend of learning to climb in the Snowdonia National Park. With some previous indoor climbing experience over the last few years I hoped that this course would help me to move outside and show me the basic of keeping safe at a crag - the course didn't disappoint it was brilliant and now I feel that I can go climbing with more experienced friends and know what they are doing and talking about. Great weekend and the weather was good too...

A Thrilling Experience


I liked that Plas y Brenin provides all-inclusive course with food and accommodation. makes it a no stress holiday. Friendly staffs and coach. Good value for money!

A great cycling weekend

Jon Shelton

My son Tom (13) who does age group triathlon and myself were looking for a cycling weekend that was challenging but not the mega distances that the really serious guys do, so this fitted the bill. In fact it was just the two of us on the course so our instructor, Al, arranged what we did to suit us perfectly. We were lucky with the weather over the recent May bank holiday and cycled 50 miles on the first day all around Snowdon with some quite tough climbs along the way but spectacular views throughout. The following day we decided to go for a less strenuous ride and Al took us on a lovely 30 mile ride along the Conwy valley on quiet roads you would never find (the real benefit of this type of break). The location and facilities at Plas y Brenin are excellent but as with any organisation it's the people that make it work and here everyone was brilliant. Many of the intructors are (or have been) very high performers in their chosen field, are real experts but also enthusiasts. Al gave us loads of good tips which Tom really found helpful and was there to give me plenty of encouragement as I struggled with some of the tougher climbs. The food is excellent, good real ale in the bar and the refurbished rooms very quiet and comfortable. Nice touches like tea and cakes at 5pm after you have finished your activity. There is an excellent climbing room which Tom went bouldering in every day and he had a great time.At the end of the second day Tom was asking if we could stay on for the whole half term week! We have been looking for a place where we can go for adventure breaks and we won't be looking any further. Tom is already looking through the brochure to decide what we are going to do next! Highly recommended.

A good adventure

Tom Shelton

the two days cycling around Snowdonia was really fun. it was a good challenge for me and my dad. the hills on the bike ride was tiring but at the end you can see great viewpoints. The hotel was pretty and felt clean, tidy and safe. the bedrooms were very simple but were tidy and the beds were soft and snug. The food was delicious and the people there were very kind and helpful. Many people probably haven't heard of this place but they should because it is a wonderful area. I would definitely recommend this place to friends because you can do many things that are fun and exciting.

Hard graft rewarded by a necessary skill

Tony Rice

Two days of standing in cool water dispersed with frantic disorientating physical activity is rewarded with the warm feeling of eventual success when you complete your first kayak roll.
This is a well presented self paced course that delivers a necessary skill and the confidence to return and progress further.

Smashing :)

G Mac

Very good weekend. Had Tim Neill for both days. Perfect. Couldn't have asked for more. Very happy.

Excellent Road Cycling Weekend

John Baker

Just spent the weekend road cycling around the Plas y Brenin area and had an excellent time. As a group of 12 road cyclists we wanted to do the miles and the climbs, well not everyone was sure about the climbs at first, but we tackled it as a group anyway.
Carlo and Al were great hosts for the weekend and nothing was too much trouble for them. They managed to take us through the miles getting in all of the climbs, including the Monster and the Wall (twice).
On the second day we cut down the miles and tried to get more climbs in which was amazing. Al mentioned that we could try to cycle up to a dam in the mountains which was a small private road weaving its way up the mountain in true alpine style. It was a mega climb, but once up there the views were amazing and worth the lung busting effort getting up there.
Plas y Brenin is the perfect place to stay with the bikes locked up safe after each ride and we couldn't have had a better couple of down to earth guys in Carlo and Alan to spend the weekend with.
Everything was spot on including the accommodation, the location, the staff etc, plus they have great beer!
Thanks to all they guys for taking part, it was a great experience.

Even the weather couldn't bring us down!


What a way to spend a weekend!

Lot's of climbs followed by learning how to set up top ropes. Day 2 was more climbing on completely different rocks and learning more about the gear set up!

Brilliant opportunity. Our instructors Mo & Emma were absolutely brilliant.

Even the constant rain could not bring down our spirits!

Fantastic Cycling in sunny Snowdonia

Ian Davies

From the very start Alan and Carlo our guides for the weekend made our group of twelve guys feel relaxed and excited about the weekend ahead. We had a mixed ability group, however this was not a problem. Alan and Carlo skillfully steered us around a challenging and demanding 85 miles and then 55 miles covering 11,ooo feet of climbing. The guys could not do enough for us and ensured we had a great time. The facilities are all fantastic and all feedback is taken on board to ensure everyone's experience is improved for the better. I rate highly PYB and our fantastic cycling gods Alan and Carlo.

A brilliant week and I learnt a lot

Doug Hart

To give my comments a bit of context I have been a climber for many years and have climbed in France,Spain,Greece as well as many different parts of the UK.
I had planned a trip to Verdon in May so really wanted to get some mileage in before heading out there.
I thought that the PYB sports climbing course would be an ideal way to do this and it certainly lived up to my expectations.
My instructor Dave Rudkin was both friendly and enthusiastic and listening to an evening lecture he gave on new routing in Greenland was truly inspirational.
Most days there were just 2 of us on the course and Dave discussed with us each day what we hoped to achieve and worked out the best place for us to go.
Over 5 days we went out every day and always found some dry rock to climb on. We climbed on natural limestone, quarried limestone and slate.
We even did a bit of trad as 5 days in a row sports climbing was just too much - at the end of day 3 the holds looked much the same as during the first 2 days but trying to pull on them showed something had changed.
Our trad day out was spent doing Dream of White Horses - in gale force winds (literally)- and as I had wanted to do this route for many years it will certainly be a day I wont forget in a hurry.
As well as having a brilliant week and I learnt a lot from Dave. Like all good teachers he can see exactly what each individual needs to know rather than just teaching from a script.
I have previously done one other course at PYB last year where I spent a few days climbing with James Mchaffie and if I had to summarise what the PYB experience has been for me it has been to get out climbing on rock with some pretty amazing climbers.

Disappointing discovery...


Had really been looking forward to the 2 day Discover Leading course having seconded on routes on Tremadog and the Ogwen Slabs before (areas that I knew would be our training ground). I was looking to learn about placing pro, how to judge how sound the placement was/wasn't and setting up anchors/belay stations while leading. I did not expect this course to suddenly turn me into a lead trad climber, at 2 days that would be a ridiculous expectation, but I did expect to come away with an understanding and ability to swing lead on diffs and VDs. Whilst I gained very good instruction on setting anchors and creating belay stations and advice on placing and rating pro, this was mainly done at the bottom of the crag and not while climbing. The actual time I spent leading with an instructor top-roped beside me was 1 short pitch in 2 days, even though after the first day I voiced that I would've liked more time leading. I would advise 2 things to those considering this course: 1) Do you have a climbing partner to join you? If not, you may wish to reconsider as most people attending are with their regular climbing partners and whoever you are paired with will definitely influence your experience (whether they are more or less experienced than you). 2) There is no guarantee how much lead time you will get and if you definitely want to be on the sharp end of the stick, you'd do better to use your money to have a guide take you out 1 to 1.

What a brilliant few days....


Thank you so much to Chris, our fabulous coach for all of your patience and consideration over the past two days. Our group had lots of different levels of ability and you manage to both test and support each of us - no mean feat!
After a lovely few days paddling, I've a remembered how much fun canoeing can be and I can't wait to get back on the water again!

scrambling grade 3

Colin Pierpoint

My guide took me on a route in the Cicerone guide (no 17) on our first day. After seeing what I could do he suggested a the Dolmen ridge, a grade 3 for the next day. He must have correctly assessed what I could do, although I thought I couldn't! However, he must have been right, because I did it.
Terrifying, but enjoyable. The hailstorm when we were half way up gave added excitment.
I now feel confident to try other grade 3s with a guide.



Fantastic weekend at Plas y Brenin. Instructor James was excellent in how he taught Navigation skills. 5 star all the way!

Best 50th Birthday.

Tony, Alison Pickup

Let me start with our instructor Chris, all i can say TOP Instructor and a great guy.Also lets not forget great food and the 5 pm cakes with hotel standard accommodation, all complete with friendly and helpful staff.
Me and my wife goal for the weekend was to build our skill and confidence in white water which was achieved 100% with Chris instructions. Thanks to the wild weather on the Sunday we had the extra bonus of rolling clinic and the use of Sea Kayaks on the Lake.
Already planning to go on a rolling clinic and they can only be one place to chose and that is Plas Y Brenin.
PS dry suit was tested on the lake , second swim of the year.
Many Thanks

14 peaks completed

stuart shields

If you want to walk for 5 days in the company of competent and friendly guides,having been filled with an excellent breakfast and then come back to a great room with a delicious evening meal then this is the place. The equipment store gives you access to the right stuff and by then of the challenge you may have your own shopping list based on experience.
The weather is part of the challenge.
Be prepared to walk up steep slopes for 2 hrs at a time and Crib Goch with a bit of ice and wind is not for the timid.
Doing the whole thing in daylight means you enjoy amazing scenes too.
in summary a great trip, value for money , 5 stars from me.



Just two of us and Dave Evans, our excellent and helpful instructor, for the weekend.
Saturday a.m. we climbed Hail Bebe at Tremadog, Dave led and we seconded.Several pitches, involving building belays, etc. A beautiful climb, gorgeous views. Honking geese flying next to us!
Poured with rain p.m. so we returned to the centre and practised placing protection, getting to understand the different nuts, etc and tying on for belaying. Then a skills and techniques bouldering session.....balancing on the rock face with no hands is quite an art!
Sunday a.m. atrocious wind and sheeting rain, so continued our bouldering tachniques indoors and prayed for the rain to stop. It did!
Off to Lion Crag in the sun and gale force wind where we practised single pitch lead climbing with Dave alongside us, checking, advising, commenting and being extremely encouraging, and making sure our decisions were the right ones. And then getting safe for belaying the second ...... in the 40 mph wind!
Dave designed the course especially for our needs and abilities.....doesn't matter how old you are (we're pensioners)......the instructors are brilliant - they get the best out of you.
We thoroughly enjoyed the course, just a shame about the atrocious weather.

Still grinning :)

Chantal Shearing

A fantastic weekend from start to finish. Accommodation and service was spot on and the staff were always friendly and helpful.

Our instructor (Chris) was excellent and really focused in on getting the basics right before moving into the white stuff. Having travelled on day one to find suitable water, on day two someone did a bit too much praying overnight and there was too much?? So we ventured out in the morning, and came in at lunchtime for an unscheduled (and bonus) rolling clinic.
It's Monday night and still smiling from a great weekend, and planning how to come back and fit a rolling clinic, intro mediate white water & downhill mountain biking trips in while still maintaining a full time job.

Comprehensive and fun - an excellent course


I couldn't believe how much I learned in a very short space of time. This is a great course for people who can read maps, but want to get out beyond defined paths and feel really confident navigating using a compass and features in the landscape.

Our instructor was kind, patient and professional, and made sure everyone in the group was participating and confident in navigation skills. By the end of the weekend, I was really happy with taking bearings, walking off a bearing and using contours to work out where we were.

We had foul weather, which was ideal for navigating - there's no cheating when the mist is down and visibility is less than 200m; you have to use the navigational tools you're taught.

If it looks as if you're going to be stuck in 6 or 7 hours of heavy rain, consider borrowing an extra waterproof to go on top of yours from the stores (or bring a spare cagoule) - another layer/double-bagging makes a world of difference for keeping dry.

The course catered well to a range of abilities - people doing their mountain leader qualification, as well as those of us who are just about OK with an OS Explorer, but still get occasionally lost, even on designated paths...

I can't recommend this course enough if you want to brush up your skills - and centre is really nice: warm, comfortable rooms, and lots of food!

If you are a fan of

Mike Purse

I did my research carefully before deciding to choose this PYB course and I wasn't disappointed in my choice! We had a fantastic weeks climbing helped by the alpine-like conditions! I cannot praise our instructor Dave highly enough. His confidence and professionalism inspired me to climb routes that beforehand I had only dreamed of! This was probably my tenth week in Scotland over the past two decades and by far the most memorable and the best. It was an intensive week with the focus well and truly on getting routes done. We had a steady progression starting on Grade III classics in Glencoe and eventually finishing on Grade V classics on the Ben. In answer to the question - would I choose this course again? Absolutely!
In summary, this course does exactly what it says on the tin!

what more could you want........

Stephen Roach

I arrived in Galtur to overcast and unseasonably cold and snowy weather. Our recap day involved skiing the Wirl ski area in challenging conditions. However day one of the tour brought sunny conditions which lasted most of the week. Paul Warnock guided superbly and was flexible as to our requirements as I was keen to ascend peaks along the way – the highlight being Piz Buin. The mountain huts were very welcoming, with the Wiesbadner outshining the rest. The fish main course on this evening was the best hut meal I’ve had. I experienced a bit of everything during the week: white out skiing, powder skiing, horrible crust, gully climbing, airy ridge traverses, yard sale falls, blisters, sore legs, headaches, weiss beer, skating, skidoo ride, lots & lots of laughs. All in all one of the best trips I’ve had in the mountains. The Silvretta region is fantastic for ski touring with a host of huts to choose from. Can’t wait for next year.

Life on the rock face

Isabel Smales

After a nervous wait for the course, my partner and I experienced a wonderful time in the hands of a very capable and enthusiastic instructor, Dave Evans. I had never done any outdoor climbing and Dave was superb when it came to putting me at my ease. The two-day course was tailored to our needs after an introduction about ourselves and experience. The location chosen was beautiful and provided enough challenges for two days worth of climbing, it even avoided the snow. I learnt a lot about technique and climbing outdoors and perhaps most importantly, Dave helped me to approach climbing in a new way, that helped me to focus and concentrate to achieve my best which has meant an overall improvement in my climbing and the goals I want to achieve. I cannot thank Dave enough for his time and energy in making these two days incredibly memorable. I hope to return to Plas y Brenin so as to continue improving my climbing. Many thanks to everyone involved in making this experience so great.

2 day introduction to winter skills

terry horan

Great course for an introduction, we covered quite a lot in 2 days. We were fortunate that there was plenty of snow (in April). Snow gave us the chance to use crampons and ice axe in real circumstances.

Certainly gave me an appetite for more winter skills and Plas Y Brenin seem to offer lots of options in Wales or Scotland for similar courses for fun or for a recognised qualification.

Good accomodation, food was great (breakfast,packed lunch and dinner). Beautiful view from the dining room and bar - bar is snug and cosy with free wi-fi, also stocked my favourite Guinness.

Plenty of on site parking and the centre is an aladdins cave of equipment in case you forget something or think your kit is not up to scratch, and all loaned to you for free (the cure to man kinds problems - sharing for free).

Would love to have attended a five day course but was on a limited budget especially as course was short notice.

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Excellent Training for the ML

David Adams

An excellent week in a very friendly atmosphere. The centre staff and course instructors are always very helpful and supportive. I felt that the week was a concise and clear prep for the more technical sides of the ML course. The course was differentiated well for the different levels of ability from the start and I felt that even though I was relatively secure in my skills that I still learnt a lot from it. Overall, definitely a good place to do your ML training.

GREAT time in freezing waters:)

Oliviu Hurmuz, aka Ollie

Guys I am sorry that I delayed so much but I really enjoyed it and I had to thank you again:).
I had a great time. The instructors were both great, I felt secure and I started loving kayaking. It a sport that I would like to explore more as I've been positively influenced by the 2 instructors. If I will ever come to do something again there I will do it because of the happy helpful instructors that I've had. So keep up the good work. And be prepared for some other beginners because I am recommending that course to all my friends that are interested in kayaking.

Nice to meet you guys and thanks for patience that you showed in the freezing water when I was too afraid to go down a rapid:))

An excellent course

Rachel Adams

Instructors were very informative, helpful and patient - there is no question too stupid to ask them! There was lots to learn and plenty of opportunity to practise new skills. I would thoroughly recommend this course to other people interested in gaining their ML award, and the centre provided excellent accommodation and food.

Awesome from start to finish

Ian Horsley

Dave really put us at our ease from the start, asking about our previous experience and expectations. The course was closely tailored to those.
In depth knowledge of climbing both physically and mentally helped improve my climbing performance and provided the skills and confidence to go outdoors on our own.
The venue was outstanding and we even managed to find a sunny cragg to climb.
Daves passion for climbing and mountainering definitely came across and I'm looking forward to lots of sport climbing this summer and the course far surpased my expectations so I will come back to PYB for other courses over the next years.

Contours, what contours?

Sue & Brian Trott

We are keen walkers in our late 50's and wanted to build on our map reading skills and this was exactly the right course for us. We already knew about grid references and a lot of the icons on the map key, so could pick out a coniferous forest from marsh land but by the end of this two day course we can now identify a re-entry, a pinch, a knoll and a saddle from the map and match them to the scenery around us to help us identify pretty much where we are. Spending the weekend with like minded people was really good fun and the facilities at Plas y Brenin are truly excellent. I must mention the food because it was plentiful and very tasty. I'm not a vegetarian but the mixed bean and vegetable casserole with goats cheese topped crumble was absolutely delicious. Our instructors Mo and Georgina were both knowledgable and keen to help us get the most out of the weekend and I think both secretly coveted my husband's hat! Thank you Plas y Brenin, we'll be back.

Brilliant Weekend on the Water

Andrew Baker

A fantastic course tailored especially for Euxton Canoe Club. Both the instructors Glen and Andy brought different but very complementary skills to the weekend.

PYB is a fantastic facility, the pleasant staff, good food were only surpassed by the brenin brewery beers.

Thank you to everyone concern with giving us a weekend to remember for years.

Excellent weekend !

Darren Clayton

This course did exactly what it said in the title.

It was well paced and balanced the excellent teaching of specific techniques with enough fun and travel to keep us warm and focused for the whole weekend even though we were kayaking in the snow at one point.

I would recommend it to anyone who wants to rediscover white water after a long layoff like myself or discover it for the first time like my teenage son.

Brilliant weekend!

A brilliant full on weekend

Roy Baxendale

Booked a weekend at Plas y Brenin for more experience on white water kayaking, and I can say that I was definitely not disappointed, the coaches were great, I got Andy and he was very good ,he gave us plenty of time to develop our strokes that we were very rusty on, after a few hours we were off and I can say I am glad I got that tuition before hand ,the weekend was absolutely great ,we had great thrills and plenty of spills, plenty of banter on the journey to the river, and very knowledgeable coaches.all in all a super weekend and well worth the cost.

Thanks guys, and will definitely see you all again.

Great routes, great instructors, great food

Adam Wheeler

Have just had an excellent week ice climbing with two fantastic instructors Matt Stygal and Tim Neill that surpassed mexpectations. Two years ago I did the Intro to Scottish Winter Climbing and this course seemed the natural development to get on to some big classic routes. The weather held all week and we spent the first four days doing extraordinary 3 star ice routes on the Ben that I did not think I was capable of. Highlights included an ascent of Tower Ridge with Matt and Minus Two Gully with Tim with a four pitch abseil off the route. On the last day we did Twisting Gully at the Lochan. I learnt a huge anound from both Matt and Tim whose skill and experience were inspiring and more over they calmly put up with me dithering around on exposed icy belays. An added bonus was the food at Altshellach which was excellent - copious amounts of freshly prepared food to a high standard and very well presented. Last time I was here I was disappointed by the food so it was very nice to be pleasantly surprised. Hope to be back next year.

Dispite all that the Welsh weather threw at us we had a fantastic day

Nichole Read

I had an amazing day at Plas y Brenin on my moutain bike leaders course. The course was well delivered with a good mix of practical and theory. The staff were outstanding both encouraging and proffessional. I felt confident when I left to continue on my path to be a Mountain Bike leader. I am now really looking forward to the accreditation day and know exactly what I need to work on to acheive my full potential.
Thankyou all very much!!!
I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to be confident to lead small groups of people off road.

Rare week of Scottish sunshine

Steve Forgrieve

Just had a great week in the sun with climbing legends Dave Rudkin, Keith Ball and Tim Neill. These guys are the real deal, proper climbing enthusiasts who happen to instruct. There was no gentle start to the week with five great routes over five days with a total of 16 stars in the guide book. Finished the week on a high note on an icy slab called The Curtain on Ben Nevis, felt great to be climbing at that level on what is called an 'introductory' week. Always felt safe though as course focusses on seconding, with the instructors heading up first and setting up good belays.
Top quality equipment can be provided for free if you need it, as I did, so you get to have a go for the week before deciding to fork out £100s on axes/crampons etc.
The Alltshellach hotel was great with a pool and hot tub, and fantastic three course meals in the communal dining room.
One final tip. The walk ins are unavoidably long so try to get a few days out in the hills for training to avoid aching legs.
Thanks again guys.

An Excellent Instructor

Zoe O'Connell

We booked a bespoke two days for three of us to get some essential skills in as we're planning on corssing the Marmolada Glacier in Italy later this year.

There was some trouble with the booking, in that the instructor did not receive the information about what we were after

Having said that, the instructor we had was first rate. The kit we had purchased, whilst suitable for the Italian Alps, was not heavyweight enough for a scottish winter so we were able to borrow the right equipment to avoid any problems early on.

Getting on the mountain, he knew exactly what skills we would likely need, was able to put them in context and then explain & demonstrate those skills at the right pace, making best use of our previous climbing, via ferrata and canyoneering experience.

It was a very educational and thoroughly enjoyable two dates and has definitely given me the incentive to do more winter mointaineering - not just in Italy, but in Scotland too!

Perfect! Just what we were looking for.

Sarah Brown

Wanted some preparation for specific alpine expeditions. After talking about our experience and what we wanted, the instructor put together two fantastic days which did exactly what we needed, and explained everything really clearly. Very easy to get on with and we established a great rapport. Would definitely recommend, and am likely to take more courses in the future.


Liz Burnley

This was a really good course. Very practical and just at the right level - also very enjoyable! The practical exercises were helpful and interesting and the pace was great. Thank you!

Great weekend

Elliot Hemes

Dave T was a superb instructor. Kept the group relaxed and maintained an excellent learning atmosphere throughout.

PYB is a fantastic centre and very well run. This was my second stay (previously I suffered an SPA assessment weekend in horrific weather) and the standard of the facilities make a short and intensive weekend of activities so much easier to undertake.

I look forward to my next visit.


Great introduction to winter walking


My husband and I joined this course to try snow walking and what an adventure and weekend. The center was great - a warm and friendly welcome and good accommodation and food. We were concerned that there would not be snow but we were lucky and treks up into the hills provided plenty of snow to try out our skills.
The equipment and advice was excellent and it has whetted our appetites for a Scottish course to follow up next winter and some equipment shopping!
Thank you to Plas y Brenin

Amazing experience.

Olly Douglas

Arriving at around 5pm in alltshelach on saturday the 16th February we were all exhausted and gearded up for our adventures the next day. after a wonderful supper and a great night sleep due to the awesome quality of food and accommodation at the lodge the next morning we met up with our guides. Cath, Spike and Gareth. What a team.
The alround challenge that they threw at us every day was great but their judgement and understanding of our abilitys was unrivaled. I was so impressed.

I enjoyed my time with Sherborne School on the winter mountaineering course so much that i would definataly recomend it to anyone. and i think it has set me in good stead for my expedition to the himalayas in june.

Olly Douglas

Exceptional coaching

Peter Chillingworth

An excellent course made so by the quality of the staff, their knowledge of the mountains, the routes, the conditions but also their ability to assess and understand the level of those on the course and put together something that stretches and supports. If you want the confidence to move on snow and ice and if you want to tap the knowledge of these experts this is most definitely the course for you - book, dress warmly and enjoy!

Excellent introduction to Winter climbing

Colin Thompson

Spectacular Alpine style weather for most of the course and excellent instruction made for a superb few days. Great if you've only done a limited amount of climbing and are prepared to be thrown in at the deep end.

it was amazing


This course has shown me the parts of snowdonia I always wanted to see. It took me out of my comfort zone and I have learned and have been given the confidence to go of the beaten track.
I worked hard on my general fitness at home, with walking, mountainbiking, gym etc. I would like to advise to add some walks with a heavy pack. My full pack was between 10-12 kg with crampons and helmet etc every day. I'm only small so this is something I will include for the other courses I want to do. You don't have to be a hero,but some welsh walking experience is recommended.
Thank you to ALL the staff at Brenin. You have made me very welcome and I can't wait to visit you all again.

Excellent Trip

Katherine Trehane

The Zinal ski trip was excellent. Despite having no snow for 3 weeks prior to our arrival, Martin our guide managed to find us fresh tracks every day, with just a little bit of effort on skins (which is the fun part if you are a glutton for punishment like me). He tailored each day according to the wishes of the group - an easier warm up day to start, with the added bonus of some informal tuition on our technique if wanted it, and then a mix of off-piste days sticking close to the resort, and some big adventures outside of the resort. The accommodation and food were brilliant - far better than anywhere I'[ve stayed before, with a range of brand new Scott equipment to try for free. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who wants a really good off-piste week without going on a full ski tour.

Push Your Boundaries


Just completed a fantastic weekend at PYB (16 & 17th February 2013) on the Welsh Winter Ridges course under the capable and friendly leadership of Dave Percy.

I only started winter walking in the last year or so after attending a Winter Skills course at PYB (again thoroughly recommended), with my previous experience largely based on summer hill walking with the family and a few solo trips (in the summer) over the likes of Striding Edge and Crib Goch etc. I was a little nervous and uncertain as to exactly what the Winter Ridges course would entail, but was keen to gain more winter experience and confidence.

My fellow student and room-mate (Chris) was an experienced climber wanting to complete some winter climbs prior to planning an Alpine trip.

Although snow conditions weren't ideal (with a lot disappearing in the couple of days leading up to the course), Dave was flexible in terms of route plans and ensured that we made the most of the winter conditions available and tailored both days to combine our respective experience and course objectives.

Saturday saw us tackle a number of grade 1 winter scrambles and climbs over Bristly Ridge en-route to Glyder Fach and Sunday on Cwm Cneifion (The Nameless Cwm) via a grade 2/3 winter climb up the right hand gulley to Glyder Fawr, returning with a great scramble down Y Gribin.

Although I had no previous climbing experience (and it must be said not too much technical style when it comes to climbing!), Dave put me at ease and gave great support and encouragement throughout – I was well outside my comfort zone on occasions over the weekend, but having successfully completed some challenging routes (for me at least), I felt a great sense of achievement and have certainly pushed my boundaries. I’m sure that the experience gained will be useful in the future and the fun and friendly manner in which it was learnt was great!

Thanks also to Chris for his encouragement throughout.

PS The thought of that view from the summit of Glyder Fawr and the smile on my face after getting over that chockstone at the top of the gulley will long be remembered!

Fantastic weekend

Heidi Malein

The course far exceeded my expectations. Excellent instructor, fabulous group, perfect weather conditions for the course.

Bonanza of Brilliance

Callum Smith

Good: Better than restaurant quality food. Learnt tons every day. Quality Guiding (no less than the best from PYB). Gaining 7 new friends. Hotel, and staff. Free equipment hire. Not as good: Long walk in (get fit!) Temptation to have a pint in the bar after a long day. Verdict: You learn a lot, and you have mega fun. Can't recommend enough.

the best course and the best location with the best people.


as good as it gets. despite conditions on some days of 90mph winds with heavy deposits of new snow pyb managed to find routes for us to climb on every single day which ranged from II to IV (and 15 stars over the 5 days !). we covered a full range of snow gullies, mixed ridges and pure ice. Superb, calm and careful instruction - although perhaps a little less than you might expect - ie you get stuck in to see how it goes and receive guidance and tuition where needed. good fitness matters as you get more out if the day is not a struggle and familiarity with ropework whilst not necessary enables you to concentrate on the winter element and to take in the myriad of small but important aspects which help to give the confidence to go out and lead a route - and that is perhaps the one aspect of the course that some might miss : all climbing is done as a second and the jump to choosing , assessing and then leading a route is a large gap and it would be comforting to do it alongside an instructor before doing it alone.

Having said that I cannot recommend the course and the people too highly, it is simply the best.

accomodation is everything you need - superb drying room, friendly staff and with a new chef excellent much improved food.

Really enjoyed it.


Really enjoyed our day out. I was especially proud of having gone up a 45% slope! I also learned a lot.



Can not recommend this course enough. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather which further enhanced the whole experience.The small group size ensured everybody got the experience and skills they wished to gain. I booked on to the course last minute and as a mother of four in my forties stretched the truth a little regarding my fitness level! However sheer determination drove me on and by the end of the week I can honestly say I came back a new woman. I may not be rushing out to buy a ice axe and crampons immediatley but I have certainly rediscovered walking again. Overall I got far more out of the experience than I could possibly of imagined. Helen, our incredibly modest and knowledgeable instructor was absolutely excellent. Food and accomodation faultless.

What an amazing few days!

Amy Anderson

I have to say that the last few days with Rob and his team have been the best experience I have ever had. I went away with the Cotswold Outdoor team for 3 days Winter Hillwalking around Glencoe. We had allsorts of weather from 80-100 mile an hour winds to blizzards and white outs to mist and fog. It did then turn into a beautiful day on our final day which ended with us summiting the amazing Stob Dearg, Buachaille etive Mor. We were shown Ice Axe arrests (which I needed to use on my first day for real!), how to use and walk properly in Crampons, spotting possible avalanche threats. The guys at PYB are so knowledgeable, you know your in safe hands. Make sure if you are heading up to the the highlands, with its very changeable weather you take decent base layers, insulating jackets and hard-shells to cope with everything it will throw at you. wo pairs of gloves are a must and Tiger Balm was my saviour for those aches and pains after a long day on the hill!!! I cannot express enough how fabulous this experience was...its a must do at some point in everyones life!!!

Great Week

Norman Wakeman

After looking to get into Winter Mountaineering and having seen the course was available I had to book on to learn more. We went through Avalanche assessment, practical use of Ice Axe and Crampons along with more general Mountaineering. The staff were great at PYB, Food and accommodation top with the weather conditions and views awesome. (We were lucky to have full Winter Conditions!) The course instructor Helen went at our own individual pace and was very knowledgeable. This is a great course for the beginner or if wanting to refresh winter mountain skills.

Good value but

Gareth Lewis

At £180.00 the course was good value.


Was not happy with the standard of "winter kit" which I borrowed from the stores.

A lot of it had seen better days!


Dan B

Upon arriving for another course at PyB the snow was starting to fall making way for an excellent week to follow.

If you haven't been to the centre before, the first thing you will notice is the friendliness off all the staff and instructors.

The course started Monday morning and was intended for two students, however the other guy ended up being sick meaning it was 1:1. Even with this the course still went ahead.

Monday involved walking in crampons on the centres home made glacier made from railway sleepers - works excellently. after that involved a few lectures on nav, avalanche, snow etc vital info for winter mountaineering.

the next four days were 4 excellent mountaineering days, from traditional to more modern with harnesses and axes. all throughout the course.
Spike (instructor) was always professional with his instruction, but professional on a personal scale never once looking down on me for my lack of ability.

the course was catered for my every need and we retouched on things that I struggled. All in all I do not have a single complaint about the course or facility!!

It may look an expensive course, but in terms of value for money it is better than any other course you may find outside of PyB.
For the money you get excellent instruction and full on days in the hills, accom, wonderful food and any gear from stores that may be required.

Def recommend for anyone considering, get it done you wont regret it ONE BIT!!!

Enjoyable and informative course

Ben Corrigan

Great place to stay with friendly and helpful staff. Surprised at how much I managed to learn over the two days. Could borrow all the gear I needed. Had no navigation skills at the start of the course and the instructor helped me get up to speed really quickly.

An excellent course

Sophie Clark

I had no previous rolling experience, in fact very little kayaking experience at all, and got a great deal out of the weekend. The coaching was top notch: Pete did a terrific job of building confidence, making something completely alien and slightly intimidating feel possible. All in all a very rewarding experience, and as close to enjoyable as an introduction to spending time upside down under water could possibly be.


Stephen Wright

It was miserable; we were cold, snow was falling, we had 20kg+ of kayak and kit on our sore shoulders as we trudged uphill to the last get-in of the day. Did we really want to do this? Shouldn't we be in the warm, drinking tea on a late Sunday afternoon in January? Two drops to go. We plopped into the water and gingerly manoeuvred to the top of the first; the situation was intimidating but very exciting. The first drop was all about keeping a steady head and falling with style. No problem after our repeats on another waterfall that morning. In the last eddy before the last drop, my pulse rate rose as I practiced the techniques honed over the last two days. Suddenly I felt very warm, no need for gloves or pogies, quick helmet and BA check, eyeball the correct rocks for the entrace and go. The approach was actually quite slow, but no thought of panic, total concentration on getting boat, body and paddle doing the right things and then... whoosh... sooo... fast down that last slot. I hope someone got a picture because I can't remember a thing of the actual fall, but hitting the water safely and paddling over to Chris in a daze of euphoria I do remember. Perfect.

Great weekend to catch up with friends


A friend booked this as a catchup weekend and it was probably the best weekend of the festive period. Learnt some winter skills on the Saturday, then put them into action in the snow on the Sunday. The Christmas dinner Saturday night was lovely. As well as sharing the adventure with old friends, have made some new ones and hope to do it again in 2013!

Mountain climb

Barry Kirkham

Awesome experience from arrival to departure


Barbara and Trevor Paul

We can highly recommend the Big Acounstic Walk.
The accommodation is basic but very good (better than recent experiences in a Travellodge). All rooms are ensuite and comfortable. The food was excellent and my dietry requirements were well catered for.
The walks were well planned and the leaders friendly and knowledgeable. They even managed to arrange for Snowdon to be covered in snow.
The impromtu music session on Friday evening was good fun. The 'open mic' session on Saturday evening was very varied with music and singing from some excellent musicians.
We do not normally walk with groups of people, preferring our own company, but found this weekend to be very enjoyable. We made some friends who we will keep in touch with.

Rolling, rolling, rolling; get that kayak rolling!

Jonathan Gorman

A diverse group of five students enrolled on the weekend rolling reconstruction course. Diverse in the sense that it ranged from the young and flexible to the old and inflexible; from the tall to the short; from the "virgin roller" to the more experienced.

The two days were essentially broken down into four pool sessions interspersed with eating (and some moderate drinking). On the final day we did have the option to move the session to the lake but as a group we decided to stick in the relative warmth to continue to consolidate what we had learnt rather than risk ending the course in the cold with the risk of the new environment having a negative impact. Better to end the session warm and upbeat rather than cold and potentially downbeat.

With regards the instruction itself what I particularly appreciated was that our instructor didn't prescribe any particular technique on any of us - instead he observed our current technique and then injected into that advice and aids to correct the flaws and reinforce the good stuff. An example of this being that with some students he had them using a paddle bag but for me the most appropriate aid was a bit of padding wedged under one arm. There was also video footage taken and used to help identify the patterns in our individual techniques that helped us tune things up.

By the end of the weekend all five of us were rolling to some degree and I think we all had a good grasp on what we as individuals need to do to continue to develop our rolls. To quantify this: before the weekend I had managed three rolls in five hours of pool sessions at my local club; at the end of the first session on day one I had acheived better than that (including a "winning streak of 3/3 at the end of the session).

A thouroughly enjoyable weekend with results that exceeded my expectations.

An excellent course and a credit to the centre

Jonathan Borthwick

Notwithstanding the lack of “winter” weather, I found the course both worthwhile and thoroughly enjoyable. The standard of instruction was excellent, and subject matter was delivered in a professional manner that accounted for differing learning styles.
It was also delivered with a great sense of humour, which created a thoroughly good atmosphere within the group.
Given the lack of appropriate weather, I thought the instructors improvised well and created an excellent course which was a credit to the centre.

Great weekend

Claire Hendrickse

The first day was really useful breaking down all the sections of the roll and gradually introducing the paddle. Lots of practise on the second day getting individual coaching to make progression. I needed to roll for my 3 Star Kayak the following day and was successful! Went away being able to self coach myself when the roll isn't successful. I Recommend the course to anyone who's roll is hit and miss. Great value for money.

A thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable 2 days

Andy Pope

I learned a lot in a friendly and structured enviroment, not only from the instructor but also from the other attendees. I particularly liked the balance of 'classroom theory' and outside practical sessions and the ability to learn by doing / observing the assessment of tasks on the hill. Many thanks must also go out to the 2 brave volunteers (who are preparing for their ML assessment) who came out on the second day for us to practice on - again I found this very useful and very thought provoking.
My only (relatively minor) improvement point concerns the quality of the information that I received prior to attending the course in terms of what I was expected to do in preparation etc. I would have found a more postive 'not a lot' reassuring.
Hopefully PyB will continue to run this course along these lines and thankyou again to Carlo and his team.

Great course

Philip cousins

Great instruction and great facilities, this course really worked for me. Chris Evans worked with us all individually pinpointing what we needed to work on to achieve our roll.

Good Practical Development course

Owen Williams

Went on the course as part of my CPD and came away with lots of new ideas on assessing and strategies as well as consolidating my existing knowledge and skills.

The Tutors were knowledgeable and experienced and gave not only good in the field instruction and guidance but also good feedback to help me develop my skills.

Added to good accommodation and facilities a great all round course.

Fantastic Weekend

Craig Letham

I though Tim Cook provided excellent instruction, making potentially tedious classroom based subjects engaging, relevant, full of contextual experience and pitched to everyone's level. The course is a must for anyone seeking a greater understanding of how to be a better leader and manager to a youth personal development expedition.

thankyou for a wonderful weekend


i bought the weekend for a birthday present for my boyfriend and it couldnt have been better.

All the instructors were approachable friendly and extremly knowledgable. i leanrt loads and even the other half learnt a few things too.

a great weekend thankyou so much

A Great Week !

Jules Horton

From arrival at Plas y Brenin on the Sunday night through to leaving the following Friday afternoon, I can only say the staff, reception, cooks, cleaners, instructors and all were brilliant.
Friendly, helpful and full of tips and ideas to think about.
It turned out there were just four on my course with one instuctor (Ben) assigned to us all week. This ratio was spot on, allowing some great coaching tailored to the individual rather than generic to the group.
We spent a couple of days on the Dee (the only reasonably local river in condition) before the rain gods smiled, bringing the Conwy up.. Bryn Bras falls here we come!
Back to the Dee again for further hilarity on the Serpents Tail and playing in the wave at Mile End Mill. All the while subject to Ben's sharp eyed observations and tips for improving.
I must say his way suited the group well, he kind of had a 'thought for the day' for each person and didnt overload my already taxed brain!
Last day was spent surfing waves on Anglesey which was great fun.
The decisions reached on where to go and what to do were all made as a group, flexible and democratic..
Overall, A great week, great place and great people.
I will be back in the Spring for the full intermediate course and some sea kayaking... Can't wait!

Exactly what I wanted :-)


There were ten of us on this course, so we split into two groups for the weekend, depending on ability. I was very nervous of 'whitewater' but I'm very glad I came on this particular course because our instructor made everything feel safe and fun; and I learnt loads too.
Due to a lack of rain (!) we spent both days paddling the Dee, but this was great because it seemed to be a really good location for actually paddling a river, learning how to run rapids and "playing"!. I'd advise lots of warm clothes if you're thinking of doing this course in winter because it was freezing! We began by learning / revising the basics and progressed from there. Everything was tailored to suit us and what we wanted to achieve. Overall it was an excellent weekend; it boosted my confidence loads and I really enjoyed it! I can't rate the instructors highly enough :-) Excellent stuff as usual!

Still learning loads every time I visit

Tim Jones

Four of us booked a private version of Intermediate course - couldn't make the public course dates. Shame of the week was a lack of rain - but that gave us the chance to concentrate on technical skills and attempting to get our moving water rolls working.
We had Chris Evans as our coach. We've known Chris since 2004 and he's developed into an excellent coach. I haven't paddled much in 18 months so my main hope was to get back up to speed. I came away from the 5 days with enthusiasm for paddling renewed and a much more powerful and effective boot stroke on both sides.
We ran Serpents Tail on the Dee multiple times at a medium level - it's a good option when other rivers aren't running. We also used the bottom wave at the slalom course (Dee Mile End Mill) to practise moving water rolls ... and swimming :)
Food at PYB as good as always ... with the exception of packed lunches which have definitely gone downhill (outsourced). Accommodation very good as always and the drying rooms are excellent as long as you can grab enough hangers from the walking/navigating courses who seem to like spreading muddy gear all over the place (I bet they moan about kayakers too).

Sunshine, Scrambling and Balvenie

Anna van Oordt

Despite an ominous forecast of torrential rain all weekend, we were blessed with glimmers of June sunshine and glorious views over Anglesey as we scrambled up a rock face near Tryfan - recreating the necessary rope skills needed in the Alps. Stu did a fantastic job of setting the scene as we walked across an "Alpine Glacier" although the sheep were a giveaway!

On the first day, when it did bucket it down, time was well spent practising crevasse rescue techniques inside, looking at the different types of carabiners used, talking about kit, knots, slings, ropes etc.

The course managed to pack in a lot of invaluable info in such a short time and being able to put the talking bit into practice on the last day was great. After a hearty meal and some warming whisky, I slept like a baby. The book recommended - Alpine Mountaineering - by Bruce Goodlad is well worth a read.

Instructors are brilliant!

Heather Bartlett

Given that nobody could possibly mistake me for being "advanced" (with just a few days of previous experience), I was a bit apprehensive. But all the instructors were just brilliant at boosting my confidence & I achieved some climbs that I'd never believed I could do! The others on the course were a great crowd, & the centre is warm, friendly & with lovely food. Thoroughly recommended.

Great place

Claire Pace

Great place-well organised and cheery staff. Would def come again. Graham was a good instructor-very clear in his instructions and followed through all we learnt out on the hills. Only thing I would say is maybe should have hung back a bit for th slow person in our group whom was clearly struggling. Felt we were responsible for her.

Overall though really enjoyed it and much more confident using map and compass. many thanks!

Top Value

Tim Cook

This weekend packed a huge amount in for the £160 cost. Really felt like I got my moneys worth and I would not hesitate to come back again next year.

Amazing Weekend

Andy Watson

We both learned a huge amount on this weekend as well as having a good old laugh. We rode in some incredible places, in the pouring rain - which actually made it brilliant. Double bonus! I got to ride a Scott Genius (pretty much straight out of the wrapper) for both days and it was simply out of this world. We can't thank PYB enough for the weekend and if it happens again next year we will definitely be there. If I have saved up enough spondoolies I should even be riding my own Genius by then too.

Fantastic week with a great coach


Plenty of river miles (the Dee and the Treweryn) with varying degrees of difficulty leading up to a couple of grade four runs at the end of the week. Chris was spot on - a great coach who was also excellent company on the trips. No dramas just calm (but gently challenging) instruction. I would definitely recommend this course and PYB (the food was absolutely fantastic).

Highly recommended

Jon Naylor

An excellent short course - both instructors were enthusiastic and flexed the weekend's activities to suit our varied needs. I feel confident now to go ahead with the ML Assessment.

Excellent course

Jonathan Borthwick

An excellent course, outside in the hills from Day1. The instructor, Emma, was excellent. She rapidly guaged the correct level at which to pitch the course. Irrespective of previous knowledge, I believe all of us came away with considerable enhancement to our navigation skills.

Fantastic Course

Philip Jackson

All my life I had believed that I could never climb. Within 20 minutes, Kath, our instructor had turned from a complete novice into someone who believed they could do it. With her encouragement and confidence, by the end of the second day I was doing things I would have believed impossible. It was a brilliant course. I cannot speak too highly of it and I can't wait to return.

Does exactly what it says on the tin!


I came to this course with no real experience of paddling moving water having been lake bound for 12 months. Pete, Chris and Colin the coaches quickly got their heads around the skills of the group and importantly our appetite to push ourselves (or not) and led us for 5 days of tuition and increasingly complex water until the entire group was happily running local grade 3 rivers.

It was amazing how quickly and easily their coaching increased our skills and confidence with just the right level of "stretch".

I'd recommend this course to anyone interested in moving from still or flat water paddling onto more playful rivers. The tuition, equipment and facilities are all really top notch.

We were told reviews with swearing would be edited

Harry Douglass

I had my eye on this course for several years, the opportunity arose so I made the journey alone. I didnt know what to expect but was anxious to avoid just bobbing on the water. The pace and variety was good, my course mates were of a similar standard and the coaching was excellent. We were made to feel very welcome, each day was packed, I was challenged and the food was bloody superb. Would recommend to everyone.

Masses of fun!

Andrew & the boys

A fantastic week, Sid and Glen provided support and challenge for all of us on the water. Finn had only done a few days beforehand and so a highlight was seeing him surfing a river wave holding his paddle guitar fashion. Home comforts back at base were tip top and the climbing wall was a big hit.

A very, very impressive course

Elisabeth and Jason

Excellent tuition throughout the week, very good standard of food and impressed with the quality of the equipment available for use.

Overall, a highly recommended course.

Had a great week and we will definitely be back!

Excellent Course

Keith Jones

The three of us on our weekend course in Snowdonia came with very different climbing backgrounds. One was a technically excellent indoor climber, one had some experience outdoors and I cam with a mix of indoor and winter climbing experience. Mo, our instructor, did a fantastic job of giving all of us top quality instruction but also challenging us and giving us experiences beyond the norm for this course. We spent the first morning at a crag looking at placing gear and then the afternoon at a slate quarry working from a top rope. We did some climbing and some anchor placement work. In the evening, we spent an hour on the abseil tower learning all the tricks about abseiling. On the Sunday, we drove to Holyhead mountain and spent the day on some quartzite single pitch routes. Anchors, belaying and also placing gear and leading climbs was accomplished by all of us at an appropriate level. We climbed S, VS and HVS routes depending on ability and it was beyond my expectations to have led a climb properly (but with Mo checking gear placements!) on this course. In addition, PYB and Mo organised perfect weather for us without a drop of rain and factor 30 suncream needed on the Saturday.

As ever, the quality of instructors defines courses such as these and the Brenin have some of the best there are; knowledgeable, great teachers, confidence-inspiring and good fun to be outdoors with.

Value for money.

Anne Green

I attended the Navigation Skills course this weekend and thought that it was great value for money. I learned a huge amount and felt that the instruction was excellent, progressing at just the right rate. Murdo gauged the level of the group very quickly and was flexible in his approach to what we were doing, particularly on the second day, when the weather was closing in. I felt we were in safe hands at all times. Thanks to this course I now feel much more confident about navigating when out walking on my own.

Many thanks

Great and Fun time

Fred Umney

I did not want to attend the course at first as I was by myself and same old story did not know anyone. My first encounter was with my roommate Alex what a real gentleman we had more in common in our backgrounds than I have with some of my closest friends.
In the morning I meet with the other students and our tutor, we set off walking and the instruction was from the off. For me the instruction was at a good level not rushed and if I did not understand what was being said it was put in a manner that I could I felt at ease with the instructor he always had a smile on his face and he listened to us the students.
The night navigation was of great use and help develop my own skills. I was used to doing things my way but when I listened to what was being said I picked up new skills I feel more confident in myself and my ability to map read.
It was a great course full of fun and lots of happy memories of the two days.
If you want a two day course and you are new to navigation this course is for you. Even if you’re an old hand at navigation you can still learn new techniques.
Forgot to say you will put on weight as the food is that good great choices and really friendly staff.

Really enjoyed it

Paul Ritson

Excellent course, really enjoyed it.
Excellent for novice rollers to really understand the technique and to get to grips with rolling when you've never really had to do it 'for real'.
The instructors were really good, very patient and made the course fun, they were also good at recognising when people needed to take a break.
Should recommend participants bring wetsuit & face mask (or goggles & nose clip)!
Should advise participants to be prepared for aching muscles, no matter how good their paddling is!

A well thought out course

Harry Padley

I thoroughly enjoyed my week climbing and excellent accommodation while staying at Plas y Brenin for the Touching Stone course. This course gave me pretty much exactly what I needed to be able to move from indoor top roping and sport climbing on to (very easy) out door trad. Before this course I had very little knowledge on how to use the equipment necessary to climb the majority of the routes on crags in Britain. Most, especially where I live are un-bolted (unlike in France) so sport climbing is rarely an option. The skills taught by the highly experienced instructors on this course such as being able to place protection using nuts and cams and set up belay anchors allow the step from sport to very basic grade trad. This course has obviously not turned me into a confident trad climber and I would still only be happy climbing with someone with more experience than me. However it has given me enough knowledge to pursue the sport further and advance on technique, I would highly recommend this course to anyone moving from indoor to out door climbing in Britain

Instructor makes all the difference!


I highly recommend our instructor, Glen Rostock. He is very patient, encouraging and intuitive.

I was more nervous than I expected to be at the start of the course, but by the end of the week I did not want to get out of the boat and look forward to doing more white water paddling in the future.

Confidence Booster

Gareth Jones

I came on this course having done similar before however I had done no real sea paddling (a couple of hour long trips off of Fleetwood) in between. This course has given me confidence and a desire to go out and do more paddling.

My wife came along and really enjoyed it, which is quite important to me. We did some sheltered coastline trips due to adverse weather conditions in the beginning of the week. Then moved to the South of Anglesey later in the week for some surfing and nosing around caves and rocks.

On the last day I met a few friends from my local club and we left at the end of the week to ... do a weekend of paddling around Anglesey.

Thank you very much we will be back.

Gareth Jones


Eilidh Carruthers

Had a really good time did a lot of climbs as the weather was really good on the only day that it rain we did technic work in there training wall with gear and belays it was a really enjoyable week the staff we're really friendly the food was great and the lectures where good as well
would recomend it to anyone who is interested in climbing!!!


Moya Neale

Having not 'been out of my boat for a while or had a nasty knock', I wasn't sure whether to go for the Intromediate or Intermediate course. I am SO glad I went for the former, which was perfect for skills and confidence building, even though I'd spent more time on white water than the rest of the group (who all did depressingly well!).
We spent the first day on the Dee at Llangollen, fairly straightforward practice on breaking in/out/hopping, ferry glides etc, but of course still plenty of tips on how to do it better. There was enough water to go down the Llugwy direct from the centre on Tuesday with more practice on slightly faster water at the start. We looked at and ran a couple of rapids - was good to have leaders showing confidence in us -portaged the Grade 4 and Impossible ones. Wednesday was the upper Tryweryn with yet more practice on even faster water - we were getting more confident, some of us even a bit better at getting eddies (not me!). Thursday was the lower Tryweryn, a chance to put everything into practice and cope with fairly continuous faster water and Friday back to the Dee above Llangollen. Catching eddies we would have missed earlier in the week, looking at the upcoming waves with anticipation rather than fear!
So it was a great mix of practice and river trips, with relevant tips for each individual and a great sense of support. As well as fun! There were times in the middle of the week I wondered why I was there, but by the end, I knew it had been worth it.
A few of us used the rolling pool a couple of nights, and one coached pool session with excellent tips. Some of the group went to the climbing wall a few times.
And sharing a room was actually great - a chance to meet someone the night before, share concerns, walk into breakfast with. The rooms are great, the food fantastic, the showers wonderful. I'd taken extra kit, but the drying rooms are good. And a wetsuit, rash vest, and cag was enough to keep me warm (almost too warm one day).


Sarah Day

A great course to build confidence on rocky terrain. Really helpful and patient instructor who helped me over tricky sections when vertigo kicked in. Finally made it to the top of Tryfan, and via the North Ridge no less!

Amazing week with exceptional tuition

Simon Wurr

I cannot recommend this 5 day advanced scrambling course highly enough. I came at it from a hill-walking (not climbing) background having also done the summer ML. There was excellent progression through the week (basic grade 1 scrambles at the start then gradual introduction of ropework and use of protection until we were selecting gear, routes and ropework strategies, all under the careful eye of our guide).

We had two different guides; one for the first three days and then a second for the final two days. Both (Cath Wilson and Simon Lake) were excellent, involved us in deciding what to do each day and were excellent communicators. If, like me, you have a good head for heights and want to progress from grade ones you can do without a rope, then this course is excellent. We even had mainly dry weather for the week and the instructors were very good at knowing where to go given the conditions.

As always, the food and accommodation were of a high standard. You will not go hungry and the cake every day at 5pm is AMAZING! The evening talks were all inspiring and I left determined to find another PyB course I can do in the future.

Rock Climbing and Abseiling

Paul Heaney

The initial disappointment of being rained off was soon overcome on the indoor climbing wall. Our instructor, Tom, was very precise and attentive to the whole party and helped us all overcome our initial fears. Thus my wife and I achieved more than we thought possible and our 2 grandchildren are fired with enthusiasm for a new sport. We shall all return.
Pat has tried and failed at abseiling previously but Tom's demeanour, patience and skill gave her enough of a feeling of security to conquer her fears and abseil confidently.
We had arrived early and thus had a chance to look round the place and witness some of the other courses taking place. We were very impressed with the whole set-up and cannot stop talking to people about it.
All this and a wonderful setting too.
Add another Star onto the 5 below.

Alpine fantastic

Paul Dekock

This was by far, one of the best things that I have ever done. Make no mistake it was hard work but the rewards you get from completing such amazing climbs out ways the pain. All the guides were brilliant, without their motivation (and bad jokes!!) the course would have been a great deal harder; they always gave the right amount of encouragement when needed.
Anybody wishing to boost their experience of Alpine climbing, this course is a must as it gave us the confidence to out and try some other routes by ourselves.

In the words of Phil "No matter what happens, always look cool"

Alpinism is the art of suffering


The course was excellent. The guides were great and extremely knowledgeable, even on routes they weren't familiar with the depth of their experience meant that they never seemed unsure of what to do. I felt in safe hands throughout the course, and learnt loads. The focus was on doing challenging routes and learning while doing, rather than spending a lot of time on skills. It would have been good to swap with the guides and do some leading under their supervision, but there wasnt really time for this on the routes we did. My guide Paul was excellent, really easy to get on with and had a superb style of guiding whereby he gently kept you moving quickly and doing what he needed you to do without ever snapping or sounding irritable. From what i saw of the other guides they were also great.

The accomodation at Yeti Lodge was luxurious, nice, spacious apartments and great food.

However, they definately worked us HARD. The headline of the review is how the guides summed up the week. By the end of the week most of the 5 clients were pretty spent, even with a break to walk up to a hut. We did 3 AD routes in 5 days - the Clocher-clocherton as a warm-up, then Mt Blanc Du Tacul by Left Edge route, and Aiguille de Moine South Ridge. This was quite full on, 2 of the routes took 10-12 hours each. You definately need prior alpine experience and i would recommend getting really fit before the course, and still be prepared to suffer! Two guys on the course had been to Switzerland the week before doing 4000m peaks independently so were well acclimatised, and one of them still had to sit out the last route we did, which was a shame.

All in all i think everyone had a great time, i certaintly did. It was great to set a benchmark for do-able but very challenging routes and build skills to inform my future independant trips to the Alps.

Go Canoeing!

Janet Wallace

Just had a terrific 5 days on Intro to Canoeing. Didn't know how it would go as I am 65, which could have proved difficult for me or the Instructor ..... but it didn't!
Andy - from London - who had been canoeing for 7 years and kayaking for 15 was the perfect Instructor for me. He was all the P's ... professional, proficient, personable and patient! I completed the course with a river trip of about 7 miles on the Dee, which is a level 2 river in terms of rapids, of which we encountered 4 with no capsize! He has suggested I now find a local canoeing club to join and perhaps another course next year. Hope you are still there in 2013 Andy! Cheers Janet Wallace

Great course and great location


I love PYB, the facility is amazing and the instructors are some of the most capable in the world.

I have a reasonable amount of kayaking experience, but attended the course with my partner so that she could gain confidence in the water, especially for capsize and recovery drills, and I could try out sea kayaks.

The activity outline was:

Day 1

Get Kit
Go to swimming pool to practice capsize drills
Paddle in white-water kayak on local lake
Paddle in sea kayak on local lake
More capsize drills in the pool

Day 2

circa 8k (or could that have been 10 miles) day trip in sea kayaks on the tidal River Conwy ending at Conwy Castle. This was a great day trip (perhaps a bit too long for novices), with a little bit of white water, so very interesting shallows and gentle scenery. Rafting the kayaks up to eat lunch was a bit special! A special note for any fishermen using the river - kayakers have a right to be there too!

For us, the instructor was great - clearly a very experienced instructor and paddler, hard working (he often carried the kayaks himself, loading/unloading the trailer, spent additional time in the pool with us, etc) and knowledgable. On the downside, launching the kayaks on the day trip was something of a trial and could have been better managed.

All in all, this course achieved the ambitions of my partner and myself and I'd be very happy to recommend the course for people with little of no paddling experience.

Wet & Wild Freestyling (or was that Free of Style?)

Sean Clarke

Signing up for this course I was nervous - I wasn’t convinced my white water roll was 90% reliable and I’d only ever been in a playboat on flat water - managing the occasional stern squirt and a feeling that free style is only for those with Duracell bunny energy levels.
It turned out I was the eldest on the course (having 18 years on the youngest participant) and I had a foreboding sense of a lot of swimming coming up. Everyone on the course was friendly and there wasn’t the macho bravado that I thought there would be (a relief that I wouldn’t be having to attempt to outperform Duracell bunnies!).
Two days of thrills and spills ensued. Day one was at MEM which was perfect as most of us hadn’t been in a play boat on a river before. Splitting into two groups - those of us wanting to start at complete basics and work on stern squirts and those ready to go tackle the middle stopper. Eventually we all ended up on the last wave for several hours. Excellent fun - none of us wanted to get off at the end of the day - every single one of us had managed at least one flat spin - lots of (sometimes) intentional stern squirts and the most phenomenal number of rolls. Only one swim out of the group for day one (and it wasn't even me!) - great statistics.
Day two off to Stanley Embankment to play on the tidal wave. It was tough going at first and quite tiring but once the wave was at optimal level, everyone was really going for - I’d never have thought I’d be just plonking onto a wave that big in a boat so small that quickly. A few swims today but only one for me!
The review of photos and videos of us paddling were a great way to show us what we need to work on.
I definitely recommend this course for anyone new to play boating (with a reliable roll) and a sense of really wanting to work/play with the water.
Thanks to Chris Evans and Lowri Davies for the coaching and tips this weekend. I acheived more than I thought I would and I know what I need to work on. Excellent weekend.

Highly recommended


We began with climbing posture and footwork and progressed to multi pitch climbing, all under the guidance of professional instructors who made it enjoyable throughout. By the end of the 5 days we had become competent ‘seconds’. The food, rooms, and centre were all great, the staff were all very welcoming, and the others on the course were a lot of fun. Overall it was well worth it, thank you PYB.

Excellent Course.

Victor Adamson

I came to the course as a predominantly indoor climber – not too confident on the lead – with a little outdoor experience seconding trad routes.

The course instructor, Luke, explained the key elements of climbing safely outdoors clearly before we began and quickly had us out on the crag. The course covered sport climbing techniques, equipment and strategies and was an excellent introduction to this style of climbing. Luke was attentive to the ability and aspirations of the course participants making for an enjoyable learning experience.

Weather-wise the second day of the course was unfortunately forced indoors for much of the day, but again we received excellent pointers on movement skills and worked on some strategies to improve leading confidence.

I enjoyed the course and learned a lot about sport climbing and how to improve my climbing in general. The Brenin facilities are comfortable with good food and friendly staff. Overall - highly recommended!

Fantastic weekend (apart from the weather)!

Richard Alonzo

The course was spot on.

Simon the instructor was excellent giving just the right amount of advice, guidance, support and encouragement to build our skills and confidence while ensuring we didn't get into any situations we couldn't handle.

After learning the basics on some introductory grade 1 scrambles on Saturday we took on the big one on Sunday the North Ridge of Tryfan. A classic grade 1 scramble and the prefect present for my 51st Birthday!

Many thanks to everyone at PYB for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend...

Very good

Howard Harrington

it was very good but you Could put some use to the ski slope

Climbing and canoeing

Joseph Higgs

Great fun and educational and good equipment. Maybe there should have been more leaders when we were climbing at some distance from the centre but Will was very patient.
Very enjoyable day and I hope to go again.
Thank you!


humphrey jordan

Brilliant and hopping to do it next time in wales :].

Prefferd kayaking since more active and fun.
Helped with climbing confindance.

The proof of the pudding

Andy Waddington

is in the eating. So, though this course was back in May (it's now August), I didn't really expect to have had a big enough sample of real-life capsizes to make an assessment of whether the course had worked for me for a year or so. In fact, the course was something of a last-ditch attempt to boost my self-belief after well over a decade of paddling. A career total (on rivers) of 43 rolls out of 192 capsizes (approx) with a roll which was, on a good day in the last couple of years, up to about 50% success and never with more than two attempts after a capsize. This in advance of a trip to paddle the White Nile in Uganda, which was going to be no fun at all if I kept swimming... The good news, for this review, is that the trip produced 26 capsizes over two weeks in water varying from the bouncy run-out from a chunky playwave (not unlike Stanley), to the middle of big wave trains in huge volume rapids, which is probably an adequate sample size to attach some significance to the result.

Result..., oh, you want results ? OK, 20 rolls out of 26 capsizes, with several rolls on the third attempt. Better than 75% on water I would have been terrified of only a short while ago. Partly I can put this down to a thinner buoyancy aid and lighter clothing (it's warm!) giving me more freedom of movement. Partly I can put it down to making the boat fit better. But mostly it is down to the head - if you believe you can roll, you are going to roll more often, and if you roll more often, you are going to believe you can roll.

This is what the course achieved for me. I'd been on a two-day rolling reconstruction course before, and in the pool I was rolling as well or better than anyone on the course. But we never made it outside onto cold, moving, peat-stained water with rocks and other unknowns. My real-world roll didn't improve detectably on that course. But Chris' bombproof rolling course was different. The pool sessions were there, much of the indoor work was similar (except I didn't bring a sea kayak:), but this was all about doing it in real conditions. In the pool outside the centre, at Four Mile bridge as the tide built, at Stanley embankment with its huge volume and massive array of boils, and on rivers, in between bits of coaching on how not to need to roll in the first place.

It wasn't all success - I never actually rolled up at Stanley because it goes dark under the bridge and I tried to wait until I could see again. I didn't get on well in my river-running Ammo, and got thoroughly demoralised swimming on the Glaslyn. Had I done this review on the last day of the course, I'm not sure I would have been positive at all, even though it had all been fun and good experience. But by the end of the course I was rolling enough, especially in the Flirt I would be taking to Uganda, that the transition in my head had been made. I did five more UK rivers before the trip, had four capsizes and maintained 50% success. But I could see excuses for the failures (testing a tall camera pole on the back of the boat for one, and having the paddle knocked out of my hands for another) and the two successes felt better, and probably in harder water, than I would have expected to roll before.

In Uganda a couple of early swims (two out of the first three capsizes) didn't bode well, but then as I got more relaxed in the big water Chris' teaching kicked in and I rolled eleven times in a row before the next swim. Two swims were down to being dead knackered at the end of a long day, and another from cocking up the line and spending a long time being worked in a huge hole (where I would have pulled my deck instantly a few months ago) before failing to roll after three tries way downstream. Then more successes - six rolls out of seven capsizes on two different runs of Day 2 (rolling in Kalagala twice, Vengeance twice, Hair of the Dog once, and an unnamed playwave once) with the only swim caused by capsizing after rolling up straight into a stopper without getting my breath on Vengeance. A few more rolls below Nile Special finished the trip. Since being back in the UK, the record is 100% (OK, this isn't statistically significant - only 1 roll on 1 river:--).

What I am now finding is that instead of waiting for the water to flatten off before trying to roll, and still often failing on the first go, I was starting to set up and try at once, and sometimes come up. I was managing to grab a breath, and making more tries before giving up, and, above all, I was believing that it was going to happen.

Three months on, and I can definitely give you five stars.

Don't know if I can come back and edit this to post a link to some video, so go to http://www.swaledaleoutdoorclub.org.uk/canoeing/canoeing-previous-river-trips/818-n.html where there will eventually be links to video of the trip and you can be damn sure this will feature me rolling up in big water !!


An eye opener

andy jack

This has been an eye opener of a course, and would recommend it to anyone. If i was to offer any advice, it would be to include live rescues of boats and equipment instead of land base. Excellent staff and accommodation.

Fully packed 3 alpine days

Rich M

A fantastic indoctrination to those elements particular to Alpine climbing, and set in a resort particularly well equipped for both the novice and modestly experienced through to expert. I enjoyed the course content, which built on prior experiences, and was relayed in a structure and pace that was readily digestible over the full three day duration. The non-residential option was a really good opportunity to see the resort through your own looking glass, and including the mountain hut stay within the overall price kept things superbly simple. This setup also coerced good bonding in the group, with evening socialising not feeling at all enforced or obligatory. The only critical feedback was supporting information for the all-important rendezvous on day 1, but being a new course this can be easily resolved on subsequent trips.

Bang tidy

Kevin Roet

Fantastic course, beautiful setting, stunning weather, now I'm hooked. Already preparing for my next visit to the Alps.

Simply Superb!

Alex Burgess

This course was two of the best weeks climbing that I have done. The course is excellently organised with really comfortable accommodation. Two weeks is the perfect length to cover all aspects of alpine climbing, as well as put them into practice with some excellent days climbing. I now feel well prepared for future Alpine adventures and can't wait to get back out there. Much thanks to the instructors Stu and Matt who made the course so enjoyable! Great Memories!

Fantastic & well-organised course

David Connor

Based in Chamonix Argentiere for the first time this year, the setting for this course couldn't be better. Argentiere is a charming suburb of Chamonix with good amenities (including a cash point, supermarket, bakery, butchers & several outdoor stores). There is also a regular shuttle bus to Chamonix town centre which is home to an impressive array of gear shops!

The availability of multiple cable car/trains to access the snowline is a massive benefit. Energy & time are both saved by avoiding long walk-ins.

Accommodation in the Yeti Lodge is top notch. Apartments are self catering but dinner can be ordered on a 'pay as you go' basis. This is extremely good value and delicious! There is free wireless internet, satellite television & a hot tub.

The first week began by introducing the basic skills for safe glacier travel which was integrated with tackling some easy peaks. As the course progressed, the difficulty steadily increased. There was plenty of variety including climbing up ice slopes, mixed ice/rock and rock. Many routes combined all 3 elements.

Our guides were highly skilled, enthusiastic & knowledgeable. The 1:2 instructor:client ratio in the second week allowed more challenging peaks to be attempted safely. They adapted to the skill mix of team, allowing more autonomy to those with greater experience.

Top tips:
1. The training is excellent but having previous climbing experience will optimise the amount you learn! Read the entry criteria carefully!
2. Don't feel the need to buy lots of expensive technical equipment (axes, ice screws, crampons) in the UK unless you know what you are buying. PYB equipment is available to try out in the beginning and there are plenty of shopping options in Chamonix.
3. Practice tying knots & putting crampons/clothing on with gloves!
4. Bring ear plugs for hut nights.

This course is fantastic! I would definitely recommend it!

Amazing course

Stewart Moody

No amount of superlatives can aqeduately describe this course and its instructors (Stu and Matt). Everything from the accomodation at Yeti Lodge, to the quality of instruction, to the interest of the routes was perfect. If I had to pick a highlight I'd struggle to choose one, but making it up the North Face of the Tour Ronde made for an unforgettable day.

A great completion to three weeks in the Alps!

Trevor Campbell Davis

Climbing Mont Blanc was planned as a follow-up to a Discover Alpinism course the previous week. The 2012 PyB Alpine programme was based for the first time at Yeti Lodge in Argentiere, and it proved to be an outstanding venue for quality of accommodation and access to the whole Chamonix Mont-Blanc region. Three climbers were scheduled for Mont Blanc, and we watched with some concern as weather (mainly high winds at altitude) defeated earlier summit attempts.
Our guides were John Falkiner - a skiing legend - and Phil Ashby - an all-round outdoor star - so we felt well supported whatever the mountain and the weather might throw at us. After a night in the Tete Rousse hut, we caught improving weather with a 2am start, and found ourselves on the summit of Mont Blanc at 4810m in clear sunshine later on the morning of 31 July.
An outstanding conclusion to three weeks in the Alps!

Mont Blanc Bagged

Geoff Key

After completing Discover Alpinism and a two day break we set off to ascend Mont Blanc truly inspiring! After climbing to 3160 metres to the mountain refuge on day one we set off at 2am for a four hour scramble in the dark over rock and scree, watching the moon set and the sun rise, we reached the snow line, discarded helmets and fitted crampons and walked another four hours to the summit at 4810 metres it was very windy and quite a wind chill factor, but amazingly clear views.Then back to the refuge to celebrate.
The two guides allocated to our group of three clients were fantastic, not just experienced but great company, just what you need to help a beer down after an exhausting day. Phil Ashby and John Falkiner were just a perfect choice and it made our trip to be able to share it with them.
Day three was the descent down to Chamonix and the chance to really savour the sense of achievement
The requirement to be "hill fit" is one thing but coping with strenuous exertion at those altitudes is quite another,and the need for extra warm clothing is essential. The sunshine at that height is deceptively cold especially if there is a wind. It was Jul 31st and sunny but we were told the wind chill was probably minus 15 degrees!
This was a major lifetime achievement. Thanks PYB!

Amazing Course!!!

Dawn Brinkman

Everything about this course was amazing!!

Beforehand PYB was really helpful in deciding what course to do (as I had experience seconding outdoors up to HVS and had led indoors), as well as providing transport from Llandudno Junction Station.
On the first day we met our instructor Dave Rudkin who made everyone feel comfortable and was a dream instructor for the whole week. An experienced and professional climber, and always up for a laugh!
Days 1 and 2 there were 2 instructors for a group of 6 for single pitch climbing and getting familliar with the gear, and days 3, 4 and 5 there was one instructor for each pair to allow multi pitch climbing and leading - thankyou to Dave Evans, Helen and Spike!
The whole group and instructors go on really well and it was made better by how flexible it was so you were climbing at your level and never felt bored or terrified.
Throughout the week we managed to avoid the rain and went all over, such as the Gogarth area and Tremadog. (Apart from the last day when the whole of North Wales was pouring, the team was really flexible and made the best of it and we spent the day alpine style climbing on Idwal Slabs!)
The only thing is it would have been nice to stay out on the crags for longer! Most of the courses including us were back for 5pm tea and cakes but since there were hours of daylight left it felt a bit early.
In the evenings the free lectures were interesting such as Dave E climbing the North Face of the Eiger, the food was great considering they were catering for lots of people, and PYB is situated so you could walk to the shops (and pub although the bar is perfect anyway) or around the lake (avoiding falling in on the stepping stones...).
I have come away from the course after an amazing time! I am now a generally better climber, totally confident at leading, with loads of new friends with whom I have already spent a weekend climbing on Stanage, and would definitely reccomend this course!!!

A great week.

John Fox

More of a canoeist, I had always fancied the idea of sea kayaking, but was intimidated by the thought of being offshore out of range of dry land! Previous experience of courses in PYB gave me the confidence to have a go and, through Sid's calm and confident instruction I had one of my most interesting and enjoyable weeks on (or off) the water. His approach to doing as much as possible actually on the water really worked for me, and skills and confidence grew quickly during the week. In fact I left with motivation to do more - another boat in the garage! I can't speak too highly of the instructors at PYB and, supported by helpful admin and excellent accommodation, the off-water relaxation was great. I should also add that the fellow group members also contributed with a great approach and lots of banter. A great week.

Fab weekend :-D


This was a great weekend of paddling; Ben our instructor managed to cater for everyone in the group and I for one learnt a lot!
Saturday involved issuing kit and getting to know the kayaks. A good hour or so was spent in the pool which was really fun and valuable practice in case anyone fell in on the lake. Next we went for a paddle up the lake in the SUN (wow!) and had a picnic on the far end. We paddled back and practiced a few skills before heading inside for a well earned brew. In the afternoon we tried out some sea kayaks and had a little trip down the river but there wasn't really enough water. After coffee and cakes (mmm!) it was back into the pool for whatever we wanted to practice. I think everyone slept well that evening!
Sunday was really rainy in PyB but as we drove into Trefriw the rain died down and we set off on a trip up the river Conwy in the sea kayaks. Lovely flat water, great scenery, and more sun!!!! We rafted up at lunchtime and had a pretty cool raft picnic 'on the move'. It was quite a long day but well worth it, really enjoyable :-)

Had a wonderful time!

Matt Warden

I'd never climbed before, so didn't know what to expect, but after this course I've decided that I definitely like climbing!

The instructors were friendly, cheerful, and fantastic teachers, the food was amazing, the staff at the centre were all helpful, and the other people on the course were great fun.

The instructors did a great job of showing us the basics, so we were outside climbing in next to no time, yet at the same time it seemed as if I'd had plenty of time to practice the various bits of rope work etc. we needed to know.

Even though I went during a rainy spell, the instructors did a fantastic job of finding dry places to go climbing, so in the end I hardly used my waterproofs at all.

Swim Conwy performance squad Carol Metcalfe

We had 29 kids attending and 4 chaperones. All are members of the above squad. The comments from the swimmers were fantastic from the 8 years old to the older swimmers. Every minute of the day kept them occupied and busy. The course helped them to work as part of their team and achieve some personal goals as well.

We had a wide range of ages to cater for, I think next time the older ones would prefer an activity with more of a challenge.

Lunch was delicious inc the soup which went down very well.

Look forward to seeing you again next year.

Carol Metcalfe
on behalf of Swim Conwy

A wild and wet weekend

Hazel Batchelor

It was a wild and wet weekend (again) so much so that despite waterproofs we were wet... as were the rocks, which impacted on what we were safely able to do. On the first day we did a little scrambling and a walk, but following discussion our group undertook much more challenging scrambles the nest day doing a grade 3 scramble (fantastic!) and then a long scramble up and down a hill. I am hooked and want to learn how to rock climb, something I always thought I couldn't do due to having had 3 knee operations, but I surprised myself.

So thank you PYB and Murdo for the experience.

A great intro course to aid climbing

Ed Mitchell

A fantastic introduction to aid climbing and the big wall experience. The basic system is covered well, but obviously it is not possible in a weekend course to get everything totally wired!

Rock climbing and kayaking taster day


I did half a day rock climbing and half a day canoeing/kayaking with my 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter. I have done a lot of outdoor activities and understand the logistics involved, so consider the course to be very well organised and administered especially considering the volume of people going through PyB. It was also very good value for money, as they crammed the maximum amount of activity into both sessions and there was no messing about. The instructors (Lotte and Christina) clearly knew what they were doing and had a great manner about them, both with adults and kids, and I felt the activities to be safe but also challenging and edgy enough. The only issue that I had, and this is more of a personal learning point but may be on value to other parents, is 7 years old may be a little young if your child has not tried any adventurous pursuits before. My daughter has done hillwalking and wall climbing and just about coped. However, this did not take away from their best day of our holiday so far!

Don't take your gloves off in a crevass

Bruce Samson

What an amazing course...only 3 days but the amount that was packed in was truely awesome ! Friendly , helpful, funny guides will teach u all u kneed to know to set u on your way!
Straight after the course a mate and i did some exploring by ourselves and felt very at ease

Give it a go you won't regret it...oh and what a setting, Chamonix breathaking

Thanks to all involved ,can't wait to get back x

Excellent Week's Paddling

Alison Pritchard

Over the five days Sid found varied coastline, one river and lots of waves for us. A really excellent experience.

Get paddling your own canoe!

Peta Butcher

This was a present for my husband's 50th birthday. I wanted us to do something challenging, taking us right out of our comfort zone, making us feel proud of ourselves and that we might even want to do some more of when we got home. Also we wanted something to do in a week that wasn't more than a few hours drive from the South Coast.

We were faced with abysmal weather conditions (strong winds and rain) for newbies taking to a tandem canoe for the first time ever but our delightful instructor Chris 'the Canoe' Evans (as I christened him) just got us into the boat and paddling against all the odds! I am not a natural size or shape for canoeing but managed to haul myself up from a scrunched up sitting position at the back by holding onto the 'yoke' and pulling myself up. The guys were a great help, offering stabilising arms and shoulders whenever I was climbing in or out of the canoe. Great charm and patience from both Chris and my husband!
The first two days were spent on the water being shown what the options were if were to take up the sport seriously at a future stage. Different makes and models of canoe, different hull shapes, different bow shapes, different seating layout, different paddles, lengths, capabilities. I liked the 'rock basher' paddle - tough as old boots.

We capsized (unplanned and planned!) into freezing cold water but the kit loaned to us from the onsite Stores (run by the lovely Jim and his team) was ideal and kept us warm, if not totally dry. However, I really do think you need to love the water - being on it, near it, in it.

Incredibly uncomfortable beds and ambient noise (not unlike a youth hostel) were the only let downs in an otherwise magnificent week of paddling opportunities with Chris (and his colleague instructor Louise on the final day). We paddled up & down a river, along a tidal estury, around a large lake and Adrian went down a canal without me one day. We certainly became more confident as the days progressed. The catering was brilliant, and the staff helpful and cheerful. Excellent value.

We would do it again but would probably stay in a hotel next time.

When all's said & done, we loved it!

An excellent day!

Julie Jones - Swim Conwy

An excellent day! Kids thoroughly enjoyed canoeing, climbing and abseiling. food was good too!
Thanks very much!

Awesome weekend

Ollie Eales

Had an awesome week up in Scotland on the Godfrey Jackson Memorial Award. Well worth applying for! Matt and Dave were great instructors and built the week well around the groups abilities. Overall the course was very inspiring and I would recommend it to any young aspiring mountaineer. Planning to get back up to scotland this winter!

The best wet week on the Welsh hills ever!

Judith Ellis

The instructors are impressively technically competent, brilliantly able to give you confidence AND make even the wettest Welsh mountains into a great day out. On two days we were totally soaked - boots, socks, clothes, and contents of rucksacks - but had fun days and misery just didn't come into it. They are extremely good at guaging just what you need to boost your confidence, and just how much to challenge you so you achieve a very positive experience. For us the benefit was beautifully illustrated this weekend when we put it all into practice on two grade 3 routes in the Lakes. Many, many thanks to Helen, Dave, Matt and Paul for giving us just what we needed to be able to go it alone. No hesitation about recommending the course to others.

Fantastic Course, Fantastic Place

Jim Aspinall

My whole experience of Plas Y Brenin from start to finish was 100% flawless. From the initial contact with the centre to check date availability, the booking procedure and the course itself, everything was perfect. I even had to make arrangements to arrive at stupid o clock on the morning of the course where I was given a code to enter the building and all my paperwork was simply waiting for me at reception which worked out great.

On the morning of the course you have your breakfast (I recommend taking it easy on the bacon if you're in a kayak rolling course) also you can help yourself to a packed lunch if you're on an outside course but as we were based in the centre's pool this wasn't necessary as free lunchtime snacks were provided for us in the bar, then it was into the main lecture room for a general intro to the centre, fire procedures etc, after which the party is divided into the various courses with their individual instructors.

There were 6 of us booked onto the "tasty roll" course and after a brief introduction so our instructor Chris could asses our levels it was time to pick up any required equipment from the incredibly well stocked stores. You could borrow absolutely anything you needed from wetsuits and spraydecks, paddles and kayaks. I was between boats at the time so I borrowed a kayak and paddle all of which is high end gear, Werner paddles and a great selection of various kayaks, I chose a Pyranha Burn :-)

It was then into the pool, we got into pairs so that while one person was rolling (or trying to) their partner was standing by to rescue them, this worked really well enabling you to have a number of attempts while remaining on your kayak and then swapping over to help minimise fatigue. Chris's teaching style was excellent as he suggested different single things to try to improve your technique without trying to bombard your brain with too much information.
Breaks are really important on a course like this so we took an extended lunch break where soup, chips and sandwiches were available free in the bar.

The afternoon was again more sessions in the pool in our pairs only this time Chris was taking short video clips of out roll attempts for analysis later.

Following the afternoon session a much needed tea and cakes were provided for us and we then decamped to a small lecture theatre to watch the video footage taken earlier. Chris pointed out using the video clips and slow motion the "little tweak"s that were required to improve our technique, but I think most importantly ALL of us were able to see why a roll was failing, just by looking at a video and I think this will become an excellent skill that we'll all be able to use in the future.

That evening we were served a 3 course evening meal which was of a very high standard and there was the opportunity to attend a film in the lecture theatre which fittingly for us was a kayaking movie, of some of the course lectures discovering white water runs in Africa and that was really entertaining. I have almost forgot to mention the bar, which had 4 real ales on at the time, so it was nice after a hard day to relax with a couple of pints whilst watching the film.

Day 2 was pretty much a repeat of the 1st day only we all ached a bit more, again we got plenty of time in the pool to focus our technique, once again the morning session was filmed for a lunchtime analysis session ready for a final brush up for the afternoon session.

All in all I had a great weekend, with a great bunch of people and I will be booking onto another course at PYB for definite.

Special thanks to Chris for being a fantastic teacher, and cheers to the girls and guys on the course and if you're reading this Mick or Phil....I've joined the Kanarli gang :-)

See You On The River


Glaciers and Alpine fun


The course was brilliant, we went up onto two different glaciers and slept in a hut over the course of the three days. We learnt a lot and it gave us the basis to be able to go out on our own as a group without a guide.

The guides were really nice and knowledgeable and the course was great fun

love to come back

Ginny & Bill

Hi all

Just to say what a brilliant course Touching Stone was, we have learnt so much in such a short space of time, we really enjoyed it.

The instruction was excellent, as was the course content, (just what we were looking for) we had great value for money and managed to climb outside every day despite the weather.

A big thanks to Dave, Dan and especially Spike, for looking after us so well and for being so patient!

We would love to come back again and wouldn't hesitate in recommending the course to our friends

Very impressive

Charles Allington

Very thorough course run by a very enthousiastic dedicated team. very impressive level of knowledge, teaching and proffesionalism. Recommend to all!

A Fantastic weekend


I would like to thank our instructor Adam Harmer and the staff at Plas Y Brenin for an amazing weekend. Truly value for money, nothing is to much trouble, the instruction, equipment, and food were all first class.
The venue is situated in the heart of Snowdonia National Park with breath taking views. The weather changed constantly but that did not hinder my enjoyment but added to it. My weekend finished with a 10km paddle in Sea Kayaks up the Conwy Estuary, with lunch on a sand bank, perfect finish to a perfect weekend.
If you are thinking of booking a Discover Kayaking weekend, I cannot recommend it enough, all you need to pack is a pair of old trainers and your sense of adventure and leave the rest to the staff at Plas y brenin and mother nature for a weekend you will remember. I am now planning my next trip back to Plas y Brenin, Thank you again for an amazing weekend,

Best wishes Robin

Unforgettable experience

Danny Akuma

Just got back from a 250 mile drive from pyb by motorbike, but it was well worth it. I learned so much more than I thought, not just about knots, equipment and techniques, but about what I can achieve physically and mentally after just 2 days. The weather forecast wasn't great, but luckily the national park is a big place, and the instructors know where to go to get the driest weather. I am still having fun looking through the photos I took and fondly remembering the people and experience. I found the best part was developing a bond with my belay partner through a shared experience and trust. The only downside is that I now have to come back to normal life, so I'm sure I will be back for another dose of this.

Great course, foul weather.

Angharad Thomas

My first time at PYB and definitely an experience I'd repeat.

Well organised, busy with plenty of evening lectures and options for additional teaching/ consolidation of 'in the field' learning. Definitely good value for money, helpful course admin and pre-arrival assistance if needs be.

Knowledgeable and friendly instructors, good to have continuity of staff across the week.

Comfortable and adequate accommodation; hot water a bit sporadic but its just a matter of being prepared and planning. No real suprise as its an old and large building.

Food good, plenty of choice and plentiful supply.

Weather was dire but we got out every day and definitely made the most of what was on offer.




A great course with a really good instructor


Stu Macaleese was excellent and worked really hard to find a dry crag in dodgy weather as well as tailoring things to suit our skill level. For anyone who takes their climbing seriously and wants to progress at any level, this does what it says on the tin.

Canoeing discovered!

Mark Jones

An excellent course with a first class instructor, David. Relaxed, exciting and interesting introduction to an activity that I will definitely be doing more of! Very comfortable accommodation and excellent food.

A wonderful family holiday

Salvage Family

We spent a week at Plas y Brenin in June to extend our kayaking. We are a family of 4 with children aged 11 and 14. Chris Evans was our course leader and he was First Class, giving us a superb time and helping us achieve so much more than we thought we could. Some of us even managed to roll! We kayaked several rivers, went in Sea Kayaks and even surfed. A wonderful week, Thanks Chris, you were brilliant. We'll be back.

Wonderful site, wonderful weekend, value for money

Will Chapman

What a find!

I have never visited Snowdonia before and I can't think of a better way to visit other than on one of Plas Y Brewin's many offerings.

I run a walking club in my village and will be asking you to give me a quote for multiple bookings at the Farmhouse.

Good course Good people Good accomodation


I've wanted to do a skills imporver course for years, having raced over smooth courses for several seasons. Snowdonia was the obvious choice for location with a variety of terrain to ride on.
Booking in was great, I didn't arriive until 11pm. The room was very nice (no tv) and the whole centre is well equipped. Morning one is a bit like being on the set of Fame but for outdoor types. Everyone from all courses meet up for an introduction and then get taken off by their respective course leaders.
Day one of skills was based on site on PYB's own pump track. The track was ideal for the training and even had some nasty drops on it that in hindsight could have been exploited more on the course. You are asked what areas you would like to focus upon and that's what you do. A lot was learnt on day one and I felt more confident at fast cornering on loose ground and keping good speed on woops.
Day two put the skills into practice out on a day ride being dropped off by mini bus. Weather was light constant rain but made no difference to the ride, which was over water filled landrover tracks, single track road and very rocky decents. There were some steep climbs too so glad I didn't take my single speed.
Overall I came away feeling more confident in taking on most MTB race circuits around the country. The only area I felt could have been covered more was putting into practice drop offs, this was covered on day one and we did practice on smaller trail drop offs, however repeated practice on 2' plus drops would have been confidence boosting. This can ofcourse be done at home with the skills learnt.

Awesome 2 days

Dave Williams

Awesome 2 day course,really did teach me exactly what i was hoping to learn with regards to setting up belays and tying into anchors,our instructor Mr.John Orr (Ireland's best climber) was an inspiration to say the least(top 'o the' morning to ya john) it was brilliant that he was able to pass on all his experience and techniques,even to those on the course who maybe had not done as much climbing as others.
The course really does exactly what it says on the tin,the only criticism i have was that the course registration form failed to include a box for "Weather preference", will definitely be looking to come back on another course. Cheers John,for making it so enjoyable.

Course Review

Jaci Dunsford

I undertook this weekend for my own personal developement and in order to experience painting 'en plein aire' in the mountains. I was not disappointed. It was wonderful and I feel my painting skills benefitted greatly from Keith's tuition. I would love to join other such courses in the future.

Everything about PYB was excellent, notwithstanding my slight mobility problem. It would be impossible for the Plas to be totally disability-friendly, given their location and the nature of their business. Anyone with determination and a vehicle would be able to manage a stay there.

The only reservations I would like to make are as folllows:

It was not made clear when we checked in when or where we were to make contact with our tutor that evening. So it was quite by chance, and after we were in our night clothes, that we bumped into Keith in the foyer of our dwelling. It was comforting then, to know what time we would be up and off in the morning and to discuss various options. A clearer arrangement about this would, therefore, be good.

Mealtimes were a bit of a scramble and we had to be dotted around wherever we could find a seat. It wasn't very conducive to group bonding and, particularly as we were such a small group, it would have been really helpful to have had a table allocated to us.

Otherwise, the food was excellent and I cannot thing of anything that I would change.

Thank you all very much.

Highly recommend it!

Karen Moyse

This was an extremely valuable week. Instruction, equipment, food and location were all of a very high standard.
Our coach James judged the ability of the group perfectly. Before we knew it we were on lakes, white water rivers, the sea and on the Menai Straights. I still can't quite believe I did what I did!
Evenings were spent in the rolling pool and at lectures holding a well earned glass of wine!
My only advice would be to check the level of the group if you've never done any kayaking before. And make sure you are fit if you are doing 5 days.
I would highly recommend it. Karen


Ellie Louise Jones

Very good, wethear was freezing but didn't matter.
Instrudor was exellent and torught me new things and we played great games, me and my friend both enjoyed it would do it again any day. xxx

canoeing and rock climbing


Amazing day,loved it.fun for kids and adults.Canoeing was very active.Rock climbing concerd my fears.

Great Weekend...

ian Ambrose

Thanks Tom for a fantastic course. We started knowing nothing and ended the weekend keen to enter our first competition! We also had fun and the facilities were brilliant.


Sian Roberts

Fantastic all round. Great activities. Instructors were top notch. Cant wait to do it again! Thanks Dan and Will xxx

Yippee Kayak

Michael Hutchinson

Excellent course! I was totally new to kayaking and definitely didn't feel out of my depth, even when I discovered I was no longer in my kayak ;) Some people seem naturally gifted when it comes to coaching people and that's true of Colin and Steve, the enthusiastic instructors we had on this course.

There was a wide age range in our group (around 5 decades) and we all got on with each other well. The swimming pool wasn't available so we were outside on the shallow lake from the start which I thought was a bonus! The games we played were a lot of fun and made me realise I paddled a lot better when I wasn't thinking about it too much. Day two was a brilliant introduction to sea kayaking and rescue techniques.

I would definitely recommend this course and look forward to revisiting Plas-y-Brenin for some more.

Excellent coaching, relaxed atmosphere

Martynn Randall

A week of white water kayaking, where the course content is tailored to the needs/aspirations of the students.
Good quality instruction from someone who can 'walk the walk', not just talk, delivered in an informative, non-patronising manner with a pinch or two of humour.
The accommodation and food isn't 5*, but it's a whole lot better than getting changed in a carpark, and eating pasties!
Thoroughly enjoyed it - many thanks!

Challenging but well worth it


Excellent course, you may not be "bombproof" at the end of the week but you'll be a lot more confident and you'll know what you need to do to get there.

Throw yourself into it, Chris will be there if you need him!

What a fanatastic way to spend weekend


What a great weekend!

We covered EVERYTHING that was listed on the course notes and possibly even more. Very nice transition from indoor to outdoor climbing, especially for those who get scared sometimes (like me).
Matt, our instructor, quickly spotted our strong and weak points and tailored the course according to our needs. We climbed a lot, learnt a lot and laughed a lot! On the first day we didn't make it on time for tea and cake, but Matt showed us a very nice Italian-Welsh ice-cream place. Mmmm... delicious!

The centre itself is a nice social place, full of great people from different courses. I stayed in a nice, single room with fantastic view. Food was good too! At the end of the course I used the shuttle service to the Llandudno Junction and made it on time for my train to London.

All in all, fantastic weekend. I would highly recommend it to everybody. I've already booked another course for July and am so much looking forward to it!

Cakes to die for, sunshine, inspired instruction.

Lizzie Cooke

I can heartily recommend the place and the course.

Plas y Brenin is a sort of Welsh version of Rivendell - beautiful, peaceful, full of amenable people. And oh those Plas y Brenin breakfasts. Oh those Plas y Brenin cakes. Everyone should come here. (There seems to be a course for everyone, pretty much).

The Learning to Lead weekend was amazing. There were only two students, so mixed ability was inevitable. Our instructor, Mike Raine, devised a brilliant weekend that stretched both of us at our different levels, and left me feeling strengthened, mentally and physically. He also found us a sunny crag on a rainy day.

This was a weekend that will stay with me for a long time. Thank you, PyB!!!

14 peaks challenge review

Ros Parker

This is a really great 5 days to go and stretch your legs and to get out into the middle of nowhere. You get to take in a lot of snowdonia and the walking ranges from gentle hillwalking to grade 1 scrambles. To get all 14 in you will need to be reasonably fit and it is certainly more enjoyable the fitter you are! I would definitely recommend it and there are some amazing peaks that might not be such obvious choices on a first visit. The course is well run and the centre is a very sociable and relaxing environment to hang out in - i would recommend it even for solo travellers.

Refresher and new Experiences!

Nick Oakes

Having done a good few years climbing in the past (but not for 10yrs) i wasn't sure if this course would be of benefit to me? BUt decided to go on it anyway as a refresher. But mostly to allow my Wife to have the opportunity to really learn and develop her abilities and discover whether or not she really liked and wanted to continue Rock climbing after the course. (Having been on courses before at Plas Y Brenin i am fully aware of the excellent quality, tuition and level of Knowledge and experience of the Instructors, plus the first class Accommodation and services they offer!)
Happily i can say with a huge smile on my face ::))) that Helen (My Wife) absolutely LOVED IT!!!!
She has developed leaps and bounds during the week and learnt so much!! (To the point of going on a spontaneous shopping spree for her OWN gear!!) :)
We can now look forward to the future knowing that many wonderful days climbing are a head of us!!! even holidays Multi-Pitch and trad climbing in the UK and Abroad are planned!
For Helen it was not only a self discovery experience, but also a means of attaining a level of competence that would allow her to feel comfortable climbing with me and others on equal platform.
it has helped her confidence enormously! increased her personal ability, improved her skill level, grown her Technical knowledge and opened doors to a world she never thought she would ever venture into!!!
(Im totally convinced that this is due largely to the patience, understanding and experience of our two wonderful instructors, Stu & Kath!!!) THANK YOU!!!

Happily i can say that i did get a load of up to date info and experience out of the course as well! :)
Refreshing your skills and learning new ones is a vital requirement if you are to enjoy the outdoor pursuit experience SAFELY! This course enabled me to do this, waking up old knowledge, renewing some, learning fresh skills and techniques, understanding rope work, belays, anchors and Multi-Pitch to a far greater and deeper level than before. Plus watching my brilliant helen grow in confidence and ability so much was a pleasure to watch!! Along with her smile!!

I highly recommend this course and Plas Y Brenin if you want the best tuition, course content and Venue.
We will definitely be attending future courses and regularly visit the Bar when in the Capel Curig area, for a local beer and good Bar food!!

A special mention must go to the Kitchen staff and their help with my diet, due to medical reasons one that was a little fussy. They accommodated it brilliantly and were very helpful! Thank you. :)

Thank you to all the staff and for a wonderful Holiday experience which will stay with us for the rest of our lives!!!

Great Stuff

James Ellway

Firstly, we all had a great week. There was only 4 of us on the course, which made it much nicer. Stuart was an excellent teacher and it was nice to have Callum and Murdoch with us for a couple of days. His knowledge of the crags and slabs around help us to ge tthe best out of the week. PyB is in a great location and everyone at the centre made it an enjoyable 'holiday'.

The sun does shine in Wales

Nadine Simpkin

A thoroughly enjoyable course with Judith. We were very lucky to have good weather. The walks were very varied not just going up and down hills and we were given a choice of which walks we wished to do.
Judith has a good sense of humour balanced with making sure that we were safe at all times.

The wine tasting was fun and enjoyable and we all learned how to appreciate wine more.

All the staff were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for the dining room staff.

Confidence has massively improved

Mary Waddington

This was the course I'd been looking for. Chris was a star, he took us through a progression from rolling in the pool to rolling outside in increasingly challenging places.
My self confidence has massively improved as a result of this course.
Best bit, Stanley...


Trysha Hunt

Crazily I took up indoor rock climbing in my mid 60's and this course was the next step. Couldn't have made a better choice.
Matt, our excellent instructor, had to deal with three of us 'older' women and one lovely 24 year old woman.He assessed our abilities very quickly and tailored the two days exactly to our needs. The first day we learnt bouldering techniques on rhyolite rock -smearing, hand jamming, chimney work, etc and then moved onto roped climbing at Spotty Crags. Matt introduced us to his 'rack'....and how to use it!
The next day we went to Craig y Tonnau and climbed all day on the very quartzy rhyolite tuft rock. Brilliant to climb, tough on the hands girls! An awesome climbing day. I must have done about seven 15 metre climbs of different grades that day and loved every minute of it - even when a very cold wind joined us. (Matt lent me his superb jacket.)
During the two days we covered anchor selection, rope handling/belay techniques, abseilling, seconding and loads of other skills.
Matt is a great instructor - plenty of praise and encouragement - and easily understood instructions.
A completely awesome weekend.

Rolling in the Real World

Sue Foster

A fantastic course with an excellent instructor.

I participated in the first Bombproof Roll course in May 2012. The instructor, Chris Evans, had come up with the idea for the course and we were his first guinea pigs. But you would never have known it -- the course was as smoothly delivered as if Chris had done it ten times already. As the course description says, the object of the course is to improve your technique and build confidence in your white water roll. In my case, that mean moving from a passable, but flawed, pool roll that usually worked (in a nice, warm, inherently safe pool environment) to something that I could rely on to get right side up on the river. It also meant changing my internal programming from going immediately for the grab loop when I capsized unexpectedly (Aaack! Under water! Rocks! GET OUT NOW!) to going reflexively into my set-up position and trying for a roll.

Throughout the course, Chris provided a steady stream of challenges, always with appropriate consideration for safety, to create a great environment for improving my pool roll and taking it into the real world. He took us through a well-planned progression from pool, to rolling in an eddy, rolling in stronger current, then in really strong swirly current.

Chris broke up our rolling-focused sessions with some fun paddles on local rivers where we worked on general paddling skills and river reading. Those trips gave rise to some unplanned capsizes and a chance for spontaneous rolling work.

My best experience on the course happened on the final afternoon and was completely unplanned. I clipped a rock on a rapid above a drop, capsized, rolled up, and found myself pointing upstream and unable to make my line to the main drop on river left. Worse, I was flushing backwards towards a narrow twisting drop on river right that I had already identified when inspecting the rapid as A BAD PLACE TO BE. I went stern-first down the narrow twisting drop, which was going surprising well until my boat hit a rock near the bottom and I went over again. I set up, swept out, flicked, and found myself upright next to Chris, who was providing safety cover in the pool below the drop. Not too bad for someone who had made only one in three rolls in the rolling pool on the first day of the course -- and a real testament to Chris's excellent coaching and course concept. My rolling technique had improved over the week, but the fundamental change was really in my mind game. I ended the course knowing from experience that I could roll in various conditions -- experience that could have taken me years to build up by happenstance capsizes, but which I had acquired in a week thanks to this course.

The rolling analysis, specific pointers, progression through increasingly difficult moving water, encouragement and, critically, the safety net that Chris had provided for my attempts had left me with a functional roll that was there when I needed it. It’s still not perfect, but I can go off now and re-train to correct my bad habit of letting my pivot arm go up in the air, and I know what I need to do to train my off-side properly.

Will I ever swim again? Of course I will. But mostly, I’ll roll. And I’ll be a lot more relaxed and open to new challenges as I move on with the next phase of my development as a paddler: getting better at staying up in the first place.

Paddle, paddle, paddle, smile.

Richard Whitehead

We had a great week of kayaking at a number of different locations, the equipment and training was all first class and the food would put many restaurants to shame.

The week was well-paced and my kids (9 and 11) never got too tired to keep up (but were tired enough to be asleep every night by 8:00). The instructors and staff (including catering/cleaning and support staff) were all extreamly friendly and helpful.

Everything we needed was provided: wetsuits, cags, etc. and we had a chance to try different boats throughout the week.

The activities were tailored around our ability and capabilities and even though the weather was very wet and cold at times noone ended up complaining.

**I recommend that if you have any course-related queries that you phone PYB at 5:00 in the evening as there are likely to be course instructors around.**

The Most Fun I've Had In Ages!!!

Samuel Whitehead

I'm 11.
I went with my family for a week kayaking and we found it great fun. They changed schedules if you got tired.
They give good equipment and and explain everything very well. They are always willing to answer the questions you have asked.
The coach we had, James(I can't remember his last name...) was a pro at kayaking and has been through grade 5 whitewater.
We went to lots of different places including the sea and the river Dee.
Just as you think it's getting boring they slap something in to cheer you up!
i give it 5/5!!

P.S. Thats only half of the fun!

The Monster and Me

Stewart C

I had a magical two days cycling in Snowdonia; I had the pleasure of riding with some great individuals and 2 inspiring guides; Alan you are a Legend, you and Karma are at one, Carlo you are a beast on the hills, respect!
Saturday consisted of 103.8miles and over 8,000 feet of climbing, my limbs ached but my spirit was lifted....I loved every pedal stroke, every heart beat...I slept well that night
Sunday we had, out of rider choice, a lighter day, just over 65miles and in excess of 4,000 of Welsh hills. Another day of great climbs and great descents...the guys at PYB know all the local cycling hotspots ;)
I will be back to tackle the monster, get some life coaching from Alan and sample the local beer.
Alan & Carlo thank you very much for the support and effort you put in (at the front of the chain gang !) to make this an unforgettable trip.

Warm regards,

Can The Monster be tamed ?


Not sure I tamed The Monster... in fact,I didn't set out to do so, survival & completion were the only objectives.

This course is massive for any rider. Although I completed 104milies on day one and 65+ on day two, The Monster made his presence felt, as did The Wall, The Golf Club and many more steep climbs.

Hats off to the Guides, Alan & Carlo, not only do they have legs of steel, they are genuinely nice guys and great riding companions. Many, many thanks for sharing some amazing routes, you punished me for sure, but it was well worth it.
I will be back to Plas Y Brenin to ride with some new friends, including The Monster !

Canoeing and Abseiling


When I came to Plas Y Brenin on April the 27th with family and friends we were very pleased with what had happened that day, apart from my Mum and friend falling into the water, but otherwise it was a fantastic day and i would definatly bring more friends and do it all again. I have been canoeing before but I have never knew that I could put that much effort into riding it and my arms not hurt!! It was a fab day and I would recommend it to a friend, thank you very much.

A really enjoyable week


Touching Stone is a great course for anyone who has climbed indoors and wants to try climbing outdoors. The instructors set the pace by the group experience and have so much on the doorstep that they can choose great venues dependent on experience and weather forecasts. Most of my group had done a bit outdoors so we seemed to progress really well through the week and this was helped by some reasonable weather (we only got rained on once)

Really like the place, facilities and instructing team (staff/student ratios were excellent too). Am sure I'll be back to do the next step or something else soon..

Loved every minute of it.

Sue Triplow

I went on the Paddy Buckley challenge trip just last week (end april) - and loved every minute of it. I'm in training for a mont blanc ascent in September, and this was a brilliant trip to build stamina and fitness. I already train regularly and would recommend to anyone looking to do this trip, that you train and build your fitness before taking it on - its 5 big days in the mountains, covering quite a bit of distance too, and so best enjoyed if you already have a good level of fitness. The walks were really varied, every day seeing some beautiful mountains, valleys and varied terrain. The guides were absolutely great, and made it even more enjoyable and fun. The PYB centre is totally superb value, the food is excellent and so is the accommodation - unebelievable value for money to have the guided walk and all your food covered, cant rate this trip or PYB highly enough!!! Cant wait for the opportunity to head up to them again!

Great value training

Alex Forino

Great value training ride with beautiful scenery, tough ascents and exhilarating descents. Guides were excellent, picking challenging and beautiful rides and offering much needed support up the monstrous climbs on day 1.

Highly recommended ..... thanks Carlo and Alan!

big expedition leaders weekend

oliver stephenson

A great course covering a huge amout of subjects. I got a lot from the whole weekend, met good like minded people and learnt a lot.

Very Good Thanks

Rob Henaghan

Very good, could have done with more snow. See if you can organise that for next time!
Fantastic place at PYB, well looked after.

What a day!

Stephanie Parry

We had an amazing day I haven't cannoed before and was a little worried however Will made sure we got the most out of the experience I even stood up in a canoe :). I enjoyed it so much I didn't want to come out of the water.
The abseiling was another experience I didn't realise how scared I was and chickened out but not be be defeated I put my trust in Will and I'm so glad I did. will was amazing he was so patient and calm what a guy. You can't be trained in those skills they come through real commitment and experience. Thanks so much again Will your the man.

At the end of the day as a group we all had a great day, done things we had never done before and overcome alot of our fears. The whole experience was organised and staff made sure we got the best out of the day, all staff were friendly and inviting. The facilities were first class and made sure our day ran smoothly.

I will be back with my husband to canoe and maybe even rock climb!!

Thanks again

Great weekend sea kayaking at pyb.

Steve Jolly

very enjoyable course relaxed and informative, Karl mainlaine top instructor. had all the answers, let us progress at a nice pace. the sea trips were a delight. food and accomodation surperb. will book again for another weekend of fun and excitement on the waves.


Mike Hendry

Great fun, and very instructive. The course did just what it said on the tin and was as an excellent introduction to white water.

The skills are so useful that I'd strongly recommend the course to anyone wanting to develop their all round kayaking techniques and skills, and not just those of us wanting to see what white water is about.

Not just for novices

Carl Sprake

I attended the Discover Mountain Biking course with my partner, in order for her to gain more confidence on a mountain bike. While I am by no means an expert I was worried that the course would be too basic for me. However, I came away having learnt loads and feeling much more confident in my riding, as did my partner.

So, I would definitely recommend this course for anyone who is either completely new to mountain biking or, like me, feels that they might benefit from the guidance of an expert on the basics of riding off road.

As usual the accomodation, food, and instruction was excellent.

Big weekend expedition Leader

Huw Dullea

Concept of course was great, execution could be improved.
- have more opt in workshops with shorter time slots
- not all subjects were relevant to everyone
- medical could of been split into a shorter general workshop & then short specific ones for expeds at altitude & expeds in hot climates
- crisis management was poorly executed
- water skills was too long and teaching method could be better
- have some experts on hand who can give specific country advice
- have more sessions on what goes on on exped e.g buying food & fuiel issues, cooking, security etc
- more sessions like the one with Mo
- legal session & management session excellent

A fun and challenging weekend


I recently attended the First Moves course and had a fantastic time. The weather wasn't the best, but our group was kept very busy with a variety of different climbing throughout the weekend. As a total novice climber I found myself challenged every step of the way, with many moments of thinking 'How on earth am I going to do that!' However, with the support of Tim and the rest of the group I consistently overcame all of the challenges presented (I'm still not entirely sure how in many cases), and felt the level of development I achieved from the weekend to be excellent.

Going forward I now intend to visit my local climbing wall, and feel confident that the skills I gained on the First Moves course should prepare me for many of the climbs on offer there.

A big thanks once again to Tim and the rest of the guys for a great weekend. I hope to return again later in the year.

I would certainly return

Patrick Dundon

I really enjoyed my time at Plas y Brenin, the coach's in particular were very professional, helpful and fun. The equipment and acomidation was excellent and I would certainly return for another course.

Frolicking good fun

Gill Price

An excellent course which was brilliantly organised and led. Great group dynamics and activities which challenged us and enabled us to progress.
Good introductory techniques and games on the lake in the morning prepared us for a longer paddle in the afternoon -and a chance to unintentionally experience falling out of the boat ( for some of us)
Day two paddling round Treadur Bay on Anglesey, was just fantastic! Great scenery,good waves, a warmish sea and a seal popping up to say hello as we were practising rescue techniques made it a day to remember. Steve and Colin deserve a mention for being so relaxed and so good at leading and coaching us - thanks guys , you make it look effortless!
PYB is such a well organised centre with super efficient and friendly staff! Will definitely come back to try another kayaking course or sea kayaking! T hank you.

Trad climbing

Vanshree Verma

We had a private instruction with Chris for trad climbing over 3 days. Overall, it was a great experience.
Chris certainly understood the brief and we were able to learn a lot in a few days. The first day he led multipitch routes while we seconded, and in the evening we had another session on setting up belays etc. Day 2 we led easier routes where he guided us constantly with respect to gear placement etc. He was fully focussed and attentive, and made sure that our safety was not compromised, but at the same time challenged us as well.
PyB was a great experience with very good meals and cakes, comfortable rooms and helpful staff.

A superb challenge, whatever the weather

Karen Cleverly

When I booked this course I was hoping for some snow and ice so that I could get some ice axe and crampon practice. However, knowing this can never be guaranteed in Wales, I decided on the fourteen peaks challenge as it's something I've wanted to do for a while anyway.
As it turned out our week (early March 2012) was far from wintry with three out of the five days being like a glorious spring. That said, the week was fantastic. We achieved all 14 peaks (as well as the controversial 15th) and apart from one day we were back at PYB for tea and cakes at 5pm.
The Snowdon Horseshoe day was one of my best hill days ever. Having started in the gloom and mist at Capel Curig we climbed into the sunshine half way up Crib Goch and stayed in the sun all day with clouds tumbling over the rocky ridges and peaks below us. It was stunning, and for the grand finale we were treated to a brockenspectre!
However, this is no easy week and you need to be hill fit and used to spending long days in the mountains. If conditions had been very wintry it would have been difficult to complete all the peaks.
A final thanks to Helen, our guide, who was calm, confident and great company!

Mountain Navigation Skills


There were 6 of us on this course which was a good number to ensure we all learnt at a good pace. The course tutor was Dave Evans who was excelllent in all respects - a great laugh too! The course assumes you have some map reading knowledge but if you are a bit rusty don't worry because the basics will be reviewed at the start. If you go on this course you will spend a bit of time in the classroom but most of it on the hills. By the end of the two days you will have enough information to be very competent on the hills and to find your way to very detailed features on a map - features you may not have even realised are on a map! It was great fun and my thanks to Kirsty,Saad, Ann,Lucinda and Del for a great weekend. PS the food and beer is very good

The Course does what it says on the tin!

Alistair Ward

I used to alot of hillwalking, mainly on Dartmoor, about 35 years ago. My recent hillwalking had been in the compnay of friends who do all the planning. I wanted to come on this course so that i could relearn map reading, navigation and basic hillwalking skills in order to giove me the confidence to go out on my own and take my enthusiastic 12 year old with me. I arrived on the course and had my own room which was more comfortable than i had expected for an outward bound centre. The food throughout was far better than expected both for the evening and breakfast meals and everythung for packed lunches is provided. There were only four of us on the course and we had excellent instruction from Murdo and then Steve for the last two days. The course covered everything that it said it would and we covered Map Reading in detail, route planning, taking bearings, pacing etc etc.......I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to get back into Hillwalking, going off the beaten track and felling confident to do it on your own. The whole atmosphere of PYB was very friendly, welcoming, good accomodation, great food and i look forward to coming back again. Thanks very much.

Good day out!

John Abbott

I had a really good day at Plas Y Brenin. My coach was excellent and really professional. He was encouraging throughout the day from canoeing to climbing. It was a very sunny day so the canoeing was brilliant. I then had lunch in the caffetiria- there were amazingly good sandwiches! I then went out to do climbing which still had a good weather after the lunch break. Unfortuanly towards the end of the lesson it started to rain but I still had good fun! Thanks you to all the staff for a fantastic day out! John Abbott (aged 10).


Louis Corrigan

That was the best day ever!
My favourite part was the climbing because the weather was perfect and it was my first time climbing outside!
I really enjoyed canoeing (even though we were soaked!!!)

Improving trad skills

Arup Ghosh

Had an awesome weekend, and we got exactly what we were hoping to out of it.

The course was over 3 days, and even though we were rained in the last day felt that we got a lot in. Crucially at a pace that was just right and with content that was perfectly pitched at our strengths and weaknesses. Also our instructor, Chris, was very flexible in terms of adjusting the course depending on how we were doing, the weather etc, and also very good at getting us to practice repeatedly the skills we were looking to develop.

Also worth mentioning, the full boarding and catering package is ridiculously good value for money. Certainly if you're used to London prices.

Climbing Session 31/03.2012 pm

Matt Weetman

My daughter and I took part in the climbing taster session on the afternoon. We really enjoyed this session with the bouldering and then climbing and abseil. The instuctors were great and were really supportive and encouraging.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and wants to do something different with the family.

Rock climbing with Will

Osh and Cai aged 14 and 10

It was an excellent experience. Will was a great teacher and made it really enjoyable

Exceptional value

Nik D'Symonds

Great day at plas y brenin, on the rock climbing and kayaking taster day. Exceptional value, and a good family day !!!

Hood Fun and Well Worth It


Excellent weekend with a small group of like minded participants. I wanted to understand crevasse rescue, in particular, which when demonstrated made so much more sense than reading the text books.

In addition, had an excellent scrambling day practising moving 'alpine style'.

Tim's knowledge and enthusiasm is second to none.



Superb course and great value for money!

Chris Bunney

I was amazed how much we fitted in to two days! Tim is a very experienced climber and Alpinist and an excellent tutor - thanks Tim!

We covered all the practical background on day one at PyB and on the dry ski slope (interspersed with advice on Alpine logistics and tactics over tea and cake!) The alpine ropework and crevasse rescue was especially useful. Prussiking up a rope suspended from the "canopy" was also good fun!

We then put it all together on day two doing an alpine style traverse of Cneifion Arete. A very enjoyable day - even if it was cold, raining and misty!

The food and accommodation at PyB are superb and the staff are all super-friendly! This course is very good value for money! We feel ready for our first Alpine excursion in July now! Thanks!

Great Weekend

Denise Pallett

Really enjoyed this weekend, the course was a good mix of bike maintenance, skills and getting out into the great wide open. I find anything slippy or awkward really scary, and I managed to conquer some of those fears, I'm amazed when I think of some of the bits I did ride down! I really didn't think I'd be biking in the hills of North Wales. Our instructor, Bob, was very encouraging and the group was a good mix of people. Lots of laughter, falling off (slowly) and achievement!

What to wear :)


To get the most out of this course you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time in the water, either upside down or helping someone else upside down. Whilst the pool is heated it's still gets cold after an hour or so unless you wear a wet suit. I had a full length triathlon wet suit and was both toasty warm and fully mobile - perfect. Others had poor fitting short john wetsuits and sometime got cold which really can hamper your ability to keep learning. I also had swim googles and a noseclip - not what you would wear normally but the chlorine and repeated dunkings takes its toll without. The only problem is you can get a bit dependant on them so its a good idea to attempt your rolls without every now and again. Almost all of the practise takes place in smaller white water kayaks but you do get a go in a sea kayaking and it's really no different - you get more space in the rather small pool if people are using the smaller kayaks.
It can be hard going at times, especially if you are a bit of a beginner (like me) or not particularly keen immersion or a bit unfit. I didn't come away with a roll but do know how it should be done and have good advice on how to progress. I'm also far more confident in a kayak than ever before and more than happy to continue trying - that I think is testiment to instruction and teaching methods. One star short of 5 because the pool is a bit crammed for 3 kayaks & calling it a sea kayaking rolling course when it really can be any type.

Great weekend on the hills

Alison Dixon

This was a great course. I'm not a confident mountain biker and this made me try trails much harder than I would do on my own.
We had great weather so managed to spend a lot of time in the skills area learning the techniques before we went in the real world.
The bike maintenance bits were cleverly inserted into the course when a good rest was required.
The highlight was a great downhill ride on a lovely sunny Sunday.
The group was a great mix of people all with a good sense of humour. Very useful when I fell in a bush!
Bob, our instructor was great. Very patient and full of useful tips and encouragement.

Excellent course


In these days of GPS and smartphone you can be forgiven for thinking a map and compass are no longer required but this course will demostrate otherwise. I had no idea you could get so much out of a map - finding new routes to places, finding out where you are and being able to visualise the terrrian (and therefore its suitability) before you get there. The level of instruction was first class (our leader was Mo). Bad weather is actually best for this - it really brought our learning on when the clouds came down. You'll learn to take compass bearings from the map and objects, pacing, timing, back bearings and discover the real importance of reading contour lines.... You'll be walking all day so good boots and the right clothing for hill walking is essential. I also appriciated the flask of tea I made up in the morning at the lunch stop. Our course had beginners like me, through to people preparing for their ML assessment as well as a few people who had interest in the geology or flora and think everyone got something out of it. If you think your map reading skills could do with either improvement or formalising then I totally recommend this course.

We will definitely be back


Being outdoor novices to Rock climbing my son(17yrs) and I did not quite know how we wouild take to transferring from the indoor wall to rock. We need not have worried as our instructor Steve was excellent. One day on the cragg and one day on sea cliffs... has laid a solid grounding giving us confidence to start independant ,limbing on a modest scale, and we will definitely be back to further our knowledge


Chris Wilkinson

The tuition, facilities, food, and kit provided were first class. The instructors were supportive, engaging and encouraging.

Having only been climbing indoors, this was a great course for learning right from the start how to safely climb outdoors. The tutor:student ratio was great - 2:3 on our course.

The venue is superb. All round a fantastic couple of days.

A faultless experience!

Henry Harrison

I had the great pleasure of going on this course. It was made possible by the very generous and thoughtful people at the Godfrey Jackson Memorial Award - I am the utmost grateful for giving me this invaluable opportunity.
This course has integrally enabled me to begin a lifelong career of wholeheartedly enjoying the great mountains our world has to offer.
I can't wait for the next adventure.

Matt and Dave who thoroughly guided us in the art of mountaineering over the five days were exemplary instructors. They ensured we acquired a sound and solid basis on which to confidently begin winter mountaineering, whilst enabling us to get a lot of valuable experience and an impressive amount of summits over the five days.

The accommodation was flawless. The staff were warm, hospitable and would bend over backwards to make sure your stay was a comfortable one. The food was delicious and there was a lot of it too - which was very welcome after the long, full days. The facilities and rooms were impeccable.

I'd highly recommend this course if you're a passionate mountaineer but you need expert instruction before you can confidently begin the first steps of your winter career.

A truly great experience!

A taster - so one can self study afterwards

Ben Milner

I am a relatively inexperienced climber, lead climbing mostly single pitch to VS. Occaisional 2 pitch multi-pitch but with a more experienced climber.

At the end of the course I am confident that I can ascend or decend ropes using prusiks and that I can escape the system safely when my partner has got stuck below me and I ambelaying.

I have also had a taster of hoisting, assited or not assisted, abseiling past a knott and lowering someone past a knot and performing an assisted abseil.

However, all these "taster" items I do not feel confident of as yet. I believe I have an understanding of the mechanical tools involved but need to go back to the books and videos and to practice and work thru a number of times to really ensure I have fully learnt the items such that I could quickly and safely employ them.

I also had an intro to climbing with double ropes and performing these manouveres with that extra complication and mess.

A few great tips about how do do things with less gear. Useful to get one thinking.


Jon roach

Fun course, good instructors, does what it says and hard to fault. Such a good fun week with people who really know their stuff and are able to pass at least some of that on. Were able to make the most of some pretty grim days weatherwise. Worth every penny and would gladly recommend.

A Great Week

Wayne Kilborn

Well done Chris and James for giving us a great week, in spite of the low water levels. Town Falls and Stanley were new experiences for me, and no doubt I'll see them again on a future white water course at PYB. It was good for me to have to practice my roll so much (not always successfully, as evidenced by the scratches on my new kayak helmet). Well done guys, and I'll definitely be back for more.

Glen Coe

Rosemary Thane

The course was for my own professional development and run in conjunction with Mountain Equipment. The instructors were knowledgeable and gave me the confidence to try out new experiences and gain new skills. Although I tried out things I have never tried before, the expertise from the instructors meant that I never felt I was in any danger and gained a lot from the experience which has given me the confidence to try these skills out for myself in the future.

Top Fun!

Phil Laxton

I really enjoyed the Intro to Winter Climbing course (and so did my wife!). Two years ago we did the winter mountaineering itro course and had a fantastic time(aidedby some amazing and very un-Scottish weather). The weather this time was much more unsettled although we did have some sunshine when we climbed the Web on Anoch Mor.
With the 1:2 instructor client ratio it is very flexible what you can do and the good thing is that the instructors do spend some time asking what your experience is and what you want to get out of the course. After a day of refreshing basic winter skills we were off and it proved to be really enjoyable with a lot of opportunity to learn as well as climb. Thanks to Dave Rudkin and Keith Ball for giving us a taste of the variety of routes and palces to go in that area.
The hotel is very comfortable and we had a room in the big extension at the side which was really spacious (good for when your kit is strewn all over the place!). It was all very realaxed as there were a total of 11 clients there that week and nobody was doing an assessment either.
To get the most out of this course you do need to be reasonably fit as most routes involve quite a long walk-in and then climb up to where the route starts. As you carry a full pack with all your gear plus a rope (invariably heavier on the way back with moisture), it might be worth preparing for that before you go. They can also be long days as if you need to get kit from the drying room before breakfast then you might be stating at 6-45am or so with breaksfast at 7:30 and meeting up outside for 8. When we did North Gully on the Ben we didn't get back until 6:45pm so we just had time to get stuff into the drying room and have a very quick shower then down for dinner at 7:15 (missed the evening lecture that night and they are worth going to). So you probably won't have much time for the pool or jacuzzi but you will have a great time climbing. Thanks to all the PYB team and the hotel staff for a great week!

A very good course to broaden your experience

Kevin Boram

We were extremely fortunate with the weather. The previous week was very cold with heavy snow and we had two days of bright sunshine with settled snow.

Simon is a very competent leader, being knowledgable, patient and supportive. He clearly ensures that the party is safe and is meticulous in his planning.

Everyone on the course wanted to gain experience, confidence and skills and the course was successful in this.

Whilst the course is dependant on the attendee's abilities and the weather it would be useful if the course aims were clearer.

The staff at Plas y Brenin are also helpful and attentive. Food great and mention must be made of the guys in the stores.

Exhausting course but well worth it


Five or six hours a day for two days in the rolling pool is incredibly hard work, but well worth it if, like me, you need some expert help with your roll.
Can't fault the coaching, which was superb. We all left knowing exactly where we were and what we needed to do next to get better.

Great value, excellent instructor

Kirsty Mawhinney

Expectations were met and far exceeded on this 2 day course. Louise, our instructor, was excellent - very thorough and full of helpful tips and tricks, not just about winter skills and navigation but also equipment, ice axe/crampon trips abroard and how to build on skills learnt.

The accomodation is uber clean and rooms quiet and warm. The food choice caters for all varieties of taste and you definately won't go hungry as the portions are extremely generous. The bar is an added bonus.

The surroundings are amazing and staff friendly - couldn't have wished for me. Would recommend to all wanting to learn new skills and also have the benefit of a good night's sleep/not being disturbed by noisy neighbours!

Superb Course!


As someone north of 50 years of age, finding myself on such a course with the youngsters Matt, Jamie and Jon could have been intimidating but the two instructors Dave (Rudkin) and Phil (Dowthwaite) did a fantastic job of helping all of us fulfill our aims and achieve things I certainly never thought I would. The weather had not been great for winter climbing but Dave and Phil were able to find routes in good condition for us to do including 2 memorable days on the north face of the Ben. Dave's suggestion of a (dry) day dry-tooling in the quarry near Aberfeldy was also great fun and much appreciated both for the technical coaching and the lack of rain!

A special thank you to Phil for a rare mixture of patience, huge technical expertise and the ability to inspire confidence. The two days on the Ben were both excellent but I am sure neither Jamie nor I will forget the snow tunnel under the chockstone in Gardyloo Gully. And emerging on the summit of the Ben after 7 pitches of climbing in the gully gave me a tremendous feeling of achievement. I also enjoyed a more technical day on Aonoch Mor to end the course; a rest for the legs in the gondola (with cappuccino) but some great advice and coaching on belays, abseiling, rope-work etc. As a long-time mountain walker/scrambler but with limited climbing experience, I found this really valuable. Accommodation is good but the most important thing on courses such as this is the quality of the instructors. PYB is second to none and Dave and Phil are excellent examples of why you should sign up and head to Scotland with PYB for some winter climbing! Thanks guys.

Good balance of theory and practice

Robin Stratford

The course was a good balance of theory and practice. The theory was backed up by real examples experienced by the course tutor.

Throughout the emphasis was on real practical things you could do with realistic expectations of outcomes.

Humour kept the more serious outcomes of First Aid in a positive and realistic framework.

I came away from the course with a more positive attitude towards helping people and far more prepared to have a go at helping injured people.

A very well run and enjoyable course.



after just attending the intro to winter climbing course last week. everything is still pretty fresh in my mind. all i could say is dave rudkin and phil downthwaite were both brilliant instructors over the week really know how there stuff and how to structure a week of climbing, the information given was detailed and interesting. i also gained so much experiance in just short space of time. i would recommend this course to everyone and anyone who would listen. great week shame it had to end! :)

A perfect week

Richard Jones

Following on from the great Christmas weekend, and with the years passing quicker than I thought...with a head which still thinks its 25 and a body that reminds me otherwise! I hoped this week would give a rebirth of mountain activity - I was not disappointed...From the greeting after 5.5hrs drive, our introduction and warm accommodation all was set for a week at a time which shows Snowdonia off at its best, maybe the weather was just chosen for us, as well as our PYB instructors Dave (methodical calculated and simplistic approach) Mike (quiet, calm, local knowledge beyond mountaineering) Stu (well...just so inspirational, lives, drinks and eats mountains oh and mad) Our course covered all the basics and progressed at a reasonable and sometimes fast pace, pushing when required, but always considered and calculated, light hearted when appropriate and always including structured learning. Including movement on snow and ice, rope techniques, weather and contibuting factors, equipment choice, the elements, route choice, navigation and options all contributed to a very good all encompassed and well delivered course.
Happily recommend to any aspiring mountaineer or one who wishes to reclaim his youth!
Well done to all the staff at PYB who contribute to the first class experience.

Excellent course

David Carl Jones

Great course and made even more so by the way our instructor Mo,made it easy to learn and remember the techniques involved in the course. Great venue, good food and will be booking another course soon.

At last, confident on first aid


Completed the REC Emergency Aid course this weekend and apart from thoroughly enjoying the weekend with a great bunch of people I really gained a confidence with first aid that I have not acheived before from toher courses. Well presented with loads of anecdotes and practicals and great tips an improvisations for fist aid in the mountains.

Great week, very fit now!

Andy Taylor

Was a really great week! The Hotel, facilities and food were brilliant. Such a good deal, i'll def go back and stay there.
I enjoyed the days most where we climbed on mixed terrain rather than just snow or the long walks up to the snow line.
It was great trying out using crampons and the equipment we could borrow was top quality.
I gained some great knowledge so i'll feel safe going up into the mountains to push my climbing onto ice rather than continue primarily in mountaineering.
I think I presumed there would be other people just like me on the course but everyone was really keen and friendly. I would definately advise it to anyone wanting to progress onto winter mountaineering even if it more into a climbing rather than walking emphasis. Was great putting stuff i've read into practice!

A great course in spite of the weather

Lisa Barlow

As regular winter fellwalkers, my husband and I mostly wanted to improve our techniques for winter walking, refresh our knowledge of safety measures for icy scrambling and tackle a few challenges we would have considered a bit too exciting without leaders.
The weather, bar day one, was terrible - very wet and very very windy-. In spite of this, our instructors, Keith and Stuart, found safe routes to give us a memorable holiday as well as cover most of the course objectives.
The accommodation at HF is excellent as is the drying room.
The course is challenging, and a good level of fitness really is required. The average age on the course (ourselves excluded) was probably around 24, but 'the team' was very supportive of the older contingent, and we managed -just- to keep up.
Top marks to PYB for the course organisation, my particular thanks to Keith for his support and fantastic instruction.

Winter Wonderland (with a slight chance of rain) :)

Will Weir

I had the pleasure to be guided for 3 days by Rob and Kat (sorry if that's the wrong spelling) as part of the Winter Skills programme developed with Cotswold Outdoor and Mountain Equipment.

I can honestly say the guidance, information and choice of routes that I had the opportunity to soak up over the 3 days was exemplary and as a whole the support from the PYB guys has gotton the experience into the top 5 list form me.

What I found particularly enjoyable about the experience was the way the guides were, whilst focused on the serious tasks at hand, able to also offer a great wealth of knowledge and anecdotes both serious and silly to colour the experience and make it more memorable.

As far as knowledge I feel I gained exactly what I had hoped to and more.

The accommodation was amazing. Never have I spent time in such a comfortable environment, which is weird considering where we were and what we were there to do. The staff were attentive and fun which made coming in from the cold a lovely experience.

Finally the contagious enthusiasm the guides had for their vocation has really encouraged me to put more into my own development - so I thank them for that.

Keep up the good work boy and girls!

I would definitely recommend this course to anybody

Debs Martin

I was lucky to experience this course as a part of Cotswold Outdoor's training for staff.

The course is led by really knowledgeable instructors with years of experience behind them, so you always feel in safe hands. They're also very approachable and open to all questions - even though they've probably heard them time and time again. But it's not just a case of hanging around listening to their advice and instruction - you're actively encouraged to be hands on and pro-active. Learning ice axe arrests for example is a fundamental skill for walking in winter and is a serious matter, however it is also a lot of fun to practise when you know you're not in harms way.

The experience and skills I gained from the course have made me feel confident about being able to buy my own winter gear and heading out into the hills at this time of year which I wouldn't have done otherwise.

I would definitely recommend this course to anybody who wants to get out into the hills in winter but doesn't yet have the relevant knowledge or experience.

Saw a Seal on a WW Kayak course!

Dave Gee

Snowdon was covered in snow all week - very picturesque. Several days the lake above PYB was iced over.
Most days the puddles at the Mill stayed iced over all day. Some days the pools of still water at the river bank were frozen to a considerable depth.

This was late January / early February. I had picked to paddle this week as I was hoping that there would be more water this time of year and we could paddle a wider number of rivers. However, even in January we spent most of the week at Llangollen Mill.

We had three on the course. Two of us in wetsuits and one in a dry suit. Wetsuits worked well, even in these conditions provided you wrapped up well with enough layers and wore suitable kags and semi-dry trousers over the wet suits. Bringing plenty of snacks also helped fight the cold.

In the week I think I had 7 rolls and 4 swims. Two of those swims were Serpents Tail, which we ran a number of times over 2 days. There was considerably more water than the previous times I had paddled it. I felt a little more in control.

Quite useful discussions on how to provide safety on a rapid and an after tea session of throwline practice. Plus a couple of evening sessions in the rolling pool (both rolling WW and Sea Kayaks).

Towards the end of the week, on the second coldest day, by mutual agreement we swapped the river for the sea off Anglesey, as it was forecast to be very calm and the winter sun made it a fantastic day paddling in and out of the caves. We saw a seal - a first on a WW trip! For me it was the highlight of the week, as it turned out we were all moderately experienced on the sea, and the conditions were superb. (The PYB VHF radio had flat batteries, but given the conditions it was the right call to paddle despite that. I hadn't thought of bringing a VHF radio to a WW course!) Great to be able to adapt and swap to another area of paddle sport to make best use of the more extreme conditions.

My other unusual highlight was land kayaking - where we seal launched down a frost covered field. Very exhilarating but only possible in snow or frost.

I only give the course 4 stars as I was hoping to paddle more rivers, and with more careful planning I think we could have done so.

Excellent course - very weel taught

Joyce Martindale

Really very good. Now much happier at navigation. Practical exercise were fund and very informative

Faith Redeemed

Paul Amos

I was doing this course after I was deferred on navigation for my Summer ML assessment. To be honest I wondered how things would go because my previous experience with some PYB instructors was that they had sometimes come across as a tad arrogant. There was an air almost, that they were jealously guarding a secret club and that the students were not to be given easy passage to this inner circle.

However, this course completly dispelled that notion. Our instructor, Spike, was very professional, very thorough, covered all the ground and made sure that we all felt included in the mystical art of finding our way around the mountains.

If you are having trouble, as I was, getting to grips with navigation, this course is definitly the one to go on; especially if Spike is teaching it. Well done and thanks!

Awesome weekend

Ellie Carter

Great walk leaders and great weekend.

So that's how you use an ice axe!

Dave Glenis

this was a very enjoyable, yet challenging and informative course.
I now know what an ice axe is for, when to use crampons and how to get up into the snow in the winter.
Throuout the weekend, the instructors gave us very useful information about correct use of equipment, how to stay safe on a mountain (even when you stop for a drink) and how to read the snow against a map when all around you is white.
The climbs were very challenging, but once completed gave one confidence in one's own ability and in the equipment.
I would recommend and encourage anyone who wishes to get up into the ice and snow, to attend this course.

Varied walks with fantastic scenery


The week covered a really wide range of interesting walks. They varied from an easy 4 miles to a challenging 8.5 miles. For anyone who regularly does walks of 8 to 10 miles, the walks are well within your ability.

I'm not a regular walker, and when I do walk, it's usually a leisurely, flatish 5-6 miles. So, this week stretched me, but in a good way. We built up the length and difficulty of the walks as the week went on.

We did two coastal walks, one very gentle, flat, 4 miles rich with geology, and one harder with a lot of up and down, 8.5 miles with interesting industrial archeology and wildlife.

We did two valley and hill walks, and one through an old slate mine. The mix was great and all the places stunning, mind you we did have mostly sunshine!

The leaders are knowledgable in wildlife, history and geology, so these are great walks if you want to take in your surroundings and learn more about what you are seeing; not just walk.

Two of the walks were linear and we got picked up at the end. One walk was from the centre, and one walk involved over an hour's drive either way.

We had just 8 people in the group, which was really good and they were a bunch of interesting and fun people.

If you've not been to the centre before; it is really comfortable, good facilities, the store will lend a lot of equipment free, and the food is excellent.

Brilliant course


A great course. Our instructor, Chris, was brilliant. Completely unflappable, willing to work with what you already knew rather than try and teach you 'his way.' Being recorded on video and then watching the video back was a really good way of consolidating the pool sessions.

The centre, the food and all the rest of the facilities were tip top and all the staff were extremely helpful and friendly.

Take a water bottle with you for the poolside, it's pretty de-hydrating in there! They give you a sleeveless wetsuit but if you have a full one / thermals to put under the sleeveless one I would take them; although the pool is heated it does get a little chilly after a while!

Best Ever Week in the Mountains

Simon Ablett

If you get the right weather conditions, which we were fortunate to have in Jan 2012, then it is hard to see how you could not enjoy this week. You need to be reasonably fit, happy wearing stiff boots and crampons and willing to do a small amount of winter scrambling but the spectacular views and sense of acheivement make it all worthwhile. Clever route choice, experienced guiding, equipment loans and the ability to walk point to point without worrying about shuttles and logistics is what you are paying for and all were delivered well with the back up of comfy accomodation and wholesome meals at PYB.



i loved this course, having never been to pyb before and feeling a little apprehensive about getting bunked in with 50 others and eating school dinners, how amazed was i that it was more like a hotel with really nice food, comfortable surroundings and the staff were really freindly. My course tutor was a cool guy who really wanted us to get it but not push us to hard or fast but let us each learn at our own pace, i was a bit gutted i didnt quite get it but was given the tools to carry on teaching myself a bit more and when i feel i have gone as far as i can i will come back for another course to polish it all out, providing i get the same instructor.
i'm finding it hard to be critical but if there was something it would be there was no gym jacuzzi and sauna but thats being really picky. Loved it wanna come back, my instructor is the stig of rolling

Fantastic course


Fantastic course. Two days of hard work, but very rewarding. Chris, our course instructor, was excellent and allowed people to work at their own pace.

My one criticism was that the two sea kayaks available both had faulty foot rests, so could not be used.

Food was very good. Excellent value.

Great course

Andy D

Went on the two-day rolling course last weekend – excellent.! Chris, the coach, got it just right: great manner, letting people go at their own pace, individual advice according to ability/progress. Good comments on the videos of our efforts too. I did manage to roll with a paddle float but not without, but I was very pleased with this progress for me – I got far further than on other rolling courses I’d done. Make no mistake, this course is difficult not just in terms of the skill to be acquired but also the energy and stamina needed, as well as the wear and tear on your muscles etc. Luckily the other five on the course were really nice people. One out of six of us managed a roll without paddle floats (though a couple of others came very close), but he went on to roll both sides and could do it even after being thrown in randomly. Great coach, good people and facilities. I was lucky to get a single room but I think they need to provide more of these – there are a lot of us poor sleepers about. Course to be recommended – you’ll make progress, but don’t underestimate what it will take out of you!

Map and Compass Feb 4-5 2012

A Griffiths

Thoroughly enjoyable and informative course. Very "hands on". practical learning while hill walking in awful weather. Very good instruction - made you use your brain as well as giving confidence. Plas y Brenin is a great base to learn from, good food and bar, basic but clean, warm and comfortable rooms, cracking views. Am definitely looking for another course soon and will bring some friends. Went out today with map and compass : )
Thank you, Spike

I'll be back..

Neil Willcox

Just completed a fantastic weekend with you.

The instructors were top class; their knowledge, experience and air of calm were evident throughout, as was their good humour in dealing with unfit and uncoordinated punters like me.

Slight gripes would be the rationed orange juice machine, and the shortage of water in my shower.

Thanks, and see you again soon.

A superb course

oliver Stephenson

A superb course full of information and the opportunity to practice all the skills learnt in realistic outdoor scenarios.

You have not practised first aid until you have done it for real in the outdoors in the snow.

great experience-a challenge but rewarding 5 days

Julie Nedin

The 5 days spent on the hills from 23-27th January were an inspiration. Our instructor, James, hit just the right note for me. He's a clear communicator, encouraging and supportive at the right level for an adult learner. And I certainly had a lot to learn, especially navigation skills. James had the grace not to laugh when I headed off in the opposite direction on the first navigation task of the last day! Yes, lots more to learn but I'm motivated to practice and plan to get out onto the Brecon Beacons next weekend to do just that.

I found the Centre very comfortable and friendly and have recommended it already to lots of people. I have even made the pyb flapjacks from the recipe on the site. They went down a storm in work, not bad accolade from a bunch of NHS dietitians who are very keen on their grub! In fact they have demanded more so I better get back to the cooker, but not before another walk. Can't stop now- James it's all your fault,
many thanks
diolch yn fawr iawn

Lucky with the weather; Truly awesome!

Peter Menken

The course ticked all the boxes!
First day some good snow and exhausting day out with crampons and ice axe.
Second day rather challenging expedition during snow and chilling wind.
Lots of useful tips and feedback.
If only the snow had been a bit deeper, I would have loved to also try a few fall arrests.
Good afternoon tea and dinner.
The sandwich selection for the packed lunch was a bit poor on the first day but improved steeply on the second day. Four vegetarian sandwich options is not bad, also two veggie options for dinner!

A real montane eye opener.

Colin Thompson

Absolutely cracking experience - a real eye opener - made even better by the perfect winter conditions throughout the week. Cloaked in a "thick/deep/heavy pile" smock (way too hot!), I journeyed throughout a magical winter wonderland taking in a range of new skills and activities ranging from building a snow shelter to climbing (well "Alpine kneeing" in my case) up a spectacular arrete on the final day.
I really enjoyed how the week unfolded and the feeling of progress, with a fair few challenging moments for a total novice like myself. I finished feeling knackered (well, we are all knocking on a bit aren't we?) but inspired to pursue winter mountaineering and climbing further in the future.
If you're like me; someone who loves the outdoors, has done a bit of summer hillwalking and want to push open the door to peek through into the mystical world of mountaineering then this is a great way to pick up the key to that door. Then you can decide whether you want to step over the threshold and see what else lies in store!
Really enjoyable. And the icing on the cake was actually the range of cakes knocking around the place. The only thing lacking was an extreme arm wrestling match between Le Singe and Le Monk! (les jokes are de rigeur in a montane team).
In true Arnie fashion, .. I'll be back.

All in all a great course

Chris Bond


I carried out this course with Cotswold Outdoor and Mountain Equipment. I found the course great I have now got a greater knowledge on walking in Scotland. The Staff were experisted and passed there knowledge thoughout the group. Question were answer and explain full. All in all a great course and I will be going back to Scotland soon.

Many thanks

really enjoyed it

Flavia Roberts

I really enjoyed myself, learnd a huge ammount and would highly recommend it.
The staff were all very professional with a lot of knoledge and experience ,I was honoured to be instructed by them.
I will have no hesitation to go back for more courses if I get the chance.
I would like to say thanks to all.
Flavia Roberts

Laughter and walking-what a combination!

Eryl Thomas

I almost booked the Christmas weekend. I'm so glad I was too late. The Big Funny Walk was the most perfect weekend aided by the fantastic weather. Picture postcard stuff. Freezing cold but sunny. Well guided walk over the Carneddau with your cool, calm Sid and Stu. Wanted to do it for ages but conditions never been quite right. Excellent meal at night followed by great comedians (well 2 out of 3 anyway) which everyone seemed to enjoy. Another walk on the Sunday over Yr Aran with Simon and tea and cake before leaving for home. Absolutely fabulous. Will go on and on for ages to anyone who cares to listen! Difficult to beat for a weekend away. Keep doing these fantastic offers.

Learn to Roll in Two Days!

Paul Isitt

The kayak rolling clinic is an excellent course, which I would strongly recommend to any kayaker looking to progress their skills and learn how to roll. Whilst the course had 'sea kayak' in the title, we started learning in shorter river boats with the flexibility to try different boats as and when you felt ready. This makes the course suitable for any discipline of kayaker who wants to learn to roll.

Over the course of two days I went from nothing to consistently rolling on my stronger side side and almost mastering rolling on my weaker side. I left the course not only being able to roll but with the confidence and knowledge to go away and practice in my own time in order to fine tune my rolling skills.

With four people on the course we had the luxury of one-on-one instruction when required as well as some like minded individuals to share our achievements and frustrations with. The way that we were taught by our instructor Pete, gave us a firm grounding on the basics of rolling, with practice exercises at each stage of developing the roll, and slowly building up to putting it all together and rolling! Pete's relaxed instructional style and enthusiasm (despite his injured shoulder) added to the enjoyment of course and his his ability to adjust exercises and tips to suit each individual's strengths and weaknesses meant that we all developed at a good rate.

The facilities as Plas y Brenin are excellent, both in terms of the accommodation and catering side, and also the on-site rolling pool, boats and training equipment. This created a fantastic environment for learning which helped us to achieve a lot in short space of time. The comedy night at the centre on the Saturday evening instead of the usual general interest talk was highly entertaining and a pleasant surprise!

Overall this was a fantastic course that I would strongly recommend to any kayaker. The instructors and facilities at Plas y Brenin are first rate and I would recommend the wide range of courses run at the centre to anyone whatever their interests.

What a brilliant way to spend a weekend !

Nikki & David Rabjohns

A great weekend with brilliant walks led by friendly, thoughtful and confidence inspiring instructors. We were able to choose walks that suited our energy and fitness levels ...with anything from a wonderful clear, albeit very icy walk up Snowdon to the beautiful views from Cnicht and Yr Arran. Food was hot, wholesome and plentiful ...although I would put a plea in for a change of sandwich provider ...not a high point.
The comedy night was brilliant and seemd to appeal to all ages and tastes (even Chris who said he might go to bed early !) We will definitely be back for walking or perhaps even some climbing instruction. A big thank you to instructors/assistants Spike, Hayley, Christina & Simon for your leadership.


Lew Riches

Absolutely outstanding. Every aspect of the 2 days was handled with exceptional professionalism, that includes reception people, bar man, guides, catering people and of course the head man. A really outstanding experience.
The first walk up and down Moel Siabod was breath takingly scary towards the summitt in the snow, Cath and Christina prepared us and guided us safely through quite dangerous conditions. I can't remember having such total confidence in a team leader/guide.
The talk that evening by Stuart put my rigours of the day into a different context. remarkable man, remarkable. Liked his presentation style as well. Inspired me to find a climbing wall and get lessons.
Sid's guided walk the next day to Trefin was again very well guided, not as challenging as Moel Siabod which is why we chose it. Good cafe at the end.
The whole structure of the first day from breakfast to full course briefing to team briefing then kit inspection with suggested kit changes gave me so much confidence both in the organisation and the guides.
We stayed in the Farmhouse, superb, would want to stay there again in preference to the main building.
I'm struggling for words now so I'll close by saying it has been the best value, most positively challenging 2 days of outdoor activity I've had in my lifetime.
Thank you.
Lew Riches


Angela Burrows

Had a thoroughly enjoyable five days on this course. As a middle-aged woman who has only recently taken up padddling, I had some concerns that I would be out of my depth (no pun intended)! Yes, if you wish to be 'pushed' you will be, but I walked around the sections that looked too daunting, and didn't feel that I was a burden to the others on the course. The instructors are top rate and want everybody to get a lot out of the experience. Their enjoyment of what they do, and willingness to share their knowledge is obvious. The location of Plas Y Brenin and it's facilities are second to none, with great food and good company. I'm already looking at courses for 2012 - so many excellent activities to try!

What a time it was

Jonathan Ure and Sarah Charles

Just completed the Winter Skills course.What a time it was, a time of learning from great instucters, namely Helen, Spike and Dave., a time to buld up confidence from the experiencie of walking the mountains in snow, with and without crampons, being bombarded by hail stinging the face, surviving Hells Kitchen to tell the tale and after six hours arriving back at PYB feeling a little battered but very happy.
TOP TIPS for everyone contemplating the course, do not forget a double glazed Ski Mask-essential for dealing with the snow and hail,water proof maps, preferably laminated for the area around the site, at least three/four pairs of gloves and an ability to appreciate the wonderful scenery despite natures attempts to blow you away.
The site itself is tremendous catering for all types of outdoor activity,staff very friendly and food great.
Thanks to Helen, Spike and Dave for their good humour,help,advice and above their patience. We wish you well for the future.

Excellent - Achieved Exactly What I Hoped


Did exactly what I wanted the course to do. Two days in the pool reconstructed my old rusty roll into a new shiny one. Chris Evans our instructor was absolutely first class and pitched the course just right with enough intensity to make progress, but appreciating that continuous rolling in a pool is pretty hard work, especially for us old ones. Bringing tea and biscuits to the pool, was a definite boost - thanks Chris. The video analysis at the end of each day was a real eye opener and very helpful. The two days finished with an outdoor session just to get our confidence rolling in full kit in proper chilly water.

This is an ideal way to get and old unreliable roll working smoothly and reliably or to get back a lost roll. The big thing for me was coming away properly understanding the principles so I could practice and improve.

As for PYB in general, very very good, great accommodation, food and very helpful and friendly staff. I will definitely try some more courses at PYB.

There's not much I don't like about Plas y Brenin.....


.... In fact, there's nothing I don't . You are situated in a great part of Wales, with some amazing rivers, beautiful coastline hearty food to keep you going, and to top it off, some of the best instructors the UK has to offer. I can guarantee you now this is the perfect place to develop on your kayaking skills, what ever you wish to learn and whatever your level.

Confidence Restored

Michael Davies

This course was a birthday gift from my wife to encourage me back into white water kayaking. This year I had purchased a kayak and all the associated kit, with the plan to get back into the water. Previously, I had been an enthusiastic kayaker for 15 years but in 1996 stopped due to an injury and with the exception of one days experience in Llangollen back in 2009 this was the only training I had done.
Chris did an exceptional job in encouraging the 5 of us in this group; especially given we were at differing levels of experience. We were kitted up with equipment/clothes and despite bringing my own kit I opted to use theirs.....well it saves having wet clothing in the car later!
On the first days training we were given the option to travel to Llangollen and the River Dee, ironically, despite Capel Curig being statistically one of the wettest areas in Wales, the river outside the complex was a little low. However, by day two it had rained heavily and we had a chance to play and paddle down river for about 7km.
The graded approach on the river was a very positive experience, as well as the opportunity to spend time in the pool, practicing rolls and rescue drills .. which proved invaluable.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone in the same position as myself .. at the age of 48 I..m back in the saddle again. Cheers PYB and I intend to return next year on the Intermediate WW Kayaking.
Oh, did I say it was great?

Great course.

Tim Dawes

Great course. Very skilled and friendly instructors happy to answer my long list of daft questions.

It'd be great to have a kit list before the day as I'd be keen to use my own kit when trying out some of the skills. Saying that, the store supplies seemed to be endless (!) and the staff were really helpful and friendly in lending out and fitting anything needed.

Would it be possible to chose the sessions before the weekend itself? Some sessions seemed much more popular than others, and I guess some advance notice might help you to organise more of one type of sessions and less of another depending on what people wanted. Just a thought....

Overall, well worth the money and a lot of fun!

Thanks to all involved in organising and running it.


Great skills


A really great 2 day course. Covered all aspects of navigation using maps, a compass, and GPS.
Used different scale maps and not just 1:25,0000. Therefore giving experience of different map features, content and scales.
Spent time on all aspects of good hill walking, including distance measurement and walking speeds on differing terrains. All of which are imperative to successful route planning and execution.
Really great instruction from Steve and good course content.
Steve gave us plenty of time for skills practice and was always ready and eager to answer follow up questions.
The night navigation was brilliant and really put into practice everything learnt during the first day.
thank you :)

Excellent week

Jon Tilley

What a fantastic week .. I really felt that my canoeing skills have gone up a few levels after attending this course.

We spent the first day tweaking our paddle strokes - a bit more rotation here and a little more edging there followed by a lake trip and the chance to try a variety of boats and paddles.

The next couple of days were spent over on the Dee practicing white water skills, with an evening classroom session discussing white water safety and rescue and kit selection.

Thanks to some rain we were able to paddle the river from the centre the next day and along with some poling and tracking practice we built on our river running skills. We also got to put into practice rescue skills due to me pinning my boat towards the end of the day .. a good lesson learnt and no harm done to the boat.

The final day we were able to paddle the Glaslyn thanks to some more overnight rain. An excellent day working well as a team keeping sight lines and inspecting routes plus another chance to unpin a boat.

Great coaching from Chris Evans, very professional.

The facilities and accommodation were all up to the usual high standards with excellent breakfasts and evening meals.

Thanks also to Richard, Paul and Joy it was a pleasure paddling with you all.

Book with Caution

Pete Harris

I don't want to have too much of a downer because PYB is a great place, great location, good instructors, great kit resources, decent accommodation, good food, great beer.

The first word of warning comes from our instructor, who, at the end of the course suggested that you should book as late as possible to maximise your chance of snow. Pretty obvious, unfortunately the booking staff did not take the same view when my wife rang to book as a birthday present, she was very strongly encouraged to book a course there and then, in June, when the 2012 schedule wasn't available. I'm afraid however hard the instructors work, they can't make up for the lack of snow. So, don't book too far in advance, and certainly don't book on a November course too far in advance.

Secondly, the course is likely to have a range of experience on it, from experienced summer hillwalkers wanting to expand their range, to those wanting to explore the hills for the first time. The problem here is you can get a course which satisfies neither end of the range.

From reading past reviews, under the right conditions it appears this can be a fabulous course, and you will always learn something, so it can never be a waste of time, but beware, if circumstances work against you, you may end up feeling somewhat disatisfied, nobody's fault (apart from the booking office), but you may feel it was a bit of a disappointment.

Learning and practising kep map and compass skills

Bruce Matheson

This is based on learning a key skill out in the field then trying it out immediately in the complex terrain near the Centre.

Well organised presentation of information and mnemonics to remember what to do.

Good way to learn and just the right amount to fit in over a weekend.

Accomodation and food good. Fun to meet others with outdoor interests and a wide knowledge.

Great experience with a great instructor

Peter H

I would recommend this course. Five days of great climbing in Glencoe, The Ben and Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms. The weather was typically Scottish with snow rain, strong winds but also a good crisp but windy day on Cairngorm (Haston Line Grade III). Dave my instructor was patient, extremely helpful and considerate, and very good company on the hill. I felt safe and confident with his decision making in foul weather on the Ben (climbing Moonlight Butress with powder avalanches in the gully beside us!). A morning at the Ice Factor on the dry tooling wall improving technique was exhausting but rewarding. Dave helped do routes and techniques I didn't think I was capable of doing. I am converted to leashless axes. I'm now feel confident to look at climbing grade IV and V routes. I can confirm that PYB has the best instructors and would thoroughly recommend a winter course with the team.

Yet again another great week at The Brenin


A 5 day / 14 peak challenge with the odds stacked against us, but with the expertise, knowledge and skills of the best instructors in the UK we made it.

70 mph winds, rain and 4 women, 1 peak on the first day and it was not looking good but with sheer determination and the amazing support and guidance from pyb we made it.

It was a great week even with the bad weather, we ended on the last day with a traverse across Crib Goch and summiting on Snowdon, our 14th peak!

Well done girls and a big thanks to Kaff, a true legend.

Fabulous Weekend

Derek and Anthea Bunting

We thoroughly enjoyed this weekend with guided walks from easy to tough and impromptu music in the bar on Friday night given by some of the participants. Saturday night's entertainment was organised by Alan who sang with his friends, one who played a guitar and one an accordion. Anyone with musical instruments were encouraged to get up and play, or you could sing or recite and the whole weekend was a great success.

At nearly 70 years of age, we were well looked after and will certainly go again.

Thanks for a Great Weekend

John Evans

Just want to say thanks for every aspect of the weekend. It's the first time I've stayed at PyB and I couldn't fault the experience. Accommodation was very comfortable, the food was excellent, especially considering the numbers you have to cater for in a tight timescale and all the staff were unfailingly friendly and helpful. The comments I was hearing from everybody round me were all totally positive. Thanks to Alan for organising the music and a great open mike concert on Saturday; also to Simon and Chris for two really good days on the hill. I'm creaking a bit this morning but that was what I came for! Cheers to all and I'll be keeping in touch for the next one.

Matthew Mason-Smith

A good reassessment that covered the aspects of the Summer ML assessment course I needed to redo. Steve was a great assessor and made me feel at ease.

I would certainly recommend PYB to colleagues and friends for taking courses. The staff have exceptional skills and the courses are very well organised and set up so that you can achieve your aims.

A fantastic time!!


I have climbed a few times before, and before attending the session I felt hesitant as to whether I would feel bored. But I was surprised to get there and not only have a great time climbing but learn loads of new skills, from better ways to conserve energy and asessing my route to how I can really challenge myself on the wall to improve my skill. The cost was amazing value for what I got out of the session, and the staff were great at improving technique and skills. The session was so great that I am planning my next trip back, but to take a full climbing course.


Graham B

There is a little bit of everything in this one, technichal bits, freestyle bits & creeking bits. Dont let the word freeride confuse you - this is not a plain & simple freestyle course. Good individual tuition given throughout - everyone was pushed appropriate to their level. You really want to have a solid moving water roll to get the most out of this week. Plenty of big river boats in the store but my advice for the smaller boat days is bring your own.

Despite the lack of water we still had good locations to paddle.

Confidence returning but be Consistent

Charles Pain

A very weak first day, not challenging enough for a shakedown, splitting the group into two levels unacceptable.
Tuesday to the Dee, yet again very weak and unchallenging not much different to my club introduction 12 months ago. The revolt at least took as to Town Falls.
Wedesday Adam joined as coach immediately uped the standard although back on the Dee, great day.
Thursday no better water back to the Dee, ok but personnally having shortness of breath so sat out last half hour.
Friday, still no water so did time in the pool with Adam, I now see rolling in a new light and in half an hour my comprehension of what and why rocketed.
Passed on the big drop, not a problem (the route to the drop seemed the most dangerous part).

Pity about the water, leant a lot, apart from the first two days very good.

PS The rolls have far too much salt in them.

Opportunity to explore the coast

Pete Lilley

Not so much a 'course', more an opportunity to kayak parts of the North Wales coast - which is what I wanted from the week.

Due to wind direction, we were largely restricted to North and East coasts of Anglesey. With different winds, it would have been nice to explore Lleyn and Tremadog Bay sites as well.

The weather was not very co-operative, but it was not clear if longer trip times - more time on the water - would have been possible. It would be a pity to be always having to curtail the trips due to 5pm teatime at PyB! Especially a problem when travel to/from site was more than 1 hour each way.

Very little instruction, not even a scheduled pool session within the course timetable. The leaders were fully capable of instructing, but our small group (certainly me) were more interested in seeing the scenery.

It would have been useful to know in advance the perceived boundary between Intromediate and Intermediate courses - it turned out to be largely based on height of chop! Despite extensive experience on sea kayak camping weeks over the past 10 years, I was right to select Intromediate, in fact.

Excellent course!

Sarah Deass

I found this clinic really useful. I now know what I should be doing - and with a little more practice during club pool sessions I'm sure I'll have cracked it! The course included valuable 1-2-1 feedback. Videoing each of us, followed by review/feedback was really useful. I'd certainly recommend the course - but don't expect to be a proficient roller at the end of it - it takes a lot more practice.

AMAZING and well worth the while course

Angela Corlett

I have recently started indoor climbing and wanted to make the transition to outdoors. This course was just what I needed.

The Instructors were patient, knowledgeable and just GREAT and catered the course to our wish list of things we wanted to learn.

I would recommend this course for anyone who would like to move from indoor to outdoor climbing, or for someone who is just getting back into it again.

I have come away feeling confident that I can climb outdoors safely, and cant wait to put into practice everything I have learnt.

Plas Y Brennin centre itself was great, the rooms comfortable, food fantastic and staff friendly. The free lectures were also a bonus.

I cant wait to come along on another course.

good course


Good course for people who haven't been paddling on sea a lot. Beautiful day-trips on the impressive coast of Anglesey. Physically not very demanding.

Enjoyed the two days immensely

JP Edgington

Enjoyed the two days immensely and learned alot.
The use of time and venues on the 1st could've been better. Instead of using short single pitch crags and vegetated outcrops I would have preferred to spend the day at a multipitch venue looking at all aspects of the scheme applicable to that environment. Maybe allowing students to practice teaching leading, slick personal climbing and improvised rescue all in context and under the watchful eye of our very experienced instructors.
Progressive and in context..

The 2nd day was a little more like this with us spending the whole day on the mountain scrambling and talking about flora and Nav. For me it was very useful to watch an experienced instructor take two students up a section of a scramble as I observed from the side. Being a visual learner and not having much experience of what slick and efficient short roping/scrambling protection methods should look like, this part of the day allowed me to get an idea of where I'm at in my own scrambling skills..

A quality weekiend with food, accomodation and instruction all 1st rate - you should have just pushed us harder on the 1st day..

The enjoyable Snowdon Challenge

Antony Farner

John Kettle our instructor (ratio normally 6:1, but we were lucky with a 2:1) made this the most enjoyable weekend's MTB ever.

It started off on the Saturday with a review of our bikes- tips were given of what to look for with the emphasis on safety.

A bus drive then to Tal-Y-Bont with a ride up and down two mountains over such a variety of terrains- small amount of road, leafy lanes, rock, gravel, grass, bogs, river crossings, rock with an amazing 3/4 hour descent back to Tal-Y-Bont.
Starting at noon until 4-5PM over 12 miles with plenty of tips on optimising pedal technique, seat height, tyre pressure, attack position etc. Billed as one of the best MTB rides in the UK- certainly the best I have ever been on.

Sunday after a short bus trip, up and down Snowdon. Saturday was a good preparation for the challenge which I enjoyed immensely. Lots of people (weather was goodish), steep at the summit but otherwise quite comfortable with John guiding us down.

John was an ace instructor- plenty of MTB tips, lots of help on the safety front, bags of guidance about forthcoming terrain- delivered in a informative relaxed understated style.

I would recommend this course to any experienced- but still open to learn new things - and fit MTB rider- enjoy an ace weekend.

PS Plas-Y-Brenin- accommodation, bar etc- very good.

This course takes you from a hill walker to a walker in the mountains

John Short

The course does exactly what it says in the brochure - it takes you from an experienced hill walker to a walker confident in the mountains - I am now able to navigate in the most trying conditions, wildcamp and do basic scrambling. These skills will let me explore monutains over two or three days at a time, be confident in my navigation and enable me to explore away from the well trod paths to give me new perspectives. Excellent instruction.

PS We had atrocious weather but this just made the course more of a challenge and ultimatley will give me even more confidence


Barbara Wilkie

Thank you, Cath, + all at PYB for another fantastic energy-filled weekend! I learnt so much, + it was pitched just right! I've got by with maps + vague compass stuff, cos stuck with paths, but thanks for teaching me so much more, Cath, + keeping me + my walking group safer in future! I also loved room 70, loved the food, loved the friendly atmosphere + smiles - hits as soon as you walk into reception. I'll be back!! (Sooner, rather than later) All bests to all at PYB xxx

Maximise your climbing potential in just four weeks....

Caroline Munroe

Rapid Rock was the most inspiring and fulfilling four weeks of climbing. Expert tuition, guidance and coaching from James McHaffie throughout the month ensured my climbing escalated to new heights.
Previously a sporadic climber with no trad experience and limited easy sport climbing time on rock, I was hopeful that a month intensive focus on climbing should make up a little for the missed years where work commitments had taken over.
I wasn't disappointed... the first week saw the three of us learn a huge amount- safe and effective rope work skills, movement technique for maximum efficiency whilst climbing, building good anchors and belay points, multi pitch skills, psychological coaching...
Climbing five days a week with weekends to explore Snowdonia further, the mileage we gained on a huge variety of rock was invaluable. James is an exceptional teacher- hugely talented as a climber and able to transfer those skills to enable students to maximise their potential.
As well as the climbing we were superbly looked after by the very friendly and helpful staff at PYB. Being surrounded by people who love the outdoor lifestyle is massively motivating and returning to 'normal society' after a month in the PYB bubble will be hard! I cannot recommend this course highly enough. Its fantastic value, life changing, good for the soul but should come with a warning that you will become oh so slightly obsessed with climbing thereafter...

Don't think twice-book!

Alice du Preez

Looking back on the week I cannot believe what we achieved! I still can't wipe the smile off my face!
I was so nervous about starting the course, and I had questioned whether I was at the right level...but the PYB instructors put you at ease. I phoned up before booking to check whether my level was indeed appropriate and they agreed. (I had seconded mostly Severes and 1 HvS, and lead twice-a diff and v diff). My nerves however did not go! BUT...the course was so well tailored to what us as candidates required throughout the week that we did not have to worry at all! We had 2 days of single pitch skill based cragging-learning about use of gear, placement, setting up belays, and ropework skills (as well as lots of climbing at 2 great venues!). We then progressed to multipitch mountain routes, at a further 3 fantastic venues where we combined pushing our grade climbing and learning to lead, whilst being coached and guided by Dave.

The whole week was an incredible confidence boost and I finally felt like I could call myself a climber. A huge thank you to Helen Teasdale and Dave Evans for being so encouraging and supportive-hopefully will see you at a north wales crag soon!

Also must thank the support staff at the brenin for making the whole week possible, the kitchen staff for being so helpful and for providing our 'fuel' for the week; the office staff for being very friendly; the centre assistants who were always smiling and the domestic staff for providing such comfortable clean rooms. All in all, a superb venue and would highly recommend it for any course.

A great course.

Russell Thompson

A great course. Aimed just at the right level.
Would like to have revisited the rescue skills and rolling however I won't let this point detract from a most enjoyable experience

An interesting and enjoyable couple of days.

Ian Sydenham

The course lived up to expectations and included a lot of tuiition in a short space of time. The instructor was also very good; knowledgable and with a good teaching style.

Concentrated on learning how to set things up rather than climbing which was what I was hoping for but not a course to go on if you just want to do lots of climbing.

Mission Accomplished!!


I went on this course with very few 'skills' and not a lot of confidence in my ability to survive a red route! John K tailored the weekend perfectly to suit our 'achievement wish list'; starting with basic skills and a decent long route (well it felt long to me anyway!) and finishing with an attack on Penmachno.
By coffee and cake time on Sunday afternoon, following a day of mud, rain, sweat and a couple of war wounds (!) we were all grinning and agreeing that the weekend had been a complete success. Mission Accomplished!
Thanks :-D


paul young

Really enjoyed the course, the instructor was very thorough in all aspects of leading from racking your gear to placing it and safely constructing bealys, I gained a lot of confidence, now just need a regular partner. :-)

Rock Improver

Catherine Taylor

Overall a good experience that has given me the impression that I have improved my rock climbing.

The one to two instruction gave plenty of personal challenge, questions, high level technical skills, security.
The two days of larger group work were less focussed and less specific to my own climbing.
My 1:2 instructor, Guy was consistent and thorough.

The structure of the day was good, however it seemed to me that the hour back at the centre could well be varied when the evening light is good so that groups might continue at the crags and have longer outside. The evening sessions seemed less useful than the climbing days.

Assess the group before meeting through checking the application forms, then make some plans to accommodate the inevitable differences that arise in a group of individuals.
For the whole of the first day I was asked to climb with a 17yrs old when I am old enough to be his grandparent. It was unsatisfactory for both of us in terms of physical approach, attitude, questions and interests.

Assessing people on the fist day by using Sports climbing was alright for a morning but it seemed to me to be a waste of my time over a whole day.

Look at developing a more positive approach in all your instructors to women climbing and how they may not want the adrenaline-rush approach. It is a male dominated sport so consider how this may be for women wanting to learn and thrive in such an environment i.e. avoid replicating this male environment in your teaching groups.

Get to the point sooner of allowing people to ask questions that reveal their underlying concerns. In this way the focus may become more specific to the personal climbing needs of each person.

Our co-leader instructor on the day 1 & 2 appeared to be disconnected from the process of bringing his skills to support people. There was far too much chatting at the bottom of the rock and too much personal banter that I found alarmingly unprofessional.
Making jokes has a place but not when people are trying to absorb important information relating to safety and good practice.

Running groups is a skill and Simon, the group leader has this skill. He needed better support in his co-leader, Mark.

A fantastic weekend - learnt lots

Carl Sprake

We attended the Mountain Environment weekend as we had been unable to make the big winter walk, due to all the snow. So, a huge thanks to PYB for letting us put the money from the winter walk towards another course.

We chose the Mountain Environment weekend as we are both interested in the flora and fauna of the area and since I did the ML training earlier in the year this made for a great supplement to my knowledge.

The guide was fantastic, very enthusiastic and we probably learnt as much from some of the other people on the course. There was a such a huge amount of knowledge between us all and everyone was really keen on sharing.

Once again the food and accomodation at PYB was outstanding.

A final note, this being a nature trail weekend I was not expecting big mountain walks. But the instructor made full use of the available mountains and we had two great days. Carnedd y Filiast and Elidir Fawr on the first day and then Cym Idwal via the sheeptrack on the second day.

The best £200 I have ever spent

Geoff Buttle

I attended this course at the beginning of September 2011; the course was aimed at just the right level for myself, that is started from scratch thus ensuring everybody had the same building bricks, and then it moved on into hill navigation in a seamless and easy to understand way. On the second day we went out onto the hills again but this time we actually navigated ourselves with Blair, our instructor, just keeping an eye on things. It was amazing how much we had all learnt on the first day which enabled us to fully navigate our way through quit a few miles of hills which none of us had seen before. Personally I came away with a feeling of achievement and an enormous sense of spending the best £200 of my life.
The accommodation, food, buildings, surroundings and instructors are first class. The other 7 students were a wonderful group of people, fun to mix with and all from very different backgrounds, our age ranged from 20 to around 67 years of age demonstrating that the course is suitable for all ages. A big thanks to the instructors, Blair and Cathy for a superb weekend from which I learnt a whole load of map and compass skills. I will be back for the intermediate course!

An eye opener.

David Turner

However basic your level of skill with a map and compass may be, this course will give you the knowledge and mental tools to plan routes safely and with confidence. I have experience with underwater and ariel navigation but found the detailed talks about local features and scale on the maps showed there was so much more there than I was seeing. A real eye opener.

The centre itself has a warm and friendly feel about it. You immediately feel like part of the place rather than a user of it.

Many thanks to all the staff, especially Cath and Blair our instructors.


Jim Hulbert

Absolutely brilliant. terrible weather on the first day but some dedicated radar searching by Phil the instructor found us a dry crag and we made the most of it. Has got me completely hooked on climbing now, which is the best thing it could have done.

Great Fun

Edward Hough

This was my second time at Plas y Brennin and I really enjoyed myself. The tutors are great fun and very helpful as are all the staff at Plas Y Brennin. The facilities are excellent and i would recommend coming to Plas y Brenin if you are looking for something new or looking to improve you skills.

Roll on 2012

Tom Monday

Many times in life you are told things by friends and you assume they are exaggerating, well this year i found out that two things i had been told were completely true and accurate .

1 : the midges in skye are unbearable ,as i found out on a sea kayaking trip up the skye coast this is completely true we were only saved from going mad by the force 7 winds that blew them away.

2 :PYB is superb ,this is also true ,my son and I cannot fault it everything including the accomodation,food,facilities,equipment etc were excellent,but most of all the instructors made our holiday as they were superb ,they made us feel more as if we were friends than customers and thier enthusiasm for the activities was infectious, we can't wait for the 2012 course catalogue to come out so that we can book our next visit.

We would particularly like to thank Guy Steven our course director, who considering he had to deal with a group of families with a wide range of ages and abilities ran the course faultlessly.

Up to the usual standards except breakfast

Stephen Edwards

Breakfast was total chaos and a bit of a shock compared to previous visits. We were told 8am-9am and arrived about 8:40 to find little left and staff being very grumpy about the fact that they still had to serve. They said breakfast was until 8:45.

Also, the scrum for lunch before we arrived (I think there was a school party) left a limited selection of grim sandwiches (peanut butter!?).

Fearing a repeat we headed down for breakfast earlier on the Sunday (8:30) and the staff were already clearing away the serving area and making it clear that breakfast was finished!

I see two problems: 1) I'm now unclear about what time to actually come down for breakfast. Is it 8-9? Or is it 8-8:30?

2) Given the courses don't start until 9:15 it does seem a bit odd for breakfast to finish at 8:30 rather than 9am, allowing everyone just to head straight through into the lecture room/bar area?


Sian Davies

I'd advise anyone who wants to improve their mountain biking skills or just spend a few days playing around in beautiful Snowdonia to attend this course.

There were only four participants so plenty of individual care and opportunity to ask questions. John, the instructor, really knew his stuff and looked after us all really well over the two days.

The improvised bike repair kit session was especially interesting and helpful.

Keep these course going PYB - they're brilliant.



Tiffany Stoneman

An amazing two days of intense climbing, great tuition, and good laughs. I learnt so much in such a short period of time and am already a much better climber than I was at the start. Phil was a fantastic instructor who was encouraging as well as ready to set challenges. The poor weather did not hinder us and we were shown some of the best climbing spots possible for the fullest experience. A really great weekend, top class course content, and wonderful hospitality at the PYB centre. Definitely recommended.

Fantastic course.

Ben Redhouse

Fantastic course. Excellent coaching. Got me rolling on both sides. Delivered everything I had hoped for. Thanks. Ben

A Great Week's Walking

Leon Winnert

On a daily basis the walks are tailored to the group's wants and abilities taking into account the prevailing weather conditions. And where you go is by mutual consent. Having said that the re is nothing flat in Snowdonia so some basic hill walking fitness is required.

Certainly we had a mixture of the more well known and less well known paths over terrain that was apropriate for our group's experiance and skills. With the added bonus of some navigation exercise thrown in.

Instructor, (Blair Fyffe), PYB staff, acomodation, food etc all first cllass- as one would expect from PYB.

Thouroughly reccomended.

Fantastic course that adapts to provide what you want from it.

Matthew Hawes

I was unsure what to expect from both the course and the centre but both were amazing.
At the beginning of the course we were asked what we would like to get out of it and the instructors tailored climbs and instruction to suit. I felt that the methods of teaching were excellent and all instructors were both knowledgeable and friendly. Especially Simon Lake who helped me and my friends to lead at HVS in a week. I had no prior leading experience. The days had a good amount of variety, climbing and rope-work.
The centre was unlike any other centre of its kind, with good quality food, a lively bar and comfy accommodation, although the rooms were a little stuffy at times. The time spend at the centre was filled with after session rope-work instruction and informative general interest lectures. All staff were helpful and accommodating. I would strongly recommend any of their climbing courses

Get deconstructed and then reconstructed

Andrew Bond

A very good course, with an excellent instructor who got me from being totally useless in the pool to rolling in the river on the second day fully kitted. Perseverence helps, and video was used to good effect to enable you to see what you are doing right and what to work on. But take a laptop or something to load the clips onto so you can take them home as a reminder/ self coaching tool or just to prove you did actually roll!!

A great (intense) two days that did exactly what it said on the tin.

Sid's Fantastic Voyage

Duncan Wood-Allum

5 days Sea Kayaking with Sid was spot on.

He combined a chilled out style with razor sharp knowledge and surf savvy to ensure we were safe on the water.

His ability to read the needs of the group members was brilliant - we all had a great time and learned a lot about the joys (and risks!) of paddling in the sea.

Sea Caves, diving terns, great birdlife and lots of seals made this an epic week.

Sid's evening lecture despite being disrupted twice through a fire alarm was brilliant - this guy can paddle and tell a good tale to boot.

Plas has delivered yet again and should be proud of what Sid is doing to encourage more people onto the water.

Well done and looking forward to the next trip!

Fulfilled expectations perfectly

Martin Bray

Having climbed many Grade 1s, a few Grade 2s and the odd Grade 3 many years ago, I saw this course as an opportunity to get back to Grade 3 standards alongside the relevant ropework that goes beyond the remit of ML, but allows some great mountaineering as well. Expert, trusting and patient instruction from Kath and Guy especially enabled the six of us to achieve all this, benefitting from a one guide to two students ratio from the third day onwards. For me a great day in Idwal (Ordinary Route and Cneifion Arete in big boots) and an ascent of the Clogwyn y Person Arete were real highlights. Add in excellent food and accomodation and it's a perfect week! Many thanks!

Well run


PyB is very well run. From when you arrive and register to when you leave at the end of your course. The rooms are decent and not at all like staying in a bunkhouse.

The weather was atrocious with heavy rains both days all day. Fortunately we were able to borrow serious waterproofs and B2 boots, both of which made things much more pleasant. Our instructor, Matt, was extremely patient and even went and got the mini-bus at the end to save us from having to walk the last part along the road when we were all exhausted.


Dean Cooper

After only paddling for about a year I was nervous about attending the course, however within a few minutes of meeting the staff (Chris & Dan) I felt at ease and ready to go. A slight hiccup with getting a boat to fit was really the onyl downside to a fantastic weekend.
The time on the water was nicely complemented with the time spent explaining how "things work". And the experience and information passed on was easy to understand and clearly explained. As other people have said it would be easy for PYB to throw less experienced staff at the "Discover" courses but a 5 * Coach was a nice surprise and the enthusiasm for paddling was infectious.

As the name of the course states this is a "Discover" course, so don't expect more than an opportunity to try paddling some white water and you won't be disappointed. A great way to find out if you enjoy white water and want to progress this style of paddling. Me? Hell yeah :-)

In an attempt to give an honest review now for the downsides. The rooms are basic, but funtional. The shower in my room was OK it was nothing special and would have liked a more powerful shower. The food is plentiful and decent enough. A few more veggie options for breakfast would be good, but at no point did I feel hungry.

Depending on the water conditions in the area you may face a 1hr drive to and from the river and it would have been nice to be paddling closer to the centre, but I understand there is nothing they can do about the weather.

If you want to try white water paddling but not sure if it's for you then I would 100% recommend this course.

Challenging and Rewarding

Helen Feasey

Great for people who love walking and want to push themselves a little further. The course leader made the weekend giving expert advice and guidance. Plas-y-Brenin is a great base for your weekend with wonderful facilities.

Tom wells

The course was an amazing experience and I will definitely
Return. I made some good friends.

Loved the action packed course.

Shona and Alasdair Campbell

Loved the action packed course. Intructors were great, food really good and the whole experience one to remember and encourage further participation in the activities. Although notes said nothing in particular about fitness levels needed, you probably would struggle quite a lot if you didn't regularly do some activity.

Fab , stretching, occasionally scary but fun

Chris Simpson

This was our second visit to "the Brenin" in two years as a family and this time we split with my Son and I doing the Rock course with my partner and daughter kayaking. ( This is a structure that works really well as the activities at PYB revolve around the plentiful meal, and it gives you loads to catch up on).
We arrived at PYB in bright sunshine (my kids think its always sunny in North Wales)! . Jack and I were delighted to find that again we had Kath Bromfield as our course Director. We were also lucky to have a smallish group of 4 lads 9-13 and 3 Dads and one super Nan.
On days 1 and 2 location and climbs were very similar to adventure for families in the same locations but we pushed on a good deal from that content with the instructors spotting these opportunities quickly.
By the end of the week the group had progressed to setting our own equipment and building confidence and trust in each others safety on some much more challenging stuff with a multi pitch on the Final day. ( A side note on this due to an injury I couldnt climb this but Pete and Carl generously allowed me to kayak for the day which was very good of them).
The top things of the course /holiday were
1) The quality of instruction and coaching at PYB is simply outstanding , seriously do some climbing or kayak sessions with a local coach before coming and you will really see the gulf in class.
2)The dexterity with which Kath and Blair picked locations that had sunshine and were appropriately challenging.
3) The cake and ice cream stops.

The rooms at PYB are basic and not vast but mostly since you are tired and grubby yourself on return you are glad of this.
It would be good to make it easier to get your five a day in with the carb and protein welcome, more fresh fruit and veg would be a welcome addition.

Demons to rest

Helen Flint

I am a fairly experienced hill walker who had been afraid of edges and exposure. I wanted to overcome my nervousness of steep ground to open up possibilities for my walking, and improve my skills as I head (slowly) towards taking my ML Summer Assessment. This course did just that. Our instructor, Dave Evans, took stock of his trainees' fears and concerns, and with excellent instruction and coaching turned us all into almost fearless scramblers. It was great fun, good learning and very confidence building. I recommend it for those who like me may have scrambling or exposure demons they wish to lay to rest.

Great confidence booster

Kevin Ellis

A great weekend with a skilled, extremely knowledgable instructor, Sid. Finished the weekend with lots of confidence in the water and some new skills to keep me afloat. Thank you! I'll be back!

Great Sea Kayaking

Brian Roberts

Well what can i say? Except what a great weekend with first class accommodation and professional instruction.
Paddling with like minded paddle buddies instructor Sid gently pushed us beyond our comfort zones on some of the big tide races round Anglesey giving plenty of tips on the way .
We had plenty of time for some rock gardening cave exploring and surfing as well so it wasn,t all a white knuckle ride,
A great course for competent relatively fit paddlers who are willing to learn more,,
Next time i find myself in a big tide race i,m sure i won,t find it as intimidating and will just enjoy the ride,

Thank you P.Y.B

Great week

Iain Ure

A wonderful week with great equipment and very competent and friendly trainers. A fun and exciting course - difficult to see how anyone could not enjoy this introduction to kayaking.

Age ranged from 16 to 60's, everyone got on well and everyone enjoyed the week.

Food was very good and plentiful.

Accomodation basic hostel standard but quite adequate. Loads of hot water.

I will be back.

Introduction to Kayaking August 2001

Joyce & David Adamson

Simply had to book ourselves onto the Introduction to Sea Kayaking course, the day after this course finished. We enjoyed it that much. Pete Catterall, one of the course instructors kept it light hearted but the instruction was first class. Loved every minute of it. Food and accommodation was extremely good, can't wait to sample it all again.

Another great week

Wayne Kilborn

Yet another great course completed at Plas y Brenin. Well done Dan for looking after us so well, and making it a really enjoyable week. That tricky White Eagle "rapid" trip at the end of one of the days was particularly pleasant. We were really lucky with the weather during the week, and it was a real shame there weren't enough waves on the day we had hoped to surf. The white water was fantastic, and the outings on the sea when the weather's nice are always good.

Liz Wakelin

I gained more from this course than I could have hoped for. I had my 'secret' target of leading a VS route but I not only achieved this - I exceeded it beyond my wildest dreams! To top rope an E1 route, to lead Sport 5+ & to suddenly feel as if I'd stepped through a barrier and onto another level was amazing. By the end of the course I had faith in myself, my gear placement and my ability to lead. Big thanks to all my instructors, but especially Mike (I soooo enjoyed the descent into the blow hole!!!!), and Kath for seeing my potential and pointing me higher than I thought I could go. Big thanks too, to James & Theo for positive thought and helpful suggestions for further development.
Also thanks to all who instructed on the 'Touching Stone' for young people the previous week - my daughter, Katie, is still buzzing from her experiences on that!

A great learning experience in spite of the weather

Rachel Warrington

With a 1:2 ratio of instructors to students and well-planned, tailored teaching I learned a lot more than I'd expected to in just two days. The weather was pretty terrible all weekend but our instructors Rocio and Lou made sure we still made the full use of the time - and stayed cheerful and encouraging, even when we were being lashed by driving rain half way up a 4 pitch climb.

All of the teaching was tailored to our individual needs and abilities. Rocio, who led my team, set us challenges but knew our limits and I always felt safe. I arrived as a nervous second with limited experience and a mental block about knot-tying... I have come away feeling confident as a second and ready to gain experience safely and move towards leading over time.

The indoor work we did one afternoon when the weather drove us inside was really valuable and I can now tie clove hitches with one and two hands and set up a variety of anchors: Rocio is the first person who has ever managed to teach me a knot in just one day!

I'd like to add that it was inspiring to have female instructors - I was the only female student on the course and my experience of outdoor rock climbing so far has been quite male-dominated, which isn't at all a problem in itself, but it's encouraging to have female role models to aspire to.

Plas-y-Brenin is also a lovely, comfortable place to stay and the food is really good.

Thanks to Rocio and Lou and Plas-y-Brenin for a great weekend.


Great fun; it was an excellent introduction to the sport.

Ben Jones

I really enjoyed the coarse and will definitely be coming back next year. I was impressed by the range of equipment available and the quality of teaching- i learnt a lot and everyone on the coarse made a huge improvement by the end.

great week!!!

Ben Watson

Awesome week with really nice people! I'd do this course again next year it was really good! Paddled really good rivers with a really good coach :) thanks

The Most Amazing Experience!

Lizzie Short

Over the week we climbed on slate, dolerite and limestone it was really great to be able to try climbing on different types of rock. The coaching from the instructors was really good, you never felt like you were being pushed too hard as the instructors helped you pick out routes that were right for your ability. The weather wasn't exceptionally good but everyday but one we got good outdoor climbing and managed to to find dry crags! I feel my level of climbing has definitely risen. The centre itself has a great atmosphere, and being around like minded young people makes the week very enjoyable. I would urge anybody who wants to get out and do more rock climbing to go on this course. A really fantastic and worthwhile course!

Great course!


I realy enjoyed the course and thought it was well-taught. It really taught me to look at a map in more detail to help me identify things on the ground as I go. The use of Naismith's law was also very handy for calculating timings. The food and accommodation was excellent too - I'd strongly recommend this course for anyone that needs to sharpen up their navigation skills.

Did what it said on the tin

Diane Owen

I took this course to brush up on my skills to give me the confidence to navigate on my own, maybe in poor weather. I feel far more confident now and can see there is far more detail in a map than you see at first glance. Now I just need to find the time to get out there and do it more often. John, thank you for your encouragement. I have had my hip treated today- it was considerably out of line! No wonder I had difficulties.

I think the welcome meeting would be far better at a given time in the bar on the evening of arrival with a welcome printout for late arrivals, especially the fire alarm info. It was as if there was an assumption that everyone had visited before which was not the case and some of us were a bit confused at first! That said it was a great weekend.

A weekend is just too short.................

Vivienne Tuck

It was time to move from hill walking into scrambling, time to make my self safe on the mountain, give myself the confidence to undertake more challanging routes and this was most certainly achieved.

Four females all with the same goals. Dave (Evans) was our instructor, brill, I had spent a day with him in Scotland in February. I knew this would be a fun weekend with such a great instructor.

During the first day I was mostly scared, but all the skills and techniques given to the group from Dave all came together on day two. We were all amazed at how easy we found the very exposed ridge on Sunday and we were particularly smug upon reaching the top!!!

Two days was not enough, I would have loved to stay and carry on, but alas work beckoned.

I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in taking hill walking to the next level.

As always the course was fantastic value for money, great instruction, food and wine. Combined with the buzzing atmosphere at Plas Y Brenin, it always makes for a great weekend.

I'll definitely be back.

Thanks to everyone at PYB for a great weekend.

What a Superb Weekend

Chris Humphris

The course provided what it says in the title plus more. On Saturday we saw the cave cliffs and lighthouse plus porpoises as we paddled along the Anglesey coast in lovely weather and a fairly calm sea.
On Sunday we visited Puffin Island and saw lots of wildlife including a young seal which played amongst our kyaks.
The return via an increased swell gave an exhilerating finale.
We had two excellent instructors - a superb weekend.

An excellent course at an excellent price

Richard Howard

I really enjoyed the rock improvers course and would recommend it to anyone. Our main instructors Bruce and James were fantastic. They taught us all new skills in calm, professional way. While the climbing we did was just outside my comfort zone (in a good way), pushing me to improve but at the same time not too much to make the experience unenjoyable. The climbs they selected for us were all fantastic. I was impressed how they tailored the course to meet everyones needs. Defiantly one of the best five days I have spent.

The accommodation in Plas Y Brenin is brilliant. Clean and meet my needs perfectly. All the staff are friendly and helpful. The food is all to a good standard, large portions and there is plenty of choice. I didn't need to supplement the meals with any of my own food during my stay, as I have had to do at other places. The bar is also great and we didn't feel the need to venture out to the the local pub.

With the outstanding quality of the teaching, food, accommodation and free equipment hire. I thought it was six hundred pounds well spent. Also, the free pick up and drop off at the station was a nice touch.

The one thing I thought could be improved was the pack lunch. The food was good but people would not stick to the suggested pack i.e 2 rolls, 1 fruit, 1 cake and 1 pack of biscuits. As a result if you didn't get there early you wouldn't get any fruit. My suggest would be to look at what people actually take and then adjust the ordering to reflect this. Generally I noticed that everyone was taking more fruit, so I would suggest cutting down on the cake and getting more fruit in.

course review

Lucinda simpson

it was amazing!
on the first day we got all our kit and boats. we just went in the lake to get a feel of our boats we plyed many fun games wich involed usfal kayaking skils.

on the second day we : to another lake and went on a journey around it at lunch we went to gergios ice place ( it was so yummy ) then kayaked back and played even morer games also we did challanges such as can u satnd up and paddle? can u touch your nose to the kayakes ?

third day : we went to the sea. it was choppy but a lot of fun another girl and i played in the sea after luch also we were still in the water wating for the minibus and we hitch rides of the other peoples kayas they were on the cours

day four : white water woooooooooooooo i was brillinent wooooooooooooooooooooooooo

last day :( : we satyed at plas y bernins lake and played kayak polo then went in slamen boats and had a comp the tried marothon boats

all in all it was an amazing week i improved so much on my kayaking and would recamend this to anyone :)

An excellent course

Cath Coey

I have just recently returned from the Discover Alpinism course based in Arolla. We thoroughly enjoyed the course and would highly recommend it to anyone who wanted to learn how to go that little bit higher in the Alps.The course was really well planned and delivered and I think everyone left feeling that they had learnt a lot, regardless of their previous experience.The scenery was stunning particularly on the last day when we climbed Pigne D'Arolla-definately the highlight of the trip.The huts that we stayed in were really good: they had picked the creme de la creme in terms of huts I think so now we are spoilt!The instructors Rob and Simon were very knowledgable and helpful as well as being very entertaining. They managed to teach us a lot while still remembering we were on holiday. I look forward to the next alpine adventure!

An Excellent Stepping Stone

Ciaran Kinney

This was an excellent course which provided a good bench mark of how my preparation for assessment was going along with a chance to ask questions from real assessors and get their feedback. Keith and Paul provided comprehensive modelling and explanation of techniques and detailed, specific answers to questions posed. The infusion of the course with Ed Chard and AMI was also a useful addition. The quality of instruction I encountered on the course was excellent and I am normally quite critical of this as I am a self confessed course junkie. I was particularly impressed not just with the quality of instruction but also facilities and also ethos of 'The Brenin' Enthusiasm and experience seems to ooze from the walls of the place. This course could have perhaps benefited from being 3 days with a third day built in for a mock assessment for candidates close to assessment to have a chance to be assessed to MIA criteria and given feedback regarding if they were at the standard and areas to develop / confirmation of their ability. Providing a sample of the assessors assessment notes was a very welcome glimpse into the assessment 'black box' and displayed a real honesty about the assessment process - as a teacher I always give an overview of the specific criteria people are going to be assessed by - this was a great idea and I know all candidates appreciated it.
I think that for the Brenins interests this course could have been more widely publicised. I know of a lot of candidates in Ireland / N. Ireland who would have loved to have went on this course but didn't know about it - perhaps just a bit more advertising could have made it more lucrative for you.
I have nothing really to say regarding how you could have made it better - it was excellent - as for me - I have decided to wait until next year for assessment - I want to get a bit more comfortable with some techniques yet and get to know N> Wales a bit better.
A big thanks to Paul and Keith and all the catering and admin staff, this was my first course at Brenin and it has more than exceeded my expectations. I look forward to seeign you next year.

You really should try this!

Dave Ditcham

I took my eleven year old grandson on this course hoping to give him an interest other than kicking a round ball about. I would not have believed that a complete begginer would, in three days, be paddling off Angelsey in not the easiest of sea conditions. This trip was amazing and the two days of white water that followed at Llangollen saw him well grounded in the basics and asking on the way home when he could go again.
The staff deserve praise for how they coped successfully with the needs of an eleven year old and a seventy year old with comparative ease. I would recommend anyone with any interest in watersports to try this.

Why it was worth it.

Michael Dempsey

I live abroad and can just about top rope a UIAA 6 or lead 5 plus indoors and am no 'natural' climber. I want to climb on Alpine routes and to share the lead on outdoor multi-pitches with my more talented girlfriend. I needed this course.

For the first day or two we had 4 participants to 1instuctor (Dave Evans) which was entirely appropriate for activities.
Dave got the best out of my technical potential with bouldering work followed by top roped routes on slate. I surprised myself by climbing an E1. Dave pushed us and built our confidence for leading under supervision later in the week at lower grades.
Emphasis at this stage was on trusting the feet particularly and I found that really helpful.

Cliff climbing and gear placement training followed and there was a lot to learn. Setting up anchors was then concentrated on including an evening session with the excellent James Mchaffie our second instructor who took our instructor - student ratio to 1: 2.

As the course split into 2 pairs eventually so did the course content. For our pair with Dave Evans the focus was on climbing within mountaineering and for the other pair more dedicated rock climbing. E.g. on the last day our pair climbed with some supervised leads up 'Grooved Arete' on Tryfan (Severe). This route included alpine relevant moving together, moving together with runners, friction belays and the like. All super useful, all super relevant to our pair.

I must add that Dave Evans was a big character up for a laugh but absolutely solid on safety all the time. He was also really responsive to exactly what I needed for what I want to do on rock. I was lucky to have him especially as a novice alpinist with Dave having climbed the North Face of the Eiger(!!) earlier in the summer. Thank you again Dave.

fantastic day out

Jeffrey ,Gillian Colhoun and family

The children and i would like you to know how much we injoyed our day out at the centre. The staff were very helpful and this was great for the children and myself as the children had not done anything like this before. Its a pitty that we cant get the same facilities in Northern Ireland. We are sorry that we can only remember one of the fella's names that took us that day his name was Andy, but thats not to say that the other fella wasn't just as good with us and had the patience that was needed to work with us. Just to say again that we could not have enjoyed our day out any more than we did.

many thanks
Gillian colhoun and family

10 out of 10

Conrad Smith

Due to the 1:2 instructor:client ratio I was able to be paired with someone of similar abilities and aspirations. This was a load off my mind. This course has given me the confidence to lead climb (within my abilities) I feel I can protect a climb properly set up bullet proof anchors and I have the beginings of a system that has already proven itself. I know where my rack is dificient and what I need to take up the crag and why. I was given the opportunity to even try some advanced techniqes such as prussiking and rigging up a retrievable abseil. The staff at Plas y Brenin are professional, supportive and commited and where not found to be lacking.

Absolutely Fantastic Week!

Amber Dijkhuizen-Sands

This was my thrid year at Plas y Brenin, and my second time on the performance climbing course. Even though i had been on the same course before the second time was not at all repetitive or boring. The courses are all tailored around you as one or two days in to the week you and your climbing partener are teamed with an instructor to do any level or style of climb you wish.

The instructors we had - Dave Evans, Dave Rudkin, Simon and Keith - played a massive part in making our week as great as it was! Unfortunately, Dave R had to leave half way through the week but nonetheless it was still very enjoyable and im sure i'll be seeing him next year as i'll definitely be going back for my fourth time!(:

The food, the activities, the rooms, the freedom and the people we met were all fantastic. On my course there were six girls and no guys, but we had loads of time to 'socialise' in the evenings!

We had brilliant weather all week except on thursday when it rained in the morning so all the rock was wet for the whole day. We climbed at Tremadog for a bit, but in the afternoon we went back to the brenin and we got to swim in lake;)

Anyone who is thinking on going on this course i would honest to god book it up every time! It could easily have been one of the best weeks of my life with all the action and all of the new friends i have made!



I have had the most amazing week ever!
I had no previous experience at all of climbing or rock's, and i have had the most fantastic inspiring week of my life.
Speaking as a once absolute novice i, would now feel really confident to climb, after only 5 day's!
If you are contemplating taking a course at Plas y Brenin you will not regret it.

loved it

felicity cole

3 months later...got my own kayak, joined a club, sent my son on a course and this weekend am off sea kayaking in scotland. These guys are great - give you loads of confidence. I`m never going to be a white water freak , but i think this sport has something for everyone...thanks guys..

Great Course

Chris Elsworth

Wasn't sure whether I would be out of my depth as came with very little white water kayak experience. Instructors were brilliant - thanks Dan and Adam! Took us through the basics on the Dee and then three days on the Tryweryn, with a few evenings honing up pool rolling. A wonderful mixture of learning and lots of laughter in beautiful environment. We all improved beyond our initial goals. Must pay tribute to the quality of instructors: they really coached each person according to their specific needs - always with a sense of humour! Have got so much more confidence to tackle those rivers I've always wanted to. Plas y Brenin is a magic location - such a good vibe with folk involved in all sorts of courses. Will be back.

Just what we wanted!

Naomi Chowcat

This course did exactly as advertised, giving us the confidence and skills to venture off classic routes and find our own way around in the hills. We were surprised to find that there were only 3 of us on the course - so we got individual attention and plenty of say in what we covered. This was great for us but it seems to be an underuse of the excellent facilities. If you feel it is time to leave the obvious paths or guide yourself instead of being taken on walks, then this course covers what you need to know to stay safe and still be adventurous. It also took us a bit beyond our own expectations so that we felt confident that we were within our capabilities when we put our new skills into practice the following week - we didn't get everything right on our own but we recognised where we had gone wrong and were able to correct our mistakes without getting into any difficulties. For walkers who don't live in the hills but want to enjoy them when they can, this course is a must!

Another great course

Kate Stovell

This was my second visit to PYB. Choose to do the Rock Developer again as the instructor/pupil ratio allows them to tailor the climbing to your own level. Was here with my climbing partner and our teenage children. We all thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days (considering the weather was so bad, the instructors still managed to find us crags to climb). Enjoyed the masterclass on the indoor wall again and we all found it helped us improve our climbing the next day. Would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn to climb outdoors.

Will definitely be coming back again.
Thanks to Keith and all the instructors that looked after us this weekend.

Thanks guys

Chris Ferguson

James and Simon were very impressive this weekend, efficient, friendly and professional throughout. They even got us out on rock, despite the terrible weather, doing their very best to combat the conditions and give us a good experience.
I can thoroughly recommend this course, ideal if you want to get on the rock and do your own leading as safely as possible.

Fun of mountain bike holiday with new skills too!

Andy Coatsworth

I expected a guided tour of natural and man made trails of beautiful Snowdonia, including ones that I would not have even heard of.

What I had not expected, and what made this a really good 5 days, was the expert tuition in both riding skills and bike mechanics. We covered both basic stuff, and how to set our bikes up better for each rider.

I also had not expected a wide choice of courses and food which could have been at a three star restuarant.

A great confidence building weekend!

David Eason

Having years of indoor climbing experience, some sport climbing experience, a little trad seconding experience and having tried a lead and lost my confidence after an unfortunate fall on the sharp end I decided to book this course to learn how to approach trad leading with confidence and gain a better understanding of the principles involved. I was not disappointed and got as much out of the course as I wanted.

Big thanks to Kath my instructor for being very patient and explaining the rope work and gear in a bit more detail. It was reassuring having someone looking over my shoulder (literally, on a static line) as I moved giving me confidence in gear placement and how to approach gear placement. I'd never really set up a bomb proof set of adjustable belay anchors before this and now would be quite confident in placing the gear and adjusting the belay to suit the stance. The first day was spent seconding, placing gear and setting up belays in double pitch climbs at Tremadog, followed by abseil techniques (multi pitch, self protected and stacked abseils) and the second day was spent on a 5 pitch climb at the Idwal Slabs, Ogwen where I led a couple of pitches.

I found that you get as much out of this as you put in so I was keen to ask questions and understand the principles of the rope system and the more inquisitive you are the more you'll take away from this, also going at a pace on climbs that suit your confidence levels.

All I would say is it is a lot to cram into two days and a lot of info to take on; it would have been great to lead more pitches but time flies and we ran out of time on the Idwal Slabs unfortunately and only managed one 5 pitch climb. I would also say it is definitely worth doing a bit of reading up on trad rope work before attending and have a bit of an understanding of the principles of leading so you know what you want to learn and the aspects you need to develop & progress in, which may make the title "an introduction to leading" a little misleading, but nonetheless if you are keen to get "introduced to leading" then this is definitely the course for you if you know a bit about trad and have seconded before. Possibly not for the total novice but as I say you get as much out of this you put in and if you are keen and have specific needs from the course and questions to ask they will get answered.

Great facilities, amazing location and an inspiring weekend - big thanks to the PYB team.

Excellent Course


Excellent Course, did what it said on the tin. The instructors were great and tailored the course to meet the groups needs. Would highly recommend to the indoor climber looking to make the move outside, the course delivers the skills and confidence to do so safely.

A great intro to climbing / leading outdoors

Shabad 'Bud' Chawla

If you're a regular indoor climber with little to no outdoor / leading experience this is a great course. The group size is small (max 4 per instructor) so you're sure to get pretty good personal attention.

When I attended this course with a friend we got lucky in that there were only the two of us so and since we both were of similar experience and skill level it was like personal tuition!

Our instructor Dave Evans was fantastic and we basically got a tailored course to suit our needs, which covered everything from leading / clipping / belaying technique, general outdoor climbing safety, an afternoon of climbing technique tuition and loads more. As indoor climbers we were slightly daunted by the idea of going outdoors but having done this course we now feel confident about climbing outdoors ourselves and are very glad we attended.

Although you can just buy the gear and head out - we're both very happy that we did this course first as there are loads of little tips, tricks and gotchas that an experienced instructor can point out in a short span of time. What we learnt in one weekend would probably take weeks or months if you had to discover it all yourself, plus there's the safety and confidence aspect to consider.

All in all - a fantastic weekend. The facilities at PYB exceeded my expectations - I was expecting a more basic hostel-type experience and with the Welsh weather being kind to us, there wasn't a lot more we could've asked for!

Fantastic learning experience

Dave Falcus

This course provided my first taste of climbing outdoors and it has left me craving for more. The instructors Dave, Guy and Blair were all brilliant and there was just the right balance of climbing under their guidance and explanation of what the different types of equipment are for. Blessed by superb weather we were able to sample crags near Tryfan, bouldering and sea cliffs on Anglesey. I'm not sure where exactly the sea cliffs are (the guys were keen on keeping the location secret) but they were a perfect introduction to this aspect of the sport in terms of height and difficulty. I went back to the indoor wall the day after and it seemed very tame in comparison!

This was my first visit to Plas y Brenin and I was most impressed with the set up. The food was excellent and the staff helpful. Ill definitely be back.

Even the weather was impressive!


Really enjoyable way to explore the Snowdonia area. The first day was a fairly low level walk. We covered navigation skills on this day- understanding contours, use of a compass, pacing. This was particularly fun when we got to hide each others rucksack behind rocks etc and find it by pacing and compass bearings. All were found within a few minutes! The walk was very enjoyable in itself but allowed more time to enjoy views and meet other group members. Also the level of the walk meant that no one was too tired for the next day.

Day 2 was all day hill walking. The instructor allowed more practice in navigation if you wished. I opted to just follow and enjoy the views which was fine. Our group was quite diverse - some members keen to jomp along fast and wait while others took more time to laugh, eat and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

Plenty of time to stop for a photo, a drink or even to celebrate a group members 40th birthday on the summit. If you intend to do this, bring candles because they are very hard to find locally after 5pm!

A brilliant week

Brian Knell

After hearing Mike Raine talk about the mountain environment I decided to come on this course. Mike didn't lead us and in many ways that was a benefit - being with an expert makes you lazy! PYB usually facilitates learning and that was the way our instructor worked and that was just what I wanted. We were taken to the best places to see the rocks, plants, lichens etc. that I have often rushed past without noticing. We looked, photographed, checked some reference books and took information back to the centre to review what we had seen.
I came home knowing much more than when I started the week and with a wish to find out more.
It would have been good if the stores kept a supply of hand lenses for those who need them and if you have binoculars take them with you for the birds.

Well worth the 25-hour flight to get there

Bill Hick

The first morning was spent learning and practicing various skills and the afternoon in the pool learning re-entry techniques and rolling skills.
The next two days we paddled from locations on Anglesey, followed on the fourth day by rounding the Great Orm to Conwy Sands.
The last day we paddled in the Menai Straight. We rode the incredible currents, rested and played in eddies and experienced the excitement of kayaking the Swellies.
Having made the journey from Australia, I was a bit apprehensive about kayaking on the other side of the world. I needn..t have worried.
The other members of the group great, the folk at Plas y Brenin went out of their way to help me settle in and Dave was a terrific instructor.
I will definitely return and try some of the other courses on offer.
Ps: Can I have some better weather next time?


Peter Golledge

Thank you PYB and Phil Dowthwaite for a fantastic prep to the Alpine environment. You nailed this on the head with great classroom discussion and practical teaching and demonstration with patience to deal with a slow learner! I never thought that a plastic ski slope could double as a heavily glaciated environment and the crevasse rescue whilst anchoring off a light fitting was awesome! Yearning for more, eager to get back to the Alps but even though my Kleimheist and French Prussiks are proificient I want to stay above those nasty crevasses! Thanks Phil and PYB for a top course. I will return!

Great course

Simon Hayes

I always have a great time at PYB and this course was no exception.
I can't say i learned to roll by the end of the course but in just 2 days that's not always possible. I did make good progress to getting a roll though and it gave me a good foundation.
The course can teach you all you need to know but perfecting it takes time. Now I need to remember what I've been taught and practice.
The instructors and facilities were excellent as usual.
And thanks to all the staff behind the scenes as well for all the great food.

An excellent course

Helen Knell

This course provided everything we wanted. Our instructor took us to places we would not have known about, both in the mountains and on Anglesey, and facilitated our exploration of the geology and wildlife of the area. We spent our days asking "why, how what and when", not always finding the answers but in the evenings we usually did when armed with books, photos and a computer. It has opened our eyes to what we can see while walking.
If you love mountains and wild places this is the course for you.
PS -before you come arm yourself with a hand lens and some good reference books.

Great course with some fantastic instruction

Crayston Renner

Overall, it was a brilliant course from start to finish... the instructor to pupil ratio was ideal (3:5) as it allowed everyone to be active with an instructor all of the time.

The quality of equipment is super, except the kayaks (mine had a very small crack in the side so kept on getting water in it). The rolling pool is ideal for its purpose, though could perhaps have been warmer, but we were on the move all the time, so kept warm.

The food was great and there was plenty of it!

top notch

john mason

I was led to believe that mike was running the course which was one of my motivations for attending.

I felt the course had been dropped onto the shoulders of the instructor at the last minute.

I think if plas y brenin are going to run courses they should ensure their staff are given sufficient time and training to be expert in the material they are providing.

That said at my level there was more than enough expertise to melt my head completely in 4 let alone 5 days.

As would be expected the level of mountain leadership was exceptional.


Andrew Garbutt

A fabulous week. Lots of learning over the 6 days - it confirmed what I was expecting - practise more on navigation and learn more flowers (environmental)! I feel inspired to get started on those quality mountain days ASAP.

I really enjoyed the wild camp on the expedition and the night nav. - one of the many highlights.

Food and accommodation faultless. Must remember to make use of the climbing wall next time.

Big thank you to Helen, course director, and all the other staff involved.

Great week Nagivating and Scrambling in Snowdonia


Having done a reasonable amount of hill walking and some long guided treks abroad I was looking to improve my skill levels in more challenging environment. The week did not disappoint starting in ideal sunny conditions on Moel Siabod and becoming increasingly challenging through the week culminating in an East gully assault on Tryfan by Friday.

There were 3 or 4 activities that ran through the week; navigation, scrambling, an over night camp, and weather.

It was my first introduction to the precise navigation required in the mountains and it is something that I shall now practice. We did some great scrambles .. no going up on a path for us. The overnight lakeside camp was great - if a little chilly to stay up after boil in the bag dinner.

We were lucky with weather as although we got wet most days we did also get good views each day. We did see snow at 1000m - but what do you expect in June?

If you are considering this course make sure you bring enough warm clothing .. most other things can be borrowed from the stores which has loads of good quality kit.

Thanks to Matt and the rest of our team for an informative and fun week.

Great Week - but some room for further improvement


We had a really great week with the family in May/June. Weather a little mixed but the instructors used the options of different activities to fit with the weather very well.

All instructors were great (especially Dave) all very knowledgeable and all very safety conscious - which gave us lots of confidence in tackling the activities knowing whatever we were ask to do was safe.

Food excellent, worth coming on the course just to be fed. Room good, but we were in the top room 36A and it got very warm with no real way of cooling the room through ventilation due to the windows only opening a few inches; and lots of steps up to the room (56) which we did 10 times a day on average. Well I guess it helped us to burn the meals off. Special mention should go to the stores (inc staff) which were great, friendly and lots of stock to help those of us who don't have all the kit.

Improvements that could have been made (please read these as ways of improving an already great experience further rather than as a criticism):
- as this was a family week I think it would have been better to keep the same lead instructor for the whole week.
- put a couple of fans in room 36A when warm
- I personally felt the group was too large (15 in total), on a number of activities the size of the group meant waiting around for long periods, which was disappointing
- the instructors although excellent could have engaged the group more in deciding options for the day - this did happen to a point, e.g. which fell to climb; but this was limited.
- the brochure we used to book (2010) talked about an over night camp - this clearly had been removed in 2011 which was also disappointing.

In summary, a great week which I would definitely recommend to other families but there is still room for further improvement ahead of the next course.

Thanks for the experience.

A Wonderful Weekend!

Will Shaw

As someone who is actively going to the alps in the next couple of years I thought this course was an amazing introduction to the skills and thought processes involved for such a trip.

I had a wonderful weekend, the trainers, facilities and other applicants were amazing! I will be using plas y brenin for all my future courses.

Hard work but an amazing experience!

Carolyn Kendall

Mountaineering skills is a five day course aimed at those who have experienced summer hill walking but have little or no experience of navigation or map work. There's also an introduction to scrambling and basic rope work techniques as well.

The navigation skills are incredibly useful to those who want a better idea of designing and following their own hill walking routes and would suit those who wants to get off the beaten track. The scarmbling and rope work are really exciting, demanding (for those who have never done it before) and, depending on the weather, can be a real step outside of the comfort zone. Even those who were fitter and more confident walkers than me were placed in 'uncomfortable' situations at times!

The group (there were six of us in total, plus the course leader and an occasional 'trainee leader') also took part in a mini expedition that took us into the hills for a night and gave us an experience of wild camping. Some of us were less than comfortable with the idea of using 'the trowel' to go to the bathroom! This part of the expedition was great fun, except when it started throwing it down (as the Welsh weather is wont to do, even in June) when we were putting our tents up, only to brighten up less than fifteen minutes later.

We 'conquered' seven peaks in five days, learned LOADS of new skills, made good friends, got bitten burned and very bruised- I won't be able to wear a dress for a couple of weeks without looking like I've been beaten), so if your previous experience is that of a few hours on the mountain in good weather (as mine was) and you aren't sure of getting involved in some sticky situations try a gentler course before trying this one. If, on the other hand, you are feeling adventurous- get stuck in!

I can't fault Plas y Brenin or Matt (the course guide). The days flew by, although on Wednesday (2 days in), I wasn't sure how much more I could take. Indeed, it is credit to him and the rest of the group that I managed to get my second wind on Thursday and Friday when we attacked Mount Doom (Tryffan) in style. Matt was inspirational but not in a weird 'American' way- he hardly ever used the word 'awesome' for example. He did, however, give you the confidence to try simple climbing techniques and had a neat line in gentle ribbing to get you to see the funny side when you've been walking for seven hours and your legs are about to drop off. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow without a mountain to climb!

Oh, and by the way, the food here is amazing. You always have more than enough really tasty food to eat AND if you do the right course you simply can't eat enough to replace all the calories you burn up.
Single girls- remember that (on most weeks) females will be heavily outnumbered by males. So, a holiday where you learn new skills, makes lots of friends, lose weight (whilst eating what you want) and meet loads of men? It's a no brainer really!

Thoroughly enjoyable!

Jim Burton

PYB is the 'cats whiskers' (could have been worse). Many thanks to all the staff, I really enjoyed it and will be back for assessment soon. Special thanks to our course director Helen Teasdale who brought a relaxed but highly proffessional atmosphere to the whole thing.


Very Educational and Absorbing


Our course tutor, Lou, was very knowledgeable, particularly on the Geology of Snowdonia. I also learnt a lot about flowers, mosses, ferns, grasses, lichens, birds. We found some trace fossils of trilobites which was very exciting.
The visit to the slate quarries was an unexpected treat.
Perhaps a little more group management needed at times, especially on the airy exposed route up to the right of Devil's Kitchen, which was wet and slippery.
Overall an excellent course.

Superb! Exceeded All Expectations

Phil Cliff

Myself and my two sons (aged 12 and 9) have just returned from the course and have had a fantastic week. We couldn't fault it. The variety, challenge, level of instruction and safety of all the activities was first class. In the five days we achieved/experienced rock climbing (inside wall and outside rocks), mountaineering (walking/scrambling), gorge walking, canoeing, kayacking and orienteering. All the instructors were brilliant, particularly with the kids, and everyone on our course (15) had a great time. We had a minimum of 2 and a maximum of three instructors with us at all times and safety was always a priority but it never got in the way of our experience, sense of achievement or fun. The centre itself is comfortable and a level above basic. The rooms are comfortable and en-suite. the food is good fresh home cooking and the kitchen staff were brilliant; my son is coeliac which means he can't have gluten and it just wasn't an issue. We are definitely going to book another course for next year and would thoroughly recommend this course to all families, irrespective of your specific family unit structure.

Thanks for a great time everyone


Hi All,

Just wanted to say that it was really good to meet you all and I really enjoyed the course. Thanks especially to Tim and Stu for being great guides.

I learnt a huge amount this weekend - coming from a purely sport climbing background, most of the rope work was new to me but it was taught in a a really good (and patient!) way. Lots of practise needed.

Cheers and have a great Summer,


Brought to a different level...

Paolo & Sarah

Course Director Simon Lake 3/5
Very professional, somewhat overly so perhaps, after a day out on the crag, a little too keen to get back to PYB early we felt, and seemed to be a little 'scripted' in his briefings. He didn't seem happy that the group unanimously opted for more leading rather than seconding at Gogarth's sea cliffs on the last day of consolidating our newly found skills.

Course Instructor Luke Brooks 5/5
Luke was outstanding. He coached us on about 4 or 5 leads throughout the trip and showed us tremendous patience, experience, and most of all a knack for teaching climbing in a way that we know we won't forget. We would not have thought that we could have led a 6 pitch HS 5a classic by the end of the course but we did thanks to him.

Course Content 5/5
Very happy with PYB for designing the ideal course to get people confidently leading Trad. It is only due to the weather that we could not visit the sea cliffs on the first few days of our trip. On the last day, we opted for doing more leading although we were given the option to second some VS routes at Castell Helen.

Venue 4/5
Our room was right above the kitchen, which meant it was a little noisy with the aircon running and our room always seemed to smell of fish and chips for reasons out of our control. If you are into your coffee, bring your own, as you will only get a very rather average machine brew at PYB.

Overall 4/5
Brilliant course which does what it says and we were lucky enough to have perfect conditions on all days. We felt a little rushed by the Course Director at times and I would suggest that he cultivated his listening/people skills a bit more. The Course Instructor more than made up for this and we would definetely recommend the course to a friend or go back for further coaching. Thanks to all the other staff including those working in the gear store, kitchen and cleaning for doing a great job. The cakes are duly applauded in past reviews!

Not for Beginers - Good level of fitness especially fore-arms required

Ben Milner

I am lead climbing at VS and seconding at HVS and dont climb regularly.

I think this is probably the minimum level for this course. I was the weakest climber of the 4 on the course and was quite challenged.

Both days consisted of seconding or thirding (if that is a word) up crack climbs which were strenuous. A clear danger of getting too pumped very early on. if not bouldering regualarly or very climbing fit this could be a problem. On the second day I was struggling to hold normal grips and jugs even, which forced me to rely on the jamming!

Both days the Form was a "warm up" on a short HVS - which was a challenge in itself, another HVS but more demanding and then either an E1 or an E2 - with the inevitable over pump and falling off for me! then a warm down VS or similar. Bouldering in the eveing of the first day.

Overall I have significantly improved my confidence in the jamming techniques and awareness of use and got a lot further up the E2 than I thought was possible.

ALthough I am significantly fitter and leaner than when I started to climb, Ihave gone away thinking I realy need to boulder/indoor climb once a week to get the level of fitness required.

Very safe and incredibly quitely competent oversight by the course leader.

Discover Adventure Sports weekend

Mark Brown

Day 1

After introductions it was off to The Pinnacles near Capel Curig for some Rock Climbing. Steve Perry (instructor) set up the ropes, and after a safety briefing we worked in teams to find various ways up the rockface.
As beginners it was very exciting, but always felt safe.

Next, it was back to PYB's abseiling tower ( in the rain !!) for a few decents. Although wet and slippy, it was very enjoyable.
Back indoors at PYB, and with dry clothes on again, we had a couple of hours tackling the climbing wall, taking it in turns to climb or belay.
After tea & cakes, and a change into waterproofs, it was out in the woods for some orienteering. Personally, not my favourite pastime, but we treated it as a walk in the woods, and enjoyed it anyway !
With tired arms, we retired to the bar for the evening and re-hydrated !

Day 2

Weather was much brighter, but very windy, so it was decided that we would join up with the Kayakers, and Canoe on the Llangollen Canal.
Starting 'upstream' from Llangollen, we canoed to, and over, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - AWESOME !!!
Fanatastic scenery along the Dee Valley, and canoeing is very relaxing.

Overall, a fantastic weekend and highly recommended.

Moving Out, Moving Up!


The course was really excellent; here are my highlights:

> Very professional and inspiring staff
> Great food
> Learnt and applied many techniques over the week end
> Great food
> Lots of fun
> ..did I mention the great food?
> Would definitely use PYB again....infact I have already arranged my next visit!

P.S. The food is great as well........!

A great course which has improved my photography


I had done a couple of one day photography courses prior to attending this one, so was happy with the technical aspects of taking a good photo...or so I thought. You don't need any prior knowledge as you get an informative classroom session to get you going on the evening of arrival, but where this course is really worthwhile is in the application of these techniques to get a really good photo, which is what it's all about! Jean takes you to some great locations which all have different attractions and challenges, letting you experiment with framing, exposure and other effects until you get a great shot. With simple, practical advice she helps you understand what makes a fantastic picture during the review session on the second evening. Overall I learnt a tremendous amount and can say without doubt that my photography has improved as a result.

Just do it !

John Davies

We were four strangers,an Englishman a Welshman a Romanian and an Israeli,aged from 25 to 61(me), experiences ranging from total novice to forty years on and off climbing. A mixed bag by anyones definition. Our course director Dave Rudkin certainly had his work cut out. Not helped by a wet and windy four weeks. He did not disappoint.
We climbed at many venues including, Tremadog upper and lower cliffs,Rhoscolyn, Gogarth,slate quarries,The Moelwyns,LLanberis Pass, Ogwen and sport climbing at Trevor rocks and Colwyn Bay.
On the few days when rain delayed or curtailed the climbing we spent valuable time learning rope handling skills such as, escaping the system, assisted and unassisted hoists and setting up a tyrolean traverse. Even on the wettest day the programme was superb with rope skills on the wall then a surprise guided tour of the DMM factory in Llanberis followed by movement coaching on the RAC boulders during a break in the rain.
Dave and his amazing and inspiring team of instuctors can spot a poorly tied knot at 20 metres
and at every stage the emphasis was on sound and safe practice.
As for the centre? Superb food,helpful and friendly staff and a programme of entertaining and inspiring evening lectures.
If you are considering this course, decide what you want from it and tell the course director and they will do their best to make it happen. Just do it sooner rather than later.
With thanks to Dave, Matt, Guy, Emma, Steve, Paul and Simon

John Davies

Very Good Value

Chris Edge

The cheapest laughs on earth we reckoned. Seriously, when two days of beautiful guided walking, a comfy en-suite room and all your meals are paid for, we didn't expect much from the comedians. To be honest we thought it wud ljust be a couple of lads from the kitchen and the barman tell a few gags. But the stand up acts were very professional and it was one on the best nights entertainment we've had in years. We will be back next year for sure.

Wonderful weekend

Olivia Scates

The Discover Sea Kayaking course is simply fantastic. Though the weather was a little windy to venture onto the sea on Saturday, the views from LLanberis Lake of Snowdon and surrounding hills is pretty hard to beat. It worked to the advantage of the group anyway, as we were able to acclimatise. We saw lots of different birds - they seem to be a lot less shy when you are in a boat including what I am told was a Red Breasted Merganza with chicks on it's back. Very cute and very funny when Mum decided to dive! The second day was windy but we were able to venture onto the sea and had a wonderful day of battling against the wind, rock hopping, and again seeing lots of wildlife.

A big thanks to both Daves, our instructors who were great, and knowledgeable about all sorts of things, as well as kayaking.

Spot on!

Chris Booth

The course ticked all the boxes for me, a sound foundation for me to build on thanks to our three fantastic instructors. Clear and precise information was given regarding gear,placements and rope-work such that I now feel totally confident in rigging my own safe systems.

Great accommodation, good food and brill bunch of course mates all added up to a superb weekend, worth every penny. The weather was quite good too! Oh and we got to climb aswell.

Great course


Excellent course led by the lovely Dan. Really enjoyed it and it was just what I expected from the description. Thanks, Dan.

Excellent course

Berni Haddock

This was an excellent course, most of our group had done a little bit but not much kayaking before, so there was a lot to learn. On the first day we tried out a mixture of kayaks, and then did some capsizing in the pool. This was all good fun but quite tiring (not a negative point...got a great nights sleep after that!) On the second day we went for a trip down the canal near Llangollen which was much more relaxed.

Full credit to our instructor Dan, who had super-human patience!

Worthwhile Weekend

James Battersby

Really enjoyed the weekend learning new skills, meeting like minded people and staying in fantastic accomodation. Will be putting serious consideration in the other courses on offer by PYB.

Big Climb Review

Michael H

The workshops at the Big Climb weekend were excellent. The staff were unassuming, engaging and explained everything clearly. The group sizes were small enough for everyone to be hands-on. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed.

I'd had a break from trad climbing for quite a few years, having been lured into sport climbing and bouldering. I'd previously climbed up to HVS in my trad but my techniques were all learned from friends. Right from the off, the workshops showed me there were better, more efficient and sometimes safer ways of doing some things. Its given me the confidence and inspiration to get back to trad climbing.

The food was good, included in the price and there was plenty of it. The accommodation was included in the price too (shared twin rooms) and was clean and tidy. You only need your room as a place to sleep and keep your bags - the rest of the time you'll be too busy learning and socialising. It was great that you could just help yourself to coffee, tea and water whenever you like at no extra charge.

It was my first visit to Plas y Brenin. The centre seemed huge when I arrived and they do a wide range of other outdoor courses - seemingly something for everyone.

All in all The Big Climb was a great weekend spent learning new skills and meeting like-minded people. For me, it was terrific value for money. Highly recommended.

Excellent tuition, rubbish student

Nick Pearson

I'm not sure how the coaching could have been any better. Carl was patient, informative, knowledgeable and understood how novices like me learn. The course was well structured and broken down into bite-sized pieces that really helped me understand what I was supposed to be doing. The fact that I came away without being able to roll was entirely down to my incompetence!

The only negative I'd have would be that the pool was slightly too small (for 3 boats), especially when one was a sea kayak! and it was slightly too deep at the deep-end for a short person to keep turning their partner's boat over.

Great Fun

Leon Winnert

Excellent course and instructor . But there again everything that PYB does and thier instructors are all excellent.

The level of activity and difficulty is tailored to the individual. Push your self, but safely, and experiance a sense of personal achievment at the end of the day. Wow! I just did that. Great.

As a basic hill walker I certainly found that at the end of the two days my abilities and confidence to move over very steep rough ground considerably enahanced. Areas that would have been a no-go for me in the past are not so now. Don't get me wrong there are still many no-go areas for me but the bar has been raised a bit. The limits and boundries have been pushed up wards and outwards which is what doing a course like this is all about.

Couple of tips on gear. Stiff soled walking boots and sticky grip type gloves are very helpfull.

A great weekend

Phil Renwick

A great weekend. Learned lots of useful information which should really make a difference on my climbing trips.

We both enjoyed our course

Martin and Sue Spurling

PYB comfortable as usual. Food up to usual standard.
We both enjoyed our course and achieved the main objective which was boosting Sue's confidence. Pity you are so far away from the paddling area and that so much of the course must perforce be spent travelling.
If you decide to organise a Greenland paddling trip (which we gather is a possibility for 2012) we would both be interested if the cost is not too extreme and the trip is reasonably challenging.

Excellent tailored instruction and choices of crags

Ed Griffen

Dave did a very fine job on this course.
He paced the course just right coping with a mix of abilities and outside experience as well as actual climbing ability. He did a good job assessing our climbing ability at the beginning with simple balance exercises and bouldering, and then moved onto getting us to improve and to learn to set up rope systems.

Dave was confident to let us find and solve problems ourselves, not steppiing in early, but coaching and reflecting back what we had done and questioning us. Clearly local knowledge paid off as on both days despite the excellent weather and the Royal wedding weekend, Dave found very quiet crags for us to practice on.

Dave put the practice first and theory last - an example was we understood the relevance of the details of karabiner strength once we understood in real life how they might end up getting stressed.

At a loss to suggest anything to improve.
Dave is clearly a good climber and an excellent adult instructor.

really great for to get a taster and to flesh out skills

david harcombe

A really well run course, with expert tuition and great accomodation.

Pity we didn't get to see some gear destruction but maybe ne xt time.

overall well worth the money and would come again!!

A week to meet your every climbing need


Climb at new venues? Get slicker? Push your grade? We did all three! We started the week with a chat with the instructor (also Matt, also from Norwich) about what we wanted to do and achieve. Then we did precisely that. The finale for me was my first E1 lead with my 'gear fairy' (aka Matt) talking me through the protection so that I could just then go for that crux sequence! A week tailored to your needs and wants, that left me climbing harder and more efficiently, and wanting more!

Fantastic weekend

Clodagh Myers

We have been 5 times to PYB, and it remains one of the most enjoyable places we visit.
I have never been disappointed by the courses I have done, or by the professionalism and knowledge of the staff there.
This time was no different.
As a triathlete training for an ironman, I signed up to The Monster with a view to using it as a training weekend and also as an opportunity to see a bit more of the area.

Alan and Carlo were our main guides, with Dave and Katie also taking turns driving and cycling. The support vehicle was a great asset, with food supplies plentiful.

The guides as always were so friendly, helpful and cheerful, it was impossible not to enjoy it. The route can be changed to cater for all levels, as one guide is at the front, and one at the back, and this ensures nobody is left behind.

Accommodation as always is warm, comfortable, with piping hot showers. Food was nutritious and the drinks very welcome from the bar.

I cannot recommend this trip enough and PYB in general.

Great Course

Tim Rees

Headed to PYB for the intro to leading course, had already done a little trad leading, but was looking to consolidate what I knew and have an expert look over my shoulder and make sure I didn't have any bad habits. Our instructor Paul was great, and he inspired confidence all weekend. Been home a week, and just spent a day at Swanage putting everything I learned into effect! Thanks a lot guys, well worth the trip.

The Monster was tamed..

Myles Johnson

This is an awesome weekend. If you are thinking "I'm not sure I'll be able to do 100m each day" - then don't be put off ... We had a group of mixed abilities (i.e bike fitness) and Alan/Carlo ensured right from the start that everyone came away happy. We dodged the weather on the first day by doing a 100m jaunt around the beautiful Lleyn Peninsula - well worth the effort. On day 2, the weather was great and we did a shorter (50m) but challenging day focussing on some big hills in Snowdonia. The PYB team tailored the days to match our objectives - it was perfect training for me pre Land's End/John O'Groats later in the summer.

This was the first time PYB had run the course and I would strongly recommend it to those who are regular road cyclists. The scenery is amazing and the knowledge & enthusiasm of the PYB team makes it a real pleasure. We even managed to get in a bit of white water kayak training to cap off a great weekend...

Fantastic Course

Dr Paul Griffiths

I had a great week at PYB and would recommend this course to anyone. We covered multiple rock types, and mixed it up with a bit of trad climbing to widen the experience. I would recommend the slate to anyone, i am already planning a return trip.

A big thankyou goes to Tim the instructor who was great, and I would also like to thank all the other staff who made the stay enjoyable, especially the catering staff - the cake was worth it.

an exhausting but fun weekend


This is an excellent first step from indoors to outdoors.

We were taught to try and lose the bad habits formed on an indoor wall, warm-ups, how to balance, how to use your feet more than your hands... Then we learnt how to safely find your route from above, the basics of setting up a belay system, good gear placement, what makes a good anchor... After some climbing we headed back to Plas y Brenin for tea and cake and then onto learning about the knots we would need to setup our own belays. That was day one.

For day two we went to a different crag were we went through the use of a guidebook and how to identify routes before we went on to setup our own belay systems before the excellent instructor, Dave, made sure we would be safe on them.

After a couple of climbs, we moved on to a more difficult crag to setup and climb.

There was hardly a time that we weren't learning something and Dave was more than happy to answer all questions that we had.

All in all, the instruction was first class. The food was also very good, the room was very comfortable with a new en-suite bathroom and the indoor climbing wall is air-conditioned.

I only had 2 complaints - most importantly, the peanut butter and jam butties were made with crunchy peanut butter and room 61 has noisy air conditioning fans, that switch off about 11pm, directly outside the windows. But that was only a problem on the Friday night. On Saturday night, I was asleep in seconds.

I will definitely take another course at Plas y Brenin, in fact, I've spent all morning trying to decide which one!



Booked onto this course with little experience in leading, but by the time the course came around I was tentatively leading VS. Therefore i was worried that the more advance course would have been a better choice, how wrong i was. By the end of the weekend, i had eliminated any concerns regarding gear placement and anchors, led a HVS route and seconded both an E1 and E2! The accommodation and food are both top notch all set in a location to die for. Finally I'd like to thank Tim Neill, and the other instructors for completely making the weekend the epic adventure it was.

Excellent Course

Helen Sheard

This course could have been tailor made for us, it covered everything we were concerned about and was delivered by someone who had been to the expedition destination we are travelling to this summer.
If you are taking young people on expedition and will be near water I highly recommend this course, it will get you thinking and make you far more aware of hazards and solutions.


Andy Smyth

With some trepidation I signed up for the 5 day Introduction to Sea Kayaking course during early April 2011. I hadn't been in a Kayak for some years and memories came flooding back of capsizing all too frequently.

PYB provided all the necessary equipment and in a Force 5 gale the first class took place on the river at the back of the centre... the capsize was an inevitability!

5 days later I was confident on the water, had developed a basic knowledge of rescue techniques and will never again look out to sea without taking in the conditions, the shape of the waves, the direction of the wind.

Dave Simpson did an excellent job of patiently policing my enthusiasm on the Menai Straights and provided the entire group with a thorough overview of the safety issues that must be given consideration when venturing out onto open water.

By the end of the week I was sufficiently 'Hooked' enough to purchase the Kayak belonging to the Course Director Pete Catterall and have now completed 2 circumnavigations of the Gt. Orme in Llandudno, albeit on nice sunny days with calm seas, gentle breezes and good visibility.

My thanks must go to Dave, Pete and the team for what was a very informative and practical introduction which has provided me with the confidence to get out there paddling! Thanks guys.

Good learning and adventurous experience

Richa Gupta

It was a very entertaining experience. Learnt the basic skills of paddling and definitely look forward to continue the learning in future. The location of the institute is exceptionally superb all surrounded by lakes, trees and mountains. Loved the concept of Tea/coffee and Cake in the evening after the training sessions. If one likes paddling then kayaking is definitely the sport for you.

Brilliant weekend

Derek Clark

Went with a friend and we were a bit apprehensive at first due to only paddled sit on top kayaks for the last 4 years and had never experienced capsizing in a spray deck
But after a couple of hours in the boats and a few swims confidence grew and we were soon paddling our first rappid.
All this was due to the excellent coaching we recieved from Chris who's knowledge and patience filled you with confidence.
By the end of the two day course we had progressed much further than we anticipated,and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The centre provides great accomadation, food and a friendly atmosphere,you won't go hungry.
thanks for a great weekend and we will be back.


Clive Redding

An absolutely brilliant weekend. Great walking, fantastic weather (cold but beatiful), super company, tasty beer and a really, really enjoyable might's comedy on Saturday. It all felt very friendly and inclusive. Like we were just at a giant house party. Can't wait to come next year. I expect to see stand up comic Jonny Awsome on Televsion before too long - he was outstanding

25-29 April 2011

Ian, Cameron and Amelia Scott

We had a wonderful week at PYB. This was mine and Cam's 2nd visit (2005) and Milly's first visit. The website and brochure reference a camp out night but we didn't do it this week or previously. This is what we did:

Monday: Rock climbing, bouldering, abseil tower, climbing wall
Tuesday: Orienteering at PYB and then ski slope
Wednesday: Snowdon hill walk
Thursday: Open canoe and kayak at PYB
Friday: Sea levelling, Rhosneigr Angelsey

We loved Monday and Wednesday the best and Tuesday the worst, mainly because we had a 'fill in' instructor because ours couldn't teach skiing and Milly had a few falls, and hurt her wrist! Thursday and Friday were very enjoyable also but difficult for Milly to fully participate because of her wrist sprain.

The food was again excellent, all credit to the catering staff for great quality and variety of menus. I would like to see some salad options as well if we come again. The packed lunch options are fantastic, perfect for restoring energy levels throughout the day.

Our instructors (not skiing) - Dave and Helen - were fantastic and struck the right balance between safety and pushing us individually to get to the next level. Cameron progressed really well on the bouldering with Dave and Milly paced herself on her biggest ever mountain walk!

The facilities for adventure sports are superb and the location is simply stunning. All the staff were friendly and helpful, particularly in the stores area.

We shared a 3 bed room, which was a good size. Our only complaint was the shower which had constant running water even when switched off (not good at night time) and we had to get maintenance out to fix a leaky tap. Otherwsie everything was fine.

Suggestions for PYB:
Take out the ski element and add in mountain biking or a nature/treasure hunt around the lakes - there is so much wildlife. In time, a swimming pool where the ski slope is and a gym/sauna would be good additions.

Suggestions if you are thinking of going:
Don't be put off by any particular activity or the schedule, it is very flexible and most of the activities can be changed to suit individual needs - the instructors are very good at listening to what you want and adapting the course appropriately
Take plenty of water bottles
Casual/walking gear for the evenings is fine (no one dresses up!)
Only O2 seems to get any signal at PYB so be prepared to use the payphone. There is wifi in the bar area if you/your kids need to get on line.
When you queue for your dinner make sure you get a starter and main in one go, or you'll end up queueing twice!
An ipod is a good idea for any journeys in the minibus
Take a good book, you do get a bit of spare time between 5 and 7 and 8 and 10 usually.
Explore the immedaite area around PYB - the woods and headland down the side of the lake are beautiful
Take some games/cards for the kids
Pack plenty of ibuprofen if you're over 40!!


Rolling clinic 23rd-24th April 2011

Miles Bradshaw

Extremely happy with the course. I attended a rolling clinic a few years ago, but Carl had a different approach and teaching style which has enabled me to make the next step forward. I now have some degree of confidence in orientating myself and positioning the paddles underwater. Its just a case of further practice in different situations.

Carl was a very good tutor, who inspired confidence in me, was friendly, enthusiastic and approachable. He encouraged further development throughout the clinic, but did not push me to do anything I was not ready for. He allowed enough practice time for me to reinforce what I had just learned and did not progress ahead too quickly for me.

I wish to express my thanks to Carl for a very worthwhile and enjoyable two days.

Safe Hands

Jane Corrigan

I did a rock climbing course at PyB many moons ago and went on to have loads of great days in the hills. For me, it was a place which was utterly professional yet completely laid back and it helped me to get rid of (some of) my own hang-ups about what I could & couldn't do. That was all great - but even better was, today, watching my son affected by the same qualities.

Today was just a taster day, but to an 8 year old boy it was huge. When asked to say what he thought in one word, he chose "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". As ever, the teaching and the ambience was relaxed but completely switched on and fully responsive. It is fantastic to see how the centre continues to evolve.

For anyone thinking of taking their child to a taster day, have a look at the vast ranges of courses on offer which might follow on. Trust that your child will be in safe, inspired hands and will have a real adventure.

A Grand Week Out

Anne Brunger

This 5 day course was perfect for me to extend my experience and gain confidence. I was challenged to do more than I ever thought possible and always felt supported and safe. Although the main focus was sport climbing some trad climbing and gear placement was included - very useful as sparsely equipped routes can still require a small rack to protect sections. I feel that I have been equipped to take my climbing further now.

If you are thinking of taking this course it is worth while fitting in as much preparation as possible. Climbing for 5 consecutive days takes a toll on muscles and skin so the fitter you are the more you can get out of it.

Complete Navigation Jan 2011

Dermot Maxwell

Brilliant course, I was lucky in only having a small group so we all had plenty of practice. by the end of the week the skills being so well implanted by Mike were becoming second nature. Mike tailored the course to suit our requirements, for us we didn't want gps instruction so we did more compass and map practice with a little taster of crampons and ice axes thrown in for interest. Our night navigation evening gave us a wonderful sunset on top of the Glyders followed by a magnificant full moon!!
Highly recommend this course, the centre and the staff.
Will be going again to do a different course later this year.

Thank you so much!

Hilda Richardson

I Just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU! to James Mchaffie for a fantastic five days. I learned so much! I actually started climbing out doors a couple of years ago when I had a big birthday. I done quite a bit that year but not much after that. As life was challenging me in other ways. I recently started going to a local indoor wall to get climbing fit before coming on the course. I wanted to learn how to lead climb indoors and out. So that It may be easier to find a climbing partner. James covered everything I was hoping for. Actually, he covered it several times :-) he was very patient. And eventually it finally all clicked. We climbed in the wet, in the sun, in doors,and on a sea cliff. It was amazing. I had such a wonderful time. I have already ordered one guide book, picked out another to order tomorrow and even been in to my local out door leisure shop and asked them to price me up a rack of gear and some ropes. I am so excited I can't wait to get out there and climb. Thank you James! I must also say at this point a thank you to Nicola who also helped out on day one and Guy who helped out on day four. Also all the staff at Plas y Brenin . We were looked after so well and fed like kings. Oops! and Queens.
Thank you all very much.
I will be back!

Great weekend's coaching aimed at individual's needs

Justin Major

This was a fantastic two days in which I achieved exactly what I wanted, ie to develop my lead climbing and give me the confidence to consolidate at a higher grade. Dave, the instructor, was enthusiastic, attentive and very capable of matching the varied requirements of his 2 clients. His exhaustive knowledge of the area enabled him to make ideal choices with regards to the crags and climbs we attempted. Brilliant. Many thanks!


Wendy Carlyle

I'm very much a learner when it comes to the techie stuff on my digital SLR but I needn't have worried. This course has something for everyone interested in being outdoors in beautiful surroundings with your camera. We were a mixed ability bunch but that didn't matter, our 'teacher' Jean knew the subject inside out and delivered at a level which was easy to follow and gave instant results. We changed locations several times during the weekend and shot mountains, streams, waterfalls, lakes, a slate tip,a graveyard and brilliant sea scoured bits of wood on a quiet beach. Essential things to bring are a tripod and kneeling pad for getting down to different levels, plus sun tan cream and hat for if you're lucky enough to get a sunny weekend. Plas-Y-Brenin is a great base with its own spectacular views from the bar and plenty of good food. Thankyou PYB and Jean for a fantastic weekend, I just have to process the 300+ shots now!

Fantastic classic walking weekend !!

Linda Lawes

Just returned from the best 2 days walking.
Being fairly close to 60 ( no really I am ....) I was not sure I could cope with 2 days hill/ peak walking.
I am a bit fit- swim most days and walk as well, but only usually on the fairly level.
This 2 days proved that given encouragement (in spades) and help (where needed) I could climb 2 of Snowdonia's wonderful peaks and see views unimaginable (well we did have the best 2 days of weather this year! )
Having brought wet weather gear, we did not even have to use base layers.
The instructor (young enough to be one of our own) was great, neither too pushy or patronising so made me feel that I could manage the hills.

I am so glad I did this, I am now eager to try more challenges, possibly PYB should start some over 60's waking weekends as well - a great way to boost your confidence.

We stopped whenever we needed to and adjusted out boot laces (for a rest) got back in good time and fine spirits to the PYB center for a good evening meal and beer.

Food good and company and beer great.

Would recommend it to all ages

Excellent Course for someone lead climbing at VS or HVS

Peter (Ben) Milner

Firstly the Instructor Dave was excellent. He calibrated the various experiences to cover a variety of matters and diagnose the level of my experience and help progress the development areas. On top of that he helped me go beyond my previous experience which is always nice!

In particular we:

1. Climbed on slate for the first time.
2. Led a VS as a warm up and then - top roped on a short E1 , but placing gear as if I was leading. A very clever exercise.
3. Introduced me to a bolted climbing experience and really picked an interesting climb which allowed for positive holds on an intimidating 6C culminating on a challenging move - all the more so for being at the top of the climb. Fell off that a few times!
4. Also fell off an HVS lead at the crucx repeatedly - allowing Dave to pinpoint my crucial errors and get me focused on what I was doing wrong - which I was not aware off.
5. He gave me a short bouldering lesson to improve my footwork and balance - significant learnings for me and has given me something to work on.
6. Next day, on a change of rock to ignious, cemented the crucial skill of how to set up for the crucx leading a VS and then:
7. Finished up with seconding an E1 - which took 100% of me to only just manage.
8. A particular safety insight was provided regarding the belay plate in certain circumstnces. Before and after the lead climber gets in the forst protection above the belay anchor. Slightly disturbing that this was an insight for me! - but - it underlines the usefulness of the expert oversight. I am now alive to this issue.

Overall, very challenging and left me with a sense of acheivement and a good sense of my limits and matters to focus on.


Everything that it says on the tin + a bit more

Ted Malden

A very lumpy mattress long past its use by date & a room with noisy refrigeration units directly outside the window. This was very poor. Everything else about the accommodation & domestic facilities, food ,cleanliness, etc, was very good.

The Course; Good equipment, good facilities and the instructor appeared to know what he was doing too. Managing a group of disparate people whilst they engage in a new, challenging, sometimes stressful activity in occasionally adverse conditions always has the potential to make an interesting day at the office. Chris Evans handled this with complete aplomb.

However, whilst enjoying our PYB lunch sheltering on the lake shore from the wind and rain another group (not PYB) paddles up to take lunch in the same location. This group..s instructor promptly produced a stove and kettle and provided her students with a hot beverage. Mr Evans reaction was to suggest they had booked the deluxe package. So whilst Mr Evans may have excellent paddling/life saving/teaching and managerial skills, he still has some way to go in the hospitality department.

Fantastic 5 days


It didn't rain... at all... none... so we went to the Dee - a lot!! Well every day however lack of rain clearly not PyB's fault.

On the plus side we ran the Serpent's Tail several times and Llangollen Town Falls - the low levels made both technical - bragging rights on that we decided. Then we practised at JJs - and all of us went into and escaped from the dreaded stopper of death and surfed on the bottom wave....result!!!!

The tuition is what makes this worth the trip, they really are fantastic - Dan and Adam spent the first two days building everyone's confidence and then Chris took over from Adam while Dan carried on...I don't know how he stays so relentlessly encouraging in the face of my occasional complete ineptitude and general chickeness, but he does. When by we started showing a bit more courage they went from cheerleading (and gently pointing out what we were doing wrong) to encouraging some of us to try stuff we would have found pant wettingly terrifying on day 1..and gently dissuading others of us who were determined to hurl themselves into danger to get a few more skills under their belt first... and also started taking the mick... great fun.

The group was great, the food was great.. basically if they ran this every month and I was loaded (with masses of holiday time I would go every month) eventually it would rain ...

The Hills are Alive .. with the sound of Music!

Richard Menhinick

My daughter Kate and I are keen amateur musicians and don't get much 'quality time' together now she lives away from home. I spotted this course on Facebook and called her to see if she fancied a weekend away doing something a bit different. It obviously appealed because we were among the first to book up for the course!
Our first challenge on arrival was being booked in to a shared room - despite booking seperately from two different addresses and emails explaining that I was coming with my DAUGHTER! Oh well .. it was soon sorted out and we were despatched by the helpful receptionist to opposite ends of the building!
Our second challenge was finding our rooms. PYB is a bit of a rabbit warren with stairs and corridors all over the place and an interesting line in helpful signs which 'forget' blocks of rooms leading you round and round in circles! A layout map of the accommodation would be really helpful for new arrivals guys :)
Having found the rooms, I was really impressed with the quality of the accommodation - clean, comfortable and warm (a bit too warm for me - I have no heating in my room at home and sleep with the windows open all year round .. but that's just me ... and the window did open nice and wide!)
Settled in, we hit the bar and found that 'bar snacks' means an amazing menu with some great meals - just as well because we were starving - and excellent local beers. We met up with some of our fellow walker/players and ended the evening with an impromptu jamming session in the bar with several guitars and my trusty melodeon (button accordion).
After a good night's sleep we met up again for a hearty breakfast and then joined all the other weekend residents in the lecture room for the day's briefing. Kate & I opted for a "Gentle" walk because I'm recovering from an injury and still have knee and ankle problems.
Saturday was a perfect sunny day and we set off with our group for a 'gentle' walk along the Afon Lligwy to Betws Y Coed. The walk started well, nice steady level track, then some fields by the river, and then after a lunch stop entertained by a hungry horse and a cute foal, we started to climb steadily up through the forest passing the amazing Swallow Falls on the opposite side to the eponymous hotel. Plenty of water in the river thanks to a very wet winter, so the falls were spectacular.
On we went .. and on ... and on this gentle walk was nearly 9 miles!
The Alpine Cafe in Betws was a VERY welcome sight, as was the minibus to take us back to the centre for tea cakes and entertainment by a local young singer/harpist.
After our excellent dinner, we assembled in the lecture room which had been transformed into a concert hall for the evening's musical merrymaking. Some excellent local musicians set the scene for the varied and entertaining musical evening. A great mix of country, blues, traditional folk and a few indefinable numbers made for a great evening. When the main session ended, we adjourned to the bar and jammed till past midnight.
Slightly fuzzy headed and somewhat stiff, we enjoyed another excellent breakfast before deciding the level of walk for the day. A few brave souls opted for the 'intermediate' but most settled for another 'gentle' walk round Llyn Idwal. "Much shorter than yesterday... a nice level walk around the lake". Nobody mentioned the climb up to the lake of course!
Not such a good day weatherwise we got the waterproofs on and took to the minibus. Luckily the rain had eased to a drizzle by the time we arrived and we were soon trudging up the hill trying to make stiff limbs move. The scenery was spectacular with all the rain making sure that the dozens of waterfalls off the mountains were putting on a sensational show. I soon forgot my stiff legs and started to enjoy the view.
When we eventually returned to the bus I was very glad that I didn't follow my first instinct (to bottle out of the Sunday walk) because to have missed that walk would have been a tragedy.
We ate lunch back at the centre after which I elected to rest while my uncharacteristically energetic daughter (!) went for an hour's climbing inctruction on the indoor wall.
All in all a brilliant weekend, friendly and incredibly helpful staff, great company, outstanding catering - they even coped with my daughter who is vegetarian and lactose, wheat and gluten intolerant (!!) - comfortable accommodation and excellent facilities, and of course the beautiful welsh mountain scenery.
Would I come again?
Of course I would!

Well good day out!


We had a great day. I enjoyed canoeing and getting very wet but my brothers liked climbing the best. The ski slope was fun because it has bumps and things to go round. The instructors were very nice and friendly. We are going to come again and bring our cousins as well next time.

Quite an eyeopener

Dave Williams

I learned a lot more than I expected on this course bearing in mind it was a cheapo last minute course.

Everything you need to know, nothing you dont!

Chris Hillidge

As usual with a PYB course all the content was strictly related to real life situations and how to deal with them. No marks lost for incorrect use of safety pins etc as it can be on some First Aid courses.
Told us what to carry in a useful mountain first aid kit and what might be useful to keep a party of kids happy too!
Overall a great course, just hope I dont have to use any of it!

The Big Christmas Walk

Colin Little

Attended the big christmas walk which was an excellent chilled out weekend and given the elements the brenin staff proved to be very flexible in enabling people to meet their personal goals for the weekend by keepingn the course content under constant review. The guide for my group was Paul both days and his personal style was laid back while still teaching as much as was appropriate given the group and the conditions. This made the days on the hill enjoyable, informative yet still challenging.

Best Christmas Ever

Kathryn Rickers

Have just returned from a fabulous weekend at PYB! We knew it would be a good one, having done a walking weekend in the summer, but it really did surpass our expectations. I know the staff at PYB cant take credit for the weather, but the extreme snow fall on the Friday night helped to making the weekend such a sucess.
As always the staff at PYB were fab, picking us up from Betwys when we couldnt get the car any further in the snow, digging a path up to our room and generally being friendly, informative and professional. This attitude was across the board from the reception staff, to the groundman, servery staff and instructors. And those mince pies we had on the Saturday aftrenoon were seriously THE best mince pies ever!
If any of you reading this were unfortunate enough to have had to cancel this weekend because of the weather, you missed a great weekend, so see if you can get on the one in January, you mightnt get the mince pies but im sure the rest of the weekend will match up to this one.
Many thanks to Keith, Adam, Dino and all the staff for laying on such a fab weekend for us, Merry Christmas!

A Big Christmas Gift


With meals, accommodation and 2 days of guided walks / skills sessions, at £150 I felt the weekend was good value for money.

After eating way too much and doing far too little over Christmas I was really keen to get out there and blast some cobwebs away. Picturing a weekend of walking in crisp, frosty conditions or perhaps even snow, what I was not prepared for was two days of continuous rain. On the first day I opted for 'winter skills' mainly because I harbour an ambition to summit Mont Blanc one day but have not yet walked in crampons / with axe etc. The leader, Simon, did very well to give us a full day of skills in the very very damp and dreary conditions. Due to luck rather than organisation, there were only four in our group so we had great leader:student ratios!

Where I was a little disappointed however was the second day - here I opted for the 'challenging' walk. We left the centre at 10am and finished at a cafe by about 1.30pm. Whilst I realise that it is unwise to go into the hills in the weather conditions we had - walks can still be made challenging by the distance you cover (something I am well used to doing, living in Surrey!) So, it would have been nice to stay out longer on the second day.

That aside, I found the food good, accommodation clean and equipment in a good state. Most people on the course were in their 30s to 40s and had come alone - I found it very easy to socialise and make friends. I would probably go to PYB again but perhaps on a different course.

Second time around - even better!

Rachel Kearns

This is my 2nd time on a Scottish Winter Mountaineering course with PYB. I was a last minute entry due to a late cancellation. My first thought was yes, then I thought will I learn anything. The answer - a big FAT yes! I didn't think it could be better 2nd time around but it was.

Not only were we blessed with magic weather (no one can take the credit for that) but I was pushed to new heights and taken completely out of my comfort zone. I learnt new skills and came away a more confident and capable Winter Mountaineer.

Stu MacAleese was our group leader. He asked us on day 2 if there was anything anyone of us wanted to see or do. I casually mentioned wanting to do some scrambling and he delivered.

Day 2 and 3 we made the ascents via a scrambling section. It was amazing and I absolutely loved it. I've never done Winter Scrambling before, had a moment or two when I felt genuinely nervous (s**t scared!) and will definitely do it again - it was so exhilarating. Let's have IT!

It was great to get a recap on avalanche awareness, crampon and ice axe usage and just generally spend time in the hills with the PYB boys.

Great Course

ron wellbrook

Enough said

Excellent course

Tom Watson

Top flight from start to finish. All fascinating and confidence building stuff. Well done PYB - I will be back.

No water, but a great week

Sasha Jesperson

Although the rain gods didn..t smile on us, and we spent 5 days on the Dee, our group had a fantastic week. Every day Chris came up with new skills we could work on that made the same stretch of white water seem challenging in a whole new way. Since finishing the course, we..ve even noticed how sneaky Chris..s coaching was, as were still learning from comments he made.

Since the course I..ve been much more confident in my paddling skills and keen to try them out on some harder rivers. We..ll definitely be back for the next step up!

Outstanding tutors and centre

Jonathan Ellis

I arrived at PYB with no pre conceptions. I had obviously researched a bit on the web but I was unsure of what to expect. I was hoping that the course would cover what I needed it to but was unsure as to how it would be covered comprehensively given the lack of ..Alpine. conditions. I was genuinely shocked at what fantastic value the whole experience was. I left feeling that I could not have chosen better course content that fitted my personal goals and experience. The facilities and catering were a lot nicer than I expected and I felt comfortable during the whole stay. The food in particular was really good.

I was also surprised at the quality of the hire kit and received some great help and advice both from the stores personnel and my instructors.

I will definitely be coming back to PYB for further courses and have enquired about lodging there for future trips to Snowdonia. I will highly recommend the course and PYB centre to anyone who asks.

Last but not least I would like to say a big thank you to both instructors, Simon and Rocio. Like all good teachers their knowledge and enthusiasm was infectious and they were always approachable to for questions. We spent most of our technical training with Rocio and the whole group agreed she was a fantastic guide and tutor. She was clear and concise in every instruction and was able to quickly apply all the theory to situations she had personally encountered. We all thought her ability to draw on her obvious experience and apply real life context made it a lot easier to understand the instruction and retain the knowledge learnt.

Great weekend. Thanks

Great Course for brushing up on winter skills

Stewart McWilliams

Was a great course with superb instructors. Even though there was no snow I still learnt alot about crampon use, winter navigation and had a great day out in on Glyder Fawr on the Sunday.Would recommend.

It's snowing and I'm still sweating!

Ian M Foster

The Winter Skills course will teach you more than just being safe in the winter envirinment. It will equip you with knowledge of snow types and the risks associated with avalanche and what to look for both underfoot and as importantly what's happening above you.
The key to self-reliance and the twitch that says "maybe I'm out of my depth" means that you should actually take notice and get the hell out of Dodge, the survival instinct is youor greatest safety equipment.
How to walk in and out of crampons on various surfaces and how to self arrest using the ice axe, drills are all important although pretty good fun they're what give you the underlying confidence to venture further in to the snow line.
The guys at PYB are some of the most highly qualified and unassuming guides that you're ever likely to meet/walk with. They will never push you so hard that the summits become a chore and treat each individual seperately whilst moving the team as a whole unit, inspiring the cohesion of the groups success.
I couldn't praise their diligence and sense of humour in these mountains highly enough.
A course well worth attending no matter your concept of your own abilities or personal experience.

A great week of climbing classic routes


This was a fantastic week of climbing. Having previously done an introductory course to winter climbing, this course followed on really well. The routes we selected throughout the week were always at the right level and allowed for progression and improvement in skills, but the focus was always on getting out climbing.

The week started on Green Gully grade III and ended on Hadrian's Wall grade V 5, and we were able to get out climbing every day. The knowledge and professionalism of all the instructors at PYB is excellent. I highly recommend this course for people who either want to get out climbing, or to improve on skills you already have with experienced instructors.

A big thanks to Matt for a great week.



Having my own understanding of the experienced-novice relationship from the other side in another area, and after several days recently with activity guides, I'm reminded to come back and comment on what a class apart the PyB training guides are. Thanks, Helen and Lee!

I had an excellent couple of days, had all my technical questions answered satisfactorily, from self-arrest demonstration in minus six to a range of gear considerations, and with a subtle but apparent eye being kept on the group at all times.

While the weather conditions may not be guaranteed, the quality of the training is, and for that reason alone I'm looking forward to booking another course in the next year or so.

In case anyone's wondering, it looked a lot like this.

Cracking course !

Simon Nattrass

An absolutely brilliant course which went over far, far too quickly.

A few points from the week:

* TripAdvisor gives some very mixed reviews for HF Holidays House at Alltshellach, many of which are unjust in my opinion. The accommodation is excellent, the meals are huge (I wasn't hungry once the entire week), facilities such as a drying room and PYB stores (free hire) are available. Oh and there's now a TV in the bar.

* On the first night, meeting the other attendees I did think the course sizes were a bit on the large size, but there are several instructors per course so the student/instructor ratio is about 3/1 which worked well.

* Having a mix of instructors allows for multiple opinions or suggestions to be taken on board regarding kit, skills etc... which is a great learning environment. The instructors are very approachable and have many years of experience under the belts which is reassuring for us newbies to the winter hills.

Days on the hill are long, but a good attitude and general fitness is the key to making the time enjoyable rather than just having to endure it.

Make sure you take your swim wear - the jacuzzi comes into its own to soothe those aching muscles!

This is my first PYB course and I'm very impressed and will probably be looking to book another in the near future.

Fantastic Course

Clare Ridgley

I spent a very enjoyable weekend learning how to use crampons and an ice axe in Feb 2011. Our course leaders Helen and Lee were great, very knowledgable but friendly and relaxed. I came away feeling much more confident about walking in the hills in the winter. The accommodation and food was fantastic as always. Thanks for a really great experience!

A Top Weekend with Top Coaches

Simon Allen

As the third of the Norfolk Four, I can only echo what Pete and Tom have already said below - come on this course and you'll leave a better paddler, without a doubt. This was our second time on the course, but it certainly won't be our last.
The main strength of the course is that it's completely syllabus-free. This means that the coaches can tailor its content to suit your needs really well, so the benefits are easily seen. Our first day, spent on a 16 cumec Upper Tryweryn, was brilliant, we spent loads of time perfecting the skills we already had, and we were soon styling it down a surprisingly quiet river. The second day, on the Llugwy from PYB to Forestry, was excellent too; as well as furtheringtechnical skills we covered a bit of river-reading and leading, and even had a crack at Cobdens at a nice medium level, which was really great. It would have been even greater if we'd run the main line and not the 'canoeing line' - the chicken chute!
All in all the weekend was fantastic. Pete Catterall and Chris Evans were hilarious - they got stuck in with the coaching and the banter in equal measure, the centre itself is great, the food is delicious, the rooms peaceful (apart from the snoring. And the midnight trumpet...) Sign up - you won't regret it!

Excellent Weekend again

Pete Sykes

Another fantastic weekend with Pete C and Chris E. We paddled the Upper Tryweryn on 16 cumecs and after a night of rain the Llugwy from the centre down. The week was physically quite tough but I gained loads from the coaching and I found that my paddling was improving greatly as the weekend went on.
The evening lecture by Pete was really good and gave us lots of Swiss Ball exercises and drills to do when back home........... on the flat.
This was the second time our Norfolk gang had been on this course and we will definitely will be returning next year for a pre season tune up. I really cant say enough good things about this course.
I would say though to get the most from the course it is best that you can at least paddle to the grades recommended as you will gain so much more from the course if you can concentrate on the techniques and skills being taught rather than just hanging on by the skin of your teeth. Our gang gained loads from being on rivers we had paddled before and really working them hard. Highlights were running the Upper Tryweryn with nearly double the amount of water in it im used to and finally getting the courage up to run Cobdens Falls (even if it was the chicken chute. Top tip - dont spend to long in the Brenin Bar on Friday night as the course hits the ground running.
Text book boating weekend again. Thanks to Pete, Chris and all the centre staff.

Complete the weekend and become better paddler than you are now. FACT!

Tom Ralph

This is my second year on this excellent course. First with Dino then Pete; both guys were just the best to paddle with. Confidence and technique were concentrated on all weekend. The tuition is bespoke to what you want and need. I have come away a better and happier paddler.
Well done chaps. Well done PYB. See you next year.

A Fantastic course

Olly Quinton

As the boys have already said above, this is a brilliant course to attend if you are a solid G2/3 paddler looking to improve on your paddling skills, timing, tactics, river reading and confidence. Our instructors for the weekend, Pete Catterall and Chris Evans were fantasic in providing top quality coaching, and were happy to adapt the course to suit the individuals needs/aims. They are also a great laugh! It's the second time I've been on the course, and each time I've come away having learned something new whilst brushing up on some of the basics, but always I've come away smiling from such a great weekend! As for the centre, the rooms are warm and comfortable, the food is brilliant (as is the bar!) and you can hire the latest kit from the stores if you've forgotten anything. Overall, I can't rate it highly enough and I'll certainly be back next year.

Does what it says on the tin!

John Evans

Great paced course where the Instructor (Carl) took us through a range of exercises that on the surface appeared unrelated, which culminated in coming up without even realising it.

From then on bits were added to refine individuals problems. With only 3 on the course there was no hiding place and we were all physically knocked out by the end of the second day. Carl's relaxed style and insistance to concentrate on the basics resulted in a worthwhile experience and a solid foundation to work from for the future.

Would recommend it to anyone - Thanks

I'll be back!

Adam Turner

An absolutely great week, I was sad to leave!

Although we didn't have a lot of snow, our instructor found some regardless, allowing us to practice all of the neccessary skills. I have never learnt so much in the space of one week. The evening talks were also enjoyable and informative.

The centre itself is fantastic, with good facilites such as the drying rooms after a day of rain! And the food was amazing!! All the members of staff that I spoke to during my stay were all really friendly.

All in all I would not hesitate to return, a fantastic week!


Simon Whittle

As I didn't have any real winter walking experience I learnt a lot from the Scottish Winter Mountaineering course and can whole-heartedly recommend it to anybody who's used to going out in summer or mild weather and is looking to learn the essential skills that are used in winter.

The staff were knowledgeable, friendly, experienced and full of good advice. The accommodation and staff at the hotel were also excellent.

A great couple of days in the mountains


Not much snow, but lots of ice and very crisp weather with clear blue skies, made for a great couple of days in the mountains.

Helen and Lee were fantastic guides, getting us to learn the basics and then let us loose on some routes that we would not have dreamt of taking without the right equipment, support and guidance. At all times, I felt safe, and we were allowed to go at our own pace.

A must!

Great Course

David Robson

Really well put together and successful weekend under the expert tutelage of Chris Evans. As is often the case there was a mix of previous experience, and I have generally found people aim low when bidding for courses at the Brenin. My course selection has always been driven as much by my availability as to the course pre-requisites! Consequently 2 of us had a hit and miss roll and I had none, but Chris managed the whole learning experience really well, pacing it so that we gained the maximum from the sessions, using video and so on.

Net effect - I went from no roll to one that is reliable roll on both sides!

Has give me confidence to walk in the winter

Donna Elder

I was lucky enough to be involved in the Cotswold outdoor Winter Skills course, and I was in the hillwalking group.

I had never underestimated Winter in the mountains, and was always a summer walker. This course has given me the confidence to venture out on my own in the winter, something I would have never done before.

Our Mountain leader Phil was just fantastic, and tought us everything we needed to know. He was very patient and supportive, and was always giving us positive feedback.

A word of warning though. I thought that I had a decent standard of fitness.....lets just say that this course pushes you to your limit, and deffinately makes you "did deep". Also I thought I had a head for hights, after climbing many of the peaks of Snowdonia. There were points of this course where I panicked a little at the sheer exposure of our position on the mountain.

Fantastic course, Fantasic Instuctors, Fantastic location.

Thanks guys.

Teaching navigation

Marcus Richardson

A very good and well run course. Lots of very interesting strategies for engaging learners on this subject. a end of course certificate for CPD would have been beneficial.

What an experience

Fruzsina Horvath

I'm back from Scotland and had a really great time during this 3-day course. The instructors are really nice guys with great sense of humor; their knowledge and experience is so amazing. The hill walking was awesome, so the places they took us and the view from top of the hills was absolutely fantastic. They made my week and actually made me feel I wanted to climb!

Mountain Equipment /Gore/Cotswold Outdoor Course

john geoffrey george green

This was a marvellous course. The PYB staff were extremely professional but also approached their work in a very human way. Phil Dowthwaite was the leader of my group and he was truly excellent - you have every right to be proud of the way he goes about his work.
Andy Turner also spent some time in my group and he was also very very good. He worked really well with Phil.
The accommodation was excellent and the food was wonderful with plenty of choice.

10 out of 10

Mountain Skills


I would recommend any of the winter PYB courses to anyone who has aspirations of becoming a winter walker/mountaineer. I quickly gained the knowledge and confidence to safely travel in winter conditions without a guide. The cracking sense of humour combined with a bewildering amount of experience and knowledge made learning quick and easy.

100% inspiring!!!!

Adam Hutchison

Last week I attended the Godfrey Jackson memorial course for Scottish winter mountaineering and I'm absolutely astounded by the amount of skills and confidence I have gained in such a short periiod of time. The week was crammed full of exciting activities including the bagging of two winter munrows and an excicting ropework and achor session at the foot of the Bens north face.

The instructors seriously know their stuff! Both Tim and Cath were always willing to answer any questions we put to them about any aspect of mountaineering. They both filled me with confidence enthusiasm for the mountains, aswell as setting a standard for where I wan't the level of my mountaineering to be, although being even half as good as these guys is a tall order!!