Adventure with Abernethy

Abernethy is one of Scotland’s leading outdoor centres, where adventure awaits every pupil and teacher. We spoke with CEO, Mike Causey, about bringing education outdoors and how their Explore programme helps to do so.

Established in 1971, Abernethy has been delivering outdoor learning with a twist for almost 40 years, offering classes a chance to access education in the great Scottish outdoors.


“We talk about adventure – that’s what we love to do,” enthuses CEO, Mike Causey. “Adventure can be 10 minutes from your front door or a couple of hours away up a mountain.

“We love to provide children with an opportunity to learn more about themselves, how they relate to others and how they understand the world around them.”

Abernethy CEO, Mike Causey

Abernethy’s four centres around Scotland (Ardeonaig, Ardgour, Barcaple and Nethybridge), deliver exciting opportunities for pupils to learn in an outdoor environment, and for teachers to gain skills they can utilise in their own classroom.

“It may be that we put pupils on a zip wire, and it may be that it takes them a long time to step off,” Mike continues. “There are huge amounts of challenge and fear. But, we work closely with [students] to show them that all the challenges we present are doable.

“Students learn a lot about their own measures of confidence, their character and what’s possible with the people around them helping them.”

From archery and bushcraft, to kayaking and zip-wiring, adventure begins as soon as you arrive at Abernethy.


Through their Explore programme, Abernethy connects the lessons learned in the outdoors to the Scottish Government and the Curriculum for Excellence’s policy on religious observance.

“We look at spiritual matters, how we consider them and how that connects to the great outdoors and the world around us,” Mike explains.

“The Explore programme is a short programme, usually in the evening, which builds on the activities during the day and emphasises a particular topic: this could be fear, anxiety or identity, for example.”

Explore sessions take the form of presentations, music, quizzes and competitions, and offer pupils and teachers the opportunity to reflect upon the lessons they have learned earlier in the day.


“It’s lively, it mixes and blends a number of different learning styles,” says Mike. “We’ll point to what we’ve been doing during the day and if a session is on fear, we’ll point to times during the day when they might have felt a little bit of fear.

“We’ll talk about what it was that might have been able to reach out to – a friend, or one of the instructors – and then we’ll talk about what they were afraid of, and where they found their confidence.”

The Explore programme creates links with morals, values and how we live our lives, utilising the Christian tradition in particular, to enable development and progress, all while overcoming fears and taking part in escapades the whole class will enjoy.

“Being in the outdoors involves our whole being: not just our mental acuity, but our emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing as well,” concludes Mike.

“Let us help and partner with your school. It’s not just us delivering a cookie cutter programme: we want to help you meet those outcomes that are unique to your school and your pupils.”

To explore how Abernethy can work with your school, visit their website here.

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