Your safety is of paramount importance.

I want you to have a fantastic experience that you will remember for the rest of your life – not a nightmare of a time worried about whether you are going to get home alive.

To that end all the equipment that I use is scrutinised and checked before, and after, every trip out. If there is any doubt at all about the integrity of any of my equipment it is either downgraded (e.g. a rope with a nadge could be shortened and used for scrambling, top roping or abseil tat) or it is binned entirely. You are paying not only for my professional expertise but also for some of the best equipment that money can buy. It is not an area where I scrimp and make do – it’s just not worth it.

I try to make sure that the course that we design together is appropriate and, where relevant, suitably challenging. To that end we have to bear in mind that we are often going in to a potentially dangerous environment and that there may be a lot of objective dangers for us to take in to account – especially in winter.

There may be, therefore, times when our plans will have to change slightly but this is done in consultation with you and I would let you know my thoughts about why we should consider a change of plan – so it is also a learning experience for you. This usually would only come about because of the weather or snow conditions, but there may be other considerations to be taken in to account such as other parties, time of day, tides etc

Having said that there are times when accidents do happen. Hopefully nothing serious but it’s just a fact of life that you could twist your ankle whilst trekking or someone at the crag may drop a karabiner on us. But worry not for I am ready for every eventuality that may arise and always maintain a valid first aid certificate. I am also a very active climber and mountaineer and, being a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, I am up to date with current trends and practices. Rest assured that you are in very safe hands.

In this country we have excellent Mountain Rescue Teams who will come and help people down from the mountains and rescue lives. Having said that does your mortgage company know that you partake in ‘dangerous sports’? In actual fact they are not dangerous, I will ensure that you are safe at all times, but the perception is that they are risky ventures – so it’s worth making sure that all your insurances, health schemes and policies would still pay out if you received an injury and weren’t able to work for a few weeks.

When we go abroad it’s a different matter all together and you need to have accident and emergency insurance to cover not only delayed flights and lost luggage but also medical expenses and, for Himalayan ventures, helicopter rescue. You know it makes sense.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. All that I’m saying is that you wouldn’t dream of driving a car uninsured and that we should be thinking along the same lines for other areas of our life. Insurance isn’t for when you have an accident it’s just in case you have an accident – there is a difference.