The people who will make your experience come alive!

Sam Sykes

CEO & Founder

Sam’s experience with the DofE and outdoor education means that each course that we run will have been developed with him directly. Sam also makes sure he meets with as many of our customers as possible to ensure that their requirements are matched by his team.

Sam set out in a small second hand van with no other staff, in his parent’s spare room a few years ago now. He armed himself with a clear ambition which he continues to develop to this day. He spends most of his time developing business opportunities and ensuring the high standard of delivery on our courses, which he prioritised from day one.

Victoria Sewell

Office Manager

Victoria was one of the first Sam Sykes™ full time staff members. The difference her role and actions made is why we are one of the leading expedition and development companies in the world.

Victoria runs the day to day operations of the office from customer bookings, finance, business development and communicating with our customers. Victoria will usually be your first port of call as a customer and in her extremely capable and professional hands, you can enjoy the peace of mind which our existing customers have made us famous for. Victoria is based at Sam Sykes™ HQ in Kendal.

Dougie Walker

Expedition Manager


Kristine Cruse

Expedition Manager


John Martin

Expedition Manager


Duty Managers

Duty Managers

Our duty managers have overall responsibility for certain courses. When your course is developed you will be introduced to your duty manager as the main point of contact.

The duty manager will oversee the professional delivery of your course and be available at all times for any changes to the plan or emergency situation.

Course Directors

Course Directors

Course directors are responsible for the effective delivery of your course as it happens – on the ground. A course director may be one of the instructional staff working with a group, or be ‘floating’ on larger programmes where they can be more effective in dealing with the day to day challenges of your dynamic course.

All course directors are senior members of our instructional team with years of experience and judgement from which you can feel assured and relaxed.

Contracted Instructors

Contracted Instructors

Our contracted instructors do the lions share of delivery when it comes to our courses. These exceptional people will have been selected by Ian and Sam to be highly qualified, professional, cool under pressure and most of all inspirational ambassadors of Sam Sykes™.

Our contracted instructors have very high levels of qualifications, soft skills and experience to be part of the core Sam Sykes™ team. In addition to our rigorous requirements many of them will have pushed adventure at the highest levels and in some cases be sponsored athletes in their sport.


Freelance Instructors

Freelance Instructors

Our freelance instructors work with us on a much more flexible basis than our contracted instructors but will still go through the same rigorous selection process with Ian before they deliver any of our courses.

Like all of our staff they are chosen on the merits of their capability, experience and professionalism to be offered a place on the Sam Sykes™ team.


Technical Advisors

Technical Advisors

We have a number of technical advisors with whom we develop our operating procedures and risk assessments. One of our main advisors is Phillip Poole IFMGA mountain guide who has decades of experience operating at the highest levels in our sector.

Our perpetual drive to ensure the Sam Sykes™ systems continue to set the benchmark, means that we constantly review our approach and research current advice whenever possible. All of this hard work means that our customers can enjoy the peace of mind that Sam Sykes™ has it covered.

Stuart Sykes MBE – Sam’s dad

Stuart Sykes has been involved with young people and the DofE for over 40 years, meaning Sam became involved from the word go.

By the time he was a young man, Sam was using the experience gained to organise expeditions himself, both in the UK and around the world.

Setting up Sam Sykes Ltd in 2009, Sam’s aim was to create the world’s best DofE expedition company and, only seven years later, we now work with schools and organisations across the globe to provide unforgettable experiences for thousands of young people.

With a firm focus on ensuring all participants are safe while enjoying the most exciting adventures, the company can now genuinely claim that Sam has made good on his aim when he started out.

Here’s just some of the benefits you get from working with us:

Fully Licensed

We have always developed our systems, procedures and risk assessments to surpass the requirements of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authorities, meaning we are the benchmark when it comes to safety in our industry.

Ahead of the game

As organisational members of the Institute of Outdoor Learning, we are aware of all developments in the education industry, which then informs our approach to what we provide.

Wearing the best to be the best

We have a commercial relationship with the world’s leading outdoor equipment manufacturer, Mammut, whose tradition of quality and innovation matches our own.

Approved provider

As you would expect, we were one of the first companies in the UK to become a DofE Approved Activity Provider, and we work closely with them to ensure all of our activities exceed their requirements.

Fully insured

By holding public liability and employee liability insurance with BAHIS, we are fully covered to provide all of the activities we offer, while we can arrange personal accident insurance for all participants through the DofE scheme.

DofE Expedition Management

“I recommend him highly to anyone looking for a company to do outdoor training…I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

DEPUTY HEAD – St.Georges, Ascot



What our customers believe motivates the Sam Sykes team.

Bronze DofE Documentary

Bronze DofE Documentary

In November a group of school children from inner-city Manchester, set off to the Lake District to begin their Duke of Edinburgh adventure. For many it was their first time in the countryside.