Matt Groves

Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Adventure Tourism Management and BSc (Hons) Adventure Performance and Coaching, Fort William

Matt GrovesBackground

I have been at West Highland College since 2006, and have helped pioneer the development of the School of Adventure Studies and its suite of programmes.  I came here from an active and varied 17 year career in the outdoor sector, which has been driven by an on-going passion for all forms of mountain sports; particularly rock climbing, hill walking and mountaineering, as well as skiing and paddlesports.  Through these interests I have fostered an equal passion for understanding the modes of delivery of these skills as a professional coach and practitioner.  My career has taken me abroad and throughout the UK, as well as experiencing a huge range of professional contexts and client groups, from adventure education and management training to ski guiding and winter mountaineering.

Teaching Responsibilities

Introduction to Outdoor Pursuits Performance (Year 1)

Introduction to Skill Acquisition and Coaching (Year 1)

Developing Outdoor Pursuits Performance (Year 2)

Coaching and Adventure Leadership (Year 2)

Risk and Incident Management (Year 3)

Psychological Aspects of Adventure (Year 4)

The main teaching contexts of these modules are in the core theories of sport science (physiology and psychology), as well as practical skills training and the background, pedagogy and practice of coaching, leadership and outdoor adventure education.

Other Professional Roles and Responsibilities

I am also responsible for the programming and provision of all practical outdoor activities and National Governing Body Award courses.  I represent the Adventure Studies department on the College-wide health and safety committee, and am a member of the Scottish Adventure Activities Forum (SAAF).


My current research interests are in the psychology of decision making in complex environments.

In November 2014, I presented the research paper “Risk perceptions, attitudes and behaviours: perspectives on transceiver use in Scottish mountaineering,” at the 3rd International Adventure Conference in Sogndal, Norway.

Academic Qualifications

BA (Hons) Sport and Recreation Studies, Staffordshire University, June 1995

PGCE Outdoor Activities, University of Bangor, June 2000

MSc Managing Sustainable Mountain Development

Highest National Governing Body Awards held.


Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC)


BCU Foundation Safety and Rescue Course Provider


UKCC/BCU Level 1 and Level 2 Coach Course Tutor


Level 3 Coach, Sea Kayak


Level 3 Coach, Open Canoe


5 Star (Open Canoe) training completed


White Water Safety and Rescue


Level 2 Powerboat


Cave and Mine Leader training completed.



General Teaching Council for Scotland: fully registered, Outdoor Education and Physical Education

Association of Mountaineering Instructors (full member)

Scottish Canoe Association (full member)

What is your main outdoor interest?

I am always happiest out climbing or skiing on a big mountain, or paddling in my open canoe, either on my own, with family or with friends. Underneath it all though, I expect you’d find the word “climber” written through me like a stick of rock – it’s where the inspiration began, and what I’ll always go back to!

More recently I devote most of my spare time to life’s greatest adventure, bringing on my two new junior apprentices, Finlay (born 2008) and Torrin (born 2010)!


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