Meet the Venture Force Team

CORE TEAM

Meet the core team!  If you would like to get in touch with us please visit our contact page.
Graham Nepal (2)

Graham McDonald

Company Director + Expedition Manager

Graham has been involved in overseas expeditions since the early 1980s, and has led expeditions to many of the destinations we currently journey to.

A teacher by profession, Graham has worked extensively in the field of outdoor learning and has an in-depth knowledge of the ingredients required for a successful school trip and, more importantly, how to deliver them.  Add to that his long time involvement in Mountain Rescue he is ideally placed to deliver safe and successful adventures.

Graham is really at home in the mountains – give him a tent and a ration pack and he’ll be happy!

Tom Tuckwood V3

Tom Tuckwood

Company Director + Expedition Manager

Tom’s passion, experience and qualifications stem from a childhood love of the outdoors, an extensive career in Scottish Mountain Rescue Service, leading and managing in excess of over 100 overseas expeditions and a background in International policing.

Tom has led expeditions all over the world to locations that include Alaska, Ghana, Nepal, Sumatra, Morocco, Mongolia, India, Vietnam, Namibia, Botswana and Ecuador. This depth of experience enables him to oversee the formulation of exciting, fulfilling and fun adventures, courses and projects using safety as a baseline.

It’s impossible to keep him tied to the desk though!

Chris J V2

Chris Jopling

Senior Expedition Manager

Chris started planning and leading expeditions worldwide in 2002 and has gathered a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Extensive personal travel and expeditions to places including Mongolia, Nepal, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Norway, Tanzania and India have equipped him with the skills to safely facilitate expeditions in the most demanding of environments.

Following a 24 year career in the British Army, Chris now spends his time leading expeditions, training and assessing Duke of Edinburgh’s Award teams, delivering team building packages and occasionally working as a ski instructor.

He is determined to avoid getting a ‘proper job’ for as long as possible

Susie 3

Susie Chesher

Systems & Compliance Manager

Susie joined Venture Force in 2018 and has 19 years of experience working in office administration, gained mainly through working in the Higher Education sector.

Susie can usually be found running, hiking or scrambling up fells in the Peak District.

Her passion is trail running and she competes at distances from 10k up to 100 mile ultra races.  She has previously run for England at ultra-distance and has one of the fastest UK womens off-road times for running 100 miles.

Susie is happiest when she is outdoors and believes the muddier she is, the better the day she’s had!

Kate V1 sc

Kate Reynolds

Office Administrator

Kate is the most recent addition to the Venture Force team, joining us as our office administrator.

She has extensive administrative and organisational ​experience gained as an officer in the British Army and as an administrative professional in the financial and recruitment sectors.

She has three (fabulously bonkers outdoorsy) children, one (equally bonkers) husband and a (very bouncy!) dog who all love to get away to the National Parks as much as possible.

Kate has a plan to climb as many of Europe’s highest peaks as she can from her 21st (ahem!) birthday onwards.

IMG_1497

Steve Bolton

Company Director + Business Manager

Venture Force is the fulfilment of a joint vision spawned many years ago. Throughout Steve’s life he has travelled extensively and visited many different places, always venturing ‘off the beaten track’ never following the typical tourist route.

The experiences Steve has gained and the many people he has met along the way have spurred him to develop those early ideas, realise a boyhood dream, and put his ideas into practice.  Combining Steve’s 25+ years of business knowledge with the experience and outdoor skills of his business partners has created the perfect blend of skills, experience and enthusiasm!

Graham has been involved in overseas expeditions since the early 1980s, and has led expeditions to many of the destinations we currently journey to.

A teacher by profession, Graham has worked extensively in the field of outdoor learning and has an in-depth knowledge of the ingredients required for a successful school trip and, more importantly, how to deliver them.  Add to that his long time involvement in Mountain Rescue he is ideally placed to deliver safe and successful adventures.

Graham is really at home in the mountains – give him a tent and a ration pack and he’ll be happy!

Tom’s passion, experience and qualifications stem from a childhood love of the outdoors, an extensive career in Scottish Mountain Rescue Service, leading and managing in excess of over 100 overseas expeditions and a background in International policing.

Tom has led expeditions all over the world to locations that include  Alaska, Ghana, Nepal, Sumatra, Morocco, Mongolia, India, Vietnam, Namibia, Botswana and Ecuador. This depth of experience enables him to oversee the formulation of exciting, fulfilling and fun adventures, courses and projects using safety as a baseline.

It’s impossible to keep him tied to the desk though!

Chris started planning and leading expeditions worldwide in 2002 and has gathered a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Extensive personal travel and expeditions to places including Mongolia, Nepal, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Norway, Tanzania and India have equipped him with the skills to safely facilitate expeditions in the most demanding of environments.

Following a 24 year career in the British Army, Chris now spends his time leading expeditions, training and assessing Duke of Edinburgh’s Award teams, delivering team building packages and occasionally working as a ski instructor.

He is determined to avoid getting a ‘proper job’ for as long as possible

Susie joined Venture Force in 2018 and has 19 years of experience working in office administration, gained mainly through working in the Higher Education sector.

Susie can usually be found running, hiking or scrambling up fells in the Peak District.

Her passion is trail running and she competes at distances from 10k up to 100 mile ultra races.  She has previously run for England at ultra-distance and has one of the fastest UK womens off-road times for running 100 miles.

Susie is happiest when she is outdoors and believes the muddier she is, the better the day she’s had!

Kate is the most recent addition to the Venture Force team, joining us as our office administrator.

She has extensive administrative and organisational ​experience gained as an officer in the British Army and as an administrative professional in the financial and recruitment sectors.

She has three (fabulously bonkers outdoorsy) children, one (equally bonkers) husband and a (very bouncy!) dog who all love to get away to the National Parks as much as possible.

Kate has a plan to climb as many of Europe’s highest peaks as she can from her 21st (ahem!) birthday onwards.

Venture Force is the fulfilment of a joint vision spawned many years ago. Throughout Steve’s life he has travelled extensively and visited many different places, always venturing ‘off the beaten track’ never following the typical tourist route.

The experiences Steve has gained and the many people he has met along the way have spurred him to develop those early ideas, realise a boyhood dream, and put his ideas into practice.  Combining Steve’s 25+ years of business knowledge with the experience and outdoor skills of his business partners has created the perfect blend of skills, experience and enthusiasm!

Our Technical Advisors

Our Technical Advisers help us keep our teams safe in the field by ensuring that our Risk Assessments and Standard Operating Procedures are fully compliant with Industry best practice.

Steph Ami sc

Steph Ami

Stephan is an experienced bushcraft instructor and manager, with over ten years’ experience delivering bushcraft activities both as residentials and onsite at client locations around the UK. He is committed to providing outdoor experiences that are safe, fun and create memories that last a lifetime.

Prior to forming his own company, The WildOutdoors, Stephan worked as the operations director for the largest provider of bushcraft courses in the UK, managing over 250 employees across several geographically dispersed locations. He was responsible for course management as part of this role which included health and safety in its entirety. He gained the necessary NEBOSH qualifications in 2015.

MDevlin

Mike Devlin

Mike is a lifelong adventurer, having carved a career for himself in the outdoor industry and in Coaching Paddlesports. From the age of 11 he has taken part in, then instructed and guided in all Paddlesport disciplines and a wide range of outdoor sports from Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Down Hill and Cross Country Skiing, Caving. Over the years he has spent much time on the rivers and in the mountains of Europe, North America, Canada and the South Atlantic. He has worked with young people using the outdoors as both a learning and development platform, and has led trips to the Himalaya, Africa, Norway, North America, Svalbard, the Falkland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

While Director of Coaching for British Canoeing he has developed safety and technical standards and qualifications for the sport.

Jas Hepburn 2.jpg

Jas Hepburn

Born and brought up in Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland the landscape and the sea have been integral to Jas’ being so it was inevitable that the outdoors would become his professional workplace as well as his playground.

After graduating from Jordanhill College, as a teacher of Physical Education, Jas spent a large part of his professional life working in the field of outdoor learning in a range of settings including schools and colleges, Glen More Lodge (Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre). Working at The Joint Services Mountain Training Wing in Ballachulish, Glen Coe, Jas has trained and assessed outdoor leaders for National Governing Body Awards.

He has climbed, paddled and skied extensively in the UK and abroad including skiing and climbing in the European Alps, canoe expeditions to Canada, and climbing in Africa. While in Africa he successfully guided an ascent of Batian Peak, the climbers’ summit of Mount Kenya.

Neil Ritchie

Niall Ritchie

From a young age, Niall loved to be outdoors. Family weekends in the Braemar area led to exploration further afield as a student and meeting like-minded friends at college cemented this. Niall taught PE and was Principal Teacher Of Guidance at Banchory Academy in Deeside. This allowed the chance to accompany students to such wonderful places as Chamonix, Iceland, Alaska and Nepal.

Through climbing, mountaineering and general travel Niall has been to the USA, Thailand, Kenya and New Zealand. This said, nowhere beats Scotland on a good day, whether it be winter climbing at the Dubh Loch, ski touring in the Cairngorms, cragging on the sandstone cliffs of Reiff, sea kayaking along the Buchan coastline or cycling the Hebridean Way. It doesn’t get much better!  Niall is particularly proud of his Mumro bagging, with one remaining to ascend out of 282.

Paul Taylor V2

Paul Taylor

Paul is a former soldier with 26 years of service around the world. He is a jungle warfare instructor and has trained soldiers in Borneo, Belize and in Sierra Leone where he spent a year running a battle school near the Liberian border.

He is now a mountain and expedition leader who, when not travelling, enjoys fell running and ultra marathons, having completed the Marathon des Sables, the Brecon Beacons Traverse and was joint first in the inaugural ‘Hadrian’s Hurdle’ race along Hadrian’s wall. Paul also works with Team Rubicon UK, a disaster relief charity and has deployed with them to Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia, the British Virgin Islands and Mozambique. 

Stephan is an experienced bushcraft instructor and manager, with over ten years’ experience delivering bushcraft activities both as residentials and onsite at client locations around the UK. He is committed to providing outdoor experiences that are safe, fun and create memories that last a lifetime.

Prior to forming his own company, The WildOutdoors, Stephan worked as the operations director for the largest provider of bushcraft courses in the UK, managing over 250 employees across several geographically dispersed locations. He was responsible for course management as part of this role which included health and safety in its entirety. He gained the necessary NEBOSH qualifications in 2015.

Mike is a lifelong adventurer, having carved a career for himself in the outdoor industry and in Coaching Paddlesports. From the age of 11 he has taken part in, then instructed and guided in all Paddlesport disciplines and a wide range of outdoor sports from Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Down Hill and Cross Country Skiing, Caving. Over the years he has spent much time on the rivers and in the mountains of Europe, North America, Canada and the South Atlantic. He has worked with young people using the outdoors as both a learning and development platform, and has led trips to the Himalaya, Africa, Norway, North America, Svalbard, the Falkland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

While Director of Coaching for British Canoeing he has developed safety and technical standards and qualifications for the sport.

Born and brought up in Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland the landscape and the sea have been integral to Jas’ being so it was inevitable that the outdoors would become his professional workplace as well as his playground.

After graduating from Jordanhill College, as a teacher of Physical Education, Jas spent a large part of his professional life working in the field of outdoor learning in a range of settings including schools and colleges, Glen More Lodge (Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre). Working at The Joint Services Mountain Training Wing in Ballachulish, Glen Coe, Jas has trained and assessed outdoor leaders for National Governing Body Awards.

He has climbed, paddled and skied extensively in the UK and abroad including skiing and climbing in the European Alps, canoe expeditions to Canada, and climbing in Africa. While in Africa he successfully guided an ascent of Batian Peak, the climbers’ summit of Mount Kenya.

From a young age, Niall loved to be outdoors. Family weekends in the Braemar area led to exploration further afield as a student and meeting like-minded friends at college cemented this. Niall taught PE and was Principal Teacher Of Guidance at Banchory Academy in Deeside. This allowed the chance to accompany students to such wonderful places as Chamonix, Iceland, Alaska and Nepal.

Through climbing, mountaineering and general travel Niall has been to the USA, Thailand, Kenya and New Zealand. This said, nowhere beats Scotland on a good day, whether it be winter climbing at the Dubh Loch, ski touring in the Cairngorms, cragging on the sandstone cliffs of Reiff, sea kayaking along the Buchan coastline or cycling the Hebridean Way. It doesn’t get much better!  Niall is particularly proud of his Mumro bagging, with one remaining to ascend out of 282.

Paul is a former soldier with 26 years of service around the world. He is a jungle warfare instructor and has trained soldiers in Borneo, Belize and in Sierra Leone where he spent a year running a battle school near the Liberian border.

He is now a mountain and expedition leader who, when not travelling, enjoys fell running and ultra marathons, having completed the Marathon des Sables, the Brecon Beacons Traverse and was joint first in the inaugural ‘Hadrian’s Hurdle’ race along Hadrian’s wall. Paul also works with Team Rubicon UK, a disaster relief charity and has deployed with them to Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia, the British Virgin Islands and Mozambique. 

Our Expedition Leaders

Our leaders are specially selected because they are highly experienced and qualified to lead our expeditions. Below are some of our amazing expediton leaders, out and about adventuring!

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