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About Us

Challenge the Wild is the brainchild of ex-army officer Dan Searson and Senior Expedition Instructor Sigal Bar-Ilan.

Driven by a mutual love of exploring the outdoors, and a shared professional background in team leadership, they wanted to use their skills to help teams and individuals achieve what they never thought possible. Dan and Sig are supported by a large team of experienced staff, all of whom are ex-military mountain leaders and rock climbing experts. Their role is to guide, support and encourage guests, giving them the confidence to rise to every challenge. Each staff member is experienced in getting the best out of people and all are qualified in health and safety and first aid.

Dan Searson – Challenge Director

Dan Searson – Challenge Director

Dan has spent the past twenty years exploring the outdoors. During his ten-year military career, as an Army Officer, he was deployed to Bosnia, Kenya and Iraq and led expeditions to the Pyrenees, Machu Picchu and Mount Kenya.

Since returning to civilian life, Dan has worked as a mountain leader, successfully guiding teams across the UK, Europe and Africa, notably across the Picos de Europa and Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain, The Alps and up Mount Kenya. Dan was recently part of a team that led a group to the summit of Mont Blanc.

Sig Bar-Ilan – Challenge Manager

Sig has devoted her life to the outdoors, learning valuable survival skills along the way. Her vast experience includes leading groups on treks all over England, Wales and Scotland and up mountains in the Sierra Nevada in Spain, South Africa and the French, Italian, Austrian and Swiss Alps.

Like Dan, Sig was part of the team that successfully led a group to the summit of Mont Blanc. Sig prides herself on getting the best out of her clients and being able to push them further than they ever thought possible.

Nia Zakria – Operations Manager

Having just come back from a year of travelling to some beautiful countries including Morocco, Turkey and France, Nia is here to help more and more people to experience Challenge The Wild, reminding our customers of the true beauty of the outdoors – something which is easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life.

Nia is very spiritual and loves a good adventure in the outdoors. She’s studied Tourism and plans to see more of the World.

Pete McAtee – Mountain Leader

Pete served as a corporal in the army for ten years during which time he was deployed twice to Afghanistan and faced jungle warfare in Belize, Kenya and various other places around the world. He’s also paraglided in the Pyrenees, sailed in Germany and Denmark and completed multiple parachute jumps. Since leaving the army in January 2016 Pete has pursued his love of the outdoors, working as a team leader on multiple events around the country and assisting on an expedition to the Alps.

Paddy Cave – Technical Team Leader

Paddy Cave holds the Mountaineering Instructor’s Certificate, the highest UK certificate available.

His experience ranges from UK summer and winter climbing, to alpine climbing, and Himalayan expeditions, often as the expedition leader, tackling some of the major peaks of the range and helping clients fulfill their dreams. He has completed 14 first ascents of peaks in the northern Himalayas and has taken clients out trekking and climbing all over the world.

Oz Challis – Senior Mountain Leader

Austin, or Oz as he prefers to be known is an experienced Mountain Leader who has travelled to places like India, Chile, Costa Rica, Morocco, the Alps and Pyrenees.

Oz’s greatest strength is working with groups of all ages, especially when there’s a sense of challenge to overcome. He’s had plenty of practice with his two daughters who he regularly coaxes and encourages up hills and rocks.

John Leightley – Senior Mountain Leader

For the past 10 years John has spent as much time as possible exploring the outdoors, whether on two feet, two wheels or in the water. He’s travelled extensively and lead groups up numerous peaks around the world including an expedition to Mount Toubkal in the High Atlas Mountains.

Innes MacDonald – Technical Team Leader

Innes has spent the past 15 years inspiring groups and individuals on the mountains. He firmly believes in the beneficial impact that adventures in the outdoors can have on any individuals, teams and organisations.

Over the years Innes has led expeditions to Peru, Borneo, Morocco, China, and organised challenge events, in a mixed range of terrains and climates, throughout Europe and UAE.

Events Available

We offer events for companies and charities, and open events for individuals and groups of friends, these take place across the UK and Ireland.

You’ll be able to experience activities such as waterfall jumping, canyoning, rock scrambling and abseiling. And if you’re staying overnight you’ll get the chance to sleep under the stars, cook meals with basic ingredients (no meat or fish) and take part in our very own food taste test!

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