Geckos alumni: Doug

Doug joined Geckos with his best friend when they were both boisterous nine year olds. Doug’s parents had understandably been keen (desperate) to find an activity through which they could direct his exuberance and energy. That he would try to climb anything in sight probably made their decision an easy one.

Douglas Duncan

Doug is now one of our most popular instructors, no doubt because he’s still over-flowing with exuberance and energy and still determined to climb anything in sight. He has been instrumental in helping provide an opportunity for some of the older Geckos (and ex-Geckos) to build on their skills, by organising summer climbing trips to northern Spain.

Geckos t shirts

Kids traversing in Geckos shirts

We have a small number of the popular Geckos t shirts still available. Made by Earth Positive, they come in good quality, machine-washable cotton. They come in two sizes, age 9-10 and age 11-12 and in a variety of colours. Only £15.00 each.

Kids in shirts
Geckos and proud

Available colours:

  • Age 9-10: Kelly Green, Bright Blue or Red.
  • Age 11-12: Kelly Green, Light Blue or Red.

We also have a few remaining hoodies in size 9-10, available in either Melange Grey or Red. Only £27.50 each.

Please for details.

T shirt colours (not all are currently available)

Rick Abbott R.I.P.

Rick Abbott on top of the world

It is with great sadness that I share news of the death of the Mountain Leader and Instructor Rick Abbott, aged 74. Without his work and support Geckos and The Castle would certainly not be the businesses that they are today.

Between 1997 and 2010, Rick was – among many other things – the technical advisor for The Castle, overseeing the centre’s health and safety and delivering technical workshops to the Centre’s instructors. I was fortunate enough to be one of them and I’ll always be grateful for his support, encouragement and, above all, his humour.

Rick Abbott leading an ML training course in Dartmoor, August 2004
Doing what he did best: Rick running an MLTB mountain-leader training course in Dartmoor, August 2004

At his funeral at Barnstable in North Devon on 2 March 2020, the crematorium was packed with people from the worlds of climbing, mountaineering and canoeing. Sad though the day undoubtedly was, it was good to see so many making the effort to show their respects to Rick, known only as ‘Abbo’ to many of his friends. The ranks of down jackets and bright outdoor clothing (as Rick had requested) spoke volumes of the deep affection and respect in which he was held.

It might be a cliché to talk of ‘a life well lived’, but it’s difficult to deny that Rick always lived his life to the full, always did his utmost to help and encourage others to do likewise, and always looked on the bright side of life.

Rick Abbott scrambling in Snowdonia 2006
Scrambling in Snowdonia, May 2006

Rick Abbott, mountaineering guide and instructor, 1946-2020.

AALS licensing application

Stanage Edge

Geckos is in the process of putting together an application for a license from the Adventure Activities Licensing Service to teach unsupervised groups outdoors (rather then requiring parents/guardians to attend). All being well, we hope to take our first unsupervised group to the Peak in the summer of 2020.

Coronavirus update

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the process of obtaining a license has had to be put on hold. Once the situation begins to return to (some sort of) normal, we will re-activate the application. Realistically, we’re unlikely to be able to take out unsupervised groups until the spring or summer of 2021, at the earliest.

Hang in there!