Martin Barry

  • Senior Lecturer Outdoor Studies
  • Institute of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies
  • Outdoor Studies
 Martin Barry


I have worked extensively in the outdoors since completing my honours degree in Outdoor Education at Liverpool John Moores University.

My experience includes working in a special school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, teaching geography and P.E. in secondary schools in Lancashire, and working for six years as a teacher of Outdoor Education in a Local Education Authority centre in the Brecon Beacons.

For twelve years I worked for the British Armed Forces as a specialist instructor, teaching hard skills in caving, summer and winter mountaineering, skiing and paddle sports.

This work regularly took me to a number of inspiring places, including the French and Swiss Alps, Norway, Northern Spain, Eastern Spain, Algonquin National Park in Canada and British Columbia. During a short period as a freelance instructor I had the opportunity to work with a number of high quality outdoor providers including the Nantahala Centre, Outward Bound North Carolina, Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge.

Work highlights include leading a first complete descent of Ghana’s White Volta River, two self-contained 10 day trips down the Petawawa River in Canada and teaching ice climbing in Rjukan, Norway. I was privileged to be part of a team which made a circumnavigation of Bylot Island (Arctic North West Territories) by sea kayak over 28 days, and made the first recorded crossing of the Bristol Channel from South Wales to North Devon by open canoe.

I am a provider for a number of BC / UKCC awards as well as being a provider of SPA and ML courses for Mountain Training. I also offer our students training and assessment courses of Local Cave Leader awards at level 1 and 2 for the British Caving Association.

My current responsibility lies with the programme leadership for the Outdoor Leadership (BA Hons) degree and I enjoy teaching on modules across all years, especially within practical delivery. I have completed a PGC in Academic Practice (focussing on the validity of experiential learning in outdoor skills development) and have a Master’s degree in Outdoor and Experiential Learning from the University of Cumbria.

Published work has centred on technical pieces for outdoor magazines and articles for the British Canoeing coaching department magazine and the magazines of the British Association of Snowsports Instructors.

Qualifications and memberships


Academic and research interests

The nature of adventurous activity coaching

Mental and physical resilience in the outdoors

Mental health and physical well-being as a factor of outdoor activities and experiences

Current Projects

Short article for Horizons (The Institute for Outdoor Learning) on the value of serendipity


Barry, M.  (2015)  'An investigation into the reasons why undergraduate students decide to take an outdoor degree route into their chosen career', Ambleside: University of Cumbria, Unpublished MA thesis.

Barry, M. (2015) 'Learning Styles: Fact or Fiction', British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

Barry, M. (2004) 'Edging in Open Canoes', Nottingham: British Canoe Union coaching department.

Barry, M. (2003) 'Open Canoe Forwards Paddling', Nottingham: British Canoe Union coaching department.

Barry, M. (2002) 'Personality, Relevance and Overload', Nottingham: British Canoe Union coaching department.

Barry, M. (2000) 'Source to Sea on Ghana's White Volta', Canoe Focus.

Recent external roles

British Canoeing, National Coaching Conference:  pedagogy in paddlesports / learning styles and the value of autonomy in coaching;