The Q Team


Meet the team behind the Quay…

We are all passionate about climbing and outdoor adventure.  Running a climbing wall has been a dream of ours for many years.  Tall buildings are hard to find in the South West so acquiring the Old Electricity Building and transforming it into the South West’s largest indoor climbing centre for you all to enjoy has been a great privilege for us.  With the support of our team of instructors, our goal is to provide a safe, welcoming and vibrant environment for climbers of all ages, abilities and experience so that you can develop and master your climbing skills and most importantly – have fun doing what we love doing! Come and meet us at the centre – we are around most days and welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Damian Johnson

Managing Director

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After spending 10 years in physics and 15 in the finance industry, Damian is realising his (day) dream of opening an indoor climbing centre. A climbing and mountaineering enthusiast, Damian has spent his holidays wandering mountains, climbing ice fields or hiding in caves dreaming of the day when his own wall would amount to more than a few bolt-on holds in the garage.

Alison Smith

Director

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Alison manages the marketing and administration for the Quay. Like Damian, she has spent most of her career in the finance industry and is enjoying her new investment in the centre. A keen runner, surfer and enthusiastic but novice climber and mountaineer, Alison is looking forward to improving her climbing, whilst keeping the finances in order.

Paul Russell

Centre Director

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Paul has over 25 years experience in the outdoor education industry. He spent most of his younger days either climbing in the mines of North Wales, or walking the mountains instructing Duke of Edinburgh groups. He can still be found doing what he loves, just a lot slower.

Gavin Atkins

Deputy Manager

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Being born over 200 miles from the nearest natural crags, climbing was an obvious choice for Gavin! After many years and many climbing trips in the UK and Europe, he became an outdoor instructor in his spare time. 10 years later this evolved into his full time profession, along with route setting. He comes to the Quay straight from East Anglia, where he was involved in the redevelopment of the region's premier climbing venue.

Neil Emphringham

Deputy Manager

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Neil is our most recent recruit to the Quay having joined us in April following a number of years as Residential Manager at the Rock and Rapid Adventure Centre in South Molton where he looked after pretty much every activity they offered and managed the indoor climbing facility. A keen surfer, sky diver and, of course, climber Neil brings with him a wealth of outdoor experience and has rapidly become a key member of our route setting team.

Mikey Cleverdon

Coach and Route Setter

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Mikey is well known in the South West climbing scene as one of the region's leading climbers and boulderers. A passionate climber from an early age Mikey has many years of indoor wall experience having instructed and set routes at the Mill Adventure Centre South Molton and, most recently, at the Barn Climbing Centre in Tavistock. As an experienced youth and adult coach Mikey is taking on the role of coaching at the Quay and, working within the wider team of route setters, is responsible for ensuring that routes are regularly set and re-set.

Anne-Marie Dobner

Instructor/Centre Receptionist

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Anne-Marie has enjoyed the outdoors since childhood hiking trips with her Dad but got hooked on climbing after attending a beginners course at an indoor climbing centre in Sydney five years ago. She hasn't looked back since. Two years ago, her mounting intolerance of really big spiders inspired a move to the UK, where she began her career in the outdoor activities industry.

Tami Wells

Instructor/Centre Receptionist

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Tami is a keen climber who can regularly be found out on Dartmoor as well as travelling further afield to the Peaks and South East Spain for climbing adventures. When she's not climbing she enjoys yoga and walking her dog, Tryfan, as well as spending time with her family most of whom are keen climbers too.

Paul Reah

Instructor and Chef

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As a keen climber and a chef, Paul is the pefect person to take care of the menu at the Quay. He's been cooking since the age of 7 when he copied his Nana making scones and pastries and he hasn't looked back since. After qualifying as a chef Paul worked in restaurants across the UK and Europe and has held Sous Chef and Head Chef positions in hotels feeding 1200 guest a day as well as fine dining restuarants in the UK. Most recently Paul and his brother owned and ran the Pavillions Restuarant in Torquay but now he combines his passion for climbing and cooking and has joined us to enhance and extend our menu. Are you hungry yet?

Matt Gilmore

Instructor

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Matt began his career at the Quay as an apprentice over 2 years ago and after gaining his Climbing Wall Award joined the team as an Instructor, Receptionist, resident Hip Hop MC and all round music policeman! Matt runs the Monday Youth Climbing Club (Team Extreme). He is also rather a good footballer (albeit a Man U supporter) and club promoter.

Bryn Mays

Instructor

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Bryn starting climbing four years ago while attending Bicton College, he decided that a job in the Outdoor Industry would be perfect for him. Living in rural Somerset he is a short drive away from some of the best climbing spots in the UK and spends a lot of his free time trying and perfecting different routes. Bryn has also taken his love for climbing and bouldering to the Alps in France. When he is not climbing he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, surfing and rugby. Since joining the Quay in September he has been able to widen his climbing skills and pursue his passion.

Elaine Budden

Instructor

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Elaine started working at The Barn Climbing Centre at the age of fourteen so, despite being young, she has a whole heap load of experience! She joined The Quay Climbing Centre team when she began studying Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Exeter and can often be found on the wall setting, coaching the kids club (Elaine runs our Saturday morning kids clubs) or manning reception. When she isn’t working or studying she will undoubtedly be climbing in the UK or abroad, or otherwise dreaming of it!

Jacob Straw

Receptionist/Instructor

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Jacob has been a longtime climber and member of the team at the Quay. He's worked as part of our evening and weekend team for over two years and in his spare time can often be found hanging off the prow or hiding in the boulder cave. You will find him at the centre on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

Elliott Vanstone

Receptionist

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Elliott has been part of the Quay team for the last two years. Part of a climbing family who are Quay regulars, when he's not climbing in the centre he can often be found working behind the café or reception. Currently studying for his Outdoor Education Course at Bicton College he's also does extra hours with our youth clubs.

Jennifer Thomas

Centre Receptionist/Instructor

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Jen didn't quite know what she got herself into when she got the job at the Quay...a climbing virgin the team threw her in at the deep end and she was leading on her 3rd training session! With a background in personal training, Jen can sometimes be found running our Climb Fit classes - otherwise you will see her in the centre all day on Wednesdays and Thursdays looking after reception and instructing groups.

Pen Farthing

Technical Director

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Pen has worked and played in the outdoor industry for over 25 years, sharing his passion for the mountains with those who want to know what all the hype is about! He manages his own outdoor business, The Adventure Fitness Company which provides training and assessment courses for the MLTE and BCU and safety cover for overseas charity treks to Morocco. Pen is currently running a series of CWA and SPA courses at the Quay - look on our news items for course dates and more information. When not climbing Pen can be found in Afghanistan walking dogs for the Nowzad dogs charity...but that is another story!

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