Sports engineering graduate Tom Buckley works as a qualified ACE Adventure & Hideaways guide during the summer and is an adventure sports enthusiast. As well as white water kayaking and rafting, Tom loves to climb and is passionate about sports product design.
Tom has a great personality and if you are lucky enough to get him on your trip he will have you feeling at ease as he is a great conversationalist.
Tom has just completed a five-year masters course in Sports Engineering, which involved product design with a minor in biomedical engineering. “So, in the summers, rafting at ACE is like a working holiday for me,” explains Tom, who likes to go rock climbing locally at places such as Cummingston on his days off.
Tom grew up playing rugby and going white water kayaking, he also plays the guitar. “I love to run as well, especially when I’m living in such a nice place. I was out visiting the Findhorn village one night, we got some chips and were just chilling out by the sea. There was an amazing blue-orange sky at sunset. This area has so much to offer”
Growing up in Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, just across from the Lake District, Tom has always loved being immersed in nature. “Outside the town, it’s just fields and forests and hills,” he says. “We were quite an outdoorsy family so we’d go away on camping trips and I’d also go with my mates.”
Tom developed a passion for sports like white water kayaking, which is how he got into rafting. “One of my kayaking mates Campbell Simpson worked up here and said ‘fancy a bit of rafting for a summer job?’ so I popped up here a few years ago now and got trained up at ACE on one of their International Rafting Federation Guide Training & Education Award programmes,” explains Tom.
For his masters, Tom worked on a lower-limb prosthetic for climbing and completed an internship with Inov-8, where he designed a pair of running shoes. “With my studies I can look at going into the design of products used in the outdoors, from prosthetics for cycling and climbing to products for kayaks, mountain bikes or climbing equipment.”
Tom is now an experienced white water rafting river guide who also worked in the Spanish Pyrenees for four months last year. He runs regular paintball, rafting, river tubing, cliff jumping, canyoning and kayaking trips at ACE. “The river changes so much with the water levels, so it’s a new challenge each day,” says Tom.
Tom’s qualifications include kayaking course leader, white water rescue and first aid. “ACE is quite a cool company, it feels like a family. You’re really involved in the development of the company and it’s a nice vibe.” he says.
As well as rafting amongst beautiful Scottish scenery, the best part of the job for Tom is meeting new people. “It’s an interesting job as you’re constantly dealing with different people of different abilities from different backgrounds. It can be quite challenging trying to get everyone to work together and enjoy themselves. You get a chance to see what makes people tick and how to read people.”
In the future, Tom is keen to combine his love of the outdoors with sports engineering. “I really enjoy the design side but I’d like to keep the outdoors lifestyle and get away for kayaking and rafting too,” he says. “Hopefully in the future I can use my design skills to help people enjoy sports. I get ideas when I’m out rafting of things I could design and I’ve got a notebook where I’m always jotting down ideas.”