Who are the Leaders in Your Team?

It's the 12th of February and that all too familiar notification chime sounds off on Traceys computer. It's an email sent through from Stuart Waddell from J K Thomson “The premier Seafood Family” based in Musselburgh. Stuart is looking to organise the annual rafting and camping adventure and wants some information on availability and pricing.

Endearingly referred to as “grunda stu” by the fish processing crew because he has always looked out for everyone, Stuart is one of the line in the filleting team at JK Thomson.

Once the enquiry evolved into a booking, managing director Jim Davis was surprised to learn that this was not an official corporate team building event as assumed but was in fact something completely organised off the back of one employee with the buy in from work colleagues all with the intention of having a great time away.

“We are keen advocates of getting out into the outdoors and simply like the idea of roughing it for a few days camping out and cooking by open fires. This year we are joined by three of the sons of J K Thomson, Jonathan, Stu & Andy. They loved the rafting and were blown away with the amazing scenery.” - Stuart Waddell

White Water Rafting and Camping Adventures

Over the last several years Stuart has organised a rafting and camping break for the team. The camping keeps the cost down and the rafting really bonds the team making for great stories to share and reflect over the coming months on the filleting line.

In 2015 the team went white water rafting with Nae Limits on the River Tay which is grade 2 with a touch of grade 3 at the end. The Tay is a good beginners introduction to rafting because of the mild rapids and being so close to Glasgow and Edinburgh is the busiest river for rafting with several companies located there. You can book a Tay rafting trip through ACE who send you out with The Rafting Company because ACE feel they are aligned closest with similar values.

In 2016 Stuart upped the ante and the team camped in the Great Glen going rafting on the River Garry with Vertical Descents. The Garry is a short 1.2km long fun intermediate river with solid grade 3 rapids nicely spaced. You often do two or three runs of the same stretch because it only takes 20 or 30 minutes to descend.

2017 saw the team out on two events white water rafting with Splash on the River Tummel which is another dam fed river that runs in summer on weekends. The Tummel is a grade 3 with grade 4 double tier waterfall finish and at a length of 3.8km is long enough to get a short half day trip out of it. As a result Stuart had the team head over to the River Spean to tackle the River Bugging which is provided by Vertical Descents. River bugs are a bit like an inflatable armchair ideally suited to narrow rapids. The closest activity to River Bugs that ACE Offer is River Tubing & Cliff Jumping

full day white water rafting and cliff jumping trip on the River Findhorn in Moray, Scotland. 7 kms of the best year round rafting in the UK as confirmed by Stuart and the team in the video above.

Benefits of white water rafting and camping for team building

The three sons of J K Thomson, Jonathan, Stu & Andy were part of the crew from Musselburgh and all of them loved the rafting and were blown away by the scenery.

Brothers Tricky and Tam were apprehensive at the thought of going rafting however by the end of the trip they thought it was amazing and were glad they came along. Tam as you can see in the video is quite a character and states “what an experience”.

BBQ cooking burgers on the campfire pit on the team building experience

Photos from the day that ACE take during the rafting, capture priceless expressions of a wide range of emotion from surprise to fear and back to joy again. These photos are great reminders of all the stories the team experienced. Long after the raucous laughter and banter enjoyed around the campfire at ACE Hideaways campsite have faded into away like wisps of smoke into the surrounding birch forest.

The first night had former head chef Scott McNamara step up to leadership in the form of cooking a curry for the rest of the crew. Greatly appreciated by the hungry feasting close to midnight and well worth the wait on all accounts! Another story to fuel more filleting line banter.After the rafting a BBQ was cooked on the supplied fire pits with grills. The sound of cheering and laughter echoed around the forest as the light slipped away replaced by the orange flicker of the campfire on the faces, each reflecting a twinkle in enthusiastic eyes.

On the third day it was a heartfelt farewell with both the crew from J K Thomson and the team at ACE all eager to Haste Ye Back! for another great work gathering.


Experiences like this are the real deal when it comes to team building, effortless, fun and authentic. That is why rafting and camping is the ultimate team building experience.

At a cost of under a £100.00 per person for two nights it is exceptional value.

There is a lot of information out there with regard to team building, most of it claiming statistics with no reference. ACE prefer to take a more balanced and thoughtful approach to their team building clientele and adapt to their specific needs. More often than not it is better to provide a great environment to explore and let the team building occur unforced and naturally. Even better if this can be done at least annually and preferable quarterly which is what we do at ACE for our own team.

These two articles might be worth considering;

If you are looking to organise a team building or staff rewards experience please call 01309 611 729 and we can discuss what you would like.