Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, Covent Garden, London

Ellis Brigham, Covent Garden is our Flagship store; it spans two large floors and stock extensive range of all brands and product lines, with enough space to try out products like running shoes and tents before you buy. Our Covent Garden store is the only place in central London where you can ice climb and demo new kit on the indoor 8 metre Vertical Chill ice climbing wall. The store is located near the top of Southampton Street, just beside the famous Covent Garden Piazza, nearest Tube stations are Leicester Square and Covent Garden, Waterloo train station is only a 15 minute walk away.

  • Peter Darch - Store Manager

    Climbing Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Peter first tried rock climbing at the age of 15 on a visit to the Plas y Brenin activity centre in Wales, and having enjoyed the experience then went on to join the climbing club at his school in the Manchester suburb of Hyde. As his interest in the sport grew, Peter made good use of a local quarry within cycling distance of home, before moving on to more adventurous trips across the UK.

    More recently, he’s climbed routes of varying difficulty in the French and Swiss mountains, Norway and even Morocco, but when he isn’t ice climbing in the Alps, Peter travels across the UK to find new routes, his most recent discovery being the granite cliffs of Cornwall.

    Favourite Place/Resort:

    The Roaches, Staffordshire. “The Roaches is full of classic climbs, there’s plenty of bouldering in the forest and the more you look the more hidden climbs you come across. See if you can find the bizarre house in the rock face.”

  • Des Rhule

    Running Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    A true running veteran, Des has competed at local, national and international levels. He participated in his first ultramarathon in 2005, tackling the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB). He has gone on to undertake another seven ultramarathons, and considers the 2012 UTMB to be a highlight.

    For all his own achievements, Des loves to help others reach their goals and ambitions, no matter what scale they’re on. In his spare time, he is a race performance trainer for King’s College London, and has helped countless people achieve their targets, making him a fantastic contact for any running advice you might have.


    This year Des will once again be taking the UTMB head-on, will be running The Fellsman ultramarathon in the Yorkshire Dales, and is determined to complete a marathon sub-three hours after his 50th birthday in April - a feat most younger athletes would shy away from!

    Favourite Place/Resort:

    The Alps. "I'd like to run in North America and the Himalayas, but so far my favourite place to run is the European Alps."

  • Matt Traver

    Mountaineering Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Winter climbing and mountaineering expert Matt has been making ascents for over 12 years. Experienced on rock and ice, Covent Garden's bearded alpine aficionado has organised independent climbing expeditions and adventure projects to Greenland, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as ski tours in Scotland and Spain.

    With such a wealth of experience, Matt has faced his share of tricky situations. "During a first ascent of an alpine peak on the Kyrgyz-Chinese border in 2010 we ascended 300m up a steep gully line only to find out the nomadic horsemen who helped us carry our loads in to base camp had chopped 20m off one of our half ropes. In order to finish off the remaining 500m of route we had to figure out how to simul-climb on the spot, which felt a little dicey on the near vertical pitches!"

    This winter, Matt plans to visit NW Albania or Azerbaijan for some mellow ski touring and mountaineering.

    Favourite Destination

    "The Pamir Mountains of Eastern Tajikistan. Although I haven’t been climbing out there, I spent six weeks producing a documentary film within the Alichursky Mountains about a hunter/herder living near the Afghan border. During that time I recced two ranges and a series of valleys with 5000m+ unclimbed peaks. I'd definitely love to go back there and pick off some first ascents!"

  • Richard Searles

    Camping Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Richard was brought up on a farm in rural Buckinghamshire, and has had a love of the English countryside from an early age. He first got in to camping when he took the Duke of Edinburgh award with the scouts, and it has been a passion ever since.

    Previous trips include a six month backpacking and camping holiday across Europe, trekking and camping in Nepal, hiking in Machu Pichu, and this year he spent the month of February on a winter camping trip in Scotland. If you’re new to camping, or you’re a seasoned backpacker and want to share stories and talk about the camping essentials you shouldn’t leave home without, come in and talk to Richard.

    Favourite Place/Resort:

    Red Squirrel camp site in Glen Coe, Scotland. “This camp site is great because it’s essentially wild camping, but it’s organised and safe and not too commercial. It’s an incredible spot, near a brook, but despite having a good pub not too far away it still remains deserted and beautiful.”

  • Malgosia Skowronska

    Mountaineering Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Five years ago, Malgosia embarked on a trekking expedition in the Nepalese Himalaya, and a year later returned to Kathmandu to challenge herself further and completed a mountaineering course, igniting a passion for the world's highest summits.

    Today, Malogosia has journeyed across much of Asia, mountaineering in remote ranges in Nepal, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. She targets the lesser-known regions as part of Secret Peaks – her independent project to inspire travel to areas that many might otherwise forget or steer clear of.

    Malgosia’s next challenge will be the 'Snow Leopard Award' – the gruelling feat of summiting all five peaks over 7000m in the former Soviet Union.

    Favourite Place/Resort:

    Afghanistan. "Every expedition has amazing people, but Afghanistan has so much variation in terms of culture. It's challenging getting there – you have to use yaks to move all your equipment, but it just makes the experience even more special."

  • Matt Hoslin

    Skiing Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Matt went on a school ski trip when he was 13 and fell in love with the sport instantly. After school, he spent his time following winter. training as an instructor in New Zealand and obtaining his BASI and NZSIA qualifications. He then taught in Port du Soleil . At university, he was the freestyle captain for 3 years, skiing 2 or 3 times a week and coming 4th at the National University Freestyle Championships, before completing another two seasons in the US and Europe.

    Since suffering a severe knee injury, Matt hasn't been able to complete full seasons so stays true to the industry he loves by being a superb boot fitter. "I Couldn’t love skiing more, even though it has crippled me over the years. I'm crazy accident prone (or stupid whichever way you look at it) but always find myself going back to skiing and being in the mountains."

  • Edward Trott

    Travel Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    It would probably be quicker to tell you which countries Edward hasn't visited than those he has. Looking at his travelogue, I don't think he's been to Nepal - but seeing as that's next on his hitlist I'm not sure it counts.

    Since leaving university way back when, Edward has spent two years exploring Australia and New Zealand, been trekking and mountaineering across South America, completed ski seasons in Austria, spents summers windsurfing in Greece and Turkey and hitchhiked across Iceland.

    Needless to say, he is full of helpful experience and advice for anyone heading on a world-wide adventure, with his next excursion involving a round the world corkscrew across Canada to South East Asia, back to a ski season in Whistler, followed by sailing across the Pacific Ocean before heading for the mountains of Nepal.


    Perhaps his most impressive anecdote is of the time he was crossed the border from Peru to Bolivia: "At the border our coach drove off taking everything we had - our passports, our phones - and we only knew very basic Spanish! We were completely stranded!" Somehow Edward got his kit back, but it stands as testament to his expertise as a traveller that he ever reunited with his possessions!

  • James O'Brien

    Camping Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    James began camping properly 5 years ago. Since then he's taken every opportunity to get out and pitch up around the UK, escaping the bustle of life in the Capital.

    In stark contrast to his daily life in London, he's regular among the mountainous of Snowdonia and the Lake District - places he camps for their scenery and super friendly locals. Asked which piece of kit he never camps without, James turns to the Titanium Spork: "five years of continual use doesn't lie - these things are great!"

    Favourite Place/Resort:

    The Central Lakes. "My favourite spot is right in the heart of the Lakes. It was where I first began camping as part of a four day route from Ambleside."

  • Pippa Hobbs

    Travel Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Pippa has been on the move from an early age, thanks to her parents living and working in many different countries throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Given her itinerant upbringing, it was probably only natural that she grew up with a love for new places and a desire to see as much of the world as possible.

    Pip has only been in the UK since the age of 18, and before that her home life was mainly split between Switzerland and Germany. During her teenage years she got to see lots of interesting countries, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Burkina Fasso, to name just a few.

    Following a stint at University in the UK, Pippa then went to the States to work as a Wildland firefighter in Montana. From there she ended up backpacking around the States for 18 months, living out of her trusty backpack. So if you've got any questions about the right kit to take on a trip away, short or long, Pippa is the person to talk to.

    Favourite Place/Resort:
    Swiss Alps. "I spent a week once in the Swiss Alps doing travel maintenance, living in mountain huts near a lake. The scenery was incredible, and we got to go rock climbing during our time off. Nothing since has quite compared for sheer natural beauty."

  • Tom 'TC' Clinton

    Snowboarding Expert

    Store: COVENT GARDEN

    Tom has been snowboarding for 15 years, and tries and get out for at least two weeks each winter. Studying French at the University of Leeds meant that he was able to spend an entire season in the French Pyrenees, riding every weekend predominantly in Cauterets (a great idea if you ask us!).

    Tom has ridden a huge variety of terrain and helped every kind of customer you can think of. On his travels, he helped teach children to 'snowboard' on sand dunes in Mozambique, and has assisted Lewis Hamilton in choosing his set-up!

    Favourite Place/Resort:

    "I regularly go to the Portes-du-Soleil, mainly due to its size – on the French side, Morzine and Avoriaz are legendary within the snow-sports community – my favourite run being Prolays thanks to all its super-fun side-hits and general mellow nature (plus it’s right next to the Stash). My favourite resort to which I have been though is Wengen/Kleine Scheidegg in Switzerland – there's something truly awesome (in the original sense of the word) of snowboarding in the shadow of the North Face of the Eiger, plus it has a ton of varied terrain, from lush off-piste to the icy steeps of the world cup run the Lauberhorn.'

    "In the spring I am planning to go on one of two trips – both involve a large amount of mountaineering and a small amount of snowboarding! The first option is to travel to the Caucasus Mountains to climb the 5642m height of Mount Elbrus and then descend on the board. The other option is a similar trip but to Iran instead, to climb Mount Damavand which beats Elbrus in height by 28m (5670m). Both of these trips hinge on my ability to increase my fitness enough and gather the relevant gear, and I always have my holiday to the three valleys in January to spend some time on the slopes if either of those trips fall through!"