Getting Personal: Director plans recreational trips for active Air Force families
June 7, 2006
Whether it’s paintball fights, horseback riding on mountaintops, deep-sea fishing or whitewater canoeing trips, Mike Ambrose, the director of RAF Lakenheath’s Outdoor Recreation, can be your guide.
Ambrose, 45, originally from London, has been a go-to guy for off-base adventures for airmen and family members for the past 2½ years. Every week, he leads groups to sightseeing locations in England, Wales and Scotland.
Ambrose has been an international master swimmer and a British government employee. He even met the royal family for his duties. He also says he is a history buff on the countries where he organizes tours.
How many off-base trips have you coordinated for airmen and families over the years?
There’s probably one every weekend and two or three during the week, something as simple as a private tour of the local sites to organizing Scotland trips. I usually go on most of them, [but] I do have a few volunteers that help me out.
What’s your favorite trip?
[Horseback] riding along the top of the Black Mountains [in Wales] is definitely one of my favorite ones, galloping at 30 miles per hour on top of a cliff edge.
Was there one trip — good or bad — that stood out from the rest?
I came flying off a horse twice in 20 minutes up in the Black Mountains. It’s the first time that I ever fallen off a horse in my 45 years. It was in the middle of a thunderstorm with a fresh horse that hadn’t been ridden that year.
Having claimed to be a professional rider, and then coming off twice in front of the group, was embarrassing.
How many trips does the center offer?
We have a whole schedule of trips.
For anyone interested in taking these trips, what can they do?
Just give us a phone call at 226-2146. We’ll take a deposit for the trip and give you a checklist of everything you’ll need to bring with you. We provide the tents, transportation and any other equipment. If I’m not in the office, they can e-mail me at email@example.com.
What’s up with you and the queen of England? I heard that she invited you to drink tea with her?
A garden party, yeah. I have met the royal family on several occasions for services rendered to the crown.
How was that experience, being with the queen?
Interesting. It’s all very organized. The queen is lovely. She takes an interest and you feel that you actually met her. She goes out of her way to make sure that you’ve met her and been part of the experience. It’s very personable.