Aldo Kane, the former Royal Marine and now TV extreme adventurer and specialist in hostile environments, discusses his journey through school, his love of Geography and the education he gained from travelling the world

Where did you go to school and when?

Kilwinning Academy in Kilwinning, Ayrshire between 1990 and 1994.

What was your school like?

I grew up on the south-west coast of Scotland. Schooling to me seemed to be about what religion you were – Catholic or Protestant – and what football team you supported much more than education. I found I got more education from the Scouts and the Air Cadets.  

Did you love it or hate it?

I didn’t really enjoy school when I was there. I seemed to spend all my time wishing I was outdoors, learning things about the world and the environment.  I guess I would have to say I didn’t like it. 

What were your favourite subjects at school?

The only subject that I liked at school was Geography. I couldn’t get enough of it. I knew one day that I would be travelling the world and seeing the things I was being taught about firsthand, so I paid attention. 

And your least favourite?

My least favourite class without doubt was Maths. It was only a few years later on my Sniper training course that I was taught the true value of Mathematics! 

The Making of Me: Aldo Kane
Aldo Kane learned resilience. All photos: Joseph Sinclair

Who was your favourite teacher and why?

My Geography teacher Mr Blease. He taught me the basics of the world and how it works, with a bit of map reading thrown in. 

Where was your favourite place at school and what did you do there?

I found the gym fairly early on in my school life and spent most of my time there, training to join the Royal Marines. 

What beliefs do you think your time at school instilled in you?

I think my time at school highlighted to me the importance of self-learning, the importance of finding a passion and nourishing it. It taught me that if I wanted to learn something, I had to first be interested in it. It was also the start of my resilience training. 

What was your proudest school moment?

I don’t really have a proudest moment from my time at school but I am proud now that the Geography department there is using some of my films as part of their curriculum.  : )

What was the most trouble you got into?

I was suspended once for something which wasn’t my fault. 

What is your most vivid memory, looking back now?

The walk to school and back from my house was the best. A group of about seven of us close mates would all walk the two miles each way. It was a time for laughing, catching up and having fun. 

Were you ever too cool for school?

Far from it. I was bullied, as is probably the norm for children who don’t quite fit in. I hated football – and where I grew up, football was religion. I left at 16 and joined the Royal Marines, where I became a Commando. So, by 17 I was travelling the world being very cool and I forgot all about the bullying children still hanging around the street corners back home.   

Aldo Kane says his love of the outdoors was ingrained

When and how did your interest in adventure and extreme activities take root? 

My love of the outdoors was instilled in me by my father and developed by Scouting. I was in the Scouts and the Air Cadets from a very young age.  This to me was my schooling. I learned all the basic field craft skills that I needed to survive on my own. I was flying planes and going away on camps nearly every weekend.

Who encouraged and influenced you in this?

I knew that I wanted to Join the Royal Marines from the age of 12.  Everything I did from then on was geared up to me passing one of the hardest infantry training regimens in the world. Scouts, Cadets and my father all helped with that. 

What do you feel about your school/college experience now?

I know a lot more about how education works and I am glad that I understood even then that the responsibility of real education started and stopped with me. I didn’t do very well at school; in fact, I left in the middle of my exams. I then spent the next 25 years travelling the world and learning from others.  Travel and expeditions have truly been my educator.  

What’s coming up next for you?

As I write this, the UK is entering its second three-week block of lockdown and isolation. I was supposed to be in Namibia filming and then Gabon filming but both were cancelled. I am in the same boat as many others, where we now sit and wait and see what the fallout will be. I am using the time wisely though, writing a book. 

How would you sum up your school days in three words? 

Learning the ropes.

Aldo Kane has operated and filmed in over 100 countries, including fronting BBC Horizon’s Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones and Natural World’s Tigers: Hunting the Trackers, as well as Expedition on Dave. Read more about his work at @aldo kane and

Further reading: Chichester College alumnus Danny Mac on his schooldays