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No mountain high enough (Nonesuch autumn 2015)

Dr Will Costin and Dr Catie Butler

5 November 2015

Earlier this year, Bristol was named the second best city in the UK for finding love at university*. Dr Will Costin (MEng 2009, PhD 2014) and Dr Catie Butler (PhD 2015) tied the knot this autumn, after meeting four years ago through the University’s Explorers Club.

Catie (CB): When I started my PhD, the Explorers Club seemed the perfect way to get out and about. Everyone was so welcoming and they even introduced me to a key West Country staple: cider!

Will (WC): I joined the club to escape the city and enjoy the great outdoors, but who you go with on those trips makes all the difference. You certainly have plenty of time to get to know each other, whether you’re walking, in a minibus or in a bunkhouse.

CB: Will and I first met at Freshers’ Fair, when I was Vice-President of the club. I found out he could drive, so made a concerted effort to get him to join. We always needed minibus drivers.

WC: Catie was busy signing up new members so we only spoke briefly. My first impression was definitely one of efficiency.

CB: We soon got to know each other better during long walks and weekly pub lunches with the club. Eventually, after one of those lunches, Will finally got around to asking me out, claiming he’d liked me all along.

WC: I decided quite early on that I wanted to marry Catie: it’s rare to find someone who not only has the same interests as you but also the same sense of humour and outlook on life. She’s intelligent, funny and independent but also has a softer side. I think my proposal was a surprise, but she may claim differently.

CB: I did have a suspicion Will was going to propose. We were going to see the Northern Lights in my favourite country, Iceland, for our 18-month anniversary.

WC: We spent the evening of Valentine’s Day attempting to see the lights but in vain, so my initial plan was scuppered. Instead, I went for a traditional one-knee approach in front of Hallgrímskirkja in the central square in Reykjavik at midnight.

CB: It was a good spot, and still private because it was late. The following evening, as if on cue, we did finally see the lights. We got married in October, and a few fellow Explorers came to our wedding. We went back to Iceland for our honeymoon – walking, of course.

Further information

Bristol's Explorers Club celebrates 70 years of hill-walking and hiking this year, and former members still meet regularly to enjoy walks and pubs around the UK. To find out more, please visit

*Research conducted by the University of Surrey in August 2015 - you can read more at