Alex Frood's outdoor journeyAlex has been an MTA member for almost 4 years and became a Winter Mountain Leader at the age of 22. Read more about his journey...
Have you always been interested in the outdoors? And what inspired you to do a qualification with Mountain Training?
I've always been interested in the outdoors, since I was a child. , I think growing up watching the National Geographic and Discovery Channels on TV shaped my dream of being an "adventurer" for a job, but school and college sort of put you into the mind-set that it isn’t a real job and is a ridiculous career path. So the boyhood dream was canned and dismissed. However while attending Teesside University I became involved in climbing again (I started climbing at school) and followed up by chairing the university climbing club and working as a climbing wall instructor, I learnt that the whole perceived "adventurer" dream was not so farfetched after all. I studied Computer Games Design at University and came out with a First Class honours but my heart was set on the outdoors. With help and guidance from Callum Anderson, the university Adventure Sports Development Officer, I passed my ML & SPA assessments only a few months after graduating.
What awards do you hold? What awards are you working towards?
I currently hold my SPA, ML & WML. I passed my WML at 22 which I’m pretty proud of. I would like to work towards my MIA and MIC in future but my main qualification focus at the moment is starting my IML.
What do you do for work?
I work as a full time freelancer using mostly my ML & WML. This year I have been doing a lot of expedition work for Outlook Expeditions leading overseas youth expeditions and carrying out recce expeditions to complete risk assessments and gather information for their leaders to use on future expeditions.
How do you use (or plan to use) your qualifications?
I plan to continue to use my ML and WML for expeditions and UK based work whilst not overseas
What did you find most challenging and most enjoyable about working through your qualifications?
Consolidation for my Winter Mountain Leader was the most enjoyable part without doubt. I lived a winter in my van in Scotland so that I could be out on the hill everyday practising for assessment. The season of training led to a great improvement in my winter mountain skills and my fitness, as well as my winter driving as I'm pretty sure I got stuck in the majority of the West Coast of Scotland mountain laybys and car parks, and the quality of the meals I could cook in my van improved a lot! I cook a better meal in the back of the van than in my own flat.
Most challenging might have been the worst food poisoning of my life I gave myself when I spent 36 hours in bed two days before my WML assessment. Telling you how ill I was would definitely be too much information!
What advice would you give to anyone going through their qualifications?
I get asked for advice quite often by people who have done the training for any of the MT qualifications but have not yet been assessed Usually they’re unsure if they're ready for assessment yet but then will usually tell you about all training they been doing for it. My advice I give because it’s what works me was to just get your assessment date booked. Then you have a goal to work towards.
At what stage in your outdoor journey did you join the MTA? What was your main reason for joining?
For me it is for the CPD events. I went to a local one just before my Summer ML assessment, I found it a lot of help and great networking too, I also found the insurance deals helpful as well.
What do you find most valuable about being a member?
The access to CPD events and industry deals.
Have you been on a regional event or CPD workshop? Tell us about it; why was it helpful?
I’ve been to the regional north-east CPD events and I've also run one of the workshops at the North-East CPD event on flora and fauna.
Would you recommend the Association to others and why?
Yes, I believe the information, events and help you can get, make it well worth it.
What are your leadership plans for the future?
Hopefully for challenging objectives when I am leading groups on overseas expeditions.
If you had a day to go for a walk or climb anywhere, where would it be and why?
Ive been so many places but it would have to be a Cairngorms, I love walking in that national park.