Emma Holland - aspiring Mountain Leader


Emma has been an MTA member since 2014 and is working towards her Mountain Leader qualification. Read more about her journey:
MTA 200
Emma

Have you always been interested in the outdoors? What inspired you to do a qualification with Mountain Training?

I first became interested in the outdoors when I joined the Brownies as a child. I then progressed through the Guiding movement becoming a Young Leader and attending numerous camps and outdoor activities along the way. As an adult I continued to love the outdoors so mountains and walking became my default holiday choice. In my mid 30’s I became responsible for a walking group where I organised, planned and led walks. It was during this time that friends encouraged me to undertake my Mountain Leader qualification.


What award/s are you working towards?

I’m taking my Mountain Leader assessment in October 2017 in Snowdonia. I have some ‘excited nerves’ but I’m feeling fairly confident that I am as ready and prepared as I can be. I’m also looking forward to learning more and developing my skills and knowledge further both during my assessment and afterwards.

What do you do for work?

Gosh, it’s a total contrast to my weekend mountain life! During the week I work in a Library in a Secure Forensic Mental Health Hospital where I support and provide patients with their recovery. It’s a combination of support work and an Occupational Therapy role with a rehabilitation focus. I also deliver basic IT Digital Learning to help the patients once they move into the community.

How do you plan to use your qualification/s in the future?

I’ve got a couple of particular directions that I’d like to take my qualification if I get the opportunity. I’d really like to support and get more women involved in the outdoors -whether this is to help confidence with mountain walking generally or to gain more knowledge of taking the lead with navigation. I also feel very passionate about the link between mental health and exercise so I’d like to encourage and support more vulnerable or socially excluded groups to access the great outdoors.

What have you found most challenging and most enjoyable so far about working through your qualification?

Oh most definitely juggling a full time job alongside a constant desire to want to be in the mountains – which is particularly difficult as I live in the East Midlands so there is always a long journey. It makes working full time, heading off at weekends then heading back to work on a Monday morning feeling totally exhausted - it has been very stressful at times.
Emma in the snow

What advice would you give to anyone going through this process?

Try not to leave it too long between your training week and booking an assessment. I left it over 2 years and kept procrastinating. Once you have decided it’s what you want to do, commit and focus. Go on as many MTA courses as possible, join new groups, make new friends, follow subjects of interest on social media and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the best. It’s an on-going journey; it’s not all about the assessment. I found my training week quite overwhelming and challenging at times which left me questioning whether I wanted to put myself through all the hard work, training and commitment that would be needed for assessment. I’m glad I have.
Emma Holland

At what stage in your outdoor journey did you join the MTA? What was your main reason for joining?

I joined as soon as I applied for my training. I am passionate about supporting the organisations that I believe make a difference. I want to support and advocate for the MTA as they do provide great support in a variety of ways.

What have you found most valuable about being a member so far?

Having access to the regional and national workshops which has not only be useful and interesting but going on these courses has also increased my social confidence and helped me network and make new friends.

Have you been on an MTA regional event or MTA CPD workshop yet?

Yes, I’ve been on lots, in fact at the minute I think I’m addicted to getting to as many events, meet ups and learning opportunities as I can. I can’t stress how helpful, interesting and great they have all been. All the courses have inspired me and have kept me motivated. Meeting new people, making new friends and seeing and experiencing very different teaching styles from the other qualified professionals has been so useful.

Would you recommend the Association to others. If so, why?

Yes, the courses and free events that the regional co-ordinators organise and facilitate are excellent and compliment and support the journey from training through to assessment. I have found them to be invaluable and I’m grateful for all the positive support I have had from fellow members who are now good friends.
Emma

What are your leadership plans for the future?

I’m not undertaking my Mountain Leader qualification because I want a change of career however I would like to take freelance work on a part time basis to enthuse, inspire and support less confident walkers. I feel really passionate about educating and encouraging responsible walking and helping people understand the mountain environment more. If there was ever such a position as an apprenticeship with an organisation I’d quite like to have an opportunity like that. I don’t know if such a thing exists?

If you had a day to go for a walk or climb anywhere, where would it be and why?

I went on a 3 week trip to Scotland in April of this year. The 3 highlights were most definitely a wild camp on the summit of Sgurr na Stri where I witnessed a spectacular Cuillin sunrise and then I walked up Bla Bheinn the next day. My favourite walk though was most definitely the view and feeling I experienced on top of An Teallach. It isn’t a high mountain or a difficult walk by any means but the scenery was just breath taking.

Emma Holland's outdoor journey