Anouska - Mountain Leader & Climbing Wall Award holder

MTA 200
Anouska has been an MTA member since early 2016 and is now a qualified Mountain Leader & Climbing Wall Award holder. Read more about her inspiring journey through life and her qualifications:

3 years ago I was a serving Police Constable, I had my own home in a city and I was married. In December 2013 I came home from work to find my partner having a severe allergic reaction. This very quickly escalated to anaphylaxis which resulted in me having to perform CPR. 5 days later my partner died in intensive care. I was 33 years old.

I spent 9 months of being on restricted duty with the police service, feeling terrified pretty much all the time and a few too many nights of inadvertently re-enacting certain scenes from a particular blockbuster film (whereby the central female character consumes too much alcohol whilst sitting alone at home singing “All By Myself”). I was lost, suffering with PTSD, had no confidence, no motivation and grieving. Whilst I had an incredible support network of friends and family I knew that I had to do something to change the path I was on.

I decided to take a career break and began my journey in the outdoors. I needed something to give me focus and enjoyment again, to challenge myself, and push me out of my comfort zones. The outdoors can be enjoyed on your own with no-one for miles or with friends and even with strangers. I spent 2015 in Devon and within 6 months I had done my Mountain Leader training, Single Pitch Award training, Climbing Wall Award training, passed my HML assessment, Level 1 Paddlesports coaching award and was assisting at an outdoor activities provider enjoying many more activities and learning new skills. My confidence was building and I loved being outside and inspiring others to enjoy the outdoors too.
Anouska walking

2016 was an amazing year for me, I passed my Climbing Wall Award (& CWAA) assessment, my Mountain Leader assessment, gained valuable experience working in a variety of outdoor environments and was on the verge of taking my Single Pitch Award assessment (before an injury meant I had to withdraw). I decided that I would not return to the Police after 10 years of service. Instead I spent the entire year working in the outdoors leading and inspiring young people; leading educational school residential trips in the woods, running activities for Princes Trust groups and working as a climbing instructor. The year was topped off with the offer of a permanent job as an outdoor youth worker with Venture Scotland in Edinburgh.
Anouska climbing

I’ve been working for Venture Scotland now for 6 months, it involves working with 16 – 30 year olds with complex and difficult backgrounds in a personal development programme set in the outdoors. I work with extremely vulnerable young people who are looking to make significant positive changes in their lives utilising the outdoors and challenging activities. I’m extremely passionate about this work as I truly know the benefits the outdoors has to offer. I have also now become a first aid instructor including anaphylaxis management, passed my D1 + E licence and am hoping to take my SPA assessment this summer.

I feel a great sense of achievement for the last 3 years, I’m doing something I love, regained my confidence, rebuilt my life, found my independence again, have accomplished my ML (something of a challenge when you’re trying to earn and live in the South of England!), had a complete career change and moved to a different country for a job I love and I’m extremely passionate about. I’m continuing my personal development with a view to one day doing my Winter Mountain Leader qualification.

I can honestly say that had I not rediscovered my love and passion for the great outdoors I’d be a very different person now. Having done the various training, assessments and CPD days with the Mountain Training Association I have regained my confidence, I have the positivity and drive that makes me happier, more adventurous, motivated, stronger and overall I have learned that no matter what life throws at me the outdoors will always be right there to help, support and inspire.


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