WRITTEN by ANNE ENSOLL & ALICE KERR
In this series we’re sharing the stories of outdoor instructors, mountain guides and enthusiasts who work and play in the mountains. Links to all the previous posts can be found at the bottom of the post.
We first met Alice Kerr when she came to us for her Single Pitch Award assessment in October 2016. She has since gone on to achieve the Mountaineering Instructor Award, and she works as a freelance outdoor instructor. She is also a keen long-distance runner.
What are your first memories of adventures in the outdoors as a child or teenager?
I was lucky enough as a child to grow up on a hill farm, so my life was spent in the outdoors. Whether checking on the sheep in the top fields, running round feeding the cows, or chopping wood for the farmhouse, I could always be found outside in the mud and rain of the Yorkshire hills! From this utterly idyllic childhood stemmed a desire to spend all my time exploring the bit of world that I had around me at the time.
What do you remember about your outdoor adventures when you started doing them independently?
From quite a young age, I would disappear off into the hills for a walk or a run to find new places and see new things. I have always cherished this time outside for so many reasons. One thing I vividly remember about the times when I was really out on my own was the total freedom and independence that I felt; a feeling I still get now.
When did it change from a hobby to a career?
In 2015, I moved out to the European Alps and spent the next year going on adventures in the mountains. By the time I began thinking about moving back to the UK, I knew that I wanted to work in the hills. I wanted to be able to take others out and help them to find their own inspiration in the mountains. Once back on home soil, I began working my way through outdoor qualifications straight away.
What has the path been since then?
Since beginning this journey, I have continued to work my way through the levels of qualifications. As well as this, my passion for the mountains, hills and rock has continued to develop and change. My life, more than ever, is evolving around both my own and others’ experiences in the outdoors.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to work in the outdoors what would it be?
Do it because you love it, because you can't imagine a life without the outdoors, because you want to be able to inspire others and let them see how amazing our world is. Everyday, I feel lucky to do what I do. If you can do this too, you've got the best job in the world.
The full My Story series
My Story #1: Chris Ensoll, International Mountain Guide
My Story #2: John Kettle, Climbing & Mountain Biking Coach
My Story #3: Kelvyn James, International Mountain Leader
My Story #4: Anne Ensoll, Business Manager And Ex-Outdoor Instructor
My Story #5: Michael Curry, All-Round Outdoor Instructor and Business Owner
My Story #6: Esther Foster, Freelance Outdoor Instructor
My Story #7: Rob Pugh, Mountaineering Instructor and Stay-at-Home Dad
My Story #8: Colin Reilly, Outdoor Instructor & Church Pastor
My Story #9: Rhiannon Pritchard, Arctic Nature Guide and Academic
My Story #10: Alan Kimber, Mountain Guide and Accommodation Provider
My Story #11: Claire Hendrickse, Freelance Outdoor Instructor