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learn the skills you need to enjoy the freedom of the hills

walkers with mountiainwise in the hills

Our Team

james hewson at mountainwiseJames Hewson

James has had over 15 years experience in outdoor activity leadership, coaching and guiding. He is a qualified mountain instructor, teaching climbing, abseiling, ice climbing and navigation skills. He is also a qualified canoeing and kayaking coach on rivers and at sea. He also teaches bushcraft and survival skills.

The experience of being in nature can be uplifting and transformational. James specialises in working with people who have had very little opportunity of experiencing nature, either due to limited life chances or to suffering from mental health issues, in order to share with them the life-enhancing effects that being in wilderness can bring.

His qualifications are as follows:
AALA - Adventure Activities Licensing Authority Licence Holder - see documentation here

Climbing and Mountaineering:
MIC - Mountain Instructor Certificate
IML - International Mountain Leader
IOL - Institute for Outdoor Learning Bushcraft Provider

Mountain Training Provider of the following awards:
SPA - Single Pitch Assessment
ML - Mountain Leader
CWA / CWLA / CWAA - Climbing Wall Award / Leader Award / Abseil Award

Canoeing and Kayaking:
BCU - British Canoe Union - Level 3 Kayak Coach, Level 4 Sea Coach



deba and ann at mountainwiseDebra Cuckston and Ann Eddington

Debs (left) and Ann (right) have been running Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions for over 25 years. They believe that learning the skills to enable you to explore and engage with nature is a gift that young people can take with them as they move through life. For many people the DofE expedition is their first taste of being in nature. Being able to navigate safely is a life skill that brings a sense of achievement and independence to those taking part.

Their qualifications are as follows:
DofE - Approved Activity Provider
DofE - Accredited Assessor
DofE - Basic Expedition Leader
DofE - Expedition Leader
Emergency First Aid



maria gandy at mountainwiseMaria Gandy

Maria co-founded Mountainwise with James in 2006. She takes care of all the organisational and financial aspects of the charity. She also founded Yogahome, a yoga centre, and oasis of calm, in Hackney, in 1998 and Minihome, the children's day nursery next door, in 2003.

In 2017 Maria and James also founded Wilderness Weekends, which offers weekend adventures for you to slot into your busy life.



elenaEoin Dornan

Eoin has been working in the outdoor industry for over 10 years. He holds leader qualifications in hill walking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and can cook a mean steak on an open fire on bushcraft trips. He has worked with a wide range of clients and loves to encourage people to enjoy being in wilderness.







Meet the whole family...

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