Welcome New Readers!
Hi there, 👋 I'm Emily Woodhouse
(occasionally E P Woodhouse in print). Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a freelance writer, author and mountain leader based in the UK. But most importantly I've been writing on this website since 2015, filling it up with adventure. I'd lived on three continents before I was three years old – born in California, made in Devon. And I'm 29 years old since you were wondering.
What do you do?
There are a few things you should know about me...
I write. Always. Wherever I am, you can expect me to have a pencil and paper too. (And I mean that - bivvying in the alps, popping to the shops, you name it!) When I was 10 I decided I was going to be a writer. In 2020, I released my first book All the Tors out into the wild.
I've also written for many magazines (especially of the outdoor, adventure and travel variety) and several national newspapers.
I lead in the mountains. I did my Summer Mountain Leader Training when I was 18 and the rest is history. Navigation is my speciality – and I of course mean with a map and compass. I teach night nav, take groups on expedition and everything in between. I'm currently preparing for my Winter ML assessment (Quals: Summer ML, NNAS Tutor, Outdoor First Aid, DofE). But some of my most rewarding work is volunteering with a local outdoors group for teenagers, because once I was them.
I'm in Mountain Rescue. I joined as a trainee fresh out of university in 2015. I was meant to be applying to graduate jobs but the application form was easier to answer! After missing my first final assessment date, by not cycling back from Switzerland fast enough, I became a fully badged member one incredibly wet and foggy night in January 2017. Luckily, pacing through the fog across a featureless bog at midnight is my happy place.
It's hard to sum up what it's like to be in Mountain Rescue but joining has been one of the best decisions of my life. I'm also now Rope Rescue Operator qualified and part of our dedicated ropes team.
I sleep on the floor. A lot. I'm fortunate to have grown up in a place where "camping" means "wild camping" and also happened to be the definition of "a night out" when I was a teenager. You won't see many pictures of me camping because I arrive late and leave early, but I sleep better in a tent than in a bed.
I am inexplicably drawn to pointy edges... There is something about mountains that has been calling me all my life. Maybe that's what happens when you take your 2 year old to Yosemite and let her stand near the edge on Table Mountain.
Long journeys in the mountains are my thing. I love via ferrata. I love a knife edge ridge, a swooping countour path, a cloud inversion. Carrying everything on your back and walking til your feet hurt. I do climb, but I would never call myself a climber. Currently I'm really getting into winter mountaineering. I should probably also mention that in 2020 I got a Guinness World Record for climbing the most 3000m peaks in a week.
Cycling is the best way to travel
We had unusual family holidays. My parents didn't own bicycles, but one year they decided we'd cycle the length of the Danube from Passau to Vienna. It was the start of something and there was a time when teenage me did more cycling in Europe than the UK. Since then I've graduated into my own cycle tours with friends (although I'm still holding out for one more family cycle tour). It has also dramatically improved my sense of geography.
I'm a big fan of Eurovelo routes and the way cycling allows you to travel through a place, not just sample destination highlights. For example in 2019 I cycled the Rhine from Source to Sea (and on to London) with my friend Alex. The most memorable bits were not Cologne Cathedral or the Rhine Falls. It was the bin shed in the thunderstorm.
But I'm always up for trying something new. Like learning to stand up paddleboard at 11pm in a dark sky reserve in Ireland. Kayak across a lake? Sure. (I would love to get more chances to kayak.) Want to do a mountain marathon? Okay!! The only thing that's a hard no for me is planned, uncontrolled falls from height (sky diving, bungee jumping I'm looking at you). But adventure for me is all about curiosty and discovery.
Where are you based?
When I'm not off gallivanting, I'm based on Dartmoor in Devon, UK. This is my home. I've been here 20 years which means I'm just about allowed to call myself local. So yes, I did Ten Tors four times (anything for a pasty) and all three DofE awards. I grew up squelching through bog and learning the moor inside out. My blisters were so bad the local gear shop wanted a picture for their wall and I have no idea how I didn't get hypothermia, looking back at the kit I was wearing. Character building, they say...
If you want to know where I literally am now and what I'm getting up to, then you want to be on my Adventure Squad email newsletter.
What makes you different?
Well, as the saying goes, we're all different - just like everybody else. I guess I'll have to let you be the judge of that. But as some general rules to get started:
- I don't drink coffee, especially not photogenically beside a bivvy bag.
- I will never live in a van unless something has gone very wrong. Because books.
- I'm very hands on with kit. If it's broken, fix it. If you can't find what you want, make it. If it doesn't have enough pockets, buy the men's and take it in. (Who makes these rules anyway?)
- Be the change you want to see.
Okay, but what's your real job?
Well, at the moment I'm a full time freelancer. I write articles for newspapers and magazines, review gear and write routes. Some of my work is more practical: actually leading groups and teaching outdoor skills. I'm also the sub-editor for Sidetracked Magazine... Let's say I like variety. Previously I've been a librarian, an SEO specialist, a marketing analyst in financial services, sold sterilisable medical packaging... So who knows what I'll do next.
Wait! Where do I go now?
Well, now we're a little better acquianted, it's time for you to take a look round the house. If you're here to read, my blog is all yours. Or you might like to take a look at the adventures I've done and explore from there. If you're interested in working with me then click that link! And if you still want to read about me in even more detail, then I do have a full on story mode about page. New blog posts are twice weekly. Wherever you go, I hope you enjoy your stay!