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Faces of no-mad

We know you're passionate about what you do, so whether you meet us on a course, or if we're supporting an event, we want you to know who you might meet. Have a read about some of the people who you'll meet through no-mad.

Emma Brett

Emma Brett
Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer, and Nutrition Coach

I was brought up with a love for the outdoors, sailing, kayaking, swimming, cycling and hiking every weekend, and spent most of my holidays in Wales for the first 18 years of my life.

As a professional dancer I performed in shows all over the world including India, Turkey and Switzerland, but 10 years of dancing eventually took it's toll on my body and I had a serious neck injury. I turned to yoga to help with my rehabilitation and found that the marriage of simple movements and breathing really helped me find my strength and aid my recovery. 

After travelling to India in January 2020 to complete a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training qualification, I then settled back in the UK and began to teach a variety of yoga styles including Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Chair Yoga, Yinyasa, Yoga Fit TRX, Wheel yoga, Meditation and Pranayama as well as Personal Training Fitness sessions too. I continue to enjoy helping people balance their busy lives by including regular yoga and fitness practice, and teaching people of varied ages from 4-94! 

I’m excited to be collaborating with no-mad, looking further into the benefits of yoga for adventure sports and doing some yoga sessions in the mountains!

Ali Othen
Annie Craggs
Sarah Jones
Stephen Thomson
Helen Iles
Julie Thomson

Ali Othen

Mountaineering and Paddlesport Guide, and Instructor

I've been involved with a paddle, boot or rope since the age of 15 (some 35 years ago) when I took my first steps in the outdoors on a residential at the John Earle Expedition Centre on Dartmoor. Since then I've sea kayaked, canoed, white water kayaked, climbed and hiked in the many stunning places we have in the UK as well as alpine mountaineering in the Alps, climbing in Yosemite, sea kayaking in Lofoten, white water kayaking in Slovenia, ice climbing in Norway and canoeing in Canada. Each adventure has fueled my love for the outdoors even more and this, along with skills, is something I truly love passing on to other people. 

Ali can also deliver the British Canoeing Padllesport Instructor, Paddlesport Leader and Foundation Safety and Rescue Courses. He also works as a tutor on the Mountain Training Mountain Leader, Climbing Wall Instructor, Rock Climbing Instructor, Hill and Moorland Leader and Lowland Leader Awards.

Ali Othen Mountaineering and Paddles

Annie Craggs

Guide, Mountain Leader & First Responder

My experience in the great outdoors has always included wild camping and cycle touring to remote areas, together with more local activities like mountain running and walking.

Past long-term involvement with the Peak District National Park as a ranger and an active member of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team.

More recently, since moving to Wales, I have worked at Coed y Brenin involving biking and trail running.

I may be biased, but Cadair Idris is my favourite mountain, always different!

I love sharing fun adventures and experiences with others, there is no better way to end the day than more banter and a beer! 

Sarah Jones

First Responder

Having lived all my life in Snowdonia but having never really explored the mesmerisingly beautiful landscape that surrounds me, a few years ago I decided it was time to get to know my home land better.


I booked myself on a local introductory mountaineering course and set off to take a closer look at the summits I had admired all my life from afar. By the end of day one I was enchanted, completely addicted and I’ve never looked back. 

Today I climb and walk in the hills whenever I can, in my spare time outside of my full-time job in the Adult Community Learning sector. I’m also a volunteer member of South Snowdonia Search & Rescue Team. I’m one of the team’s Casualty Carers, trained to provide essential medical care to casualties in the challenging environments that we operate within.

My happy place is the Rhinogydd mountain range. There is no better feeling than the freedom of being out in the hills, but a close second is driving my beloved 32 year-old Land Rover 90"

South Snowdonia Search & Rescue Team

Stephen Thomson

Guide & Coach, paddlesports. mountain bike leader and D of E

I have been active in the outdoor industry since the age of 20, hillwalking, organising expeditions, Paddlesports activities, Mountain Biking, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and overseas paddling expeditions to The Ardeche in France.


My passion lies with coaching and developing people, being able to pass this passion onto inspire others in the outdoors is a privilege. This is the reason I became a Coach/Leader provider for British Canoeing and today I continue to offer Paddlesport opportunities in Stand up Paddleboarding, Sea Kayaking, Touring and White Water Kayak disciplines.


There are many great places to paddle in Wales, however, I have a real soft spot for the Upper Dart River in Devon. 


Following my activities, you will generally find me tucking into coffee and cake supporting local businesses.

Helen Iles

Overlooking Llyn Hywel.jpg
First Responder, Mountain Leader & Photographer

Born and brought up in Southern Snowdonia in the days when ipads were sci-fi, I grew a love of being outdoors, travelled extensively then settled back in Cymru.


I've been a member of the Barmouth lifeboat crew for over 22 years, I'm also a Party Leader and CasCarer for South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team. I work part time as a teacher, and since qualifying as a Mountain Leader I lead walks and guide Photography Workshops in the area.


I am addicted to landscape photography; Snow and mountain peaks are my guilty pleasure, along with wildcamping high up in Snowdonia's secret spots. Oh, and wine and chocolate...

Julie Thomson

Guide & Coach, mountain biking, 
paddlesports and D of E

I have had a keen interest in the outdoors for over 20 years now, ranging from hill walking, Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions, Paddlesports (predominantly canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding) and by far my favourite passion, mountain biking.  This has led me to become a Mountain Bike Leader Tutor for MIAS delivering Leader’s Award. 


I enjoy being both a coach and leader in the outdoors educating and encouraging others to develop, gain confidence and get out into the great outdoors. 

I regularly ride at trail centres but you can’t beat a ride out on our natural trails.  My favourite trail by far is The Beast in the Peak District.


My guilty pleasure post activity has to be cake, followed shortly by a glass of red wine!

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