The Team

First 4 Adventure UK is a small, independently run company co-owned by Emma Martin and Andy Rowlinson. It specialises in delivering the expedition section for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and giving families, friends, groups and individuals the opportunity to explore and enjoy all that the hills and mountains in the UK has to offer. We pride ourselves on giving a personal and bespoke service to ensure that your experience is the best it can be.





Andy is one of the company owners.  He is passionate about taking people of all ages into the outdoors and helping them to enjoy and appreciate the environment in a safe way. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years, leading school and charity expeditions all over the UK and the world, for young people and adults.  Andy has experience of leading trekking, cycling, climbing and skiing in all environments. He holds his Mountain Leader summer and winter qualifications, Single Pitch Award, MIAS level 3 and First Aid.

When not leading expeditions, Andy can be found running or cycling in the great outdoors. Click here for his cycling page.







Emma Martin


Emma is the other owner. She has nearly 20 year’s experience of teaching in a secondary school as well as having run the DofE Award for a school for many years. Emma’s passions lie in seeing young people develop as they embark on DofE and on enabling young and old to be active in the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful and wild areas that we have on our doorstep. She holds her Mountain Leader summer qualification, First Aid and teaching degree (BEd.)

She has two children and manages, mostly, to juggle family life, work, trail running, cycling and her village book club!

Recent magazine articles about Emma:

Country Walking – click here to read it

Active Rutland – click here to read it


We are lucky to have a fantastic team of highly qualified, experienced and committed instructors.



Dave Smith



Dave is passionate about the outdoors and works with a variety of people young and older from all walks of life including the Army Cadet Force. He has climbed in Canada, USA, European Alps and the Himalaya’s. He loves walking, mountain biking, skiing and climbing in his spare time.






Bex has been working in the outdoors for the last 7 years and is a qualified Mountain Leader as well as having a host of other qualifications. Working all over the UK, The UAE, Kenya and Oman, Bex is now based in Glasgow and loves travelling all over the UK to work on DofE expeditions. As well as being super passionate about the outdoors, Bex is also a singer song writer and takes her guitar everywhere.




Neil Blackman



Neil’s been in the outdoor industry for many, many years and its taking its toll as you can see. He has had many jobs during those years and has at last found something he is good at (so we tell him). His favourite assignments are working with us and our great DofE groups.




Chris Billinge



Chris is a qualified mountain leader who loves sharing his skills and passion for the outdoors.
Chris has successfully trained and supervised over 500 Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition participants in the National Parks of the UK. He is an accredited assessor at Gold level. Chris particularly enjoys the challenge of running Open Gold expeditions.

Chris also runs his own successful executive coaching practice. Before moving to the Lake District from Essex, Chris pursued a career in financial services working in a range of senior leadership and people development roles.


Em Linford



Em has operated in extreme environments the world over; from the sea ice of the high Arctic and high altitude mountains, to the African bush and desert tundra. In these environments, her leadership challenges have also been varied; from training potential polar explorers to youth leadership expeditions. Her wide experience is exhibited through her strong chameleon leadership style, adapting herself to any given situation with effective listening, empathising and decision making. Emma also holds her International Mountain Leader Award.


Graeme Cortlett



I gave up the corporate world 6 years ago to work full time in the outdoor industry – and love it. As an ex elite racing cyclist I have always been passionate about the outdoors and now as a qualified ML I get great satisfaction supporting the DofE and from leading young people in the outdoors, developing their skills and competencies within the DofE framework. When not working on DofE I also spend much of my time taking charity expeditions both trekking and biking in and around the UK, Europe and beyond!


Steve Gray


Although I come from SW London I have always been an explorer and was fascinated by wild life! As a kid, I would ride my bike to any bit of open space like Wimbledon Common or Mitcham Common to explore and search for frogs, newts or small mammals and watch the deer in the Royal Parks. Nothing much has changed except that I now go a little further afield. I still go exploring and as International Mountain Leader I have been lucky enough to lead treks in very many parts of the world. I am truly passionate about getting young people into the “Outdoors” and helping them to develop their full potential. I believe that the DofE Award is a great vehicle for doing this. Something that most folk don’t know about me is that I have signed the “Official Secrets Act”. I would love to tell you why but……….





Chris has been a full time outdoor instructor since 2012 following a 24 year career in the British Army. A Mountain Leader since 2002, he has led both adult and student groups on expedition in locations all over the world such as the jungles of Ecuador and Borneo, the desert in Namibia and Mongolia  and the mountains of Tanzania and Nepal.

When not on expedition, Chris spends his time working as a DofE trainer/assessor, bushcraft instructor and tries to spend as much of the ski season as possible working in Europe as a ski instructor.



As a Winter Mountain Leader, Canoe Coach and DofE Assessor I have a strong belief in using the outdoors as a vehicle for personal development. I have been working in and around the outdoor industry since completing a Degree in Outdoor Studies in 2002. Having been lucky enough to lead and support teams of young people and adults in the outdoors throughout the UK and further afield I have a particular passion for teaching others the skills they need to go off and have their own adventures!



Terry Thomas



Hi my name’s Terry. I have been mountaineering for over 20 years. Having spent 12 year in the British Army I am passionate about sharing my knowledge of the outdoors. I’ve experience of the Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, Italian Dolomites, the Atlas Mountains and French Alps to name but a few. I coach young people in climbing, paddle sports and mountaineering. My other interests include sea kayaking.



Will Sheaff



Will Sheaff is an experienced walking, climbing and watersports instructor, based in the Peak District. “My passion for the outdoors developed as a teenager, whilst completing my own DofE awards, and I’ve since climbed around the world in Europe and further afield with extensive trekking up to a high point at Kilimanjaro summit. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed trekking in Ecuador and Uganda, as well as throughout the Peak District. I love sharing my enthusiasm for the outdoors and passing on my knowledge and skills.”


Joe Palmer



Self-proclaimed country boy that loves the outdoors and believes it to be the best classroom. “With a degree in sports coaching and development I relish the challenge of developing ideas and experiences for others. Did my ML aged 21 and have been working with DofE groups for 4 years and (recently obtained my assessor’s certificate). Started off teaching the sport of mountain boarding nearly ten years ago, I even taught my Maths teacher, which I called payback.  Keen climber, skier and guitarist, I have fully adopted the freelancer lifestyle and bought a van!”



Neil Hudson v2


Neil has combined working in the outdoor industry and teaching for over 15 years since leaving the military. He decided to leave the monopoly board last year and go travelling around the world for a year with his wife and two daughters.  They visited  41 countries in just under a year.  Fulfilling an ambition to widen his children’s horizons as well as adding to his goal of visiting 100 countries before he reaches 50!!!
He has been organising and assessing DofE for over 10 years. His most challenging experience was organising and supervising his gold group into three different sub groups doing all the main modes of travel for expeditions: Walking in Skye, canoeing along the Caledonian Canal in Scotland and horse back riding in Wales during one busy 3 week period.



Heidi Schwenk


Heidi is an outdoor educator based in Snowdonia. She has a Masters degree in Outdoor Education and is a qualified mountain leader and single pitch award holder. Heidi has led expeditions by land and sea in the UK, USA and Hong Kong and has travelled extensively across Asia. She is training as a counsellor in order to use the outdoors therapeutically and is an ambassador and provider of “Leave No Trace” environmental courses. 




Rob Gale


“I have worked in the ‘outdoors’ for a long time, either as my full time role or as a vehicle for other objectives. I started out as a farming kid who roamed everywhere and had such freedom that when I reflect upon it, I’d like every young person to have just some of the benefits that I got from being physically active out and about. I feel that the DofE Scheme starts young people on an appreciation of the outdoors and adding value to their personal development.
I am now an International Mountain Leader who loves working in the European mountain areas with clients of all types but I’ve used the outdoors with individuals and groups for any amount of objectives since my teenage years. I am a DofE assessor at all levels and see the real worth of the Scheme in how young people grow within it. I stay above the surface most of the time mountain walking, mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, snowshoeing and (slowly) fell running. But I also go to the dark side, (caving) and love seeing the effect that the very different environment has upon people. I’m also an avid coffee drinker, quality rather than quantity!”

Esther Foster



“I studied for a degree in Outdoor Studies and since then have gained many years’ experience working in the outdoor industry with a wide variety of clients, activities and locations. I am also experienced in youth development work and have planned and delivered many personal and social development courses through the outdoors. I always continue to pursue my own passion for the outdoors in my personal time, particularly in rock climbing. I really enjoy teaching and coaching others to develop skills for themselves, no matter what level they’re at, and love sharing my passion with other people.

I am also currently studying part time for a masters degree in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education, with a keen interest in how we can effectively engage people with environmental issues.”

Jess Bradshaw

“Hi I’m Jess and I love all aspects of the outdoors; mountaineering, climbing, surfing and more! I have a degree in Outdoor Education and I love to travel. This has taken me all over the world – including climbing in Madagascar, trekking in Nepal and Morocco and canoeing in Sweden. When I’m not doing DofE work, I’m taking young people out with autism and other additional needs climbing, paddling, gorge walking and coasteering, as well as leading overseas expeditions. I love to give everyone the opportunity to try something new.”





Sarah lives on the edge of the Lake District where she was born and raised. She has been leading DofE expeditions for the past five years and loves helping young people to experience the wonderful outdoors. When not up her native fells, she is most likely to be found on some good-looking boulders or at the climbing wall. She loves cake, enjoys a spot of downhill jogging, and has the world’s most adorable dog.