Our Staff

Catherine Williams – Operations Manager

Catherine has recently completed a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology, investigating a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and nature. She has 10 years’ experience working with children and young adults and 3 years’ experience as a qualified climbing instructor.

Previous roles include freelance outdoor instructing, being a dedicated presenter for a motivational, personal-development activity programme for young people, working with teenagers with emotional and behavioural difficulties in an outward bound environment, designing programmes and facilitating activities at children’s camps and various periods of voluntary work with young people both in Britain and overseas.

Emma Edwards-Jones – Projects Manager

Emma has 25 years experience, as a project manager, academic and consultant in the environmental sector. Particular areas of interest include stimulating behavioural change towards sustainability in industry and society.

Following graduation in 1991 from Imperial College, London Emma worked for the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Edinburgh and Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh. In 1992 she joined Scottish Wildlife Trust as a River Valleys Officer where she developed management plans for The Water of Leith and the River Almond, West Lothian. Working on these projects required facilitation of stakeholder opinion and actions, public consultation, communication with the media and environmental research. She moved to Heriot Watt University as Lecturer in Environmental Modelling in 1995, where she completed her PhD ‘A participatory approach to integrated catchment planning’.

From 2006-2010 Emma ran the Green Snowdonia Project for the Snowdonia Society to promote sustainable tourism in North Wales involving facilitation of knowledge transfer within the tourism industry and marketing activities promoting sustainable tourism including website development and marketing literature.  Emma joined Snowdonia-Active as Projects Manager in 2010 and has led on the delivery of a portfolio of projects with a focus on fostering behaviour change and engendering creativity in tourism development and product innovation.

Our Directors

Snowdonia-Active has a volunteer board of 6 directors, all with an active interest and experience in the outdoor recreation industry.  The Board meets on a regular basis to shape the direction of the organisation, monitor operations and support the staff.

Ray Wood – Chair

After graduating from Bangor University Ray worked as an outdoor pursuits instructor in Pembrokeshire and North Wales before turning to photography as a career. He has a Post Graduate Diploma in Photojournalism from the London College of Printing and has combined this vocation with his passion for the outdoors as a successful business.  Ray’s photography regularly appears in the outdoor press and he has illustrated several books on Wales. In 2018 Ray joined DMM as Head of Marketing.

Ray is an experienced rock climber who at some time or other has enjoyed the wide range of adventure sports the region has to offer; Mountain Biking is the current flavour of the month.

Mark Lynden – Director, Human Resources

Mark is a founder member of Snowdonia-Active. He runs a successful graphic design and website development company and has been working in graphic design and communication technology since 1986. He has consistently used cutting edge systems to enhance the communications process in graphic design and has particularly focused on providing specialised support to the outdoor sector. He is a partner in www.adventuredirectory.com – the worldwide internet-based adventure search engine.

Mark has been climbing and mountaineering since 1974 and has a Jt Hons degree in Education/Physical Education from Bangor University. As a BHPA Chief Paragliding Instructor, he was amongst early pioneers of paragliding in the mid-1980s having established the first paragliding school in Snowdonia. Mark also has social enterprise and sector cluster development experience and is a founder member and director of Caban Cyf, the social enterprise that manages a purpose-built business centre at the heart of rural Gwynedd.

Graham Burns

Graham has been active in the outdoor education sector since completing his PGCE at Leeds University in 1989. He has worked as a teacher in a number of North Wales outdoor education Centres before his current role as Head of Centre at Lledr Hall, Salford City Council’s Outdoor Education Centre.

Graham developed his passion for kayaking, orienteering and hillwalking at school growing up in Scotland, he has used these skills as a vehicle to take part in many adventures all over the globe. Graham is keen to pass on his enthusiasm for adventuring in the outdoors to as many young people as possible. His involvement both locally and nationally in the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres ensures that issues arising in this sector of the outdoors are brought to the attention and then influence the work of Snowdonia-Active.

Eluned Roberts

After graduating from Bristol University and gaining her PGCE, Lun taught Geography and became head of Department at Chipping Sodbury School.  Here she became involved in providing outdoor learning experiences (both fieldwork and adventure) for pupils at the school.  Having quickly realised that young people learn more life skills in a week outdoors than during a whole year at school she took up a Field Studies post at a Centre on the slopes of the Malvern Hills and three years later moved to Llanrug OEC where she ran fieldwork, multi-activity and NGB courses.  

In 1994 she went part-time and set up ER Outdoors (freelance instructor / outdoor learning consultancy).  She also helped set up Sustainable Use of Snowdonia / Mwynhau Eryri’n Gall (forerunner of the North Wales Environmental Outdoor Charter Group), successfully embarked on an MEd at Bangor University, became a mentor for the Bangor University PGCE course in Outdoor Activities, and also helped run the Registered and Accredited Practitioner awards for the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) in North Wales.

In 2008 she took voluntary redundancy from Llanrug OEC because of severe arthritis in her knees and worked a Professional Development Manager for IOL until 2011.  In addition, she became an author and co-editor of the OEAP ‘Environmental Outdoor Learning Cards’, attained Leading Practitioner of IOL and helped IOL develop two new courses for instructors – ‘Facilitating Experiential Learning in the Outdoors’ and ‘Fostering a Connection’.  Apart from running ER Outdoors and being a director of Snowdonia-active, she enjoys climbing and mountaineering, creative writing, exploring Europe in a camper van and learning Spanish.     

Andy Newton

Andy moved to Snowdonia in the late seventies to complete a PGCE at UCNW Bangor after completing a Biology degree at Liverpool Polytechnic. It was while at college that he graduated from enthusiastic hillwalker to fully committed climber and mountaineer. Andy taught at the Nelson Outdoor Education Centre on Anglesey for ten years. Since then he has worked as a freelance instructor/trainer/technical consultant throughout Wales and other areas of the UK.

Andy holds the highest British level mountaineering qualification – the Mountaineering Instructors Certificate (MIC). Andy is also a British Mountaineering Council (BMC) approved Technical Legal Expert, a freelance Adventure Activities Licensing Inspector and a vastly experienced Mountain Training walking and climbing Awards Course Director and Provider. He is currently the Chair of the BMC Training, Youth and Climbing Walls Committee and Technical Director for Mountain Training Cymru. In 2019 Andy was presented with The George Band Award for Exceptional Voluntary Service to Mountaineering.

He continues to be an active climber and has been deeply involved in the production of climbing guidebooks to the area in the past. Andy’s experience of climbing worldwide has helped to define his attitude to the potential for sustainable adventure activities and tourism at home here in North West Wales.

Gordon Neil

Gordon developed his love of walking and climbing from his teen years in Scotland through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Moving to London, he had a successful career in computing in the manufacturing, financial and stockbroking sectors, got married and had 3 children.

Feeling something was missing he reacquainted himself with the DofE Award running an Open Award Centre for Surrey County Council. From here he knew he had to make the step back into outdoor adventure field so moved to Snowdonia in 1998.

Initially working for a number of commercial activity providers he moved into Outdoor Education and gained his teaching certificate from Coleg Menai, Bangor. He and his family established Bach Ventures in 2001. This is a busy bunkhouse accommodation and AALA licensed outdoor activity company, catering for a wide range of groups and delivering varied activity programmes. This gives Gordon an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day issues faced by outdoor sector businesses in North Wales.

Gordon also enjoys travelling and has successfully led a number of overseas school expeditions for Outlook Expeditions a local expedition company (travelling to South & Central America, Asia and Africa).

Ric Potter

Ric moved to North Wales to rock climb in 1988.  After doing a PGCE in Outdoor Education and English at Bangor University he stayed in the area working as a mountain instructor and guide; he is a qualified mountaineering instructor (MIC) and also an International Mountain Guide (IFMGA).

Ric guides and teaches mountaineering and climbing in Snowdonia, and in 2003 set up Llanberis Guides guiding agency. He works overseas as a mountain guide in the Alps in the summer and in the winter and spring as an off-piste ski and splitboard guide in many places around the world such as Norway, Iceland, Japan and the Alpine countries. During his guiding career, he has worked for National Mountain Centres, led overseas treks and high altitude expeditions, and spent several years living and working full time as a mountain guide in the Alps.

Ric is also a regular trainer and assessor on Mountaineering Instructor and Mountain Guides courses.