Eva Outram is the star of the Channel 4 series "Alone," in which 11 UK adventurers competed to survive in the uninhabited wild of north-west Canada for a chance to win £100K or as one magazine describes it, "the amazingly dangerous survival show where you might get eaten by a bear." 

Eva described her experience as "a total baptism of fire." Eva has since left her job as an NHS manager to fully embrace her passion for the outdoors. She now runs bushcraft and wilderness workshops through her new venture, The Grim Adventure Club

I spoke with Eva to learn more about her time on the show and her exciting new endeavours!

Eva Outram, Alone Contestant

 

  1. Hey Eva. Can you share a defining moment from your experience on the TV show Alone that profoundly impacted your perspective on nature and survival?

Before I took part in Alone I had little to no survival experience beyond a couple of years in Scouts as a child. I had recently gotten really into solo hiking and wild camping so had begun to delve deeper into my relationship with the outdoors but I hadn’t ever been to anywhere truly “wild”. My first few days in the Canadian wilderness were therefore a total baptism of fire.

I had to forage and hunt for food, boil the river water to be able to drink, and aside from a few items I brought with me, had to utilise the environment and resources around me to survive.

I would say a definite turning point was the day I discovered fresh water clams in the river. I had previously been really struggling for food and although the clams were scarce, it felt like all of a sudden I was working in harmony with my surroundings.

The whole Alone experience really taught me that with a decent amount of effort, it is possible to live in harmony with nature and have it support you, rather than feeling like you’re constantly battling against the elements.

  1. What was your most memorable wildlife encounter during Alone, and how did you handle it? 

It was the evening of day 10 in the wilderness as the sun set that I glanced down the riverside to see a black bear strolling along the rocky shoreline towards my camp. I obviously knew there were bears in the vicinity when I was dropped off in the wild, I just hadn’t let myself believe I would actually encounter one. Being from Yorkshire I had never encountered any kind of predatory animal outside of a zoo so it was initially really terrifying!

As per the rangers advice we were given before being dropped I made lots of noise and the bear was deterred enough to trot back into the forest… safe to say I didn’t sleep well that night and lay awake listening out to every rustle of leaves and snap of a twig until I felt like I was losing the plot.

It took a couple of days but I eventually settled back into routine with a new found respect for the wilderness and every creature that resides there along with the wolves I heard howling every evening and the moose that swam across the river in the distance.

Black Bear

  1. How did your time on Alone shape your views on solitude and self-reliance?

One of the most common responses I get from people when they hear about my Alone experience is “I could never do that”.

My response every time is, I am not an extraordinary person with any special skills, if I could do it so could you.

That’s not to say that the Alone experience was a walk in the park though, it was absolutely, unequivocally the hardest thing I have ever done. Having to forage and hunt for my food meant that more often that not, I went days at a time subsisting on little more than a few handfuls of berries. Lots of us in the Western world are privileged enough not to know real hunger and let me tell you it isn’t a pleasant experience. Pair that with total isolation, no access to running water or proper shelter and then on top of that an obligation to set up film cameras and microphones so that your every waking moment is recorded, and you create a pretty potent kind of struggle.

Eva Outram, Alone Contestant

I didn’t realise at the time how life changing my Alone experience would be, but it turns out when you’ve relied on yourself to that extent for a prolonged period of time, you view your capabilities and ability to persist in face of adversity in a whole new light once you return home, I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to now.

  1. What survival items did you choose to bring with you?

The day I finally got the go ahead that I would be taking part in Alone I was laid on the beach in Greece with my best mate Emma. I needed to choose ten items off of a long list, half of which I had never even handled. Axes, knives, saws, ferro-rods, snare wire... I scrolled through endless options of each, panicking over what would be the right choice, getting gradually stickier and sticker with a mixture of sun cream and a nervous sweat! In the end I chose the following ten items to take with me: a down sleeping bag, an aluminium cooking pot, fishing line and hooks, a gill net, a ferro-rod, a small axe, a large knife, a huge fold out saw and 700g of Pemmican (a kind of survival food made of beef jerky and raisins). 

Eva Outram

  1. What inspired you to create The Grim Adventure Club, and what dreams do you have for this community?

Returning home from Canada I felt an overwhelming desire to overhaul almost every aspect of my life, viewing my previous choices and decisions through fresh eyes it suddenly felt as if I had been running on autopilot for years.

Within just a few short months of being back I had ended a long term relationship, moved home and quit my job as an NHS project manager. I wanted to pursue a life in the outdoors and help other people forge a deep connection with the natural world similar to that I had developed during my Alone experience.

It took almost a year of trying to work out what I wanted life to look like but out of the ashes of my previous life eventually rose The Grim Adventure Club; a northern based community of adventurers and provider of a range of outdoor activities from bushcraft, to hiking, canoeing expeditions and more. The business is in its infancy right now but I have big dreams and hope that in the next few years I can reach more people than ever before, teaching survival skills and nature connection all over the world.

  1. What unique challenges and rewards do you find in running women-specific bushcraft and adventure events?

If I had to choose one word to sum up all of my women-specific bushcraft events it would be ‘empowerment’. Women almost always attend my events with little to no bushcraft experience, they learn a wide variety of skills and then have to put them into practice.

There’s few better feelings than having a group who’ve never lit a fire before spend just a couple of hours together and coming away feeling confident they could get a campfire going in any condition with super primitive tools!

I think bushcraft as an outdoor activity is so diverse in itself that every single event or workshop I run has its own unique challenges and rewards. Hiking a mountain has its obvious challenges of the physical and mental resilience to reach the top and then the views are often the reward, for bushcraft the challenges and rewards are slightly less obvious, but for me even more powerful.

The Grim Adventure Club

  1. Any more events coming up this year that the folks reading might want to get involved in?

Absolutely! I’ve just released tickets to my biggest event yet Women of the Wild: a Three Day Bushcraft Adventure which will be over the first bank holiday weekend in August set in Pembrokeshire Wales.

I also have a few tickets left to my most popular event, the Women’s Bushcraft Bothy Weekend which is the weekend of October 4th-6th, in Snowdonia Wales. Both are set to be unforgettable weekends which you can find out more about through thegrimadventureclub.com or on our instagram page @thegrimadventureclub.


Thanks Eva!

PS. If you're looking to shine a light on your outdoor-related business or community group, we'd love to hear from you! Reach out to jessie@valleyandpeak.co.uk to share your story on our blog.

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June 18, 2024 — Jessica Soo-Banham