Channel 4's Alone: Leeds and Ripon contestants on wilderness challenge as show continues

For many people, it would be their worst nightmare. Dropped, alone, in remote wilderness with nobody to contact and nothing to eat.But that’s what the contestants of Alone have faced these past weeks. Eleven of them were put into the uninhabited wild of north-west Canada to take part in what Channel 4 described as the “most pure and extreme competition on TV”.

Each person must fend for themselves and survive for as long as possible, equipped with only a handful of basic tools, while filming their own adventure on land around the Mackenzie River in the Dehcho region.

The last person standing wins £100,000.

Two people from Yorkshire are among those taking part – NHS project manager Eva Outram, from Leeds, and business coach and mentor Javed Bhatti, who lives in Ripon.

Contestants in Alone: Javed, Naomi, Mike, Louie, Elise, Tom, Pip, Kian, then on the front row, Laura, Alan, Eva. Picture Channel 4/Matt JacquesContestants in Alone: Javed, Naomi, Mike, Louie, Elise, Tom, Pip, Kian, then on the front row, Laura, Alan, Eva. Picture Channel 4/Matt Jacques
Contestants in Alone: Javed, Naomi, Mike, Louie, Elise, Tom, Pip, Kian, then on the front row, Laura, Alan, Eva. Picture Channel 4/Matt Jacques
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Inspired by her dad's love of the outdoors, Eva, who turns 25 during the show, is a confident hiker with basic bush-crafting skills, who wants to prove that young women can be capable alone in the wild.

She is an “outdoor obsessive” and loves spending her free time rock climbing, hiking and wild camping.

However, Eva grew up suffering with lots of different health problems – none of which doctors could diagnose or put their finger on. Finally, one year before taking part in Alone, having pursued her own research, Eva was given a diagnosis of Ehler Danlos Syndrome – a genetic collagen default.

It means she suffers from gastro issues including chronic indigestion and heartburn, joint pain, scoliosis, hypermobility and dizziness, but with the confirmed diagnosis, she is now able to manage all these symptoms.

Eva, from Leeds, is a contestant on Alone.Eva, from Leeds, is a contestant on Alone.
Eva, from Leeds, is a contestant on Alone.
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This life-changing diagnosis has also made her realise how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way.

She says: “Being completely on my own, relying only on myself is huge. I think not being able to have instant contacts with friends and families will be one of the biggest challenges mentally for me. Regardless of any tricky scenarios I get myself into in life, there is always someone at the end of the phone to support me through it or give me advice.

"I’m always ringing my dad for advice so not being able to ring him to ask what to do in a scenario is going to be really tough. I don’t think I have mentally comprehended the concept of not being able to contact people, having had a mobile phone since I was 10.

"I don’t even remember not having a mobile phone so that’s going be really weird. I am excited to not be on my phone but yeah it’s going to take a bit of getting used to.”

Javed, of Ripon, on Alone.Javed, of Ripon, on Alone.
Javed, of Ripon, on Alone.

How has she prepared for the challenge?

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"I have updated my foraging skills and refreshed my fishing knowledge. The fishing definitely worries me a bit as the size of the Canadian fish seem to be pretty big and scary compared to the stuff back home. But regardless, I think a lot of it will just be a learning on the job kind of thing. You can read all the books, look at all the websites but it’s no good if you can’t do it in practice. This will be the biggest learning curve”

Contestants who want to back out for any reason – known as "tapping out" – can signal a rescue crew.

Eva says: “I will be absolutely gutted if I have to tap out. I always beat myself up about that kind of thing.

"If I do, I know it won’t be an easy decision for me at all but I have become quite good at listening to my body so I think if I reach a point where I know it’s come to an end, as hard as that will be, I won’t be willing to put myself through permanent damage.

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"I will see how it goes but if that happens, I know it will be a heart-breaking moment regardless of the reason.”

She adds: “I am really prone to injuries, so any sort of dislocation or bad fall and I will be out for sure. Keeping on the weight will be a challenging with my existing gastro problems, caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I find it quite hard to keep weight on but I need to keep up the weight to avoid falling over and hurting myself.”

Javed worked as a scientist, as a senior manager and now enjoys coaching and mentoring others and often uses his love of extreme sports to raise money for local charities.

He was brought up in Birmingham as one of seven children, to first generation immigrant parents from Pakistan, and now lives in Ripon.

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His family didn’t spend much time in the outdoors when he was a child, and he didn’t learn to swim or ride a bike until his late 20s – he didn’t know a bout the existence of caving or other extreme sports until he went away to university, where his love for outdoor adventure started

Now 58, Javed’s fitness is at “peak level” and he runs faster and for longer than he did 20 years ago.

Speaking about the show, he says: "I am not sure I even think of it as a challenge. It’s an opportunity to really learn and discover some new things. It’s not about confronting difficulties, but more about being open to opportunities to really experience something new that many people will never get the chance to experience. I am really excited about that, and then managing that excitement, and not letting that overwhelm me so that I can stay safe and hopefully thrive in the environment.

"I don’t know whether we will thrive, it’s going to be quite a challenging environment but if I can at least be safe and be present in that environment, enjoy it and maybe stay ten weeks? If I get close to ten weeks I would be super, super proud."

Alone continues on Sunday at 9pm (CHECK).