24th October, 2018

Hello and welcome to the third installment of our blog series, where we profile the brilliant people who act as 'hosts' on Carter Company cycling and walking holidays across the UK and Europe. It's the host's job to look after you from the very moment you arrive to the moment you leave, from briefing your route at the start of your trip to answering any questions you might have on the tour, as well as leading any guided days of walking or cycling that might be included in the itinerary. Our hosts are really our superstars and we want to champion them more. They are also full of interesting stories and the kind of people who like adventures, so we hope you enjoy getting to know them a little better through these interviews...

Today we meet Rob (pictured above). Rob is the host for many of our cycling and walking holidays in the Cotswolds and along the Thames. Born and brought up in Oxfordshire, Rob has a huge spirit of adventure and spent a number of years in the RAF where he lived and worked in several far flung locations across the globe. He is a very keen (some would say over keen) cyclist and adores bikes; he is passionate about history and meeting interesting people is what makes him tick. As a previous Operations Manager with The Carter Company, he knows all our tours and routes inside out, as he does Oxford where he lives.

Wendy: Rob, hello! Can you tell us a little about your role as a host in the Cotswolds and Thames? How did you end up becoming a Carter Company walking and cycling holiday host?

Rob: Being a fan of landscape and history, I wanted to share the amazing variety and wealth this area I love, has to offer in these respects. And sharing it with people who come from all over the world to this area I'm so proud of is very rewarding. I find the questions I get asked before they set out are fascinating: is there any danger from wildlife? (none at all!) Will we be cycling on busy roads or walking on paved paths? (no to both). How can I achieve the comfiest saddle? (I lend them a gel cover!) We only have trainers to walk in, is this OK? (not the best!)

Wendy: What's your favourite thing about being a host in the Cotswolds and Thames?

Rob: I think the excitement of clients! Both before their impending adventure and at the end of their trip when I often meet clients,as they are so happy and full of tales. They are always surprised at the number of villages they went through every day, the charming quirkiness of the accommodation and those staying in classic hotels comment on them exceeding their expectations. They are full of the special things they have discovered about the area for themselves.This is what makes my job so worthwhile!

Wendy: Everyone has their favourite spots in the Cotswolds and along the Thames. Some are more crowded than others (!). In fact, getting away from the crowds is one of the big challenges for visitors during peak season. Can you recommend anywhere quiet in high season?

Rob: Kingham is a delightful village where you can sit in the village pub looking over the green. Its peaceful and quiet and feels a million miles away from crowds or bustle. Along the river, I just adore the village of Kelmscott; again it has a characterful inn as well as the fascinating manor house where William Morris chose to live.

Wendy: Do you have any advice for our readers who are thinking of visiting the Cotswolds or the Thames?

Rob: Come in June and July when the summer is fresh. Don't rush - enjoy the journey and take all day as there's just so much to see. In the Cotswolds, remember that wolds means hills - not mountains, but the terrain is rolling.

Wendy: And finally, if you could go walking or cycling anywhere else in the world, where would you choose and why?

Rob: It has to be China!, the whole experience is so alien and utterly fascinating. And there's great history too. Nearer to home, I'd like to cycle in the Netherlands, just to experience their amazing network of bike paths and the cycling infrastructure they've built up.