11th November, 2016

Hello and welcome to the second installment of our new 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 Ian (pictured above). Ian is the host and guide on many of our walking holidays in the Lake District. As the Lakes can be challenging to navigate in poor conditions, we always ask Ian to step in as a guide for any high level ascents. He's a very experienced fell walker and has just about every qualification in mountaineering guidance you can get. He is also a Blue Badge guide, which means he has a fascinating amount local knowledge that he can share with you on your walk.

Iona: Ian, hello! Can you tell us a little about your role as a host in the Lake District? How did you end up becoming a Carter Company walking holiday host and guide?

Ian: Much of my working life has focused on introducing people to new challenges. Whether it be the skills and the confidence to climb a rock face or to head down white water rapids in a canoe or to take off on a 7 day sailing adventure, they all require the support and encouragement of your companions who are sharing the experience with you. A shared experience in the outdoors invariably brings out the best in us. Guiding is just another way of introducing groups to the outdoors whilst sharing the knowledge I have accrued over the years.

Iona: What's your favourite thing about being a host in Lakeland?

Ian: Meeting new people from all parts of the world who for differing reasons have made their way to The Lake District. I would like to think that the time we spend together is the highlight of their holiday. No matter what the weather brings there is always somewhere that can surprise and provide that memorable moment.

Iona: Everyone has their favourite spots in the Lake District. 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?

Ian: There is a valley south of the town of Keswick which is a busy tourist centre, called Borrowdale. I just love the way that even on a busy day you can get away from the crowds as there are so many paths to choose from. A walk can be so easily combined with a boat trip on Derwent Water which adds to the overall experience of the day. If you know where to look you can find a cave which was once the home of Millican Dalton a self-styled “professor of adventure” in the early 20th century who offered “hair raising escapes”. He lived in this cave for the summer each year, it’s a marvellous spot only a few minutes from a well-trodden path yet most people pass by unaware of the nearby cave.

Iona: Do you have any advice for our readers who are thinking of visiting the Lakes?

Ian: Come in the spring when there is still snow on the hills but in the valleys the wild flowers are blooming and there is a sense of optimism in the air.

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

Ian: It has to be Nepal, the people are so happy and friendly and you will always be meeting the locals on the paths, in much of this mountainous country there are simply no roads so the paths are their main thoroughfares. The mornings are just superb when the air is crystal clear with a touch of frost and the mountains appear to “float above” almost unworldly. Memories that stay with you for the rest of your life.