The On Foot Holidays team at home and abroad
Our team is just a call or an email away so please contact us to discuss any route or travel-related issues. You will normally be able to talk immediately to someone who has first-hand knowledge of the route you are interested in.
Our friendly team is just a call or an email away so please contact us to discuss any route or travel-related issues. You will normally be able to talk immediately to someone who has first-hand knowledge of the route you are interested in.
Simon is an Oxford alumnus and was for many years a Chartered Surveyor in private practice before he saw the light. He started On Foot Holidays in 2004 and hasn't needed a regular holiday since. Simon is Director of the company, and relishes getting away from his management responsibilities occasionally to go out testing new routes. A family man with wife, grown children and even grandchildren, he is kept in check by Max, a Jack Russell who is a regular visitor to the On Foot office. He has recently taken up baking, and the staff are becoming expert at providing encouraging feedback each time he tries a new recipe.
Mary has been in the travel industry under many guises all her working life, joining On Foot Holidays in 2006. She looks after almost half the routes in the On Foot stable, including those in Greece, Portugal and Turkey, as well as much of our Italian and Spanish portfolios. Three massive sons keep her on her toes, in need of regular employment and on the touch line of many rugby pitches in the south of England. Often seen out and about with Harold (the best Jack Russell) who curiously, as fate would have it, hates walking.
What does one do with a degree in English but work in the travel industry? Well, via 25 years as an arts administrator in London, Cheltenham and Salisbury, Debbie still keeps her hand in at arts events locally, but loves exploring further afield on foot (of course), particularly with her son. Debbie is responsible for many of our routes, with a particular interest in France, central Europe and northern Spain.
Emma keeps the whole team on the straight and narrow and, with an MSc in Eco-tourism is probably the best qualified of any to work for a walking holiday company - she believes that walking is the perfect activity (though her husband disagrees unless a golf course is involved). A keen thespian, her stage triumphs include The 39 Steps (of course) and Don't Get Your Vicars in a Twist .... ahem.
Liz looks after the books at On Foot and is a keen walker and traveller, having attempted on several occasions to see the Northern Lights (wags suggest that the most recent was on a trip to New Zealand). She volunteers at Salisbury District Hospital, where she is known as The Sweet Lady - she's the port of call for anyone wanting to buy sweets to make their hospital stay more palatable. She's also an excellent cake-maker.
Harriet, like the rest of the team is an 'all rounder' and looks after a few of our routes in eastern Europe, as well as two of our English routes. She spends much of her free time exploring the mountains of north Wales and she hopes one day to complete the long trek of the South West Coast Path, preferably with her two dogs (sounds familiar?). When she's not scrambling up mountains, she's working on her Open University course in English.
Patrick, being the youngest member of the team, Understands Modern Technology, and is becoming expert at developing our bookings systems. He manages the distribution of Walkers' Packs, and helps out with a multitude of other tasks. His degree in Fine Art has yet to be fully used here, but it will be. A keen interest in photography, wildlife and nature is certainly helpful; less so his wide knowledge of Chinese business practice and culture - but then who knows?
Fiona is happy in her work at On Foot - there will be humming in the corner as she makes maps and GPS tracks for clients, cleaning up the, ahem, wanderings that the staff have made in their pioneering excursions. Her career to date has been chequered and ranges from teaching the bewildered elderly how not to be frightened of computers and the bewildered young the joys of not eating play-doh. She has no pets, but two grown up daughters and a best beloved.
Heather joined the team in 2017 to look after marketing and communications. She grew up in our home city of Salisbury, and after brief forays 'over the border' to work in New York and London, returned to work for a firm of property consultants and then a church music charity. Heather also did some work briefly for On Foot Holidays in its very early days, so it's a happy homecoming! Her interests are walking (phew....), and music-making - particularly choral singing. She doesn't have a dog.
John was for many years an electronics engineer working in the electronic payments industry. He has held a lifelong interest in the outdoors, especially mountain walking, alpine mountaineering and cycling, and he holds a Mountain Leadership award. John has now changed his career to work at On Foot Holidays, where he works in the bookings team, as well as creating Walkers' Packs and keeping our data generally in order. John lives in Salisbury with his wife, and has four daughters.
Jane has been in the travel and tourism industry for 30 years, and was awarded an MBE in 2008 by Her Majesty the Queen for services to tourism in the South West. She has a great love of the outdoors, and is most happy when by the sea, ideally with her husband, son and daughter. Jane's arrival at On Foot adds another musician to the team - she enjoys playing the piano most, when time allows.
Fiona was the very first employee at On Foot, initially working for six years before the call of her young family led her to take a break. She has recently rejoined the (now much bigger in number but equally as “quirky”) team and is happy to be thrown back into the world of Walkers’ Packs and itineraries. In her spare time Fiona teaches children how to play tennis and enjoys walking with her family in the New Forest. She has three girls, two cats and plays the euphonium in the local brass band.
Andy joined On Foot Holidays to help out with the busy walking season – he prepares Walkers’ Packs and finalises itineraries for our clients. He has pioneered one of the On Foot routes, and walked many miles in the UK including part of the Coast to Coast route. He combines his work for On Foot with his parallel career as business consultant, and spent many years in banking. And when not busy with all of that, he enjoys fine wine, singing, playing golf and looking after his young family and two cats.
Our newest recruit is Marisa, who joined the bookings team in summer 2019. We're glad to hear that she's a keen walker, with some pretty impressive achievements under her belt - the Inca Trail, Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains, the Three Peaks Challenge, and 25 of the 214 "Wainwright peaks" of the Lake District (keep going, Marisa...). On top of that, she keeps fit by line dancing and teaching a weekly Kettlercise class. She's another musician too, enjoying playing the piano. She lives near Salisbury with her partner Neil, and has two grown-up children and a French Pointer called Lily.
Linked to each route page you will find a picture of the Route Adviser, the person who lives in the area, suggested the route and developed it with us. A list of all our advisers is on this page.
But no walk could ever reach our brochure until it has been rigorously tested and graded by Simon or another experienced team member.
The final stage is undertaken by our doughty “pioneers”. Friends and early customers, these are people who set off to test the newly created walk using our directions, maps and the notes we have created. They pick up the final hitches so the route is ready for you! At regular intervals thereafter, we send out these Trusties to check the inevitable changes, and to suggest ways the routes can be improved.
New Route Advisors Needed
The critical attributes of a potential Route Adviser are that he or she must live in the area, have a strong interest in its landscape and culture, be able to think flexibly, have the inclination to put in the hard work that is needed to plan the route, and time to look after our clients should anything go amiss during their holiday.
If you know someone who lives somewhere lovely in Europe, as a native or an ex-pat, and who might be interested in becoming a Route Adviser, ask him or her to contact Simon, at On Foot, by email or telephone.
New Pioneers Needed
New Pioneers are also needed. If you have been on one of our walks and would like to test new (or re-test existing) walks, and have an enjoyable time in the process, contact Simon using the contact form.
Milena is literally addicted to nature. Except for her beloved hiking, she is actively working on different environmental initiatives in the areas of protection of biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management.
Tomi is Dubrovnik born and bred and after a spell in the hotel industry now runs his own travel agency specialising in walking and biking tours. When not working too many hours in the office, he spends time with his young family, exploring the area on foot or bike.
Slaven runs the Villa Borgo in Motovun. Having studied Hotel Management in Opatija and worked in Ireland and the United States, Slaven is relishing owning his own business near to his parents' sheep farm - ask for the cheese if it is available.
Bohemia: Countryside of the northern borderlands
Born in the region, Lubomir has his own travel agency and tour operator business and combines that with being a professional guide. Your local contact is Petr Hoska, who knows the area well.
Shaun and his wife Lynda describe themselves as bilingual, speaking both broad Yorkshire and a Yorkshire version of English. They are obviously proud of their Yorkshire roots. A couple of years ago they took early retirement and moved to their favourite walking area of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire, living just a few hundred yards outside the National Park boundary and only four miles from the summit of Ingleborough.
Caroline has lived in rural South Devon for 25 years. Now that her children have all left home, she spends her time teaching and producing art, attempting to master Spanish, and helping tend the smallholding, whilst her husband also fills the sheds with plenty of logs for the winter
This particular part of France has been part of Emily’s life since she was a little girl holidaying here with her parents. It was one of the first places she visited after meeting Jeremy and as keen outdoors enthusiasts, they spent many subsequent holidays discovering the area on foot and by bicycle. In 2005 they decided to move here with their young family in order to build a house, and now live in the hills above Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne where they run a small business managing holiday houses.
Régis Leroy has been a mountain guide across the world for 20 years, but don't let that worry you! He has devised for On Foot a walking route around his beloved home area of the Vaucluse, a region which he knows intimately.
Chamonix and the French Alps
Lizzy Ashley Cooper
Lizzy grew to love Mont Blanc and the surrounding area so much that she made it her home. She regularly walks the paths and routes in the forests, mountain slopes and meadows, with their abundant flora and other wildlife. She is a keen ski tourer.
Richard came to the Côte d’Azur to study tourism and has lived here for 30 years working as a licensed Tour Guide. Since 60% of the French flora is represented in this area, Richard’s keen interest in botany is put to the best possible use.
Castles of the Rhine
Beatrix lives on the route and has a portfolio career encompassing jewellery making and being a PA. She is bilingual in German and French and fluent in English.
Naxos and Amorgos
Annie was born in Athens and started her career in the world of marketing and publishing, but soon her love for the outdoors brought her together with a team of sailors, divers, environmentalists and hikers.
The Vikos Gorge
Pavlos was born in Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece. Currently he splits his time between the Halkidiki Peninsula during the summer season and Thessaloniki during the wintertime.
After many years as a marketing executive in the cinema industry, Ariana's love of nature made her move to a small village in Andros. In 2011, with some friends with the same approach to life, she decided to form a team that would introduce "alternative" Andros to travelers.
Beatrice Bariletta lives in the Ossola Valley, close to Lakes Mergozzo, Maggiore and Orta at the foot of the Pennine and Lepontine Alps, with her husband and two cats. She loves walking, hiking, climbing, discovering and living with nature, and she feels very lucky to live in a wonderful place and to be able to share it with many different people she walks with as she works as a hiking and tour guide in this region.
Elisabeth de Coster & Stefano Fassone
Elisabeth and her partner Stefano (and their children Marit and Theo) live and work on an organic agriturismo close to the Gorge of Farfa, for which they have recently obtained national protection.
Paul is a seasoned voyager and has travelled extensively for both business and pleasure (bleasure!?) to over 50 countries and over 500 places on all continents. He speaks five languages.
Isabelle has lived and walked in the Cortina area for more than ten years. She works as a walking guide and translator and has a special interest in the First World War Austrian/Italian Dolomite front.
Daniele's early passion for nature led him to explore all the Italian regions on foot. He started working as a nature guide for an international tour operator, working around the Indian Ocean and in the African savannah.
Julian first stumbled on the medieval footpaths of the costiera on holiday in 1991. Since then, many visits and much exploration have let him 'get under the skin' of the peninsula.
The Burtons have lived in Northern Portugal for more than 30 years and have been keen walkers ever since arriving in the area. They are the authors of Sunflower’s "Landscapes of Northern Portugal".
Retired architect Janez Golob was born in Celje, eastern Slovenia. Living in Ljubljana, he teaches woodworking, is a mountain climber, mountain rescue team member and mountain guide, and has trekked and climbed in the Slovenian Alps and elsewhere.
Catalonia - Pyrenean Foothills
Richard Calvin and Sara Marti
Local contacts Richard Calvin, who is a keen walker as well as a sculptor in stainless steel, and his wife Sara, look after our clients and the route, as well as running their own villa rental company.
Basque Country, Camino de Santiago, Lighthouse Way, Basque Pyrenees
Aznar Fernandez de Pinedo
Aznar was born and grew up in Bilbao, where he soon developed his love for nature (he is a keen naturalist), hiking and the rural environment in general. He studied Business and has worked for many years in multinational corporations in the IT sector, living in both Barcelona and Madrid. But in 2014 he decided to change his career to work on what he loves most.
Catalonia - El Priorat
Joanna Thomas has lived and worked in Catalonia for many years, as architect, guide, multilinguist and mother of two. A keen walker, she now lives in Falset, the end point of the full route.
Jesca has lived in the foothills of Mallorca's beautiful Tramuntana mountains for eight years with her husband and young family. She has been a keen hiker all her life, combined with a background in the preservation of historic buildings.
Guy Hunter-Watts has lived in a small village close to Ronda for almost 30 years. His home is a converted terracotta tile factory where he ran a B&B for more than 10 years.
Lycia (as local contact)
"My name is Berry and I am your contact in Lycia. The Lycian Way is a coastal, cultural route in an ever-changing landscape which was designed by Kate Clow and Terry Richardson in 1999. My children and Terry’s children were at the same school and as he was very enthusiastic about the project, we were one of the first to explore this beautiful new route and its fabulous archaeological sites."
Lycia (as route advisor)
Kate Clow is the author of "The Lycian Way", the definitive guide to the long distance walk she created herself, with the help of the people of the region of Antalya, which she has made her home for more than 20 years. She is a keen botanist and student of the history of the Middle East.
Some may say that the hosts are the most important element in the enjoyment of any holiday, and we would be hard pressed to deny this. You can walk hard all day in rain or in shine, the landscape can sing with blossom and the hills can rear with melodramatic force, but if the welcome at the end is not the best you will be disappointed, feel let down, unfulfilled.
A good host (like Dani and Merce in Priorat, left) will see you coming in from the rainstorm breathless and wet, take your clothes to the boiler room, insist on a hot cup of tea and install you in front of the fire, moan with you about the weather and make you feel thoroughly at home. Later he or she will produce a bottle of local wine and the evening will start, with the world thoroughly put to rights, the children arrive back from school, the dogs make themselves a comfortable nest against your legs, and the cooking part of the team set to work. A little home made pasta to start, perhaps some fish from the lake or what their neighbour produced the other day after a successful hunt (or maybe vegetables from the garden if you prefer!). The evening will end inevitably with grappa, orujo, slivovitz or whatever, maybe flavoured with mistletoe (in Istria – really!) or fruits from the plum tree. Bed is a perfectly natural and comfortable end, sleep comes quickly in the quiet stillness of the countryside and you realise why you came on an On Foot Holiday.
Askas Pension is the fulfillment of a dream of three brothers.
Il Fienile di Orazio
You'll find a warm welcome from Mauro and Ornella at their agriturismo Il Fienile di Orazio in Misciani. The farm has organic certification and stands 600m up on a hilltop surrounded by woods, an orchard, a vegetable garden, a pigsty, a goat stable, a hen house, a vineyard and an olive grove, all of which you can visit. Mauro and Ornella left the corporate life in Rome to become farmers, and have never looked back. They work the land, look after their animals, and welcome visitors from all over the world to share their rural paradise. Here you can take part in activities such as foraging, helping to milk the goats and make cheese, or learning to make pasta. Their homegrown organic produce finds its way into the meals you'll enjoy, featuring local and Roman recipes.
Expat-Italian South Londoner Ivan met Sabina in London while learning his trade, but it would not be long before they came back to Italy and took over a decaying ruin on the top of the mountain, to transform it into one of the best known restaurants in Piedmont.
Le Mole sul Farfa
Stefano and Elisabeth live and work on an organic olive farm and eco-agriturismo close to the Gorge of Farfa. They have two small children - Marit and Theo. Stefano, originally from Rome, started the farm with some friends in the summer of 1999.
"My name is Michele Machetti, I’m the director at Il Giglio since 1995. I actually grew up into this place as I was just 19 years old when I decided to take over this adventure together with my parents. I’m also a professional sommelier and take care of the restaurant’s cellar - that in Montalcino is something very relevant."
"Fifty years in Italy surely proves that there is nowhere else where I would prefer to live! I moved from Wales to Rome in the 1960s and met my architect husband Roberto. When our children were small, we decided to leave the city and live in Casperia, a medieval village, where they would be more in contact with nature."
Colle Caprile, named for its historic inhabitants, is an ancient settlement on the Salt Road, just before the last path descends towards the sea. In this strategic point of panoramic beauty the Caprile family has for generations welcomed pilgrims, traders, soldiers and partisans, and now walkers and people from all over the world.
Meuble il Riccio
The Caroti family has a long and enduring connection with Montepulciano, and has lived for many generations among the city's Renaissance palazzos, in the fresh clean air of the Tuscan countryside. A simple and friendly family, the Caroti enjoy welcoming guests to the city, and relish introducing new visitors to its delights, as well as offering warm and sincere hospitality to returning guests.
I’m Roberta De Palma and I’m the director of B&B all’orologio in the centre of Rome.