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 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. A family man with wife, grown children and even grandchildren he is kept in check by Max, a two-year old Jack Russell who is a regular visitor to the On Foot office. Simon is Director of the company.
Mary has been in the travel industry under many guises all her working life, joining On Foot Holidays in 2006. 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. Mary looks after almost half the routes in the On Foot stable.
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 during Salisbury’s festival and at other events locally, but loves exploring further afield on foot (of course), particularly with her son. Bucking the On Foot trend, she has Klaus-the-cat – inherited from emigrated daughter. Debbie is responsible for many of our routes, with a particular interest in 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 ….hem
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 also at Salisbury Festival and can be seen at many events handing round canapes while husband Bill mans the bar.
Harriet, like the rest of the team is an ‘all rounder’ and helps out with a few of our routes overseas, 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 is even younger than Harriet, and is On Foot's first male employee (disregarding the boss) - not before time, the girls say - and Understands Modern Technology. His degree in Fine Art has yet to be fully used here, but it will be. A keen interest in photography, wildlife and nature will be a good start; 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 when she is allowed to make 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 is the most recent addition to the team, dedicated to marketing and communications. She grew up in the city of Salisbury, and after brief forays "over the border" to work in New York and London, returned to the town to a firm of property consultants, and then an international 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, and is hopeless at baking.
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.
Austria (as local contact)
My name is Katharina Simma and I live in Mellau. I’m married and have two children - Rosa and Theo. My husband and I manage the ski school in Mellau.
Austria (as route advisor)
Peter is a practising architect, living in Neuhäusel, in the Rhineland, with his family, in a woodland house he built himself. He is one of nature’s wanderers, never happy unless exploring new countries, new paths, and finding out about new cultures.
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 specializing 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 contacts is Petr Hoska, who knows the area well.
Caroline has lived in rural South Devon for 25 years. Now that her family 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
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. A consummate and sociable Frenchman, Régis speaks good English and you will find him and his wife Patricia willing and helpful.
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.
Corfu, the Vikos Gorge and the Meteora
Pavlos is 36 years old, born in Thessaloniki the 2nd 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.
The Sabine Hills and Umbria
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: La Garroxta
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 and Camino de Santiago
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 lives in a converted tower in the village of La Febro.
Jesca has lived in the foothills of Mallorca's beautiful Tramuntana mountains for eight years with her husband and young family. 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.
Lycian Way (as local contact)
My name is Berry and I am your contact for the 2 routes 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.
Lycian Way (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. 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.
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.
In 2003 we could accomplished our desire to live in Nature, in a quiet place, surrounded by beauty. Since then, we have lived up here with our daughter (who is now 16).