Why join these events?
This page gives you information on how the events operates.
Below are my basic principles for ensuring successful events:
Transportation: The car/minibus transportation is guaranteed if departing from London. I will sort out all of the transportation logistics for the whole group. I will organise the departure point, exchange drivers and members contact details in advance and ensure the drivers get to every location during the event on time. All my volunteer drivers are experienced, regular and confident drivers. I will co-ordinate the whole group to meet at the Group's meeting point meeting in London. I would prefer fewer vehicles as possible to minimise our carbon footprint, so I would discourage lone drivers. Michael will hire a comfortable mini bus if required, settle all vehicle cost and finalise arrangements with all volunteer drivers. Unlike other hiking groups you do NOT have the hassle of arranging your own transport. I am happy for members to move to a different vehicle during the event. On the last day, we normally can give members more London drop off points as drivers final destination are varied. Unfortunately this is not possible at the start of the event as it would take too much time to co-ordinate.
London Pick Up points
For Cornwall, South Wales, the Gower, Cotswold and Isle of Wight event: Hatton Cross tube station
For North Wales & Lake District event : Uxbridge tube station
For Peak District & Yorkshire Dales event : Colindale tube station
For Dorset event: Coulsdon South station
Accommodation: We will be staying at either Premier Inn or Travelodge hotels with en-suite bathrooms. 2 members sharing rooms for all my UK events. Room allocation will be based on gender. Towels are supplied by the hotel and there are tea/coffee making facilities in the hotel room.
Many other Meetup groups will book a youth hostel with 4-8 sharing a dormitory with bunk beds which can be noisy and over crowded.
Securing a place: My events are normally over subscribed. You can reserve your place on any event, months in advance with just a small deposit. I understand that member’s work, family & personal situation can change, so this deposit is 100% refundable 7 days prior to the start of the event, no quibble. All I need is 7 days notice and I refund you fully within 24 hours. If you withdraw, within the 7 days period, and if I am able to find a replacement to fill your space I am more than happy to give you a 100% refund.
Meals: I reserve good restaurants local to our accommodation and give members a choice. Most other Meetup groups that stay at hostels will be catering at the hostel. Hostel food is ok but there is so much more good restaurants in the area that is worth trying. I will send members details of the restaurants selection and ask members to choose during the event. Meals are not included in the cost as we are not staying at a hostel and I want the group to experience regional food.
No circular coastal routes: For coastal events such as Cornwall, Dorset, Gower Peninsula and Isle of Wight the beaches, sea, high cliffs, fishing villages and undulating coastal paths are the main sights. We will walk the whole distance along the coastal path. Other groups will walk a circular route and finish back at the starting point. For my events to maximise the coastal experience we will have cars strategically parked at the finishing point of each walk which may be up to 10-12 miles away from the starting point, ready to pick up the group after a long day’s walk. No other groups will do this as the logistics are complicated and time consuming.
Coordination: With this group, you are just dealing with just 1 organiser. I will answer your queries, coordinate the transportation,accommodation and restaurants. No third party involved so less confusions or misunderstandings compared to other large meetup groups. I aim to answer any of your queries within 24 hours unless I am away on an event.
Small group size: My events are usually limited to about 16 hikers to keep things manageable, but we may raise that number occasionally, especially events during bank holidays. 16 hikers is a good group size for each person to get to know everybody which makes it more interesting. It is important that the group is not hindered by large numbers or a very slow pace as you constantly find yourself waiting for other people.
Fitness: All my walking events caters for members of an average fitness level. For example, you are able to walk minimum 2 miles per hour on a varied terrain for 10-12 miles within 6 hours. Short breaks are taken every 1-1.5hr depending upon terrain and definitely after every hill. Each of my events has been rated in respect to levels of difficulty. There will be many breaks to enjoy the scenery, take photos and to rest.
Flexibility: My approach and itinerary is flexible. If bad weather is forecasted, I am happy to change the itinerary. Visit a National Trust building or another indoor venues. Weather can we localised so willing to drive further away from bad weather to a different location for a dry walk.
I only organise events in 8 different locations in the UK during Spring to Autumn. In my opinion, these 8 destinations are the best weekend destinations from London. I have extensive knowledge of these locations and have lead hundreds of events. I select my walks for the scenery and the fantastic viewpoints. For example, for the Cornwall event, we will drive to Land’s End for our walk and to visit the infamous Minack Theatre. In my South Wales event we will cover the whole region from the Brecon Beacon to the Gower Peninsula. In the Lake District I would select Cat Bells and Buttermere Lake as part of my itinerary, in both cases it is very difficult to access due to the very limited parking for vehicles. All of my walks are the nation’s favourite classic walks.
I have many years of diverse hiking experience and have lead hundreds of groups to explore many parts of the UK and Europe. I have undertaken the six days Mountain Leader course, accredited by the MLT ( Mountain Leader Training) as well as having undertaken the 2 days Outdoor Activity First Aid Course every 3 years. I am Basic Expedition Leaders qualified and have previously operated youth programmes with Raleigh International, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and many local authorities for the past 20 years. My international walking events includes USA, French Alps, South of France and the Italian Dolomites. Besides hiking I have leading cycling groups in Holland, Belgium, France and Spain.