We pride ourselves on our industry-accredited leaders who are passionate about travel and exploring the world on foot. Their expertise and enthusiasm permeate everything we do. They are vital to the success of our holidays – transforming every guest’s experience into an unforgettable one.
Since joining Ramblers Holidays almost 10 years ago, Trevor Riddiough has helped our clients connect with amazing natural landscapes – including mountains they may never have imagined they’d climb! We recently chatted with him about his love of mountaineering, Alfred Wainwright and the Lake District, as well as what’s in store for guests on two of our newest holidays.
“I try to capture some of Alfred Wainwright’s passion and spirit, and get people to feel something about being up there in the hills.”
Q: How long have you been a Ramblers Holidays leader?
A: I’ve been a leader for Ramblers Holidays since 2014. I’ve spent all my life working in the mountains. This seemed a natural progression from what I was doing before in terms of my background.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
A: I got a postgraduate certificate in outdoor education at Bangor University in North Wales. That qualified me to work in outdoor education centres in the UK. I worked in two in Wales and one in Scotland, teaching young people about climbing, mountaineering, canoeing, orienteering and skiing as well as going on mountain leadership expeditions.
After that I worked in mainstream education, but joined one of the local mountain rescue teams in the Peak District, where I was a member for over 10 years – and I'm still a member now.
I'm very used to working with people of all ages in the mountains. So being a leader with Ramblers Holidays is just a great thing to do.
Q: Do you remember your first Ramblers Holidays adventure?
A: I went on a Ramblers Holiday many years ago guided by a very well-known leader named Alun Price-Davies. I was on the Tour de Mont Blanc. He was very encouraging and suggested that one day when the time was right I might apply to be a leader. So I followed his advice and now here I am.
Q: Over the past two years you’ve been leading a lot of holidays in the Lake District. Is that an area you’re fond of?
A: I'm very fond of it. Originally working for Ramblers Holidays, I did lots of tours in Europe, mainly in the Dolomites, and I’ve always been very keen on working in the Alps. During Covid, I’ve kept my activities to the UK, so Hassness Country House was an obvious choice for me, particularly the high grade tours offered there. I do the grade eight walks on the high ridges, and I know the Lake District very well because I used to live in Cumbria.
Q: What do you like best about leading the Lake District?
A: I’m a very big fan and follower of Alfred Wainwright. I collect his guidebooks. I've got every first edition of every book he ever wrote. When I walk in the Lakes, I show the clients his books. I explain how he wrote them and I read his quotes. For example, when we get to the Innominate Tarn at the top of Haystacks, where his ashes are said to have been spread, we stand together and I read to them about why he wanted to be laid to rest there, and people get very emotional. Wainwright said that big mountains evoke big emotions. When you’re standing there, surrounded by the big mountains of the Lake District, looking at where his remains have been spread, it’s quite a moment.
Q: How do you like staying at Hassness Country House when leading in the Lake District?
A: It’s quite an exceptional place. The facilities are excellent, the food is excellent, the welcome is excellent. Every bedroom looks out onto a stunning view. It’s not difficult to spot Hassness Country House when you’re out walking on the northern hills. You look back and can always see it. I think it’s quite breathtaking for the clients who are staying there to go up a mountain and look back and see their bedroom window miles away.
Q: You’re going to be leading a couple of our new holidays for 2023. Can you share some highlights about Buxton and the High Peaks?
A: I'm excited about the Buxton holiday because I surveyed it and I’m eager to take clients to the places that are iconic. I’ve had the opportunity to include several great walks in the northern Peak District on the itinerary. They’re very well known and I’m hoping that will draw people to the trip.
Q: What are some of these walks?
A: There’s the Great Ridge and Mam Tor. There’s the Derwent Edge, where we walk past the Ladybower Reservoir. During the Second World War, that was where the Dambusters practised, so it’s obviously very famous. And then, of course, there’s Kinder Scout itself and the site of the original Mass Trespass. The Mass Trespass took place in 1932 in order to change the law to enable walkers to have open access to high grounds in the national parks.
Q: Another new tour you’re leading is Walking the Pembrokeshire Coast. What can clients expect on that holiday?
A: I have walked a lot of the Pembrokeshire Coast and it is strikingly beautiful. It’s quite a ways from cities like London, so this is a great excuse to actually get people to look at that part of the UK in a different light. Coast paths technically aren't difficult to walk because in terms of navigation you’ve just got to make sure the sea is on your left or right, but the ups and downs can be challenging and that’s why it’s a grade six. However, the scenery is breathtaking.
Two of the things I’m looking forward to on the Pembrokeshire Coast holiday are the marine and bird life. There will be choughs flying overhead. There’ll be Peregrine falcons nesting in the cracks, and then there are dolphins in the sea. If you know what to look for and where to look, you'll see them because they come into that area to breed. So I’ll carry a pair of binoculars and make sure that we see them if we can.
Q: What places have stuck out as your favourites to visit over the years?
A: It doesn’t really matter where you are to be honest. The tours that I remember best are not about the places I’ve been to, but the people that I’ve been with. It’s the people that make Ramblers Holidays so good. The groups that have gelled and worked together to help each other… when everybody starts and finishes together… well, it’s just wonderful – really good.
Q: What is it you love most about leading our clients in the mountains?
A: What I particularly like is taking someone into a mountainous area where they’re not sure whether they’re capable of doing it or not. Now they’ve got that challenge and are a bit nervous, but they’re getting a bit of an adrenaline rush too. Between us, we get up that hill and down the other side, and they think that’s absolutely amazing! They often say that they didn’t know they could do that. I like to take them to the limit of what they think they’re capable of and show them they’re capable of more, without making it a gruelling test. If they're up for it, then I am… and we’ll do it!