Spotlight on Mick Starkey - one of our volunteer walking tour leaders
Thinking back, I seem to have been hiking for as long as I can recall. Although I was born in a city, I have always had an affinity with and an enduring love of the countryside where I just feel more at home. One of my earliest memories is of walking on Ilkley moor and in the Yorkshire Dales with my parents. That early introduction to the outdoors was reinforced with time spent in the Cub’s, Boy Scouts and Army Cadet Force, when I recall many happy summers holidays camping and canoeing along with my brother. So, on leaving education a life working indoors definitely didn’t appeal to me and I joined the Police Service. Throughout my 35yrs working life I took every opportunity to relax by enjoying free time walking in the countryside. I became a member of Mountaineering and Walking clubs and was very fortunate to be sent on Mountain Leader Training courses.
When my wife and I first met one of our first dates was a day trip to Malham Cove and she has remained an equally enthusiastic walker ever since. As well as raising a family and pursuing our busy careers in the Police and NHS we still managed to regularly travel privately throughout the UK and Europe on walking and ski-ing holidays.
On retirement I was looking for a way to pursue my love of walking and travel. It was during a holiday to Italy with my wife that we had a chance encounter with a lady leading a Ramblers Holiday group and the ensuing conversation convinced me that would be a worthwhile thing to do. Not long after I became a leader my wife Tess also became a leader too and we have since led a series of two leader holidays together in Italy, Majorca, Lanzarote, St Ives Cornwall and Hassness in the Lake District.
As a Navigation trainer/assessor I really enjoy training others in navigation skills. I am part of our company’s New Leader Training Team and help to deliver training courses to both our new leaders and clients. My motto is: “We are never lost just temporarily mislocated” In addition to leading holiday tours I am an avid writer on outdoor related subjects and regularly contribute articles to our in-house newsletter
Perhaps one of the hardest questions I am asked by clients is what my favourite holiday location is. Whilst I have been fortunate to travel the world with Ramblers Holidays the answer for me is that every trip is enjoyable and fulfilling, even the local ones, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an exotic or distant location. So long as I’m outdoors walking in the countryside, hills or mountains with good company, then it doesn’t really matter to me.