The Off the Wall Trekking Story
Ian started his journey into the mountains in the late 1950s when he went on a family camping holiday. His parents asked whether he wanted to go to the mountains or to the seaside; they went to Snowdonia and ever since then Wales and the mountains have played a large role in shaping Ian’s life.
In 1965 Ian went to work at Plas-y-Brenin, the National Mountaineering Centre and was greatly influenced by John 'Jacko' Jackson, who was the Head of Plas-y-Brenin (1960 – 1976) and which was then a very different establishment to that of today. ‘Jacko’ was involved in early Himalaya exploration with expeditions to Kashmir, Garhwal, and Everest and Kanchenjunga between 1944 and 1955. Many of ‘Jacko's’ slide presentations along with those of other visiting mountaineering 'stars' of the day and of course, North Wales its self, as it played a big role in the training and development of the equipment that was eventually used on the successful ascent of Everest, all made a lasting impression on Ian.
To mark the 50th Anniversary of Plas-y-Brenin Ian was instrumental in developing the concept for ‘The Splendid Enterprise’ a history of Plas-y-Bren which was published in 2006. Ian eventually qualified as a teacher and went onto a 'normal' career in education, but this was too conformist so he soon found himself back in the mountains working in educational outdoor centres as an instructor. In the mid-late 1970s Ian embarked on his 'Alpine experience' building on previous alpine visits; he became involved in taking trekkers and clients on many trips into the high mountain of Europe.
After spending 10 years working in community regeneration he had the opportunity to move to Nepal in 2006.
After spending her informative years supporting her mother and younger sisters by working in a carpet factory Sarita qualified and was working as a community health worker in the remote hills districts of Nepal. With her unique insight into rural development, the ethnic groups and history of Nepal she quickly established a rapport with the friends and clients that went to visit Ian and Sarita in Nepal. This soon led to them providing an additional 'service' trekking support service. Sarita and Ian used all their combined experiences and resources to put exciting mountain travel solutions together for friends and friends of friends.
They are running Off the Wall Trekking as a full time operation. With all their combined experience and having seen first-hand some of the negative impacts of trekking on the people and environments in the middle hill districts they feel they have the qualifications to offer a better solution to the 'run of the mill' trekking experiences most other operators provide.
In 2018 Ian was awarded a token of appreciation for training over 1000 trekking guides in leadership and professional development skills.