Hear from our leaders

Volunteer walk leader stories

Interested in volunteering and getting involved with HF Holidays? To help you understand the role and find the right volunteer opportunity, get to know some of the incredible people who give up their time to lead for us.

Adrian Gostelow
Adrian GostelowHF Leader since 2011

Adrian’s story

Adrian has been a leader with HF Holidays’ for nine years, starting out at Monk Coniston and Derwent Bank, in the Lake District. He’s also led in Wales and Scotland. He gained his Summer Mountain Leader Award in 2014 and also passed the assessment to lead abroad that year. Since then, he has visited the Sierra Nevada in Spain, La Gomera in the Canary Islands, Crete and Evia in Greece, Mayrhofen in Austria and even Nepal!

He's also one of our assessors, sharing his knowledge of and passion for HF Holidays with others who have an interest in joining the HF volunteer walk leader team. 

“First and foremost, I’m a mountain person - I love mountains, am at home in them and I’ve a general interest in mountain flora and bird life. Meeting new people is something I really enjoy and volunteering for HF means I can do that, along with helping them have a really great experience and enjoy their walking holiday”

Vicki’s story

Vicki started with HF in 2002. Her first lead was a seven-night holiday at Newfield Hall, Malhamdale in the Yorkshire Dales. Since then, she’s gone on to lead walking holidays all over the UK, taking on challenges and developing herself. She did her Mountain Leader training at Plas Y Brenin and gained the Mountain Leader award in 2009. Vicki even came and enjoyed six years in-house with HF Holidays, working as part of the Leader Operations Team. Guests often remark on Vicki’s extensive countryside knowledge, which includes expertise on sheep psychology!

“I lead for HF because I love the countryside and I really enjoy sharing that with other people. Leading a walk is not just about leading the way - it's also about telling people about the place where they're walking - the flowers, wildlife, geology, history etc etc. I particularly enjoy leading in mountain areas, and I find it very satisfying enabling people to go to places they wouldn't go to on their own”.

Vicki Chuter
Vicki ChuterHF Leader since 2002

Susan Alcock

Q. How long have you been leading for HF Holidays?
Since 2009

Q. Why did you become a leader? 
I was inspired to become a leader when I joined a group walking trip with HF Holidays to Baska Voda, Croatia. Chatting to the leader during a walk, I was impressed with the company’s pioneering role in popularising walking holidays in the early 20th century. He suggested I apply and soon after I was being assessed on the Brecon Beacons. I returned to Baska Voda ten years later as an HF Holidays Leader and enjoyed the same great walking break that still runs to this day.

Q. What do you love most about the role?
One of the biggest bonuses of the role is getting to socialise and bond with other walkers in the great outdoors. 

Mike Thomas

Q. How long been leading for HF Holidays?   
For over 23 years 

Q. Why did you become a leader?
As a boy, I was in the scouts and to my amazement, the Scout Leader told my mum I had natural leadership skills. Before becoming a leader, I’d been on two guided walking breaks with HF Holidays and was impressed by everything about them: from the quality of accommodation and standard of walks to the knowledge of the leaders. When I retired early, I was looking for something to keep both my brain and body active. The role of HF Holidays Leader was perfect. 

Q. What do you love most about the role? 
I like the role for lots of reasons. Not only do I find it very rewarding, but I enjoy the lovely areas where we walk - and it helps keep me fit.  What I love most is the buzz I get from guests when they are clearly enjoying the holiday, due in some small way to my efforts. 

Andrew Sudlow

Q. How long have you been leading for HF Holidays?  
Since 2018 

Q. Why did you become a leader? 
There’s nothing better for your physical and mental wellbeing than being in the outdoors. Leading for HF Holidays, there’s the fantastic bonus of walking with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. 

Q. What do you love most about the role? 
In my five years as a leader, I’ve met delightful people and had hundreds of interesting conversations. Every day is an adventure (even the wet ones).