We would never claim to be seasoned outdoor types. Since becoming a family, our holidays have mostly been governed by the needs and ages of our children and how much money was in the bank.
Whether it was camping across Europe, motor cruising on the Medway, sailing and windsurfing in Sardinia or paragliding, canoyoning and snow boarding on an activity holiday in Austria; each holiday was designed to be fun and safe for all of us.
As the years have passed, we've both tried to maintain some level of fitness, although our good intentions have often been short lived. We've tried cycling, which is fun and maybe something we'll do more of. We've tried jogging, but it lacks sociability and is probably not great for the knees. We've tried gym training, but it's just too boring.
Faced with the prospect of growing unfit as we grew older we cast around for something we could enjoy together. Anne-Marie suggested walking. As someone who likes to get places fast, the thought of plodding along for hours on end sounded to me both mundane and un-energetic.
How wrong I was! Starting with a few gentle hikes, sometimes to the pub (one mile up, one mile back), we gradually increased our distances and discovered delights of the Kent countryside that had been around us for twenty years and never fully appreciated. The early walks were exhausting, reminding us of the all over exercise we were getting. But best of all, we felt both physically and mentally recharged after each walk, more so than any other outdoor activity we'd tried.
With our children now grown up and holidaying independently, the opportunity arose to rediscover the fun of taking a few holiday risks.
Walking from Perth to Fort William and then up Ben Nevis was our first 'walk on the wild side' . One hundred and twenty miles across Scotland followed by a trek up Britain's highest mountain seemed challenging at the time.
Inspired and recovered, the possibility of independently planning our own walk in the Alps then germinated from wishful thinking to a real possibility, and from that our Tour du Mont Blanc was born.