As we welcome in the month of May I’m very aware that the year is speeding by and I’ve yet to officially introduce myself to you all; clients, contacts and friends of John Woolley Limited. Karen moved on to new pastures in December 2018 and I joined John to continue her good work. I wonder if I can still be called a “newbie” at this stage?
The majority of my professional background is actually within tourism, having spent the last 13 years with Aardvark Safaris, a company specialising in African holidays. I love all that makes Aardvark special but, having dedicated so many years to building wonderful holidays for other people, I steadily developed itchy feet. This led to the decision, early in 2018, to say goodbye so I could do some exploring of my own. Rather unconventionally, and much to the shock of my nearest and dearest, I departed for America intent on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. This 2652-mile trail traverses the spine of the west country mountains all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, passing through California, Oregon and Washington.
I lived and breathed those mountains for three months, sleeping wild and only visiting towns when there was a necessity to resupply on food. The southern Californian desert was predictably dry, hot and arid with daily battles to keep cool, seek out water and avoid rattlesnakes. The Sierra was a completely different beast with snowy summits of 3000 to 4000 metres to conquer. And northern California, which was less of a hike and more of a sprinting exercise to escape clouds of mosquitoes and detection from the delicate noses of inquisitive (hungry?!) bears.
Once I reached 1500 miles on the trail, almost the full length of California, I felt satisfied that I’d experienced enough of the Pacific Crest Trail and fulfilled my urge for adventure. However, on my return home and with the UK having such a fabulously warm summer I couldn’t resist doing a little bit more hiking in my favourite county – Cornwall. It seems I got carried away as I ended up doing the whole 630-mile South West Coast Path, through Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, in four weeks. It really was a beautiful summer!
With the “end of an era” at Aardvark and after a “once in a lifetime” summer of solo hiking it felt natural to continue my flow of new beginnings. I therefore joined John at John Woolley Ltd in order to support and help farmers and landowners and their farms and properties to achieve their goals and ambitions.
As you can see, my venture into agriculture is rather a turnaround, but you’ll be relieved to hear that I’m not completely fresh faced to the farming scene! After 17 years together I’m marrying my Wiltshire farmer next month, and I have been assisting with running the family business for the last few years. That said, I am certainly learning a lot from John. So, alongside his long-standing expertise, I’m here to help in any way I can. If I haven’t already done so, I look forward to meeting and speaking to you soon.