‘I thought I’d go and take a look at the North Face of the Eiger…’ our guest began. It’s not everyone who has thoughts in that direction so we were keen to talk further to Patrick Heffron about his experiences as a mountain guide.
Not just mountain guide in the British Army but also Head of Outdoor Activities at Marlborough College and Outward Bound teacher. Trips to the Grand Canyon plus Jordan and Morocco all form part of Patrick’s portfolio. We envisaged our very own Bear Grylls and Patrick’s stories of boulders the size of mini-buses and truffle-rustling kept us well and truly entertained.
As it happens, the trip up the Eiger was put on pause when Patrick spotted the debris of numerous previous trips that had clearly ended in failure at the same spot. Pleased to hear that this mountain guide had his feet firmly on the ground when he made that decision.
These days, Patrick’s projects are a little more low-key but in no way less enthusiastic. FranceTrek, his own touring holidays company, is based in the typically Provençal village of Vinsobres and if Provence is your thing then Patrick is your man.
Olive groves, lavender distillery visits and truffle farms are amongst the treats in store if you follow in this guide’s footsteps. Cycling or walking, according to your preference, with sensible pauses to appreciate the stunning landscape and partake of the local specialities.
Trips like these are all about making memories, but Patrick’s belief is that it’s better to pack away that phone and experience the views, the plantlife and wildlife in real time. Memories last longer when they are stored in your heart and not just on your phone.
If Patrick’s tours sound like they might be up your street (or lavender-lined country lane) then take a look at his website on: www.francetrek.com
You will also find details of a new project being put in place by Patrick’s partner, artist and printmaker Jane Henriques, where you can combine visiting Provence with playing with Art.
Deborah Alexander – www.reflective-writing-group.org