Expedition club’s proving hardly a busman’s holiday

Steven Roberts

Steven Roberts

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Business Editor. Call me on 01865 425460

If you think you know what a busman’s holiday is, think again.

Four years ago, Steven Roberts set up an expedition club for his employer, Oxford Bus Company, taking his colleagues to Snowdon, Dartmoor and even the Tatras mountain range in Poland.

Now the ex-RAF man has left his job as a bus driver to offer others the chance to explore the great outdoors through his new business, SPR Expeditions. He said: “I spent six years driving buses and it was a really enjoyable job, especially if you like meeting people. I was sorry to leave, but this is something I enjoy and I want other people to experience it.”

He developed his passion for wild places while serving in the RAF and explored the Black Mountains while living in Brecon. He said: “I have spent seven years planning SPR Expeditions and I believe it is something that will grow.”

One of his leaders, Chris Grice, is also a former Oxford bus driver as well as being a former geography teacher.

Mr Grice has helped to draw up detailed booklets that will be given to participants, describing the geology, history and landscape features of each expedition. But while the expedition leaders have experience of the toughest treks in the world, including Everest and Kilimanjaro, SPR will start closer to Mr Roberts’ home in Wallingford, where the company is based.

He believes there is plenty of scope to train people in the skills they will need on longer treks and to increase people’s fitness. He said: “ If people need to learn skills in navigation, we can use the Chilterns. We can build things up gradually so they can manage longer and steeper walks.”

He is encouraging people to become members of SPR Expeditions for £30 a year to qualify for a 20 per cent discount on Oxfordshire walks, 10 per cent on other UK walks.

Later in the year, expeditions will go to the highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland – Skiddaw, Snowdon and Ben Nevis. Eventually he envisages SPR taking groups overseas to more exotic mountain areas.

He said: “We are all keen to do things for young people. We have detailed information for every expedition and we are putting them out to schools. The expeditions are aimed at people aged 16 and up. It is attractive to teenagers who really want to learn – we have presented it in a very educational way.”

He believes Oxfordshire has potential to become a centre for mountain education and next year hopes to take on an apprentice to train in mountain leadership. Mr Roberts said: “The reason I am setting this up in Oxfordshire and not somewhere like Wales is that I have lived here for six years and I have never seen such a lovely county. I even prefer it to Devon, where I was born. It’s cosmopolitan as well, and I believe a venture like this will stimulate the local economy.”

  • Our top stories:

Six 'all clear' women told they have cancer after investigation into Oxfordshire Breast Screening Service assessments

Oxford Mail:

7:40am Thursday 18th December 2014

SIX women who were given the all clear after breast cancer screening have been told they have the disease following an investigation.

Crash involving car and cyclist closes road in Blackbird Leys

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

12:30pm Thursday 18th December 2014

A collision involving a cyclist and a car has taken place in Blackbird Leys, closing a road.

Man 'exposed himself' to woman at bus stop in St Clement's

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:02am Thursday 18th December 2014

A MAN who exposed himself to a woman in Headington is being sought by police.

Voting public save the Jack FM Christmas turkeys from being butchered

Oxford Mail:

10:04am Thursday 18th December 2014

THE FATE of two turkeys on an Oxfordshire farm this Christmas was decided by an online poll by radio station JACKfm.

Oxford United's young guns relishing Manchester City clash

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th December 2014

OXFORD United’s rising stars will get a taste of the big time tonight as they attempt a giant-killing against Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup (7).

Candlelight vigil in Oxford for victims of Peshawar massacre

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Thursday 18th December 2014

FAMILIES gathered by candlelight at a vigil for youngsters and their teachers targeted in a Taliban terrorist attack.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree