Winner of a fully guided trek of the Walkers Haute Route

Thank you to everyone who took part this year, we were overwhelmed by your response and are really happy to introduce Ian Price, aged 59 and winner of our 2019 competition to win a free, fully guided walking holiday of the fabulous Walkers Haute Route with us.

We had 1000's of entrants across the globe, but this year’s winner comes from Cumbria in the UK. We will be following his preparations for his holiday and publishing his diary to give you first-hand experience of how it feels to be preparing for a multi-day hike, what the Walkers Haute Route is like from day-to-day and his thoughts once he is back at home...

As an introduction, Ian has taken the time to tell us a little about himself...

A little background for you, from the winner himself

" I was in the RAF for nearly 33 years (I left about 5 years ago and now I do some part time work, but I'm 'mostly retired'). During my service career, I took part in occasional 'adventurous training' (personal development stuff) which often included hiking.

My wife and I both enjoy hiking and have been on a few walking holidays (centre based in Obergurgl, the Tatras Mountains, hotel to hotel in Slovenia and we did a stretch of the Amalfi Coast last year) but I've done nothing like the Haute Route. I've stayed in one mountain refuge (on a ski touring expedition with the military), but that's it.

Since retiring to Cumbria, I've become a rather more serious hiker, getting out regularly in the Lake District with my dog, and I also wild camp on occasion - again, with the dog! I have almost completed the 214 Lake District 'Wainwrights' with just 6 left to do; Chester, my dog has done 175 of them. Apart from the dog, I generally hike alone, though I sometimes go out with folks I've met through a Facebook walking group that I administer.

By (slight) coincidence, having seen a TV programme about the route, I'd decided to do a trek over the Pyrenees this summer (the last week in July), following one of the old escape routes (now known as the Freedom Trail - Chemin de la Liberte) used by refugees, escaping prisoners of war, spies, resistance fighters, etc, during World War II. That will be the first 'proper' trek I will have done.

I saw your competition online and like many people, I suppose, I really did not expect to win, but entered it because it just seemed silly not to! I'd really forgotten all about it until you 'phoned and even then it was something of a dim memory, as I think you could tell! At first, I thought you were phoning to try and sell me something!

So I've gone from never having done a hut-to-hut type multi-day trek before to facing two in less than a month - it should be quite a ride, really, and I'm very excited by the whole thing."

If you'd like to read about a first-hand experience of the Tour du Mont Blanc, you can read Sylvia's diary winner of our competition in 2018