Early morning outside Refuge du Plan-Sec in the Vanoise

A Bit of History

For over 25 years Martin's Trips Programme was despatched every year along with his Christmas cards, following discussion of dates and venues by a core of people on an annual pre-Christmas walk in the Peak District.

Following the advent of the internet, Martin and Sue decided that the Programme could be better maintained by way of a web site, copies of the pages from which could be posted to those without access to the 'web'.

Accordingly, in January 2003, we launched the 'Mountainview Trips' website, using the free web space provided by our email provider. That comprised 7 pages - a Summary page and further pages providing more details about our different categories of trips, (evenings, day walks, holidays, etc). Tagged on to this were a further 20 or so pages designed by Sue, describing the Tour of Mont Blanc walk that we did in 2000. These days those latter pages, virtually unchanged from the first upload, still receive a steady flow of visitors from all over the world.

It soon became obvious that it would be a shame to delete all reference to a 'trip' once it had happened, so an Archive page was created as a means of summarising all the trips in chronological order. This page became very long and has now been sub-divided.

And since we were taking photos and writing reports on certain trips, why not publish those as well? So we sometimes did that, an early example being our Welsh 3000's walk in July 2003. Then there were recipes, routes, and other additions, usually just tagged on to the site following requests from third parties.

In 2004 Martin left full time employment. His plan was to 'wind down' doing some part-time accountancy work and, if possible, accompany people on trips that they would pay for, under the 'Topwalks' banner, the name of a web domain he had purchased earlier that year. Whilst Topwalks traded briefly on a break even basis mainly for friends and relatives, the trips originally envisaged never got off the ground, largely due to a lack of marketing and the rather greater rewards from a little accountancy consultancy.

In the summer of 2004 the website proved invaluable for keeping in touch as we spent two months backpacking across the Pyrenees on the HRP (Haute Randonnée Pyrenéenne). We didn't recognise the term at the time, but we 'blogged' our way across using a mobile phone and helpful children back in the UK. Many of our friends followed our progress. Martin used a similar technique on his first TGO Challenge walk across Scotland in 2007.

All this resulted in the 'Mountainview' site outgrowing the small amount of web space allowed by our original email provider, which changed hands several times and now concentrates on the bigger business end of the market. So, given that we were running topwalks.com with just one active page, it made sense to transfer the 'Mountainview Trips' pages to that site, with a link to the commercial element of that site (should anyone ever want to pay us for accompanying them!). [The 'bus', a Renault Espace, was sold in 2007 as the 'commercial' side of things never took off, so the link has been removed.]

So, we effected that transfer, and as I update these notes in 2015 www.mountainview.u-net.com has become a distant memory.

Our email address also changed - to (anything) @topwalks.com.

In 2007 we started a blog, in preparation for a trip to New Zealand. It worked well for that trip, with us taking turns to report back to friends and family via the blog. Once we got back, Martin decided to continue writing the blog, instead of the hand written diary that had been kept for trips since 1980. It's called 'Postcard from Timperley' and as at the end of 2014 had over 2000 separate entries. Meanwhile, topwalks.com is still used to tell people some of what we are going to be doing, and if they wish to join us they are most welcome.

Enjoy the outdoors.

Martin and Sue Banfield
January 2015


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