Meeting the people behind the scenery - Minna & Classic Routes
We’ve pulled back the curtain so you can peek behind the scenes here at Macs HQ. Get to know some of our experts, specialists, fellow walking enthusiasts and small business owners who meticulously plan your trips, do all the logistical legwork and provide 24/7 support, so you can have a memorable, stress-free trip.
Spotlight on Minna, our Classic Routes expert
Today, we chatted to Minna, a Product Manager who designs, tries and tests our trips in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Dolomites and has a particular passion for our Classic Routes. We found out what she loves about working for Macs, her favourite walking routes and what it takes to create our Classic Routes trips.
Why do we offer Classic Routes walking trips?
They’re our bread and butter. The West Highland Way, Coast to Coast and Tour du Mont Blanc are our most popular trips, and all happen to be part of our Classic walking routes category. Some are a great way to discover their history and walk in the footsteps of the greats. Others are endurance tests which have our walkers falling exhausted into a cosy bed at night. Most can be broken down into manageable chunks for keen but time restricted walkers, what’s not to love?
Why do you think Classic Routes are worth doing?
They’re trails which people have walked for centuries all over the world. If it’s the Coast to Coast route or the Great Glen Way, they’re your classic inn to inn walks which are mostly focused on the journey. They strip walking back to basics and allow walkers to focus on one thing, walking in nature.
What do you like about our Classic Routes trips?
They’re a great way to switch off and spend time in nature, there’s something so refreshing about only having to do one thing in a day, walk (and then treat yourself to a delicious meal in a quaint village). The other benefit of our Classic Routes is, since they’re well known, you can always find other walkers on the trail who are heading the same way as you.
In a nutshell, what goes in to designing our Classic Routes trips?
Our Classic Routes trips are probably the simplest to design as they’re all based on well-marked routes. We establish what distance is a reasonable distance to walk, ensure there are locally- run comfortable accommodations (with dinner options) and, in most cases, a baggage transfer company in the area which can assist with moving the bags. Then we go on these trips to test the routes, to ensure the trip we’ve designed translates from paper to real life and is as enjoyable as we hope them to be.
What’s your favourite Classic Routes trip and why?
I love the trails in the Alps, like the Walker's Haute Route, Tour of the Matterhorn or the E5 Alpine Crossing. They tend to be a little more remote and rely on mountain huts for some of the overnights, but this only adds to the experience. The trails are also usually so well maintained and signposted you just can’t go wrong. I always enjoy the escapism and there’s nothing better than spending a day surrounded by soaring peaks.
What’s your top tips for walking any of our Classic Routes?
I recommend getting some training walks in before you embark on your adventure. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy it. Whilst you’re there, study the route the night before via our free app. Check the weather and plan your lunches (do you need to pick something up in the morning or is there a village en route?). All these little things will make you have the most enjoyable walking day the next day.
How long have you worked at Macs and what do you like most about working here?
I’ve been at Macs for 7 years. I started in the Sales team and then moved to Product 4 years ago.
Things are always changing and there’s a focus on trying to make things better for our travellers and staff, this means there’s never a dull moment.
Who do you usually go walking with?
My most loyal walking companion is my dog Millie, to her disappointment though she stays at home for the long-distance inn to inn hikes. I tend to do those with my husband, Phil, my parents or some equally hiking mad friends, it usually just depends on who’s free.