Claire Sharp & Richard Jemmett Interview – iFootpath
Hike.Mountain.Trail put Claire Sharp and Richard Jemmett, co-founders of the popular iFootpath walking/hiking app and website, on the spot with some cheeky little questions.
Claire Sharp & Richard Jemmett Interview - iFootpath
We chat to Claire Sharp & Richard Jemmett, co-founders of the hugely popular iFootpath app and website, with 900+ walking guides and routes to their name.
Hello! Many thanks for taking the time to chat with Hike. Mountain. Trail today Claire and Richard!
Hike.Mountain.Trail: We use the iFootpath app regularly here at Hike.Mountain.Trail, but for those who are not familiar with it can you tell us a little about it?
C&R: iFootpath is a website and App, designed to make walking fun, simple and stress-free. We have 900+ (and counting!) richly-described walking guides with routes to suit all abilities, from town trails and pub walks to riverside rambles and long-distance treks. Every walking guide has full turn-by-turn directions, photographs, snippets of local interest and a live-GPS map. With this live map you can follow your own position around the route as you walk – so you can say goodbye to wrong turns! iFootpath brings together the best of both worlds, old and new. All the benefits of latest technology combined with traditional rewarding guides. From our customer feedback, we know that this winning combination gives walkers confidence to explore and enjoy new routes.
Hike.Mountain.Trail: You are obviously keen outdoor enthusiasts, what is your favourite place to go walking?
Claire: That’s really not a fair question. It’s like asking me to pick a favourite child lol! What I love about walking in the UK is the huge diversity in a relatively small area. Even on a short walk of 3 miles, you can often enjoy a mix of woodland, farmland and heath, not to mention bracing stretches of beach and coast. There’s so much to discover around every corner, with vineyards, steam trains, windmills, castles and industrial heritage seemingly at every turn. If you are going to force me to mention particular places, then my top spots would have to include Bamburgh Beach, Bodmin Moor, Whitby and any forest where our lovely pooch can have a good run around.
Richard: My favourite places to walk are those with some industrial archaeology to enjoy. I love Surrey’s Chilworth Gunpowder Mills on the Tillingbourne, the canals around Birmingham, tin mines in Cornwall and you can’t beat an old watermill!
Hike.Mountain.Trail: What is the worst case of blisters you have ever had, and where were you?
Claire: Walking as much as we do, I own several different pairs of walking boots and shoes to allow me to switch around and keep my feet in tip-top condition. I did make a classic schoolgirl error a few years ago though. My knee-high leather waterproof boots had worn out (after many years of use) so I bought an identical pair to replace them. Assuming they would be identical in size and style, I took them on a trip to the North York Moors and wore them fresh out of the box for an 8 mile moorland hike. Big mistake! It turns out that the design had changed to be much narrower, rubbing horribly on my heels. There were no short-cuts or escapes to roads available, so I bandaged my heels as best I could with the supplies I always carry and soldiered on to the end. On removing my boots I found two crater-like holes where there had once been heels. It was so sore that I had to sit out the next two days of walking – Richard and our dog headed out on their own while I made the most of my time resting by writing some more blog posts for the iFootpath community.
Lesson learned though – never trust a new pair of shoes or boots without a short test walk!
Richard: I’m really lucky and my feet are not prone to blisters. Genuinely my worst case of blisters was a small piece of rubbed skin on my little toe after a 16 mile walk on the New River Path. As you can imagine, this infuriates Claire who has very sensitive feet.
Hike.Mountain.Trail: Have either of you had an accident or ‘near miss’ when you’ve been walking or hiking?
C&R: Claire is a born planner, so it is unusual for us to come across any surprises when we are out walking. We are really aware of hazards like rail and road crossings, steep canal banks and livestock and we share this access summary in the introduction to all our walking guides – forewarned is forearmed and all that! Our biggest challenge is probably cattle. Our dog is a large black standard poodle and cattle are not always happy to let us walk past without reacting. We have been chased out of fields a couple of times, which is a very scary experience. Of course, given the number of times we have crossed cattle fields, two incidents is a very small percentage of the time, but we are always very cautious about sharing paths with cattle.
Hike.Mountain.Trail: What is your favourite snack to take on a long day out?
Richard: Apples are my number one snack for eating on a walk. I also love a few brands of snack bars including Trek Cocoa and Bounce Balls. If we are out for a longer walk, I also carry a snack that I can share with our trusty canine companion – and her favourite thing is a pork pie, yum!
Claire: I have a few food allergies and tend to eat vegan food when out and about to make sure I don’t have any unwanted reactions (of course, I carry my epi-pen too, just in case!). My bag always has an emergency Nakd Bar and Bounce Ball in it and I usually have an apple on the way round too.
Hike.Mountain.Trail: What is your one piece of advice you would give to anyone wanting to start walking or hiking?
Both: First, don’t feel you have to travel too far to find a good walk. Too many people think you can only walk in the Lake District or one of the other National Parks and that is simply not the case. Build up your confidence with some local walks. iFootpath customers regularly tell us that our guides have helped them to discover local gems that they never knew about before. Second, don’t worry about how far you need to walk. So many challenges and hashtags now are all based on the number of miles people should walk or the numbers of peaks to be bagged. Walking is about the journey not the destination, so make sure you always take your time and appreciate the great outdoors.
So, if you’ve not been to the iFootpath website or downloaded the app then make sure you do!
Many thanks to Claire and Richard for taking the time to answer Hike.Mountain.Trail’s questions and may your success with iFootpath continue!