High Places was founded in the late 1980’s by Yorkshire based school teacher couple Bob & Mary who wanted to share their love of the outdoors with others. They began by taking some friends on a trek in India. It was a great success and the following years saw the addition of more trips in India and other destinations, like Nepal, Africa and South America, were gradually added. We now offer tailor-made adventure holidays worldwide.
So what started as a hobby working from a back bedroom has grown into a company offering adventure opportunities in many parts of the world but still with that same personal service.
From the outset our approach has been to try and avoid whistle-stop trips to honey pots. We seek out the less visited areas, not always easy in the world now with places becoming more accessible. Our style has also been a bit different from others, call it laid back! We run tailor-made tours that are carefully researched, fully supported and sensitively guided. You are guided but not ‘led’.
Long before it became de rigour we have always had a responsible approach to our holidays. We have a high regard for the destinations we visit and the people and communities who live there. On all of out tailor-made options and set departure tours, we work with local partners who employ local staff. Over time we have developed lasting relationships, some going back 20 years or more. The people working for us in any location are well trained and our local partners are committed to paying fair wages. We as an organisation are strictly against child labour and ensure all the people working on our trips are over the age of 16.
Wherever feasible we use accommodation owned by families or communities such as home-stays in Ladakh or Tea Lodges in Nepal. This ensures our values work in practice by generating employment and helping the local economy. Some of these are period family homes, mountain houses, heritage buildings – quirky yet filled with character. Although we do appreciate some holidays tend to have a different theme and there is equal room to offer comfort and a bit of luxury on occasion.
We are also committed to the safety of the staff working on our trips and arguably we were one of the first companies from the UK to press for porter protection and insurance in Nepal. We are long term supporters of IPPG (International Porter Protection Group).
We do not run mass holidays or promote them, we believe in small, responsible and sustainable tourism. We are members of Responsible Tourism, www.responsibletourism.co.uk
After three decades of organising holidays we still maintain our original ethos. Our approach remains the same; we are proud to be independent and personal, always just a phone call away. We still use post, accept cheques and are happy to speak over the phone. We are based in Sheffield, close to the Peak District, and you are most welcome to come in for a chat.
But some things have changed. More people now want to book individual holiday experiences, with their own itinerary and at a time they want to go. So as well as offering group set departures to certain places we have moved more to running bespoke tailor made holidays. Tell us where you want to go and what you want to do and we will design a trip just for you and your friends.
Another change has been the increased demand for cycling holidays and to reflect this we have moved them to their own website and given them a name. Find Pedal Nation cycling holidays at www.pedalnation.co.uk
We have always loved mountains and the Himalayas in particular. India and Nepal are still popular destinations, along with New Zealand and South America but we have recently added some exciting new destinations including Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bulgaria.
High Places takes its responsibilities to sustainable and responsible tourism seriously
We are aware that every trip has an impact and we do all we can to ensure that this is sensitive to the local environment and benefits the local community. We want our clients to appreciate and respect other countries, their institutions, traditions, religions and heritage and we are committed to creating positive long-term relationships with the communities and places we visit.
To ensure we meet these aims, we work with local people, using local staff and supporting locally owned accommodation. Treks and group logistics are organised to have minimal impact on the environment: groups are limited (max 12); wood is only used for fuel when other resources are not available; cleanliness of water sources is protected at all times; trek leaders are rigorous in ensuring that all litter is removed from campsites and properly disposed of.
We urge our clients to contribute to Climate Care – www.climatecare.org – to offset flight emissions.
High Places is a member of Tourism Concern
Tourism Concern’s mission is to ensure tourism always benefits the local communities they do this through a wide range of exciting and innovative projects. From working with communities in destination countries to reduce social and environmental problems connected to tourism, to working with the out-going UK tourism industry to find ways of improving tourism so that local benefits are increased. www.tourismconcern.org.uk
High Places supports the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group)
The IPPG works to improve the conditions of mountain porters in the tourism industry worldwide. This means porters carrying for individual trekkers, organized groups, climbing expeditions and those who supply lodges. High Places supports the work of IPPG and endorses its five recommended guidelines. www.ippg.net
Responsible office practices:
We also try to minimise the impact on the environment in our UK office. For instance:
- Our stationery is printed on recycled paper
- We re-use or recycle office waste paper
- We make sure office equipment is turned off overnight