Rob graduated in 2000 from Bristol University with a Masters degree in Geology and Geotechnical Engineering. Wanting to share his love of the mountains and “getting out there”, he began his Mountain Leader training in 2003, and in 2005 became a fully qualified International Mountain Leader. Together with his wife Emma, they walked the length of the Pyrenees on the GR10 route, before establishing MountainBug and settling permanently in Barèges.
One of MountainBug’s founders, Emma graduated from the University of Bristol with a PhD in mineral surface geochemistry in 2002, before beginning her Mountain Leader training in 2003. Always passionate about the outdoors and outdoor activities, she qualified as an International Mountain Leader in 2005. That same year she and her partner Rob opened MountainBug in Barèges, High Pyrenees. You can read their GR10 diary about walking the length of the Pyrenees.
Rob, Emma and their young family are permanent residents of Barèges. They are the owners of the chalet Les Cailloux, and the Hotel du Tourmalet.
Julien has been an International Mountain Leader for 15 years. He has lived in the Pyrenees for 22 years, where he has been able to indulge his passion for wild country hiking, plants, birds and wildlife.
Claiming to be the only French speaking Geordie guide in the Pyrenees, he leads hiking and snow-shoeing groups in both French and English, as well as history trips on the Cathar trail and the Spanish Reconquista trail in Aragon, Spain. Julien is also an expert in animal tracks, being able to tell from next to nothing which animal has been passing by and what it was most likely up to.
He enjoys French cooking, good wine and interesting conversation, and can speak French with an impeccable French accent, or, when pressed, an impeccable Geordie one.
Henri is a native of the Pays Toy and knows the Pyrenees intimately.
A qualified, experienced High Mountain Guide, he can do a range of activities in the High Pyrenees, such as ski-touring and peak ascents, as well as rock-climbing and paragliding.
His calm, friendly manner makes him a safe pair of hands for all our guests, whether they are trying an activity for the first time or are seasoned veterans wanting to try more.
Thomas is a passionate caving and canyoning instructor.
He qualified in both over 12 years ago and now as well as taking clients caving and canyoning, he also teaches other instructors. Our guests love Thomas because he is fun, ensuring everyone has a great time, while calmly ensuring everyone is safe.
Thomas, a Frenchman, lives in the Pyrenees all year round. He speaks English as well as French and is the best person to teach you how to say "frog" in French!
Vic and Geoff have joined us this season fresh from a winter in Morzine. They arrive in the Pyrenees with glowing TripAdvisor reviews from their previous guests, and are already collecting great feedback from MountainBug customers. They have also massively impressed the MountainBug directors with their ability to walk for two days, serve a delicious 3 course meal, then hot-foot it to Andorra for 24 hours before making it back in time to serve breakfast. That's just showing off!
Stephane is the chef at the Hotel du Tourmalet. Together, with his wife Karen, they are making a name for themselves locally, with people travelling from nearby villages and further flung valleys to taste their menus – regional food with a provencal style twist.
A trained and experienced chef, born in the French food capital of Lyon, Stephane has worked in Michelin starred restaurants in Ireland and Australia, before spending time in Taiwan running his own restaurant there. His passion for the mountains led him to the Pyrenees – on their day off, he and Karen can often be spotted hiking, ski-touring and (unsuccessfully so far!) fishing.