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American walker continues his love affair with the Isle of Man 20 June 2007

A retired finance director from Los Angeles who fell in love with the Isle of Man while taking part in the Walking Festival last year has just paid a second, private, visit. This was with the intention of making arrangements to bring a large party of Californians to the Island for next year’s June Festival.

Richard Pardi, who lives in the San Fernando Valley, took part in the 2006 event and completed the 95 miles coastal walk. He declared that while he had hiked extensively in various parts of the world he found the Isle of Man unique.

True to his word he returned to do some different hikes and also make arrangements for his walking club colleagues back home in LA to join him next time. He met Festival Organiser Mick Salmon, Judy Arnold from Isle of Man Travel Services, and also Tourism Minister Adrian Earnshaw.

Said Richard:

‘The beauty of the Isle of Man is something you just can’t describe to someone who has not been there and the environment is totally different from anywhere I have seen. At home we are used to walking across desert, scrubland and just plain dust but you have wonderful vistas over farmland, cliffs, beaches and sea as well as many interesting and accessible trails. Even the weather is an attraction to me because we don’t get much rain in Los Angeles and I rarely need to use my wet weather gear. I am sure my friends in the walking club will just love this place.’

Richard is a qualified hike leader within the Los Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club, which is a national organisation specialising in outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing and backpacking. Members have travelled extensively in the USA, South America, Europe and Australia.

He hopes to bring a party of 12 or 15 colleagues from the Sierra Club to take part in the June 2008 Walking Festival. His intention would be to supply them with literature about the Festival and then leave it to individuals to decide which walks they would like to do.

Richard plans to renew acquaintance with the Island’s coastal walk having been ‘knocked-out’ by such a range of scenery. His particular interest has always been walking around the coastline of islands, which is what brought him to the Isle of Man in the first place. He had previously experienced Jersey and Guernsey but now considers there is no place like the Isle of Man. While on his recent week-long visit Richard took in the Millennium Way, Heritage Trail and Herring Way and still has other parts of the Island he wants to explore.

Another reason for his love affair with the Isle of Man is the friendliness of the Manx people. During his latest trip he had been out walking all day and felt it was time to get back to his hotel. He stopped to ask directions to the nearest bus stop but was told ‘get in my car and I’ll run you there.’

Said Tourism Minister Adrian Earnshaw:

‘This gentleman is a real ambassador for the Isle of Man and I must thank him for spreading the news about what the Island has to offer. We look forward to seeing Richard, and his friends, back here next year.’

Festival Organiser Mick Salmon said although advertising was a major factor in attracting people to the Isle of Man, and the Walking Festival in particular, word of mouth was also a powerful weapon and in this respect they had a wonderful ally in Richard.

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