24 years is quite a long time

24 years and two days ago, on the first of September 1990 – almost a quarter of a century, more than half my life and in a different millennia – I started working in tree care.

This feels like quite a while, certainly a period of time you can look back on. Yet in many respects tree care and the daily work we perform on trees continue to fascinate and fill me with a sense of satisfaction.

I wanted to use this date as an opportunity to thank a couple of people who have been very influential for me over the years:

First off, obviously there was Alan Lyons, whom I started training with in 1990. I will always be grateful to him for taking me on board and for giving me the benefit of the doubt, as I do think I was a bit of a handful then. Mind you, over the years – and to this day in fact – , I know we have both learned from and appreciate each other.

Liriodendron in Basle, mid nineties

Then there was Dave McIntyre, who was working in Southern Germany in the early nineties. I spent weeks watching Dave climb, who to me was a true inspiration, introducing me to the flow and creativity of a climb. Dave was also a die-hard Shigo supporter and was very radical in his beliefs. His was the first Sierra Moreno sliding-D harness I saw.

Serge Grobéty, whom I have worked with for the past twenty two years, who taught me the ethics of getting stuck into a job. All this time later, he still remains a constant source of wonder and inspiration for me: in the field every day, working harder than young men half his age and still going strong. Apart from that, he is simply a wonderful person…

Chris Cowell, for his clear and structured thought process and sharp and analytical way of approaching a problem. Spending time and working together – and later embarking upon the treemagineers trip – has had a profound impact on my life.

And so many more… there are too many to mention, the list goes on and on.

The fact is, just thinking about all these people makes me feel humbled and privileged to be part of this industry and shows what a fantastic group of people this is: misfits and hyperactives, you say? Maybe so, but in this one thing we find common ground and work towards making climbers’ culture within the greater arboriculture increasingly rich and diverse, with every person adding their unique set of abilities.

Onwards, upwards & outwards… always!