It is March 2020. Lockdown has just kicked in. No one is going anywhere. What do you say to yourself? “I know, why don’t I start a travel company!” Only, perhaps, if you are Cat Jones. “A lot of people told me I was mad,” she says.
But there was a method to her madness. Her brainchild, travel start-up Byway, specialises in “slow travel”: no flights, nothing but trains and buses and bikes – or walking, if you prefer. She will take you as far as Corsica, but the emphasis is on the not so far-flung pleasures of the West Country, Wales, Yorkshire and the Scottish isles.
Cat Jones was born in Cambridge, but her dad was a civil engineer and their travels took them to Yemen and Zimbabwe before she came back to England to go to school in Devon in a village with one pub and a post office. Now she organises trips down that way. She studied physics at Durham but had a boyfriend in Oxford and used to commute between the two cities. Only by train. “My parents owned a car,” she says. “But not me. It was always trains.”
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