The Start-Up

How Cat Jones set up a no-flight travel company in lockdown

No flights, just trains and buses and bikes, this is what Byway are trying to do, the enjoyment coming not so much with the destination but how you get there, writes Andy Martin

Thursday 07 October 2021 09:28
<p>Cat Jones, building Byway in lockdown </p>

Cat Jones, building Byway in lockdown

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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