BOHO man Victor McManus has his sights on the big 1,000 after racking up his 750th guided tour of the Marble Arch Caves.
Victor, 65, has been showing visitors around the caves for four years following a long career in the motor industry for a Land Rover dealership.
Fast forward to today and even Victor himself is surprised that he’s done as many as 750 tours.
However, he shows no signs of stopping and fully intends to keep on guiding tourists through the majestic caves that has visitors coming in their thousands.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ll be going on to make the 1000 tour mark. I look on my life with passion – that’s how I’ve been since I was born.
“I’m only a cog in the wheel here. We just don’t expect our customers to be very, very happy, we expect them to be ecstatic.
“There is no way that I would have thought – when I started here – that I would rack 750 tours. You just don’t realise when you’re doing it and putting your heart into it, the amount of lovely people from all round the world there are.”
As for maintaining the stamina to keep going up and down the rocky climbs, Victor added: “I keep fit by swimming and doing the tours themselves keep you fit as well – especially when you have as busy a week as we had last week. I worked out I must have walked the equivalent of 54 kilometres.”
Tour guides usually have to repeat the same set of historical facts to each group that they take. So how does Victor keep each tour fresh as if he’s doing his first?
“I deliver it with passion,” he added. “It’s not word for word every time. You pick your customers and see what they’re turned on by. You concentrate on the children or the adults. If the children are happy and laughing then the adults are automatically happy.
“Not very often you see the customer who is a bit uptight and wants to get out as quick as they can so you cut the tour accordingly.
“My aim is that my next tour has to be better than my first.”
Victor says there are lots of stories he could tell about the various tours he’s done in the Caves. But one that stands out was when he was ordered to ‘sing for his supper’.
“There are a lot of funny stories that I could tell,” he continued. “One that stands out is a group that I had who refused to move until I sang.
“I had a trainee tour guide with me at the time who was probably wondering if this post was for them.
“So I sang – I had no choice. I did a song that my father sang many, many years ago. It was ‘The Groves of Boho’ which I changed to ‘The Caves’.
“But that’s an example of the type of variety of people that you get. Plus the song went down well.”
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