York ghost tour wars: Guide slams rival for ‘making a mockery’ of the walks

They walk the night… Andy Dextrous (left) and Trevor Rooney
9 Jul 2015 @ 7.40 pm
| History, News

One of York’s original ghost tour guides has ripped into a rival for “making a total mockery” of the spooky walk business.

Trevor Rooney, who steered his first party around the haunts of York fully 30 years ago, now runs Ghost Walks York, starting from Stonegate each night.

But one evening recently he brought his walk to Goodramgate and was dismayed to see The Ghost Hunt Of York‘s crowd included a hen party, complete with offensive inflatable.

He told YorkMix:

When I came round the corner there were around seven to ten girls on his walk all dressed in hen party stuff.

All I could see was this row of people stood opposite Caesars Restaurant, and there’s this great big inflatable penis in full view of everybody and our crowd.

This woman said to me, ‘That’s absolutely disgraceful having that kind of thing on the street.’

Trevor took to Facebook to say the Ghost Hunt Of York, operated by Andy Dextrous from Shambles each night, was “making a total mockery out of a beautiful and well established style of walk”.

He added: “If I could run this guy out of business right now I would not have any hesitation in doing so.”

Many took to Facebook to agree with him.

Sad, it would ruin a good night for so many families with both young and old.

– Denise Brownlee

Totally agree with you Trevor.. It’s completely inappropriate and they should have been turned away… it sickens me.

– Linda Baker

‘All over the shop’

Trevor told us he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen on one of his walks. “I will refuse hen parties carrying offensive objects, and anybody trying to get on my ghost walk with a bottle of alcohol in their hand.

“That guy should know better.”

He felt that York’s tourist scene had changed since he first started his walks in 1985.

When I go back in time, York has always been good for tourism. But the type of tourism we’re getting at the moment is, in a lot of ways, the type that York doesn’t need.
Andy Dextrous runs the Ghost Hunt of York. Photograph: Jim Richardson / visityork.org
Andy Dextrous runs the Ghost Hunt of York. Photograph: Jim Richardson / visityork.org

There are at least seven regular ghost walks in York which was “definitely breaking the crowds down,” Trevor added.

There have been previous “ghost tour wars” in the city.

That ghost war is still there in my eyes. Because they’re just all over the shop now. They’re not doing it properly.

The people deserve a little bit more than what I saw last Saturday. Those people should have been with me.

It’s not a jealousy thing, it’s not just about money, it’s more about integrity.

Silent as the grave

Trevor said he has tried to speak to his rival about this. “You can never get hold of Andy. I’ve tried a number of times to call him.”

We have contacted Andy Dextrous numerous times for comment but he has not got back to us.

His walk has a score of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, with a recent review calling it a “brilliant evening”.

Mark Graham runs the Original Ghost Walk Of York
Mark Graham runs the Original Ghost Walk Of York

But we did speak to Mark Graham, who runs the Original Ghost Tour Of York, from the King’s Arms each night.

He told us:

We don’t like hen parties on our public tour as very often they have a had a drink. If so we ask them to leave.

However we do lots of hen parties privately every year. Most are wonderful but a few can be difficult.

The trick is to have a word when they call to book ie no drunks no inflatables – and if possible an early start.

20 thoughts on “York ghost tour wars: Guide slams rival for ‘making a mockery’ of the walks

  1. Bemused and unamused at some of the comments and I agree that there are some decent walks out there. Yet yes the City has been changing and of course the bars are doing favourably, hen parties and stag parties have a right to go anywhere they wish but could use their common sense on certain occasions and keep the blow ups to irritate the people in the pubs. The problem is that if you allow this kind of stuff to be present on ghost walks then you are not using your brains. Unfortunately not all the ghost walks are cracked up to what they are supposed to be. It’s not a jealousy on my part it’s a fact that many of these walks are actually using my material and methods of storytelling. It’s an irritation basically.

  2. Get a grip boys…after all, York gets what it deserves. The pubs serve these idiots to bursting point, the police do nothing when they see people breaching the peach and drunk and disorderly and urinating, vomiting and “more” in the streets. Little wonder there are other business’s willing to cash in on trash behaviour. Some of the Ghost walks are VERY well run and supervised; Ghost Walk Experience is brilliant and run by a chap who is very professional and a real gentleman. Not been on others so can’t comment in detail but seen some and they are cringe-worthy; skipping accross the roads and pulling faces in restaurant windows….riddiculass !

  3. Apalling that in this day and age Mr Rooney would try and destroy his competition like this. Pure and utter jealousy! !!! I’ve done both tours and The Ghost Hunt is by far the best. Always had a fab time. Great for the whole family.

  4. i have often seen andys ghost walk go past and heared snippets ,i ,no respect for the dead a sort of slapstick mockery of the suffering and trials of those who have gone before us ,i wonder if in the future when we are dead and gone if crowds of people will pay a few quid to hear bad jokes about our suffering and the lives we lead ,laughing especially at those that have suffered most ,i think we should pay more respect to those early inhabitants of york who had such tough lives ,not these cheesy puns ,the hen night with inflatables is just way over the top ,most of these people are not even from york just comming here for a evening of mocking and degrading our history .

  5. Something needs to be done to make York ‘un-attractive’ for stag & hen parties, it been out of hand for far too long. The same thing happened in Newquay, 30 years ago everything was geared to surfing, then the stag & hen nights landed and turned the resort into the Blackpool of the south.
    Newquay seem to have turned it around, maybe there’s a lesson to be learned.

  6. Lol; is it 1st April? All ghost walks are 100% about the money – big money! The city needs a licensing system; all guides must pass examinations….then our streets will be free from blown up egos.

  7. Having met Trevor several years ago as he was sourcing Glasgow’s cultural ‘ghostly and grisley’ past he ventured on to tell me of his beloved York and his ghost walks. A professional and admirable man for what he did. I agree that the histrionics would ill favour others if brash, drunk,inflatable carrying hen parties can subdue the narritive and seriousness of stories from the past being told.
    I’m 100% behind Trevor and other ghost walk leaders within York and other cities whom have spent considerable time creating insight for us to follow at a reasonable price I’m sure.

  8. I saw the group it was early and so inappropriate it was a blow up doll yes but young families passing they were a loud group. More suited to Yates side not on a history tour

  9. I don’t know who’s wasted more time here. Him for saying it, you for documenting it, or me for reading it then voicing an opinion. . . If the biggest worry in life is an inflatable penis then he should be happy.

    1. Tours of any kind are attractive to tourists, families and people interested In history.

      this behaviour of allowing drunks and offensive inflatables is silly and bang out of order.

      Saturday nights and race meetings in town is bad enough without having respectable tours being tainted.

      1. If inflatable penises aren’t banned from the streets of York, I don’t really see why this guy should stop them from coming on his tours. He’s got a living to make after all.

    2. Well said! Trevor should not waste effort writing about the fact that his competition have customers and should instead focus on following up his appearance on come dine with me hosted from within the banana warehouse. I’d like to see any rival of Trevor make a “mockery” of THAT performance.

Comments are closed.