- Guiding life
- And another thing...
An affiliate member of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (www.stga.co.uk) with a particular expertise on the Highlands of Scotland, I love playing the host!
I had been showcasing Scotland to friends for years, so turning this into my career was a natural progression – and I love it. Every day I learn something new, and every day I get to meet new people, make new connections, and have a lot of fun in the process.
It’s impossible to ever see or know everything there is to see or know about Scotland – it truly is infinite!
Originally, Glamis, famous from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. I’ve called a few other places in Scotland home too – Edinburgh, Speyside, St Andrews and even the Royal Family’s Balmoral (though only very special people get to hear about that!)
In my previous life...
I was a director of a high profile international charity. I’ve worked in London and the Congo, and visited countries that are unlikely to hit the world’s “top 10” tourist destinations (though Afghanistan was truly astounding).
I know what it’s like to arrive as a stranger – and then, after the smells and sounds and stories and life have infiltrated every pore, never want to leave.
Top 3 Scottish sights or experiences
Dancing a Reel of the 51st [traditional Scottish dance] in a village hall with the local accordion player providing the toe-tapping music.
Eating melt-in-your-mouth wild smoked salmon from the River Shiel. And hand-dived scallops in the Kishorn Seafood Bar. And venison fillet from the foothills of Lochnagar. And 30 year old gin produced with hand-picked sloes [small purple berries] from Rothiemurchus. And my mum’s [home-grown] gooseberry fool!
Running from the Speyside Heather Centre along the old ghost road to Dulnain Bridge. There is a spot where you can look through the gorse and the birch trees, right across the Spey valley to the Cairngorm mountains. On a cold spring morning the mist hovers above the River Spey, and on a balmy autumn evening the golden light picks out the purple heather and the happy sheep below. Bliss.
(And if you’re not much of a runner? Canoe it instead!)
And another thing...
Memorable childhood moments
Lying in a tent on a remote Scottish island whilst my dad sewed the guy-ropes back on in a gale at 3am. We spent the next day digging up cockles [shellfish] from the beach with two local children in the sunshine, before eating them for supper.
Playing under the ancient sycamore tree in the grounds of Glamis Castle, pretending the huge boughs were horses, watching tourists walk by from my secret hide out (the same hide out of generations of children before me – including a young Queen Elizabeth).