Guides can make or break a trip. At Ker & Downey, we work hard to make sure all of our privately guided tours are led by the most knowledgeable guides. You can view all of our previous interviews with some of the world’s top guides right here.
Did you know the UK is one of the world’s top destinations for adventure travelers? Today, we’re introducing you to Tim Willis, our immersive adventure guide in Scotland. One of the best ways to experience all the adventure Scotland has to offer is through our England and Scotland Adventure Program. On it, you’ll have plenty of guided hikes that explore the country, boat trips, and mountain biking. And you can’t visit Scotland without sampling some Whiskey. You’ll get to do that too. Adventure, whiskey, and uncompromised luxury – that’s how Ker & Downey does Scotland.
How many years have you been a guide?
I have worked in the great outdoors in one capacity or another for many years and made the switch to being a full me guide around 4 years ago, and these last 4 years have hands down been the very best years of my life!
What or who inspired you to get into the guiding industry?
My love of the outdoors, nature and adventure, exploring with like minded people in inspiring parts of Scotland and around the world. This is the best job in the world and I love every minute of it.
What is your favorite aspect of guiding, especially in your particular region?
Having the opportunity to take clients into regions which they would not know about themselves or be confident enough to explore themselves. The areas we take clients too are not only spectacular, but also have a story to tell, and I relish the chance to explain the history and bring it to life.
What is your favorite part of your city or territory?
Assynt and Coigach in Scotland’s North West Highlands. On a blue sky day, there is nowhere else on the planet I’d rather be. The views from the peaks and passes are beyond stunning and to have the opportunity to take people there for the very first time and sit with them, staring out at the huge panoramic views, is an absolute privilege and is most definitely good for the soul!
What is your favorite place to introduce people to in your city?
I love the views out from the top of Stac Pollaidh, a hill of 612m/2000R in the North West Highlands. It’s a hill that just about everyone can get up and the scenery gets better and better with every step. Once at the top, I could spend may happy hours there and usually have to be dragged away!
Why is it so important for travelers to experience a destination with a guide such as yourself?
My fellow guides and I at Wilderness Scotland are not there just to guide you through the many stunning landscapes we have on offer in Scotland, we are there to share those experiences with you. Every time I go back to a hill, a loch, a waterfall – I find myself smiling from the many fond memories of previous trips with wonderful people which I have been lucky enough to meet over the years and to get to really know and connect with.
Name one of your most memorable experiences you have had as a guide.
Only a few months ago, I was out guiding a fantastic group up a hill called Suilven on the North West Coast of Scotland. Suilven is a big, long day, with a steep ascent to the saddle and then summit, but it is incredibly rewarding and not as challenging as it looks. Most of the group thought the route up was out with their capability, but having led them for many days already, I knew they had it within them to get up this extraordinary hill. This was a pretty vocal, enthusiastic group to say the least, but there was not that much talking on the last 30 mins of the ascent, which was the steepest part.
What I love about this hill is that you can’t see any of the view until you pop up onto the saddle and the views often take your breath away – it certainly did that day for the group and to watch their facial expressions change and jaws drop as they took those last few steps onto the saddle, was a moment I will not forget. Not only had they all made it up the hill, we were able to share a view that none of us will forget.
What is a hidden gem in Scotland that you think should be “next” on travelers’ bucket lists?
The view from the top of Ceapabhal, on the South West tip of Harris, in the Western Isles, is a sight to behold. Pathless on the way up, not many venture up this small hill, but the vista that awaits you from the summit is truly breathtaking. Vast golden deserted sandy beaches with turquoise waters and crashing waves; wee islands dotted around the coastline to the south as far as the eye can see; squint your eyes and you may even catch a glimpse of the island of St Kilda way out across the sea to the west; there’s an old ruined chapel to explore on the way back to the car park and then the best café in the Western Isles a mere minute’s drive away.This is the very definition of time well spent!
To make our England and Scotland Adventure Program your next Ker & Downey journey, contact your Luxury Travel Consultant.