Local Guides on Scottish Islands
After my recent trip to Orkney, it has re-enforced my belief that when visiting, if possible, it it is always best to hire local guides on scottish islands. I often fly to islands and until recently I didn’t drive a car, so I usually try to find a local guide or local tour company who offer tours of the island.
Having been on quite a few of these tours on other islands too, it is amazing the knowledge that the guides have. They are always friendly and eager to answer any questions. I always come away from the tour with a good knowledge of each island and a feeling that my time on the island has not been wasted.
I’ve been on a few islands with my motorbike and whilst it’s great to just ‘have a look’, in my opinion it’s far better to learn all you can about the island and try and soak up some of it’s culture. It’s amazing on these tours how many local people you meet. On the tour of Papa Westray, I ended up going to the auction at Holland House, where virtually the whole island turned up, so I got to meet lots of islanders, as well as have a look round Holland House that was normally closed to the public.
Another good reason to hire a local guide or undertake a local tour is that you are contributing to the local economy. These tours often include lunch at a local cafe or hotel. I remember going to Whalsay with Laurence Tulloch (as part of a tour I had arranged with Sarah McBurnie from SeeShetland Tours) and he had pre-arranged for us to have lunch at the Oot Ower Lounge. What he didn’t know was that there was a funeral on at the same time! However, although very embarrassed, everyone was very nice and we were able to eat our lunch without feeling too ‘in the way’!
There are guides or tours on virtually every island. All it takes is a little digging and you’ll find them. Believe me, you’ll be glad that you did!