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    Andy Heald

    Andy Heald

    Rocksolid | Knowledgeable | Waterproof

    Mini Bio

    I have climbed mountains and steep rocks for more than thirty years, beginning in the Yorkshire Dales and graduating through the Lake District and Snowdonia to my current home on the edge of the Scottish Highlands.  Obsession with rocks and gravity led to a career as a professional geologist, specialising in landslides and high mountain geohazards, advising the governments of Nepal, Peru, Bhutan and Scotland, among others.  I now guide full time but try to throw in a few geo-words if I get a chance.  Key interests include birds, stars and the Gaelic landscape.

    Place to play

    The North West Highlands provide an amazing landscape that inspires adventures.  Island mountains shoot up from the ancient basement rocks and rugged sea lochs reach deep into the land.  It’s a great place for exploring those peaks, for remote rock climbing or for multi-day overland treks.  And it never rains (much).

    Not a lot of people know

    Villagers in the Bolivian Cordillera mistook me for a ghost.  They set fire to the mountainside to scare me off.  I was scared (but not off) and we all laughed together afterwards.

    Qualifications Read More
    • Mountain Leader
    • Winter Mountain Leader
    • International Mountain Leader, Chartered Geologist
    • Currently working on a Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science from the Open University

    Mountain Training Association Profile: https://mt.tahdah.me/profile/index/102692

     

    Experience Read More

    Wow, it’s tough to pick a single one. I once hiked over 200 miles in the mountains of California after a bear had decided that most of my food would make a tasty snack. Or I walked right across Morocco’s Atlas mountains to a place the locals told me didn’t exist. In October and November 2018 I hiked for two months in the Himalaya of Nepal and Sikkim.

    Specialist Subject Read More

    A professional geologist, I am a specialist in high mountain geohazards, including those related to climate change and landslides. It sounds technical but it’s all about understanding the landscape through which we travel. I have done my best to broaden this to include the fauna and flora and the cultural, linguistic and historical landscape in the Scottish Highlands.

    Publications Read More

    I have published several academic papers on the subject of outburst floods from glaciers, including an original study of Laguna Safuna Alta in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. Also papers and a book chapter on a series of landslides in the Scottish Highlands in 2004.

    Adventurer's Stories about Andy

    The guides were both excellent despite the difficulties of complying with the coronavirus restrictions

    Helen Davies
    Wilderness Walking - The Orkney Islands
    Reviewed on 07/09/2020

    Our guides were excellent. They went above and beyond to try and accommodate the varying needs and desires of our group. Our group was in fact quite "difficult" at times and our guides made every effort to address our needs and give us a great experience.

    Steven Kiefer
    19WSTM Tailor Made trips
    Reviewed on 13/10/2019

    We were so fortunate to have such knowledgeable guides! They went out of their way to be accommodating to a diverse group. They were also very safety conscious! I enjoyed their sense of humor and by the end of the trip i felt I made a couple of good friends.

    Teresa Oropilla
    19WSTM Tailor Made trips
    Reviewed on 13/10/2019

    Knowledgeable on all subjects and questions asked and if he did not have answer he found it for you! I love the Poetry and stories each day. Very knowledgable of areas and hiking conditions.

    Peggy Alexander
    Wilderness Walking - Sutherland: The Great Wild North
    Reviewed on 03/09/2019

    As I said earlier, Andy provided a superlative hiking experience for a small group of us who had a wide range of abilities. His flexibility, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for history, hiking, and the environment around us was infectious. He delighted our group by starting each day with an inspiring poem by Norman MacCaig that set the tone for mindful hike through the highlands

    Keith Seel
    Wilderness Walking - Sutherland: The Great Wild North
    Reviewed on 02/09/2019

    He is a Renaissance Man! Rupert, too, was invaluable, skilled and very intellectually engaging!

    Martin Krepcho
    Wilderness Walking - The Orkney Islands
    Reviewed on 23/08/2019

    Andy Heald was exceptional--truly a remarkable person who also had an incredible store of knowledge on many, many topics. In addition, his ability to be in tune with all of the group and provide options and modifications to each day was inspiring. His enthusiasm for Scotland's land, geology, history, poets, plants, birds and people contagious and allowed a truly immersive experience. Truly can't imagine a tour without Andy.

    Elaine Ellis
    Wilderness Walking - The Orkney Islands
    Reviewed on 23/08/2019

    Andy was fantastic. Very friendly, knowledgeable, attentive, an excellent driver (very impressive) and map reader! He also brought some books he could recommend which was great, sadly I was too tired in the evening to read any! Loved the poems he also brought with him.

    Carine Romaska
    Wilderness Walking - National Parks of the UK
    Reviewed on 12/07/2019

    I don't think this trip would have been as wonderful without our guide Andy. He has so much passion for what he does and has an abundance of knowledge for each area we visited from the history of the area, the flora and fauna of each area, to the wildlife and birds we would encounter on each of our hikes. It was such a great experience hiking with him and I came home with so much more knowledge about the areas were were in that made this trip truly special. He was very attentive to the different abilities within our group and ensured we had everything we needed along the way. Plus, he was an excellent driver :)

    Shari Barnello
    Wilderness Walking - National Parks of the UK
    Reviewed on 09/07/2019

    Andy was fantastic...encouraging on tough climbs, knowledgable and kind. Could not have asked for a better guide!

    Adrianna Bogdanis
    Wilderness Walking - National Parks of the UK
    Reviewed on 06/07/2019

    I really enjoyed having Andy as the guide. He obviously thrives on learning about the places where he is guiding.

    Nicola Gardner
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 11/06/2019

    I liked the overall trip plan, more demanding days alternating with lighter days.
    Andy was always there to assist, give advice to to every hiker. He shared with us his vast knowledge of geology, fora and fauna.

    Patricia Charles
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 30/05/2019

    Andy was one of the best guides I have come across on any walking holiday in the UK or abroad. His navigation in thick mist on wild mountain terrain was always spot on. He was a constant source of interesting information, whether it was geology, the scenery, local history, birds [my own special interest] or the flowers.
    Andy had the ability to lead from the front, the middle or the back depending on the situation and this made for a really relaxed group.
    He was good at keeping the group together on the hill and would quite often stop to look at something interesting or talk about a point of interest, which enabled everyone to catch up.
    Apart from being a real "mountain man" he was also a people person and was good company, friendly and easy to chat to at any time.
    Thank you, Andy, for a most enjoyable week.

    Rosemary Bailey
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 29/05/2019

    Great job , Andy ! Engaging and knowledgeable .

    Beata Kandziora Mott
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 28/05/2019

    Andy was a great guide - friendly, informative and fun.

    Julie Lane
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Cairngorms National Park
    Reviewed on 29/08/2018

    Andy is a top man. I mean, how many guides recite poetry to their clients over lunch on the hills?

    Allen Shaw
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Cairngorms National Park
    Reviewed on 27/08/2018

    Andy was an excellent guide, whose wide knowledge of the nature, history and geology of the Cairngorms were clearly driven by a real affection for the area. His warmth of character and good humour made for great company both on the walks and in the leisure time.

    Simon Fraser
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Cairngorms National Park
    Reviewed on 27/08/2018

    Andy fitted the planned days to the weather very well. He led the walks well at a good pace with suitable breaks.

    Ken Stewart
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Cairngorms National Park
    Reviewed on 21/08/2018

    Andy is wonderful - smart, funny, well-traveled. Plus very informed of geology, flora and fauna. Made the trip extra enjoyable!

    Gail Merth
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 16/08/2018

    Andy was postitive, knowledgable and watched good how the group "worked"

    Herman de Vries
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 13/08/2018

    I cannot really weigh in here since I barely did the hikes but being around Andy on the ferries and in the restaurants and through conversations in the van he gets my highest recommendation. He is knowledgeable, and such a genuine person. I am sure he gets high marks all the time. He had a lot on his plate with this tour since five of us are related. He had to be witness to too many family dynamics and family chronicles. If you have extra pay for dealing with extreme hardship on any of your tours you might consider shifting some of it his way!!!

    Gail Kendall
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 08/08/2018

    Andy was a superb guide -- very knowledgeable, personable, patient and accommodating!

    Kimberly Miller
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 07/08/2018

    Andy was great as I indicated in previous response beyond knowledgeable and qualified. I learn extensively from him and felt that he was extremely experienced. I felt very comfortable and safe at all points on the trip

    Jera Davis
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 16/07/2018

    I have no comparisons to cite as this was my first trip of this kind but I was pleasantly surprised by the passion and comprehensive knowledge embodied in our guide. Andy is a spectacular guide, seems to know how to gauge all situations, never flags and cares for all, really cares.
    I did not expect to learn as much as I did during this trip and that aspect made this trip worth every bit invested. Andy is supremely qualified and highly professional, he has a great sense of humor and makes every effort to accommodate all needs- you're lucky to have this gem ..and to work with all women.. he truly likes and respects women, rare breed of guy! I cannot say more but do want to do another trip with him!

    Elisabeth Meyer
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 04/07/2018

    Andy did great - we were quite a challenge at times. Professional.

    Catherine Shearing
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 19/06/2018

    This was a pretty rigorous event given day after day. HOWEVER, for those of us who have spent a lifetime getting and stay in shape it was extremely rewarding. Andy did find routes that gave some relief from boulder scrambling at request of several. Our group completed all of every hike thanks to Andy's encouragement, persistence and great weather. Without all of that it could have gone the other way....

    Margaret Osterfoss
    Wilderness Walking - High Points of the Outer Hebrides
    Reviewed on 19/06/2018

    Our tour guide was Andy, who was knowledgeable, excellent as a guide and adaptable to our group as a leader to make the experience the best one for everybody.

    Lena Kravtsova
    Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides & Skye
    Reviewed on 29/09/2017

    Our guide Andy was an integral part of our trip. His professionalism, vast knowledge on myriad of topics, follow-up and readiness to answer our questions made for an enriching and educational experience. Andy is an invaluable asset to the Wilderness Scotland team!

    Tanya Kravtsova
    Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides & Skye
    Reviewed on 28/09/2017

    Great. See above

    Olivier Schiller
    17WSTM Tailor Made trips
    Reviewed on 21/08/2017

    Andy was the best part of the trip!! He was sensitive to everyone's wants, needs and desires and definitely went above and beyond all expectations.

    Marie LeRoy
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 10/08/2017

    Andy was extremely knowledgeable. And a lot of fun.

    David Camp
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 10/08/2017

    Our guide, Andy, was outstanding. Knowledgeable and fun. took good care of us. Good, safe driver too.

    David Kennedy
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 09/08/2017

    Andy was so very understanding of all the group's needs.

    Bob Swendrzynski
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 08/08/2017

    Andy Heald was fantastic-- very knowledgeable, interesting and flexible. A perfect combination.

    Gwen Borowsky
    Wilderness Walking - Argyll & the Isles
    Reviewed on 07/08/2017

    Andy loves doing what he does; being outside and passing on his knowledge of plants, rock and wildlife. He's passionate about the outdoors and that passion is infectious.

    Leann Johnston
    Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides & Skye
    Reviewed on 14/06/2017

    Andy was excellent! If there was something he did not know he researched it and came up with the answer. I liked the books he provided as they gave a lot of background.

    Judy Murray
    Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides & Skye
    Reviewed on 08/06/2017

    I'm not sure how Andy managed to remain upbeat all the time. He showed admirable patience for all the "Andy, what's this?" "Andy, what's that?" And he has a goofy laugh that's infectious.

    Rowena Johnston
    Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides & Skye
    Reviewed on 06/06/2017

    Andy is a rockstar! I would happily take many more trips with him.

    Shane Nordyke
    Wilderness Walking - Outer Hebrides & Skye
    Reviewed on 05/06/2017

    Book a trip with Andy

    Trip / Departure Availability Status Price Book
    Wilderness Walking – Outer Hebrides and Skye
    15th May - 21st May 2021
    6 place(s) left CONFIRMED £1,735 Book Now
    Wilderness Walking – The Orkney Islands
    5th Jun - 11th Jun 2021
    Trip Full CONFIRMED £1,795
    Wilderness Walking – Outer Hebrides: Uists, Barra & Mingulay
    19th Jun - 25th Jun 2021
    6 place(s) left CONFIRMED £1,665 Book Now

    Make Trip Private

    Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.

    We work together with our team of guides to decide which departures they lead each year. As part of that, guides provide available dates that they are free to be booked. This means that any of the dates you see in the first field of the form below, could be perfect for your private departure or customised tour.

    Andy's Gallery

    © Andy Heald / Wilderness Scotland

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