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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.

      Experience

      Over thirty years of walking and climbing in the British mountains and wilderness areas in more than thirty countries across six continents. I have climbed all the Scottish mountains at least twice and am currently working on doing them all in winter conditions. For much of this time I have been guiding or leading others and take great pleasure in introducing people to the mountains or in allowing individuals to achieve something that they perhaps felt might be beyond them.

      Qualifications

      • 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

       

      Biggest Adventure

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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 – High Points of the Outer Hebrides
      18th May - 25th May 2019
      Trip Full FULLY BOOKED £1,695
      Wilderness Walking – National Parks of the UK
      23rd Jun - 2nd Jul 2019
      5 place(s) left CONFIRMED £2,495 Book Now
      Wilderness Walking – The Orkney Islands
      10th Aug - 16th Aug 2019
      4 place(s) left CONFIRMED £1,735 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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