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National Geographic - Best Adventure Travel Companies

David Picken

David PickenMe in 3 – Dedicated | enthusiastic | fun

Place to Play – Around Temple, where I live, always offers something new to see, or is it Knoydart, or Eigg, or Harris, ah just too many to choose from.

Not a lot of people know this – I have over 250,000 pets, one teaspoon of honey takes 50,000 bee flights.

Mini Bio – I have been lucky enough to have travelled and adventured throughout the world on foot, on skis, by bike and by boat! However, Scotland holds my passion more than ever.

Having worked for the John Muir Trust, the Uk’s leading wild land charity, for many years. I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience of many of the wild places we visit.

Although the wild inspires me, I do like to indulge in food and drink in the comfort of the places we stay


Adventurer's Stories about David

Dave did great job of accommodating different hiking speeds. Three different speeds in general. Pleasant, easy personality!
Patricia Gallagher
Dave made the trip for me. So friendly, knowledgeable, dependable and a great sense of humour.
Elizabeth Farrow
Management of diverse group,excellent.
Andrew McDouall
David was an excellent guide. There were a few from around the world! He was very patient with the slow ones, one of which was myself! I just wanted to enjoy the walk and not rush!
Carolyn Hartley
Dave was patient and knowledgeable. He did an admiral job of herding the 'cats' and always did it with a smile. When asked a question, if he did not know something off the top of his head, then he researched the question and provided an answer. Dave was a delight.
Raymond DeConto
Dave was fantastic! He knew a ton about the geography and history of the West Highland Way. I had total confidence in his ability to navigate and keep us safe.
Jessica DeConto
Dave did an excellent job. The group was basically half fast and half slow, but he managed to keep everyone happy and within sight of one another. I liked his detailed knowledge and explanations with the maps.
Richard Lewis
Could not have had a better guide than Dave
Stephanie Jushinski
I'd start by repeating the previous commentary on the overall trip. 10 out of 10. Due almost entirely to our guides Dave Picken and John Hamilton. I mentioned before the story telling and the whisky education. More detail before. Dave and John made Jane and I entirely at ease and safe throughout. Our off road mountain bike riding improved with practice (starting from the lowest of levels). Expert tuition helped enormously plus thei patience and good cheer. We loved riding most of the day, with breaks to refuel and enjoy good company. Dave and John were always flexible and understanding. A real credit to Wilderness Scotland.
Mark Donovon
No complaints, nice and entertainingt people.. did a good job handling different riding skills of the group.
Thorarinn Thorarinsson
Two thumbs up.
Allison Osborn
Dave was friendly, relaxed and set a good steady pace when we were walking. He was a pleasure to be with. He gave us information (but not too much!) and was able to be flexible about the day's programme to fit in with the one bit of mist which appeared (over the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing) so that the mist burned off and we returned later at a more appropriate time. His company was very much appreciated. He got us to places we would not otherwise have found.
Ann Paton
See previous comments about Dave. He rapidly assessed our capabilities and tailored our hikes to the weather conditions and the skills of the group. He always aimed to maximize our experience and did so successfully. His sense of humour was delightful.
Jonathan Fleming
Dave interacted really well with our group (a mix of ages and interests) and read our capabilities well. In addition as mentioned previously I particularly appreciated all the details about local history, land usage, wildlife and culture. I learned a ton. I also thought his demeanor - no fuss, calm and "let's go" - was a great approach. We had amazing weather and our whole group seemed game for good exertion but even still he kept us moving. Thanks, Dave! I hope you had fun with us.
Keri Disch
The guide was very knowledgeable about the area and made excellent decisions about which route would best suit the group and the conditions. I would have been interested to hear more about the wildlife we were seeing, as has been the case on previous trips.
Caroline Bottoms
Dave was great, couldn't have asked for a better guide.
Adam Fischer
Dave did a really nice job. the hikes were spectacular!
Jeff Jordan
I've already said it all - they were great, and a good double act! I know the week wasn't that easy for them, in terms of changes to the schedule and coping with the weather. I think they coped really well - the revised plans were excellent and I certainly felt everything was under control and they had our best interests at heart. I have never been given a warm macaroni cheese pie in the rain, washed down with hot blackcurrant, but it was really welcome!
Clare Crowther
Dave Picken went way beyond our expectations to make sure we had the kind of trip we wanted. He was fun, smart, punctual. We considered him our friend.
Ann Holt
Experienced, friendly, informative and fun !
Robin Smith
Both guides were excellent.
Trevor Charles Mitchell
Duncan and David were unfailingly patient and were also great at socializing with all of us.
Maryanne Mackinnon
David Picken and Duncan Warner focused on the safety of the cyclists and solved every problem we encountered. They are both very spirited and have a great sense of humor. In particular David Picken is extremely knowledgeable of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.
James Collora
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Mike Reiner
Knowledgeable, interesting, strong, professional, fun. They did a excellent job, I would recommend them for any future trip. They were there when you needed them, helped with the smallest details to big concerns of each day riding. (Tim Francis mapped one heck of a route through the mountains. I was cursing him several times over, jokingly.) I understand our pace each day but taking it slower in certain sections, taking more pictures would also work. Thank you so very much for showing us the beautiful landscapes and culture of Scotland!
I wish my nerve pain were better under control. I'm glad Dave and I signed up for this trip. It was challenging for me, I am stronger for completing The coast-to-coast journey mentally and physically.
Thanks,
Bob
Bob Gutowski
David and Andy managed the trip well, but more than that, they added to the experience with their considerable knowledge of the local history, the routes, and genuine hospitality.
Dave Nelson
Great guides, looked after our every need and were very informative with history and geography along the way, also managed differing abilties very well.
Barry Slater
Dave is knowledgeable about 'all things Scotland' and is a passionate & skilled guide. His ability to manage a group and make modifications where necessary is admirable.
Pam Landry
The guide always prepared to listen and knews very well the landscape and gave us good advices
Isabelle Gourraud
David provided great thought in planning our trips and enormous effort and interest in the execution of the day trips. Very knowledgeable, helpful and considerate.
Paul Schulties
A self guide trip is not possible because without paths , It´s realy dificult to find the good orientation. Using compass is necessary.
Cathy Etchepare
Dave - he's probably the best you have!
Kirk Forrest
Well done , Dave . Excellent guide , attention to detail & professionalism in every aspect of our trip , great knowledge & great camaraderie amongst every person in the group & with every person who was involved in making the trip a success .
Katherine Edwards
Dave and Graham were brilliant, we very much enjoyed their company. They both worked tirelessly to make our holiday a trip of a lifetime. Nothing was too much trouble. They explained everything we were doing along the way. I particularly liked Dave's knowledge and insight to the landscapes and wildlife we were seeing. Graham's impromptu mountain biking lessons were fantastic, giving me the confidence to tackle single track that I would never have done normally. He would often say at a critical point.... "now remember to smile, you are on holiday !" which still makes me smile now! They are both a huge credit to Wilderness Scotland.
Iain McCormick
Our guide, David Picken, was terrific. He was flexible and creative in revising our walks to meet our preferences, interesting, knowledgeable, and congenial. He fit right in with our group.
Kathryn West
Superb can't say enough great things about Dave
Casey West
Thank you, David, for putting up with us! Your willingness to work with us to make each day work was greatly appreciated.
Caroline Hovey
I think (hope) David how we felt about him. He was just perfect for our group of 8. We liked that he sized us up and gave us the experience that challenged us but didn't put us in jeopardy. He was prepared with contingencies and listened well to changes we wanted to make in our plans. He gave is sights and vistas that were diverse within the Highlands and distinct from one another so that each day was different from the last and the next. He is so knowledgeable and committed to the land, which shone through in all that he did. You are fortunate to have him as a guide.
Susan Rathgeber
David was terrific. Great sense of humor and very knowledgeable. Everyone enjoyed him and he was very willing to alter his itinerary to keep us happy. After the first day we went to a pub every day instead of soggy sandwiches we had the first day.
Thomas Hovey
David was first rate. He insured that we experienced the beauty of western Scotland and adapted the routes to meet our skill sets and expectations. He was very knowledgeable and fun to be with off the trail.
John Rathgeber
Dave and Graham were fantastic. Really friendly, immeasurably patient, very knowledgable. They made what they did look effortless, which I am quite sure it was not!
Becky McCormick
as per previous comments
Peter Smith
Henry and Dave were a great team
Douglas French
Henry was, as last year, a rock. Cheerful and enormously generous. Dave was also very good company, thoughtful, informed, amusing and both were took great care of us. As last year with Tim could not be bettered. Really EXCELLENT.
Iain Rugheimer
Nice knowledgeable guy who kept us on the right route at a nice comfortable pace for all whilst pointing out the local history and interesting bits
Gregor Logan
Dave was patient and very knowledgeable.
Einar Wilder-Smith
Dave was lovely. Very inclusive & friendly to all. Great planning & previews (with maps) before each day's walk. Obviously very capable & experienced. I felt safe walking with him.
Joy McDonald
Dave made excellent choices of what we did each day, we had a wonderfully good week (some very good weather helped), and he is an exceptional leader.
Patrick Corbett
Always felt safe but went out of way to make walks exciting. Lot of information re wildlife and places we visited but given informally. Friendly and nice to everyone
Mary Corbett
Our guide Dave is clearly extremely knowledgeable; we always felt safe in his hands and confident he had chosen routes appropriate to the fitness levels of the group as a whole. He always considered individual members of the group and was very flexible in catering for individual needs/requests.
Gerry Callan
Dave was a great guide. He was very knowledgeable about the area, the terrain, etc. He also made sure there were options available for those who may not want to go on the planned hike of the day.
Jon Cross
Dave managed the group very well and dealt with our individual requests as best he could within the confines of the trip.
Paul Newman
Good to Very Good. Dave was wonderful. He is a gentle man and extended time and care to the safety and arrangements of the group. He interacted well with all of the members and served the role very well. Ben was on the trip, not truly a guide, however, he made the experience very good because he added a dimension to the trip that was essential. He was an additional rider for slower cyclists and necessary support, he was also a gentle and kind person who had knowledge of the area and he interacted well with every participant. The trip would not have been as good without him.
Leigh Kearney
Dave was excellent. Very friendly, kind, knowledgable and fun. It was great to have Ben along as well. He added a lot to the experience. Cube was a faithful servant and set up wonderful tea stops and well as a beautiful lunch at the Lochnagar Distillery. That was the best ever to be inside the tent after a tough riding day and rain during the stop at Balmoral.
Lisa Gundersen
Our friendly, supportive guides helped the group gel together really well. It was especially appreciated that Dave gave everyone encouragement and attention when they needed it. Great having Ben's company too.
Diana Morgan
Dave was ideal for our group. Very informative and helpful.
Sarah Campano
The expectation of any guide is a have a good local knowledge, an ability to communicate across the range of people in his group, skills to read and where necessary encourage all group members, modify daily activities to suit changes in weather conditions and peoples ability. Dave our guide hit all these.
Craig Whisson
Dave was great and I liked the way he managed the group. It would be a pleasure to have him again as a guide. The only thing I was surprised about was, that he had never been to Doune before and on some of the days we were hiking in an area that was new to him too. I think I would have found it quite difficult two have a group of 10 people whith different levels of fitness and an unknown area in addition. But, well, that's only from my unexperienced point of view.
Nadine Graf
The guide (Dave) was excellent. He gave interesting and appropriate information about our area, about the history of Scotland and some cultural traditions. He also divided his time among the various members of the group in appropriate measure. He was caring and helpful, without being pushy or nosy. I found him very professional, which is what you want in a guide.
Connie Varner
Very interactive and available at all times.Was keen to try and accommodate everyones ideas and interests.
Elaine Pratt