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    Selected Trips

      James Orpwood

      Enthusiastic │ Personable │ Encouraging

      Mini Bio

      Based in Aviemore, I love hillwalking, climbing, mountaineering and mountain biking and it thrills me to share my passion for the outdoors with others, whatever their age, ability or personal aspirations.

      I moved on from a career as a fisheries scientist to work in the great outdoors, and I feel privileged to be able to share something that brings me so much pleasure and joy with others, wherever the adventure leads.

      Away from home, my personal adventures have taken me around the world to trek and climb in Morocco, Nepal, Bolivia and Iceland where I have summited several peaks to 6000m+. However, it’s always fantastic to return home to Scotland and enjoy anything from a low-level stroll through a beautiful native forest, a wander along a tranquil lochside, or an ascent of one of our wonderful mountains. I’m sure to be smiling whatever the weather.

      Place to Play

      The Cairngorms, but anywhere with mountains is fine!

      Not a lot of people know this

      I used to be a fisheries scientist but gave it up to pursue my love of the mountains.

      Qualifications Read More
      • Winter Mountain Leader
      • Summer Mountain Leader
      • Rock Climbing Instructor (Single Pitch Award)
      • Climbing Wall Instructor (Climbing Wall Award)
      • Trail Cycle Leader

      Mountain Training Association Profile: https://mt.tahdah.me/profile/index/93229


      Experience Read More

      I am a freelance outdoor instructor and have extensive experience working with a range of client groups delivering hillwalking, climbing, mountain biking and other activities. Having lived in Scotland since 2002, I am a passionate and committed mountaineer and mountain biker. I also love world travel and have trekked and climbed in Morocco, Nepal, Bolivia and Iceland, summiting peaks to 6000m+. I am enthusiastic, approachable and encouraging with a wonderfully personable character and it thrills me to share my love of the outdoors with others, inspiring and enabling people to achieve their personal goals.

      Biggest Adventure Read More

      Climbing Lobuche East (6119m) in Nepal in 2008 which was an adventure in itself, but led to an even bigger adventure as I met my future wife on the same trip!

      Specialist Subject Read More
      • The Cairngorms
      • Fish
      Publications Read More
      • Orpwood, J. (2017). “…Enjoyment may occasionally be questionable.” The Professional Mountaineer, 20 (Winter 2017), 14-15.
      • Anon. (2017). Access during the stalking season. Scottish Mountaineer, 76 (Summer 2017), 22.
      • Orpwood, J. (2017). Springing onto the hills. A guide to responsible hillwalking. Scottish Mountaineer, 75 (Spring 2017), 26
      • Orpwood, J. (2016). Start small, think big. The Professional Mountaineer, 15 (Autumn 2016), 8-9.
      • Orpwood, J. (2014). E Gully awaited… The Professional Mountaineer, 5 (March 2014), 36-37
      • Plus I have written or contributed to a total of 13 scientific publications, oh, and a PhD thesis … ! (I was a fisheries scientist in a former life but gave it all up to pursue my passion for the outdoors full time.)

      Adventurer's Stories about James

      James adjusted the walks perfectly to our fitness level and chose things that interested us. He was very well prepared; we couldn't have had a better guide.

      Gunvor Rottensten
      Self-Drive - Winter Highland Cosy Cairngorms
      Reviewed on 12/02/2020

      James fully lived up to our expectations: open minded, friendly, showed initiative - we're not the easiest since we've been in Scotland so many times and seen so much - but James was flexible and always came up with new ideas of what to do. Loved his sense of humour too and of course his knowledge of local wild life.

      Inga Ebert
      Self-Drive - Winter Highland Cosy Cairngorms
      Reviewed on 10/02/2020

      James was an outstanding guide—-knowledgeable, patient, enthusiastic.

      Mary Brainerd
      Wilderness Walking - Autumn Highlands
      Reviewed on 16/10/2019

      James was always upbeat, knowledgeable about history and the geography and had a great sense of humor. While there was a plan in place for the various hikes, James also ask our opinion when there were options. James knew how to engage with all of us from two different continents and easily handled slightly different hiking speeds.

      Susan Eddington
      Wilderness Walking - Autumn Highlands
      Reviewed on 13/10/2019

      James was great! He really did a wonderful job making sure we were all happy and content! He gave us the right amount of together time and then gave us space when we wanted it. James was very attentive, knowledgeable and truly loves his job and Scotland. He was the perfect guide for our group!!

      Laurie Blaine
      19WSTM Tailor Made trips
      Reviewed on 14/09/2019

      James was awesome! Yes what a lovely guy!

      Ann Malko
      19WSTM Tailor Made trips
      Reviewed on 13/09/2019

      We were very happy with our guides. They had a wealth of knowledge and were great with the boys.

      Gay MacGregor
      19WSPD_Private Departure
      Reviewed on 15/08/2019

      Stuart for the set kayaking was lovely, he really made the day an adventure and was very knowledgable of the area and the wildlife. Marcus on the rib ride on Loch Ness was funny, informative and really added to the experience. The man who helped us with the shooting was also lovely and made a new experience even better. James on the all day bike ride was great, he has a love for the area that really came through and it was a pleasure to spend time with him. The only let down was the guide/leader for the river tubing. He didn't really provide much useful help we had to work it out for ourselves really and as a result one of us got a but of a bang, which, if better info had been given could have been avoided. Overall the guides were great and I would highly recommend Stuart with the sea kayaking, the shooting and James on the bike ride

      Daniel Shefras
      17WSTM Tailor Made trips
      Reviewed on 30/08/2017

      James was very attentive to our needs - always professional and easy to get along with. He is rarely without a smile! We enjoyed having David with us on the hike in the Cairgorrms as he provided humor and shared with us his great love of the hills. And Stewart was an easy going and fun kayaking leader.

      Mary Kay Prior
      17WSTM Tailor Made trips
      Reviewed on 25/07/2017

      Book a trip with James

      Trip / Departure Availability Status Price Book
      Wilderness Walking – Autumn Highlands
      10th Nov - 14th Nov 2020
      8 place(s) left UNCONFIRMED £1,095 Book Now

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      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.

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      © James Orpwood / Wilderness Scotland

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