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National Geographic - Best Adventure Travel Companies

John Ormiston

John OrmistonMe in 3 – Willow | Westcoaster | Wise

Place to Play – Skye and Wester Ross. Skye due to its unique island flavour combing grand mountains rising from the sea with breath taking coastline and Wester Ross because of the ancient geology creating spectacular landforms pitted with remote lochans.

Not a lot of people know this – My childhood was spent between Speyside and Malta. I have been a roughneck and a lumberjack! Oh and I once ate a scorpion!

Mini Bio – I reckon I’m a lucky guy to be earning a living sharing my love for my country and its unique culture and landscape with folks who want to discover its charms…and whisky!

Having had previous life experiences in geology, forestry, oil industry, timber building as well as outdoor instruction and expedition leading, I enjoy sharing my built up knowledge and tales with new friends. Over a dram by an evening fireside, I am happy to share tales from my previous lives; some may require more drams than others!
Always up for a challenge and new experiences, just as happy climbing a mountain, canoeing a loch, kayak the coastline, sailing the islands or cycling remote trails, I enjoy company whether with my family or the new friends I meet every year guiding trips that create memories and good times.


Adventurer's Stories about John

As stated earlier, John was excellent. He was always aware of his group and accomodated as needed for individuals during the hike. Appreciated his calm and always cheerful and witty demeanor.
Pamela Bugbee
John made our trip remarkable with his stories, knowledge of flora and fauna, wearing his family kilt at our last dinner and making sure we had a better understanding of what Scotland us all about.
Jane-Allin Cloutte
Fantastic, best guide I have ever trekked with. Efficient, organised, funny (joined in with the spirit of the group and told a good story). Took great care of us all
Victoria Miller
John was great. Gave us great information on geology, history, flora & fauna. Also had a fine sense of pace. He's an excellent guide.
Grayson Drexel
John did a great job. He is a true Scotsman, especially in his kilt which he wore for the final dinner. He was very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, and about Scottish history. We had experienced hikers in our group, so the pace was fast. But John was good about letting the faster hikers head on, knowing that they wouldn't do something stupid. I liked his relaxed but watchful approach. He obviously has a lot of experience in this line of work.
David Higgins
John was great. Informative, energetic, helpful. Even made a recommendation on a bagpipe shop in Sterling where I purchased some pipes.
Mary Wills
John's knowledge and passion for Scotland was obvious at every stop.
Alan McIvor
John was fabulous! I had ancestors who had lived on North Uist, and John was very helpful in getting information and pointing thing out about the towns they were from.
Drew Quinn
Excellent knowledge, patience and unflappable demeanor, even when repairing the van door bent by the wind. John has lived many interesting places. He tells fascinating stories about the places we visited and his own experiences around the world (most of which, he says and I believe, are true).
Sydney Bennion
John was very knowledgeable and good company
Michael McCauley
Our walking guide John was great company and very knowledgeable.
Nicola Wassell
Great stories, hiking much knowledge shared
Elena Borstein
John was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and adaptable throughout. He was also great company when "off duty" and a willing and skilled member of the sailing crew too!
Graham Holdsworth
John was super informative about the local environment and was always willing to add more commentary when needed. He shared with us various stories (whether they were all true or not is for another day) about local history and legends.

Along the walking routes we were shown various plants including raw garlic and the beautiful stranded starfish. We also walked to a known puffin breeding ground so that we could sit on the cliff and watch the comings and goings of these fabulous little birds.

From bottle nosed and common dolphins, seals, minke whales, deer, rabbits, sheep, chickens and even a stoat, John shared additional insights with us.
Sandra Morris
John did a fantastic job very knowledgeable
William Clements
has excellent knowledge of the areas and loves to share the wealth of Scottish culture and geography and geology. Would be outstanding if he could take a bit more consideration to prep us on the coming itineraries with more details prior to the actual events.
John Chan
John was a great guide. Very knowledgeable about the areas we were hiking. Always pointing out native plants and explaining the area and how it may have been used in past centuries.
Julie Owen
John Ormiston: Highly professional, knowledgable, loves his subject, patient, flexible, fun, funny, smart, thoughtful, careful, entertaining, perceptive and sensitive to the needs of others and an excellent listener.

Eilid Ormiston: Also highly professional, knowledgable, extremely patient, sensitive to others, thoughtful and smart with a gentle sense of humor. Markedly empathetic and also an excellent listener. She and John work very well together.

My favorite Scottish artist, John Bellany, often depicts his subjects wearing fish on their heads, which I love. So, I don't know, maybe they could improve their performances by wearing fish on their heads, but I don't think this is really necessary, especially as long as John appears at least once in a kilt and bearing whiskey (which I forgot to mention as another favorite).
Sue Unkel
John and Eilid were terrific--knowledgeable and accommodating. It was a plus to get some mini lessons in Scotland's geographic, historical, political and cultural past and present--as well as an intro into the finer distinctions of whiskey tasting.
Colleen Gillard
Both John and Eilid were excellent guides -- very patient with our group, very knowledgeable, etc.
Brannon Klopfer
mentioned before
Thomas Najarian
I loved the way John provided background information on everything.
William ( Sandy) Wells
Good background Information on flora, fauna, history , Scottish aspects in general - and whisky.
Ursus Schwager
John was so knowledgeable and told wonderful stories some of them were even true.
That was a running joke we all had. He was great.
Lesley Stewart
John Ormiston is an excellent advertisement for Wilderness Scotland. He put us at ease with his stories and great sense of humour, yet we never doubted for a moment his competence in all matters related to the outdoors.
Ness Goodwin
This may not be the most correct usage of my newly acquired Gaelic vocabulary, but John was a mingin stoatter of a guide! He was a enthusiastic story-teller with a twinkle in his eye; a calm, grounded, safe presence leading the way through a steep descent; a master facilitator who made sure each guest got the most out of his/her experience during the trip; a committed supporter and promoter of his fellow countrymen and the land they all share. You are lucky to work with him every day!
Laura Bedford
Great guiding.
Judith Ayling
John was really accommodating to the group's diverse needs and is knowledgeable and good company
Hazel Clark
Great job John your experience and knowledge made for a fantastic experience.
Rodger Lorraine
John is the definition of the perfect guide. In every dimension he exceeds all expectations. Clone this guy!
Stuart Gardner
Our guide was knowledgable and extremely accommodating.
Tricia McPherson
John was just excellent! So very knowledgeable about so many aspects of our walks. Geology, botany, history, and not to mention scotch! His presence made all the difference in the world!
Mary Pat Monteith
John sets the bar for what a good guide should be. His broad depth of knowledge allowed him to answer almost any question we had (from flora/fauna to geology to history), and his demeanor made him very easy to speak to and get along with. Definitely the best wilderness guide I have ever had. If I ever become a wilderness guide in the future, I'll aspire to be like John.
Pearce Herchenrader
Very knowledgeable and taught us a lot about geology and wild life not to mention some Scottish history and folklore.
Very aware of peoples limitations and problems and able to accommodate them without detriment to anyone's enjoyment
James McPherson
very knowledgeable, informative and had a very easy manner great fun to be with
Claire Gratton
John was one of the best guides I have had over my years of outdoor travelling.
Sharon Newman
Everything was fantastic. Mel and James could not have been better hosts and patient beyond belief. John with his depth of knowledge and generosity and of course the food that Maree produced every day out of the kitchen was amazing.
Ruth Jacka
John Ormiston did a great job with our group with his versatility and knowledge, he even made geology sound much more interesting to me, and the group I imagine
Hugh Rothero
John was very good company; extremely knowledgeable; full of energy and enthusiasm; careful not to exhaust the group(!); and took us to many fascinating and sometimes quite remote parts of Shetland which I personally would not have been able to find and visit in the time available. He was just excellent in every respect.
Ann Paton
I did send you an email in praise of John
Peter Norton
Just wonderfull, competent , patient, flexible and a lots of information about nature and tradition
Judith Pitasch
John was very knowledgeable and provided sound advice on the options available.
Ian Pounder
John Ormiston was impeccable. Always courteous, good-humoured and very well-informed.
Elizabeth Roberts
Our guide, John Ormiston was outstanding as a trip leader. He clearly explained every night what we would be doing the next day. He knew how to get to every place we were going, how long the drive would take, how long the hike would be. He pointed out interesting things as we travelled. He gave us choices of what we could do as a group if we wanted to alter the plan and made great recommendations for our dinner options were. We enjoyed each other's company so much that every night we ate as a group and John was definitely part of the group! The evenings were equally as good as the days.
We had complete trust in John's skill and knowledge as a guide. He knew each person's ability as a hiker. He never discouraged anyone from trying a challenge and left it up to the individual to decide if something was too difficult for them. I am sure he would have made a decision for a person if he thought they would be hiking beyond their ability.

John's knowlegde of birds, plants, geology, history, the mountains made each day a fascinating experience. He took time for each person and all questions.
I can't say enough about how wonderful it was to have John as our guide. He was a huge part in making this the best group trip I have been on.
Lorraine Plauth
John was a fantastic guide! We all really enjoyed his company and his stories about the history and geology of the area. He did a great job of keeping the group organized, was good with conversation, and even put his rescue skills to good use when Pam had a fall on Suilvan! He clearly enjoys his job and that really made us enjoy our trip even more. I would definitely do another trip with him as a guide. Thanks John for an amazing trip!
Lisa Lombardo
John was awesome, knowledgeable, and clearly enthusiastic in making the trip a fantastic and safe experience!
Neil Smoke
John Ormiston was Fabulous!! His knowledge and skills as a mountain guide made the whole trip.
Bob Davis
Thanks to John with his profound knowledge of nature etc., James & Melissa for my first time sailing experience and big compliment to Peggy who performed magic cuisine in the tiny galley.
Bettina Kaufmann
John was great - very knowledgeable. Having a guide really does add to the holiday.
Sarah Deas
John had a wealth of local knowledge and was keen to share this and to entertain us with a variety of stories and anecdotes.
It would have been helpful if after a rest or lunch stop he said, "Let's go in 2 minutes " or words to that effect. Sometimes he set off before we'd all got our daypacks on etc.
Barbara Crompton
John was full of passion about geology and wildlife - he was great
Karen Young
As stated we hav e already provided a detailed email outlining this area. Best guides we have EVER had...They made the trip..We will be back!
Jan Bornstein


John's Photo and Video Gallery

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© John Ormiston / Wilderness Scotland

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