Me in 3 – Passionate | Safe | Talkative
Place to Play – The Northern Corries, Rum, Skye, the Alps.
Not a lot of people know this – I love old scooters, especially my 1967 Lambretta SX20
Qualifications – SML, WML, BASP First Aid, SPA trained
Mini Bio – After a long career in retail management, I decided my desire to be outdoors needed to come first, so as the children were independent now, I took the plunge!
I started out on the hills at an early age, being taken to the Peak District and Lake District of England by my parents, graduating to holidays in Scotland, but it wasn’t until I first visited the Alps with my wife Tracey on our motorbike that I realised how deep my passion was for all things mountainous. We bought a pair of boots each in Chamonix, and have never looked back!
I ‘completed’ my first round of the Munros in 2009, (Scottish mountains over 3000ft), the 4429th person to do so, and am well into my second round. I have walked, scrambled and climbed all over the UK, the Alps, Dolomites, Carpathians, Sierra Nevada and Kilimanjaro in Africa. I have several trips to the Urals and Kamchatka planned for 2016, which I am really looking forward to.
I am particularly fond of the Scottish mountains in winter, and a keen winter climber and Alpinist. I also like to cycle, and will be riding the Etapes Loch Ness and Caledonia with my wife in 2016, which is about the only time we manage to spend time together!!
Experience – 20 years + of walking, scrambling and climbing all over the UK and abroad. I have nearly ‘compleated’ my second round of the Munros, and am well into ticking off all the highest points of all European countries.
I have led expeditions to the Argentinian Andes where we summited Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalaya and highest in the Western and Southern hemispheres, the Ecuadorian highlands where we managed to combat the ever-changing weather to summit various volcanoes including the iconic Cotopaxi. In the Himalaya, I led a trip to Annapurna base camp, and then summited Tharpu Chuli, (or Tent Peak). I have trekked across Kamchatka in Russia, (again climbing volcanoes!), climbed Elbrus twice, and have also climbed on Lenin Peak in Kyrgyzstan. In Africa, I have summited Kilimanjaro, and I have also enjoyed both a summer and winter ascent of the Mulhacen in the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain in mainland Spain.
Nearer to home I have climbed and walked many Alpine 4000m summits, and recently spent my 6th trip to the wonderful Brenta Dolomites in Italy with my wife, where we celebrated her birthday and our 27th wedding anniversary in an alpine hut at 2700m.
Whilst I enjoy going further afield to walk and climb, I feel most at home amongst my Scottish mountains in all seasons, in all weathers, and with all company, especially sharing stories over a dram in a cosy bothy as the snow falls outside!
Biggest Adventure – The next one!
Seriously, I don’t like to rank experiences and like to live for the moment. I suppose falling ill in Kyrgyzstan and having to evacuate the mountain was quite an experience, but not one I would like to repeat. Learn from yes, but certainly not repeat!
Specialist Subject – I feel over the years I have developed a wide knowledge of the hills and people that walk and work amongst them, as well as the wildlife and flora that live on them. I live in a sheep-rearing community and spent a year working on stock fencing and deer exclusion work, so understand some of the hard work that goes into maintaining the man-made environment. I have a deep interest in history, and Scotland has such a depth of wonderful history, mixed as it is with myth and legend to allow hours of discussion. I have a ‘working’ knowledge of whisky, and make it my business to expand this where possible! ;) Finally, I feel it is important to appreciate the Gaelic, and how the environment shaped the language and took its nomenclature from it.
Publications – Contributed/Co-authored article on UK Hillwalking website recounting what we believe was the first winter ascent by a British team of the NE ridge of Musala, the highest peak in Bulgaria. I am also an extensive blogger on my own website.
Mountain Training Association – https://mt.tahdah.me/profile/index/112494
Adventurer's Stories about John
Stu and John were wonderful! We loved their knowledge of the history, geography, culture, and spirit of the Scottish people.John Patella
John Walker is a fantastic guide: professional, experienced, compassionate, and extremely capable of meeting the needs of a diverse group of hikers. He's also a excellent driver; I'd rate him in the top 2% of all drivers I've experienced in my lifetime.Janet Leonards
Maybe some further golf-course navigation lessons might be necessary. Besides that, great trip!Birger Strohdeicher
John Walker was an excellent guide and ensured that everyone made it to the top which I very much appreciated.Maureen Mitchell
Our guide, John Walker, was excellent. He was very friendly, experienced, professional, safety conscious and helpful. He was also flexible and ensured that each person in our group had a great hiking experience according to our abilities. John is very knowledgeable about Scotland's mountains and all of its natural beauty and we appreciate all of the information that he shared with us. We highly recommend Wilderness Scotland tours and plan to hike again with this awesome company. Thank you, John!!Teresa Preston-Patella
Again, see previous notes. We were generally self guided, but we had guides on 3 days and they were the BEST. The days when we had guides would not have been memorable without the guides, as they all fell on days with spotty weather, but they each took those days and made them into our absolute highlights. They were all consummate professionals, kept us safe and comfortable yet challenged, taught us a lot, and worked flawlessly with our group dynamic.Arnie Macdonald
self guided notes were good and maps were informativeThea Moore
Self guide - piece of cake.Liza Moore
Loved all 3 guides. Felt very comfortable with and confident of their skills and experience. Very easy to talk with.
John Walker was exceptional. He was able to assess our abilities and tailor our walks to meet all of our needs and interests. I especially liked it when he offered choices. I couldn't have asked for a more personalized experience. He is very personable and an expert in his field.Laurel Thayer
See previous comments, with notes about the guide. John is fantastic. HIs enthusiasm for the area, the history, the mountains, is contagious. He really made the trip for us.Kathryn Lunetta
John Walker was an excellent guide for our trip. He is extremely knowledgeable about the Cairngorms and was able to tune our walks for our abilities as a group and for the expected weather.Mark Duffield