Place to Play – Royal Deeside – Scotland’s best kept secret!
Not a lot of people know this – I once swum across the Firth of Forth (along the side of the Rail Bridge) in my Speedos.
Mini Bio – After spending my early years in Ayrshire – Burns Country – I was introduced to the hills, mountains, islands and crags of Scotland by my parents. Secondary school in Edinburgh was followed by a short sentence in the flatlands of the south east of England for University. It was only once I moved from there to Aberdeen that I really started to explore wild places of my own volition whenever possible. After almost 20 years in Aberdeen, most of them as a school teacher, I now live in Aviemore as much as I can, but work in the Antarctic for around 5 months each year. From the Aberdeenshire sea cliffs, the Cairngorms, Orkney and Shetland, to the UK’s other many and varied mountains and islands, I’m never happier than when I’m “away from it all” and enjoying a blast of exercise in the fresh air.
Adventurer's Stories about Mike
As I said mike was an amazing guide and would be the reason I would book with this company again. His knowledge of Scotland was extensive and his ability to lead a group was exceptional. He was a fantastic guide with super powers!!Annabel Ward
The itinerary and the scenery speak for themselves. It was our guide, Mike Brian, who made the trip truly extraordinary. Our group varied widely in ability and personalities. Mike was able to connect with each of us individually and bring us together as a group. Mike's greatest assets, though, are his enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment of the natural wonders of Scotland. Mike's joy was contagious and made the week truly special (in a good sense). We even began to suspect that he had special powers where the weather was concerned. Somehow, even on the rare cloudy day, the sun came through when we were on the hilltops.Robert Reicher
I've been on a lot of climbs ,treks,and hiking trips. As a guide Mike Brian stands at the top of my list with perhaps two others.Charlie Keenan
Mike Brian was an excellent guide. His care and enthusiasm never wavered. He made an extra effort to find pools in streams where we could go swimming.Laura Spadone
Our guide, Mike Brian, was wonderful. He was both personable and patient, and his love of the outdoors in general and of Scottish hill walking in particular diffused rapidly throughout the group. He quickly built relationships with each of us and helped the group to gel from the first day. Despite differing ability levels within the group, he made each day's adventure challenging and fun for all, keeping us together when it was important to do so, and letting us go at our own pace when that was appropriate. He worked hard to keep everyone safe and to create options to ensure that we all had the vacation we hoped for. Best of all, he has special powers to improve the weather!Michael Devlin
Mike was very knowledgeable and added a lot of interesting information about the routes, the terrain and the flora and fauna. He made the walks very interesting.George Guthrie
Mike Brian, our Guide, was in the “and beyond” category of greatness! We could not have asked for any better. Always on time, always informed us of the day’s plan, always happy to provide extra info or look up what he didn’t know, always prepared with food, extra warm clothes. Always polite and friendly. He was just a joy to be with.Marjorie Miller
Marge and I have taken to calling Mike Brian the Wizard of the Munros (& Corbetts) because he has a true love of the outdoors, a wealth of knowledge and shares his passions well. He also thought through each day perfectly whether it was hiking or a visit to a museum etc.Sheldon Goldman
Sadly, he could do nothing about the wind, so his wizardly powers must be on the decline
Mike did so much to ensure a personally rewarding trip. I am interested in birding, and he made stops to look at and identify birds. I learned so much about Shetland wildlife and Shetland life and history in general. He was attentive to logistics, including rest stops and food/snack stops with a view. He was also very attuned to the trail conditions and making sure that we could manage the terrain. His enthusiasm for the places we visited and walked was greatly appreciated. He seemed to enjoy the walks and locations we visited as well, instead of simply revisiting places he had been before. He also paid attention to the weather and rescheduled the birding boat trip to go when the weather was good, instead of later in the week as originally planned.Jane Potter
In sum, he was great company and a great guide! He also took plenty of photos to document the places we walked.