Place to Play – Walking in Glen Affric, I’ve got Scotland’s most beautiful glen on my doorstep.
Not a lot of people know this – I also go by the name of Guru Timpuche, it’s born out of a love for Bhutan, Buddhist belief and the draw of wilderness cycling trails.
Mini Bio – I’m a passionate biker and hill-walker, who was a business development manager in a former life and spent 4 amazing years working in South America and a long while exploring the continent before returning to the Highlands to live and become a mountain biking and walking guide.
After leaving the corporate world behind I’m a much happier chap, working with some of the most respected guides in Scotland. I’m equally at home guiding gentle walks through the Hebridean machair as I am battling a Cairngorms blizzard on our winter trips. I’d have to say my favourite trip is the one that I am on…. They all give me a buzz.
Adventurer's Stories about Tim
Tim and Dave did an excellent job spontaneously planning for the weather conditions. Very knowledgeable.James Cracknell
Tim and Dave were fabulous and added greatly to the quality of our trip. They are knowledgeable and helped us to understand the history and terrain we were riding through as well as appreciating the current landscape and communities. Although I trained for this trip and thought I was fairly fit, I found it hard to pause to take photos and catch up to the group without feeling left behind or like I was holding up everyone else. I'm not sure how this might be resolved.Lee (Karen) Craw
Both Tim and Dave clearly enjoy their work . Their passion for the Scottish Wilderness was very clear. Their knowledge of every thing that swims ,flys ,walks and crawls was second to noneGrant Craw
Tim and Dave were amazing.john morris
Tim an Dave- a great team- thank`s a lot for a wonderfull experienceUrs Meier
The guides did a great job. Again, I felt like I was in very good hands. Tim and Paul were very helpful and caring. They were funny too. The dynamic between them was great and fun to watch.Anna Lerner
Tim and Alasdair were a great team and clearly passionate about what they do. Their thoughtful organisation, willingness to share their extensive knowledge and insights on just about anything of interest, sense of fun and care they took to ensure everyone enjoyed the experience simply made the holiday. Great picnics, great soundtrack, great fun. Thanks for a fabulous holiday.Pamela Duncan
Tim and Alasdair were super interesting and knowledgeable guides, and their personalities played well off of each other to make for a fun trip. I thought they did a great job reading the group and accommodating everyone, and making adjustments to suit the weather and vibe each day. It must have been a lot of work managing all the little details of the trip, but they made it seem effortless. Many thanks!!Colleen Wolfe
Tim and Alisdair were fantastic. knowledgeable, friendly and always trying to helpRussell Willmer
Tim was just brilliant...even his little surprises!John Yates
The guide was very informative and not afraid to push is a little.Stephen Gee
Went out of his way to make sure we had a good holiday. Chauffered us out at nights to try different places to eat which I appreciated.Jane Berrisford
Tim was very knowledgeable and personable and paid attention to all of us on the trail. He was a treat to have as a trusty leader.Barbara Macleod
Very good enjoyed them both and they worked very well together, despite their different back grounds, they were a good balance of humour and seriousness.Eric Rayson
Tim was a good guide, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Skye's scenery, natural history and history. He was quietly supportive on walks where that was necessary (I'm really pleased to have reached that loch above Glen Brittle - thanks, Tim!)Susan O'Hara
See my previous comments about Tim Francis' excellent job!Kenneth Frank
Let's See. Tim loves Scotland, he loves the outdoors, and he loves his "office." That makes him the best guide ever, and Rick adds that he was also a fun traveling companion. He appraised what we could do very quickly and gave us the maximum experience, even with uncooperative weather. Would want to book him again in a heartbeat, but he would probably want to run for cover.Pam Schwer
Tim was great - very knowledgeable and always made sure we were all happy. He also took the time to make sure our evenings were interesting and fun.Chris Reid
Tim was an excellent guide varying the days and trying to include everything that his clients asked for and he informed us each evening of the next day's events and again on the day of the walks.Gill Abbott
Ensured we had a really well balanced varied happy holiday: travel, walks, history, wildlife, plants and scenery, conversation etc.. Great timing. However, I think the walks were harder than the pre holiday descriptors led me to believe. V. grateful for the way my "special needs" were handled!Pauline Dodds
Excellent! Nothing to say, he was always let us know the plan of the day. Always keen to give us some fun facts and information about the area.Sandrine Royer
Had every confidence in our guides. Thoughtful, helpful and full of interesting info.........and certainly not above having a good laugh!Pauline Murray
Tim and Celty were really helpful and informativeBrian Yates
Our guides were the best of the trip.Marta Cavero
Tim was a great guide an person. Looked after every member, knew perfectly well the route and I felt very confident on his side.Fernando Perez Alcala
Both Tim and Kelty were excellent. Very knowledgable and good humoured (most of the time!). Good guides make or break the trip and they made it.Rod Mitchell
Tim was great wide knowledge range and provided to the wide range of interests in the group terrific!Fiona Smith
Tim is very knowledgable and personable. Enjoyed traveling with him.Carol Johnston
Tim was exceptionally good. His knowledge of the islands, their history and wildlife - was impressive and I can't imagine a more comprehensive tour - including a night out at one of the Kirkwall Summer Concerts. Nothing was too much trouble.Andrew Pollard
Oh, Tim was fantastic!! We all loved him and he did everything possible to make sure we did what we most wanted to do. He is a wealth of information on the wildlife and history of Scotland and a real sweetie. He knew I loved archaeology and planned things so we could see a working dig. He's amazing. He chose great places to eat too. He put so much effort into this trip and I am so grateful to him.Kathleen Simonton
Tim and Ben are superlative guides. Information about locale and history, fun stories about adventure travel...I have since seen one of the 3 movies recommended by Tim about Scotland, The Stone of Destiny (thank you, Tim, loved it, fun story).Laurie Quinn
Ben is a man to frame any trip in the outdoors, any travel. He has the kind soul of a man who welcomes and calms all comers.
Tim & Ben are simply the best. They both are extremely knowledgable and helpful and made the whole experience extremely rewarding.Ralph Snape
Tim Francis is great. His knowledge of and love of Scotland came thru in all he didAbbie Hutchins
Tim Francis went out of his way to be sure the experience of Skye and the Outer Hebrides met expectations of each person on the trip. He consistently, and enthusiastically, shared his knowledge of the plant, animal, and bird life that we encountered. For those of us also interested in history, he did not disappoint. Each day I felt well prepared about what to expect in terms of weather, terrain for walking, and general outline of activities.michelle mcdevitt
Clever with a lot of knowledge and experience, Tim has great sense of humor, plenty of good stories, he is always very helpful and very very patient!Ellen Borge
Tim was a great guide. He made everyone feel at home, was very patient, had a good sense of humour, was very knowledgeable and told lots of stories. I don't know if he made half of them up but who cares, they were very entertaining.Jean Foster
He was very good at adapting the activities to suit the needs of the group.
We where very lucky with our guide. He had a lot of knowledge about each area we visited. Very appreciated.Catherine Breur-Zeeman
Tim was excellentGeoff Foster
Both Tims were great throughoutIain Dibble
I enjoyed guide Tims knowledge on bird life particularly and that no pressure was put on people to cycle which made for a stress free trip
Driver Tim was very helpful and efficient in loading the bikes and kit .It was nice to have the bags in the rooms on arrival at the next hotel
Both were very friendly and professional throughout the trip
Can't say enough about both Tim Francis and Tim Willis. Tim Francis is professional, knowlegeable and very encouraging. I enjoyed the insights he shared about the culture and countryside. I would say that his assessment of "easy" or "relatively flat" terrain was quite different from mine, but if I couldn't make it, the van was right there. Tim Willis was so organized and accommodating, and always with a cheerful, positve attitude. I throroughly enjoyed talking with him at the mealtimes and seeing his friendly face at the end of long ride. Both these men are outstanding guides!Ann Ralosky
Very helpful and caring.John Ambler
Patient knowledgeable prepared. They were professional and personable. I cannot say enough great things about themJohn Ralosky
The patience and humour of the two Tims made the holiday. The right level of enthusiasm and empathy for this tripDoreen Cantrell
Great guide. Very knowledgeable, excellent communication skills, very enthusiastic . My traveling companion and I were somewhat nervous about how the trip would go, whether we would be able to figure out how things worked (being American and so not sure how things are done in Scotland) and whether we would slow down the group too much (not being the fittest and not having long legs). Our guide had insight into what Americans wouldn't know and he was calm and patient when we were slow or just clueless.Carol Ann Williams
Tim was knowledgable, quietly passionate,Nick Baker
personable, good company.
Tim is awesome. He was fun, knowledgeable and always included everyone. By the end it was like a little family.Kaitlin Ziessler
Knowledgeable and caringViktorija Sevlagina
I was very impressed by Tim's obvious experience, enthusiasm and flexibility, as well as his leadership skills and awareness of his clients.Andrew Nash
Tim Francis is an excellent guide - I knew this as I has previously been on a course with him guiding (along with Brian Morrison who was also great). He was particularly good when I was feeling a bit nervous in a very steep icy ascent and when I didn't feel comfortable doing some methods of ice axe arrest. He also has lots of interesting tales of travels & previous courses.Sandy Travis
Tim was supportive and inspired confidence and was a source of wisdom about hill walking in the winter.Doreen Cantrell
Tim was extremely knowledgable , very courteous and looked after everyone in the group; very good at anticipating what each person could manageGerard Lynch
Both Henry and Tim were excellent. Seemed to think of everything, were very well informed, and worked well as a team. Also nice guys!Neil Milne
Tim -very knowledgeable and expertDouglas French
Henry - brilliant catering and driving
Together - a great team
No nonsense and unflappable -just what you want in a guide.Tamsin Douglas
Both helpful and cheerfulAndrew Mitchell
Tim did a good job. I felt rushed at times when I wanted to stop for a photo but never had a problem catching up. We passed things (in the van or on bike) that I would have wanted to stop and look at but we went flying by.Murray Stonebridge
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
We love to stop and take photos as well. We will remind all guides that people are on holiday and need time to enjoy the sights around them.
Both of our guides were very attentive, hugely credible and inspired a lot of confidence throughout the journey. Tim's knowledge of the Islands and ability as a rider were impressive and as the trip leader he couldn't be faulted. I appreciated his positive-but-not-gushing demeanor and clear enthusiasm for his work. I'm not usually one to admire another man's legs but I reckon Tim's must be some of the best in Scotland - functionally speaking of course. Cory our support guide was extremely attentive and our lunches were notable both for the quality of the spread and the amazing locations each day. Neither guide shouted about their experience but over the course of the week it was apparent that their credentials are extremely high indeed. A special mention to Ben, from the WS office, who was also very supportive, helpful and added much to the group dynamic. He was impressively patient when listening to my feedback/questions on WS marketing...when he wasn't distracted by polytunnel envy.Anthony Barr
Tim provided route information every day emphasizing landmarks that would be reference points in order to avoid being lost. He was a vigilant German shepherd - made sure that no one got lost and that everyone was on schedule.Lidia Hutcherson
Ross was the heart of the tour - the encouragement, the positive attitude, even when it rained the first day coming down the first hill - hey, you did it! And, Ross made sure that my bicycle was in good order as he adjusted the seat, brakes, inflated my bike tires as well as helped me with other bike issues that arose towards the last couple days of the trip. Mark and I hope that we can see Ross again when we book the Grand Tour next year.
Tim was terrific at showing us the ordnance survey maps before each days ride which helped us all get in the right frame of mind and not miss important landmarks.Lesley McKay
Ross never stopped smiling, even when I was tired and grumpy.
Both guides Tim and Ross did a great job and made the trip very enjoyable. Occasionally felt a bit under pressure when stopping to take photos and then being at the back.Stephen Smith
A very professional service from Tim & RossIsobel Yule
Tim provided so much information on the Hebrides. A well organised daily route and all care was given that none of us got lost!! Much appreciated the evening of bike maintenance The trips to visit the weaver / black house / etc on our last day was a superb end to an unforgettable week . Ross's kitchen was always a welcome sight!!
Tim really went out of his way to i) accommodate a group of mixed abilities so the faster ones could go ahead and regroup at a set point, and ii) managed the route appropriately when the poor weather caused a need to replanAndrew Ross
Tim tolerated the various peccadillos of the group members, including mine, with great patience and good humour. Very knowledgeable chap, and not afraid to admit when he did not know something which was very refreshing. He was also very helpful - for example taking me to a supermarket and back to the hotel again - which was much appreciated and beyond the call of duty.Deborah Middleton
Tim was great, absolutely great. He never stopped trying to please us, and went above and beyond what he needed to do. On the last night, after dinner, he took us out to watch the sun set over the Rings of Brognar (probably spelled this wrong). Took us to a pub one night to hear live music. Went out and bought us Irn Bru when we told him we liked it. His knowledge of flora and fauna is extensive and when I asked him an occasional detailed question he was unsure of, he had looked up the answer by the time I next saw him. He was a great guide!!Mark Weinfeld
Tim simply went above and beyond to make this trip superb for everyone. From checking restaurants ahead of time for special diets to sharing great playlists of music he shepherded a group of disparate travelers with humor and efficiency. His knowledge of the local wildlife especially birds and fauna was astounding.Janet Cogswell
Tim Francis is a very funny guy - subtle but funny. He made every day of the trip fun and interesting, did the logistical work invisibly so that it all looked very smooth and easy, and showed genuine interest in every person on the trip. I am ready to go home after 8 hours of work, but Tim was willing to spend 14+ hours a day with us - evening meals with the group were as much fun as the rest of the day. He shared field books, maps, and the planning of each day's activities, so that we felt fully a part of the experience.Nancy Ettele
Tim was knowledgeable and always helpful. He paced the walks perfectly with plenty of breaks and time to take photos etc. Tim listened to the requests of the group and nothing was a problem.Gillian Forbes
Tim was really great and had a great knowledge about the history,birds and plants. Very friendly and relaxed.Carol Waterdrinker
The combination walking- seeiing historical sites was great.
A good balance between letting us make our own pace and travelling together as a group.David Baldock
Tim is just really a knowledgable guy on many topics of great value to the trip...cycling, geology, history, botany. Also appreciated his ability to read a group and manage the overall dynamic / experience without being the least bit overbearing.David Sanders
Both Tim and Henry did a great job. Everything was so well-organized down to the smallest detail. Both were super friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the Hebrides; the people, nature etc.Hanne Groth
Both Tim & Henry were at all times more than willing to go the extra mile!Martin Louw
Guide Tim Francis was just outstanding! I very much enjoyed and appreciated Tim's keen knowledge of the history, environment, wildlife and geology of Scotland and Outer Hebrides. He did a wonderful job of communicated this information to us throughout our trip and related well with our group. Tim is an excellent, well- organized trip leader, a skilled bike rider & mechanic. We couldn't have had a better guide!Terry Williams
Assistant guide Henry was outstanding as well! Henry provided us with excellent, nutritious ride-day smorgasbord lunches. He's an accomplished bike mechanic, providing excellent care and maintenance of our bicycles. A great young man and personality!
I truly appreciated the quality of leadership and service provided by Tim and Henry, and have no doubt the other trip group members agree with that assessment. Thanks again Tim and Henry for an excellent trip!
Tim is an exceptional guide who has extensive technical expertise and knowledge of the Scottish landscape. His remarkable organisational skills ensured that everything was carried out seamlessly. I fully appreciate how, given the range of variables, it can be difficult to ensure that everything runs smoothly and he is to be commended on every aspect of his performance as both guide and mountain biking instructor. I honestly cannot offer even constructive criticism.Kathleen Louw
Henry's contribution was invaluable. Nothing was too much trouble and he and Tim worked seamlessly together. Henry's patience and technical advice was greatly appreciated and his duties were also executed flawlessly. Henry repeatedly went the extra mile and was a necessary source of support to both the group and Tim.
I was impressed by Tim's knowledge of ScotlandMargaret Cochrane
Tim had plenty of local knowledgeMichael Green
Our guide, Tim, was very personable, knowledgeable in all aspects of our trip, accommodating, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He inspired confidence that the group was "in good hands".Maureen Wood
I enjoyed Tim's knowledge of the area, people, fauna, flora, animals, etc. He was an excellent guide.Hanli Schnitter
Very good at providing special experiences, meeting everyones expectations and keeping the group happy. Very knowledgeable and flexible, great company in the evenings. Thank you.Penny Price
Both Tims coped very well with a mixed group(they will know what I mean!)Steven Morgan
I know it would be more work but maybe a simple linear map of each days trip would help with regrouping/route finding? the milage points easily get out of synch.
Both where knowledgeable, experienced,helpful & good companyCharles Robertson
Tim F was very thorough and well informed about the area and the wild-life and gave interesting talks. Sometimes we stopped too frequently when we needed to keep moving to keep our muscles warm but he kept us to schedule well. His enjoyment of cycling and the Highlands was evident and kept everyone engaged and enthused. Tim W was an excellent support, well-organised, kind, good humoured and encouraging. Both guides did very well to keep a disparate group of cyclists (and one non-cyclist!) together and keep everyone happy - it must have taken diplomacy and tolerance but they did it! By the final picnic everyone was celebrating the whole group's achievement. Many thanks to Tim F and Tim W.Diana Morgan
Friendly, helpful, attentive and knowledgeable.Nuntavarn Vichit-Vadakan
Excellent in term of adjusting the trip accordingly without losing the theme of the trip and losing the team's spirit.Darunee Ittiput
A very relaxed and easy going guide who made everybody feel comfortable. His knowledge of the area and wildlife/flora/fauna made it an even more interesting trip.Eric Taylor
Tim our guide was enthusiastic, knowledgable, fun... He very much focused on customer experience whilst building in appropriate goals, activities, all the while maintaining group cohesion, safety, etc. My only other observation was that I thought he could have pushed the group further, longer, higher, tougher walks, despite the dreich weather I think the group would have gone for this....Nick Baker
Tim was, in my opinion, central to the holiday being ok or excellent. The walks were spot on, his knowledge of....everything is mindblowing! He also has a rare skill of getting people to converse and create an atmosphere, he was always approachable patient and non patronizing!Jessica Gill
Very knowledgeable & plans the walks in a safe & varied mannerRob Lewis
Tim was an excellent guide in every respect and added greatly to the whole experience,being thoughtful,informative and engaging throughout our stay.Keith Sagar
Tim was good fun and professional. He was really good in educating us about the safety aspects of winter walking and I really liked the information he provided about plants and wildlife etc. A brilliant guide!Frances Burnett
I can't rate them (Will & Tim) highly enough. It's a very fine line but some bike-handling hints/tips/experiences would have been appreciated; it's not so much that people really needed it, more that (even the experienced riders) folks would have appreciated having new input.Gary Chape
- Great job!Monika Furrer
- All our wishes have been taken into account
- Malcolms knowledge in Wildlife is tremendous
Have gone on walking adventures with Tim Francis (Orkney Isl) and Keith Miller (Outer Hebrides) - both excellent,excellent, excellent...Katherine Boynton
Tim and Malcolm were exceptional guides and went out of their way at every opportunity to insure the trip delivered as much as it possibly could. Waking before dawn to catch the sun at Callanaish Stones is not part of their brief but they did it anyway and it was fabulousHolly Hunt
Just excellent. Especially we enjoyed Malcolm's deep and profound knowledge in wild animals and birds.Alexis Gehrt
And things really get funny when Malcolm get started in imitating wild birds voices :-))
I learned a lot of English - and they probably a bit about german humor... and they excused my French - this is certainly worth an "excellent" :-)Johanna Schaub
Love the whiskey and peat tales. Map sessions were very helpful. Felt well taken care of on the road.Steven Rice
They were both very approachable and balanced a mixed ability group sensitively.Nigel Forsyth
Could have done with a bit more cultural and historical context
These guys work hard! My only suggestion is that it would have been good if they had done a skills assessment either the evening before or first thing in the morning. They could have provided the least experienced riders with a little "off road" training to get them started. In my observation, this would have eliminated some frustration from the weakest riders.John Sutherland
The group was an accomplished lot, and sometimes needed to know the plan and projections for the day. If there were enough uncertainties to simply say "it depends" that would have been fine, but there was a hesitancy to talk about time/distance. With variations in ability, these are understandable, but the distances remain the same. Information was not always imparted with everyone present, and repeating was not enjoyed.Dennis Gastineau
Dave was extremely patient and helped with post-trip suggestions as well as leading on some of the cycling.
Some pre-trip assessment of each of our abilities, even a quick ride up and down some hills, might help gauge the overall plans for the group.
Our guide,Tim Francis from the beginning of our trip was welcoming and friendly. He was professional, easy going and also kept us on schedule. He was very accommodating to everyone in our group despite the different ages. He was conscious of making sure all of us were doing okay and enjoying ourselves. He was physically fit and knowledgeable of the land. It was very nice to have our own personal guide!Thank you for a great adventure as my first time in Scotland! Wanted to mention Ben of the kayak group was professional & made sure we had a safe/ fun experience!Madeleine Gaba
Tim did a great job. He was aware of the different needs and different relationships of the youngest in our group as well as the oldest and those in between, which is not always the easiest. This helped everyone to enjoy the trip much more.Shawn Lecuona
See under Q3.
Excellent leader in Tim. We benefitted from his wealth of mountain experience as well as his local knowledge.
Knowledgeable, articulate, passionate, and fun. They took expert care of our group.Marianne Bauer
Tim and Dave - top line guys;)Geoff Bogacki
Had a blast.
Tim and Dave.Charles Ekin
Both very competent, well organised and dedicated. VG employees - keep them!
The only comment I would have is that Tim appeared a bit "blind" to the slower pace of some members of the group. i.e. when they caught up they were given no break and we were off again which may have had the effect of demoralising them.
Loved the bike 'lubing' service every morning.James Fuller
First couple of days I thought Stouts oatbars were great, by the end of the week I never want to see one again