Place to Play – The Cairngorms, Outer Hebrides or Shetland for a truly ‘out there’ experience.
Mini Bio – During a varied career in, amongst other things, Air Traffic Control and Theatre, the single constant has been a love for the outdoors and for exploration. This has taken me to Europe, North Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and most recently Greenland where kayaking amongst the ice fulfilled a childhood dream. I’ve always returns to Scotland though, where there is still a lifetime of exploring to do. I am currently undertaking the Wilderness Guides Training Programme.
Adventurer's Stories about Zoe
Both Sam and Donald were fantastic. Engaging, informative and friendly. Thank you!Jacob Little
Sam our first guide set a relaxed holiday mood, and Donald injected the organisation needed for a multi-day camping trip. Both were great, but the use of two successive guides for the same trip (though caused in this occasion by the illness of another guide) should be avoided if possible. Their different priorities meant that we ended up returning to the van on Day 2 and again on Day 3, retracing earlier routes and taking away from the concept of the trip as a single journey.David Anderson
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONCE:
Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m sorry you did have 2 different guides for this trip, as you mentioned it was due to ill health and is not something that normally happens. The routes were planned to make sure we were paddling in the best conditions and that does sometimes mean retracing our steps although we do try and avoid that when we can.
Zoe & Sarah were terrific, their enthusiasm & helpfulness was unbounded.Martin Wilson
Zoe and Sarah were absolutely awesome! They were warm and welcoming of everyone and looked after us on the water, they were both willing to help everyone to improve their paddling. On another note it was so great to have two women as guides - I haven't had this happen before on a paddling or adventure trip and it is so great!Stephanie Woodbridge
Thank you to Zoe and Sarah for looking after us so well. Hope you didn't mind the impromptu capsize exercise Zoe?!!!!Tina Westcott
Zoe, who led the expedition and Sarah who was the second guide were both brilliant. Zoe has years of kayaking experience and was always willing to share her knowledge in an encouraging and inspiring way whether it was paddling technique, decision making or reading the conditions. Sarah was always working hard at meal times as well as being equally competent and reassuring out on the water. The 2 guides worked well as a team.Giles Wilson
Zoe and Sarah are two very experienced and enthusiastic guides. Zoe generally led the techniques instruction with good appreciation of different levels of experience ands expectations. Sarah provided ever-watchful back-up and excellent support to individuals.Tony Westcott
Very professional and looked after us very well throughout. They did a great job of finding places to paddle - enjoyably - each day, despite some tricky wind conditions and were happy to give as much or as little coaching as each of us wanted.Tamasin Dale
Zoe and Jenny were a fantastic duo.....highly competent and great companyMary Chard
Both of our guides were top-rate. The forecast was for high winds on many of the days, and Zoe made safety a priority for the group, which was much appreciated. Most of the participants didn't take advantage of her skill, but my partner and I did. We asked for pointers on our paddling strokes and some equipment advice. We both felt that this was worth the price of the tour alone!Kathryn Shuler
Highly skilled guides who were patient & worked hard to teach skills. I may be wrong, but I felt we could have had a little more time on the water. Eg the first afternoon was windy, but finding a sheltered area would have allowed some basic reminders on skills to have occurred earlier.Ian Little
Extremely knowledgeable, always took our safety as their priority but also took time to explain there decisions. However also a sense of fun and adventure and took us to great places - letting us get to grips with our new skills. Also genuinely nice people - fun to be with.John Houseman
Excellent support from Zoe and Jen. Top class guides and instruction expertly tailored to the individual experience of the participants.Will Mushat
Zoe and Jen were very knowledgeable and taught skills at appropriate levels for each individual depending on their experience. They were great fun and always in good humour.Jo Mushat
See my previous comments. Zoe and Sarah were excellent. Their knowledge of the area and their trip planning meant we got on the water every day in a wide variety of places, sea lochs, harbours, fresh water lochs. They are nice people, looked after everyone in the group well and I was impressed by their ability to offer a good level of 1-1 coaching where it was needed. There were some capsizes and they were there immediately to sort it out in a calm way with no drama. They managed to keep an eye on all of us and give us all individual feedback and personal projects to work on, mine was and will be for a while I imagine efficient forward paddling, who knew there was so much to think about! Good safe driving from Zoe too, much appreciated. They are great guides and I really enjoyed the trip and their company.Louise Storey
Zoe and Sarah were great! They knew all the right places, were fun to be with and very capable which made me feel safe and good teachers as well.Pamela van der Goot
Excellent coaching from Zoe and Sarah,learned a lot and know what i need to work on! Excellent selection of sites for our daily trips in variable weather.Paul Thompson
I found the trip tough (I am not sufficiently strong/biceps) and I have a slight hearing problem. It was completely due to the skill and commitment as well as the teaching skill of both tutors that I was able to seriously enjoy and complete the demands of the kayaking trip. I will always remember Zoe's brilliant smile and skill and Sara's kindness and patience.Diane DeBell
Patient, helpfulBetsy Stanko
Zoe and Joe provided excellent instruction and were pleasant company and very well organisedFrances Burnett
As mentioned, Zoe was first rate, and indeed a highlight of the holiday. She surpassed my expectations of a guide.Diane Burley
Zoe was patient, very experienced and ensured she sought out the best locations based on weather and sceneryDebbie Neill
We liked Zoe and appreciated her passion for the outdoors Scotland, and overall knowledge. She worked hard to make the trip work for everyone and we appreciated it. Guides make or break a trip; Zoe did a very good job; unfortunately she did not control the weather!Donn Hutchins
See previous comments. Zoe was pleasant to be with, her knowledge of the outdoors (flora, faune etc) was impressive. Nothing was too much trouble for her and we felt well looked after.Beverley Lambert
Zoe was flexible and adapted the activities according to the weather and the wishes of the group.Jean Foster
Zoe was great, she was definitely in charge and had a good balance of authority and group discussion when it came to planning the coming days of paddling. Her skill levels were evident and we benefitted from ad hoc training. I would particularly like to thank her for taking me out on our last day for coaching when the wind conditions were challenging.Andrew Thompson
Sarah was a continuously making everything run smoothly with the kayaks, camp and cooking organisation. She obviously loves the outdoors and the wildlife, continuously providing us with good information.
Both Zoe and Sarah were continuously smiling even when the weather was grim and at the end of a days paddling. Well done both.
Zoe and Sarah dovetailed well together, Zoe is extremely knowledgeable and offer great coaching on technique. Sarah has a great knowledge of all plants and animals above and below the water.Graham Brown
Zoe was positive, supportive and managed a range of personalities well. It was a great combination of coaching with an education in Scottish music, local history and geology!Cat Darsley
Zoe was fab. Knowledgeable, professional and great fun. Obviously has a passion for her job and I would recommend her very highly.Rosemary Wilson
Not only was our guide cheerful and knowledgeable, she also adapted extremely well to the strengths and weaknesses (which was my case) of the group.Roswitha Rehm
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
That's great to hear :-)
Zoe made you feel really safe and that she had your best interests at heart. Super guide.Wendy Auckland
Zoe and Patrick were excellent guides, explained things well and had a good balance of teaching and letting us paddle and practice. They were friendly and helpful and always approachable.Helen Martin
The guides, Zoe and Patrick, contributed to giving me the holiday of a lifetime. Tuition and choice of locations for paddling could not have been bettered. First class, A1, terrific, well done, the best. What more can I say?Julia Jackson
We were on a guided trip.Kenneth May
Amazing guides. Thanks, we'll miss them!
How to start??? Well, firstly the guides (Zoe and Malcolm) were fantastic, really. We were a disparate group (different levels, attitudes and cultures) but your guides adapted fantastically well and ensured everyone participated, had fun and developed their confidence and skill in sea kayaking. They did this while ensuring that we were all safe despite ourselves :). My partner, who accompanied me on the trip, had only basic English and was a little older than the rest of us and not familiar with this type of holiday, but Zoe and Malcolm always ensured he received individual attention to ensure he could learn the techniques, participate and keep safe. While some amount of individual attention would be expected, I was delighted at the professionalism of our two guides in supporting in an extra way. With Zoe leading but also Malcolm helping in a similar fashion, the guides really went that extra mile, which really made a difference to us. For me, I could worry less and enjoy myself as much as possible.
Zoe and Malcolm, our guides, were clearly experts in the field. They got on well and seemed to complement each other well. This also encouraged the rest of us to get on. The mix of firmness and seriousness (e.g. departing and returning from locations and with safety) vs flexibility and lightheartedness was perfect. Our guides were knowledgeable and skilled at selecting suitable locations for our sea kayaking despite the unpredictable weather so that we always had a suitable location to go to. The locations selected were varied but always beautiful and provided the right challenge.
Thanks, Zoe for all your efforts and patience with us, and for getting me to haul myself back into the kayak! Thanks, Malcolm for the great warm welcome as I arrived worried I was late for the start of the trip!!!
The guides were great. I felt comfortable with them and safe out on the kayak. They did push me but that was good so that I could learn the techniques a bit and then challenge myself - sometimes I want an easy life :). Thx Zoe for your patience and for all the sign language and demonstrations to get me to understand how to sit in the boat and paddle more effectively. I think Zoe and Malcolm ended up teaching me some English through all the instructions about kayaking (I hope they learnt some Arabic :))Omar Aly
They were terrific. With some challenging clients I still enjoyed the trip. My skill level was on the upper end of th group so I didn't learn as much but they were still keen to teach me which was terrific.Andrew Johnson
Zoe was really friendly, enthusiastic and managed to balance having fun and looking after everyones interests, with the safety of everyone in the group really well. Could tell she really cared about her job and the people on the trip.Thanks for the experience.Louise Herd
Zoe and Sarah were excellent, friendly guides. They were good at sharing paddling tips and were always aware of safety concerns. They were fun to paddle with and to share meals with. I like how they stepped up the paddling challenges each day and provided a great mix of casual and challenging opportunities. They were flexible with the weather and presented us with options for each day. I would defiantely recommend them to others and would travel with them again.David Weinberger
Zoe and Sarah had lots of info to impart and learned more on kayaking technics from Zoe which i shall try to work on! 4 people carrying a kayak makes it easy so thanks for that especially for women; and should be insisted on; Sarah's knowledge of what is under the water is amazing. It would be a good idea for all the kayaking guides to have a discussion before the season starts re where to launch kayaks from and where to come back in; going through a foot of mud is pretty bad; guides could make a list for others to use.Helen Gillies
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
Thanks for your comments about launch points. Conditions can change from year to year. Our guides complete a trip report for each of their trips which allows future guides to access this information and hence not use the same point again in a given season and make future guides aware of the potential pitfalls of a certain launch point.
I felt safe and in expert hands with Zoe. She had difficult conditions for novices to contend with yet made every day enjoyable. I learned a lot from her.David Herd
Zoe was very helpful, informative and enthusiastic about Scottish way of life. I learned a lot about the local history and how much good work is being done to preserve the flowers and wildlife.David Johnson
Zoe did very well: very accommodating with the different wishes of the guests like when we asked her to see seals. She never imposed her choice but was always looking for general consensus. She also took this excellent initiative of organizing a meeting with a representative of the North Harris Trust which was really very instructive. She is very knowledgeable about the technical aspects of walking (how to orientate oneself, how to release the weight of yr ruck sack from yr shoulder) as well as about the most beautiful spots of the islands we visited.Florence Dangotte
Zoe drove us all over the place, took us to amazing places and was always ready to accommodate everybody's preferences.Roberto Priore
Zoe Newsam is an excellent Guide, she was able cover the range off experience within the whole group, giving great tuition on the various aspects of Sea Kayaking which allowed us to enjoy the time that we were on the water. I never felt unsafe and any decisions that Zoe made about what we were going to do/learn were explained to us in full so that we could follow her reasons for making those decisions.Cameron Taylor
Zoe is an amazing teacher!! Our intro course involved four people at four very different levels, but she gave us each exactly the care and instructions we needed to learn., whatever our level, without sacrificing attention to one in favor of a stronger or weaker student. She continually assessed our needs and balanced well our different strengths and coped really well with our individual weaknesses. She made sure to properly challenge us so we would grow confident quickly in our skill levels, but always made us feel completely safe. She always asked for our input so she could give each of us what we wanted out of the experience. Our fun and our adventure and our learning were really important to her.Robin Armstrong
She worked also with us on knowledge as well as skills, teaching us the whys of the decisions, teaching us to think through different questions to develop an answer rather than just telling us what to do. I learned about weather and tides and physiology, not things I expected, but all really interesting.
She had us work through our own answers to questions and problems so that we learned how to think about things, rather than just giving us answers to use.
She really cared that we each have the type of experience that we wanted and that we each learned as much as we could in a short span of time. I can not imagine a better instructor, and I can not imagine having such a successful experience with a different instructor.
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:
We say all the time that our guides make our trips and this was obviously true in this case!
Very accommodating and interested in our welfare and enjoyment. Also fun!Claudia Schultz
Enthusiastic friendly and knowledgable. Zoe worked hard to accommodate a variety of needs from clients.Jane Kinder Williams
Perhaps the itinerary produced a challenge as far as timing was concerned.
Zoe was organized and it's difficult to accomodate varied interests in a group. I think she did a good job getting us to as many places as she could and also planning around the weather. Meals at night were very good - nice selections other than the hotel in Portree.Janet Buie
Zoe was an enthusiastic guideBrian Cavanagh