Talk to the Tour Guide

  • The Midgie
  • 1 June 2009
Simon Lee

Name Simon Lee
Age 27
Work for Co-owner of Scottish Vibe Tours
Home Comrie, Perthshire
How long have you been working as a tour guide Four years
Interests Rock climbing, music festivals, camping and travelling.

What sort of people come on your tours?
People that really want to be shown the best of Scotland by a brilliant local guide! As well as bespoke tours for students, larger groups and families we also take people to festivals and events across Scotland. We came up with the idea when we were doing a Christmas tour one year. There were 120 people who didn’t know each other, yet because it was a special occasion the atmosphere was amazing. Every tour should be like that.

Where’s your favourite spot in Scotland to take them?
That’s the hardest question. I don’t want to give away all of my favourite spots, but the North West Coast near the Durness area is a favourite for its beaches and scenery. Also Faerie Glen on Skye; there’s a wee house there that I could see myself living in one day.

Best festival this summer?
Wickerman. It’s a festival that is about more than just music. The meaning behind the burning of the Wickerman goes back to early Celtic paganism, so there’s a real sense of history to the event.

Favourite Scottish historical figure?
Sorley MacLean. He was a Scottish poet who wrote the majority of his work in Gaelic. In his poems he talks a lot about the importance of the land and its meaning in history.

Best pub in Scotland?
The Edinbane on the way to Dunvegan (on the West Coast of Skye). They have regular live music nights and there’s always good banter.

What’s your ‘must do’ tip for anyone coming to Scotland?
Without a doubt, it’s a tour of the Highlands. That’s the only way to see the real Scotland.

Apart from Scotland, what’s the best place you’ve been?
Argentina. I could easily live there. It’s a lot like Scotland, with its mountains and friendly people, only much more vast.

Where is the strangest place in Scotland?
Probably the Clootie Well, on the Black Isle. It’s an old pagan well which is said to have the power to heal you of your ailments when you tear off a strip of your clothing and tie it to one of the branches of the overhanging trees. This knowledge has spread and now the nearby trees are totally covered in tiny multicoloured strips of cloth. It’s very Blair Witch: creepy but cool.

Which nation makes for the best tourists?
Where to start? Well you’re guaranteed a bit of boozing and banter if you’ve got the Australian’s on your tour. And I’ve always found Asian passengers get really excited about things, which is always nice. I like a bit of enthusiasm.

If you could have a super power what would it be?
Teleportation, mainly for the purpose of skipping the A9 on the final strait back to Edinburgh.

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