Way back in 1998 via a collection of rather bizarre circumstances, I found myself running a photo tour company in the Scottish Highlands. In the intervening 20 years, along with my wife Amanda, my working partners Mark Hamblin and more recently James Shooter, I’ve been privileged to have travelled to many different parts of the world with hundreds, if not thousands of guests. Those experiences have shaped and enriched my life in ways that I couldn’t have imagined when I took my first tentative steps into this rather quirky business.
Today the marketplace is very different and 20 years on, so am I. In recent years my passion for conservation photography, for doing my bit to try and make a positive difference, has increasingly challenged the time and energy needed to run successful tours and something had to give. Arriving at something of a crossroads, sadly but perhaps inevitably, I’ve decided to close the door on Northshots Photo Adventures. The constant plate-spinning was starting to take its toll.
Those of you who know me won’t expect any sort of emotional outpouring so I won’t disappoint you on that front. I would however, like to thank a few folk for their contribution and company along this remarkable journey. Mark Hamblin and I enjoyed laughing until it hurt. Sharon Cairns, our long-standing cook, has kept us fuelled at all times of day and along with her husband Alan, has got us out of a fix more than once. Emma Brown’s technical and marketing support has been fundamental, as has Neil Wakeling who has been stuck in our digital dungeon for years – does anyone know what Neil actually looks like? More recently James Shooter has become an accomplished guide and friend. Speaking of guides, we’ve worked with many over the years and without exception they’ve been great company and delivered superb service – thanks to all of you. The bedrock of the business however, has been my wife Amanda who many guests have come to know. Amanda is very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of girl and what you get is sincerity and a genuine commitment to please everyone who has walked through our door.
More than anyone else, I’d like to thank all those who have trusted us with your hard-earned money and signed up for a tour these last couple of decades. Your custom and company have been appreciated and whether it was red squirrels in our own backyard or polar bears in the high Arctic – I hope you’ll agree that it’s been a blast.
So that’s it, the end of a chapter but contrary to popular myth, I’ve not lined up my pipe and slippers just yet, nor have I quite turned my back on photography tours. I’m going to be running a couple of landscape retreats each year – there still won’t be any souvenir shopping but we might stop for a few more cappuccinos than before – that’s the retreat bit. If you’d like to join me, I’d be delighted. You can find the details here on this very site.
For the foreseeable future, I’ll be channelling all my time into SCOTLAND: The Big Picture – if you’re not familiar with this exciting initiative, check it out here. Again, it would be fantastic if you could join me on that journey – if it’s half as rewarding as the last 20 years, hold on to your hats!
Have fun. Do good.