Our guides are the back bone of our tours. Their knowledge, humour and storytelling skills are all highly praised by our customers.
We’ve asked our guide Brian a few questions to give you an insight into the man behind the guide.
Why Did I Become a Tour Guide?
Like most things it’s a combination of timing, luck, and chance. I did not set out to be a Tour Guide but after working in all sorts of environments I had the chance to become a Bus Driver with total job security at Lothian Region Transport. I had worked for lots of small companies with no security at all so at 35 i could settle down. A few years into this an opportunity come up on the Open Top Tours. Although a driver guide there was a cassette to fall back on.
I didn’t have to talk but I did, I walked the route and went into any main building or attraction to find out a wee bit extra. Some people came round the circuit several times so it was nice to offer different versions of the Tour. I never used the cassette and used to think back to one of my teachers thinking he would be mortified that I was getting paid to talk, haha.
My favourite place to visit changes year on year.
I have to admit it’s nice to take people where they WANT to go. Many people just go on a “Day Tour” without having a great longing to be there. Maybe talked into it by an agent or a family friend or just want to “See Scotland”
Media Tourism is a big thing now. Where a movie or TV programme is filmed in a particular part of Scotland. At the moment the biggie is Outlander but media tourism started with Braveheart. Outlander fans are pretty fanatical so they REALLY REALLY want to see the locations but I can add to their experience with titbits and history.
In the past The Di Vinci Code bred an influx to Rosslyn Chapel. Several movies at Alnwick Castle and of course The Glenfinnan Viaduct and Glencoe in Harry Potter. James Bond, Highlander’ Rob Roy…the list goes on.
Whisky, castles, golf and magnificent scenery are things that will bring people to Scotland but they are foundations for a tour, I have to give the Tour substance.
Every Tour has to have a core but should change with the passengers. I go round every passenger at the start of a tour looking for Scottish connections and often finding them, humour music and of course patience are all required. Patience? because there are often language and cultural differences. It’s not easy and not everyone can do it but it’s very fulfilling.
What are some of your other interests or hobbies outside of being a tour guide?
Maybe a wee beer in my local, watching movies, but over the years my energies’ have been spent on vacations. I meet people from all over the world and they give me an interest on visiting faraway lands. where I always look out for Scottish connections and I use this knowledge to make a tour a bit more personal to people from maybe Brisbane, Brazil, Argentina, India, Connecticut….. what is the Scottish conections with these places?
Come on a Gray Line Scotland Tour and find out.