Well we had a lovely lunch on Sunday with my Aunt Ellen and Grandpa. We watched the golf on TV till we had to go back to the city and catch a bus to Edinburgh. Our hostel we picked for the Sunday night wasn’t the best as there was an emergancy exit light that shone in our dorm room all night long.
Monday morning we went to the tour office… After awhile – a few people turned up… OLD PEOPLE! We were quite disappointed at that… and then to make it worse, we got a German tour guide.
The tour wasn’t the best… we just wrote a complaint to the company as we thought the tour was a joke. Will post it up here as I can’t be bothered typing the tour out again. But the weather was much nicer this time around so that was good. We had some nice people on the tour which was good but it was a shame they were our parents and grandparents ages.
Heres the email.
We recently went on the 4 day tour up to Skye on the 19th July with Denise. We previously went on a tour in September 09 and decided as we had a few days to spare before going home we would go on another Wild in Scotland tour as we enjoyed the first so much.
However, we were horrified to find out that our tour guide for our Scottish tour was German! We were also annoyed about the fact that the company combined the tour with the green Scotland tour without being told so when we booked only 5 days previously. We were also surprised to find the average age of our tour to be 45 which contrasts to our last tour with it being around 20.
As the first day progressed, we found out quite quickly that Denise knew very little about Scotland’s history and butchered what she did know. She much preferred to converse in German to two other passengers (from Germany) and ignore the rest of the bus. As we went through Stirling, she didn’t stop at the castle or tell us any historic significance to Stirling or mention William Wallace or Robert the Bruce which I think was shocking (In fact she never mention them once on the 4 days we were gone). While I understand there is a lot of driving involved to reach Stromferry, we do not understand why we were not given more frequent stops up to Stromferry and why it was necessary to stop in Fort William for an hour to buy alcohol. When asked by someone on tour about Fort William and what’s there, Denise’s answer was it’s a nice town with a Morrisons. We did a small stop at the Commando Memorial, and she said the most disrespectful thing. She told us that these soldiers were left out here in the winter to fend for themselves and to train themselves for the war – but they didn’t need to because they all died anyway. I thought it was very rude.
Day 2 we thought was going to be an improvement to day 1, but we didn’t start till 9:30 which everyone thought was quite late as we were all sitting ready by 9am. There was a South African couple who were just as much annoyed and were contemplating leaving the tour, when they approached Denise – she told them it would be better. Skye was a nice but very short day. We were annoyed at the lack of sites we saw, as we only went up to the Old Man of Storr. We went to Tallisker Distillery and an Oyster Farm (which she got lost and had to ask for directions, even though she has a German Sat Nav that directed her everywhere) which we don’t drink or eat so we missed out on things we wanted to do (and signed up for) and had to do what the Green Tour people signed up for. While we understand we were getting more value on this tour, had we wanted to do these activities we would have signed up for it. We arrived back to Stromferry at around 6pm and still had to wait an hour and a half for dinner, when we could have spent more time at Skye as the weather was perfect and there was more we should/could have seen.
We also picked up 2 lots of hitch hikers whilst driving around Skye, we weren’t even really consulted about it.
Day 3, the worst day. Today we started at 9:15am and went near Glen Alg to go for a ‘easy short’ walk to the Dun Telve Broch. We walked for about a mile before Denise told us about Brochs then telling us to keep an eye out for them in the next 10 metres… meanwhile we saw a sign that said another 1.5 miles away and took us about 45 minutes of solid walking to get there. Meanwhile we left an elderly lady behind to follow slowly as she had low blood sugar and didn’t bring any food in case of attack (as we were told it was a easy short walk) We were there for about 15 minutes before having to walk all the way back in the rain. We walked ahead but the elderly had an attack and Denise had to hail a car and get them to take her to a cafe to get something to eat. We couldn’t believe it when Denise told us about it especially when Denise was aware of her medical condition. Denise had given the bus keys to one of the guys who walked ahead of us so he could sit and wait out of the rain, one of the other people who beat us to the bus got the keys and drove the bus to pick everyone behind them up as they had known that the elderly lady was struggling with the walk and concerned with her well being. We then went to Eilean Donan castle where we spent 2.5 hours there, where we were required to have lunch in the cafeteria. After the castle we went back to Stromferry and waited a few hours for the boat ride… where we said goodbye to Denise for the rest of the day (as she was going out for dinner with the Green Tour). The boat ride was brilliant. That evening we went to the pub, no sign of Denise – Hilary was nice enough to take some people back to Stromferry with her and organised a taxi for the rest.
We thought that Day 3 was a total waste as so much time was wasted on the meaningless walk (on a road none the less not even on a nice path) and WAY too much time at the castle, we could have done so much more.
Day 4, yet another late start at 9:30. We weren’t going to the Battle of Culloden fields as ‘there was no time’ and Denise “could have just told us the story on any field and it would be the exact feeling as actually being there.” She also said that it would be too depressing to go there as it is not a nice place. Isn’t that the whole point of going?? Again we the Wild in Scotland tour was pushed aside to cater to only the 3 Green Tour People. We didn’t go anywhere near Inverness and our Loch Ness experience was done at Fort Augustus where we only spent an hour which included our lunch break (at 11am). We then had a very long drive to Dalwhinnie to go to another Distillery (which we personally didn’t go into).
We then drove further on to go on a nice walk at the Hermitage, and then a little time at Dunkeld. I can’t believe that we went to a Distillery over the battle of Culloden.
Overall we were very unsatisfied with the tour and Denise. If this was our first tour and first time in Scotland I would be utterly disappointed and would never recommend this tour company. While we understand people paid more money on the Green Tour, the Itinerary of the Wild in Scotland tour should not have been dismissed especially when we were the majority. Had we had known that the itinerary would be changed especially to go to whiskey distilleries we would not have booked, had we had known that we wouldn’t get a Scottish tour guide – we would not have booked and had we had known that there would be no people our age on the tour we certainly would not have booked. The people on the tour were nice but they were our parents and grandparents ages…
We would still recommend your Wild in Scotland Tours to our friends however, we will caution them to make sure they will have a native Scottish tour guide as Denise ruined the experience for us and I would recommend you warn people that the guide is not a local and may ruin the experience that they are looking for. There were things that Denise did that we didn’t agree with and personally think that she should not be touring with your company as she is ruining your brand.
The majority of the tour said they would be putting in an official complaint.
We hope that this experience doesn’t happen to another tour group.
Kathleen Catchpole and Cindy Middlebrough
After the tour, we met up with Danny… who apologized to us profusely as he’s a guide for the tour company.
On Friday we went back to Glasgow, and when we got to Ellen’s – Tom was there so that was great catching up with him again.
On Saturday, we helped get things ready for Ross’s 25th Birthday Party. It was a great day/evening. We helped cook during the day… (we had a lot of thanks as Tom is known for burning his meat on a bbq). We went to bed around 12 and apparently the party raged till about 4:30am.
Sunday, I helped Ross clean up after the party and we wrote the email to Wild in Scotland…
And now everyone is up to date. If you have any more queries on the tour as I didn’t talk about it – let me know.
Good points to the tour were: free entry to castles (which we would have got anyways), Nice weather, Skye, met some nice people, heard some local folk music when we went to the pub, went on a fishing boat and went scalloping (I climbed to the front of the boat to get closer to the dolphins who were swimming at the front of the boat) – I also tried a raw scallop which wasn’t nice. Thats about it.
Funny bits were when we went to Dalwhinnie to the Distillery and we went for a walk instead we renamed the town Deathwhinnie as there was so much roadkill on small amount of road… poor bunnies. We also had a good night out at the pub but we were playing with people’s cameras who had smile detection…. and trying to get them to work.
So photos will be up next.