A new business started recently on Islay, run by Karen Siddall, and involves discovering the remote and stunning areas of Islay on foot. The aim of Karen is to take visitors (and locals) on guided walks to the more remote parts of Islay, which is a great idea in my opinion. There are so many different areas where one can make beautiful walks. Specially as a "beginner" it's not always easy to make a choice of where to walk, due to the fact that large parts of Islay are unknown to most people. I know from several other people including myself that you always have questions about the terrain, about access, the length of a walk, what obstacles do you meet etc etc when you plan a walk. In that respect it's good to mention the Walk Islay Group who started to promote Islay as an excellent walking destination already six years ago, and of course the Islay Access Group who encourage locals and visitors to walk, improve access to the lands and offer guided walks.
Curious as I am I sent Karen an email and asked her if she was willing to introduce herself on this blog. Luckily she approved and she sent me the following information: "I moved to Islay 8 years ago to take up a job as a PE teacher in Islay High School, and over the years I regularly took groups of school pupils out for hill-walking and camping trips. Since university I have been involved in teaching and leading outdoor activities and I've also spent most of my free time over the last few years walking over the wilder parts of the islands for my own pleasure. My interest in the wildlife, nature, history, and folklore of the islands has developed from my passion for walking. Amongst some of my regular walking buddies, I've become renowned for my supply of "useless facts" as we walk! Continue reading.....I gave up my teaching job 3 years ago when I went to work as a swimming teacher in New Zealand for 6 months, and since returning have been considering how to develop my love of the outdoors and the islands into a way to make a living. I believe many visitors (and even possibly some locals) would love to get out and explore some of the more remote and dramatic parts of the islands. However, not everyone is confident or keen to go out in unfamiliar areas when a map and compass may be needed, and where they may need to negotiate difficult ground or bad weather. I hope to offer the reassurance of a guided walks so walkers can relax and enjoy the outdoors."
The remote north-west of Islay
A new business can't do without a good website these days and Karen managed to build herself an attractive website as well. On this new website you can read all about the services she offers as a guide, even more information about herself and her business, general walk information and a page with the, in my opinion very reasonable, prices. If you want to find out more about this great new addition for Islay you can send Karen an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, give her a call on +44 (0)1496 301584 or have a look on her new website called www.islayonfoot.co.uk/. Thanks for the information and good luck with your new business Karen!