Michael Hartley
 
     

Founder, 
Qualified Professional Orkney Tourist Guide,
Naturalist & Historian


I have been both an educator and explorer for most of my life.  Even as a young boy living in Manchester, I longed to experience new adventures.  In my teen years, I organised England and Ireland cycling holidays through my local youth hostel association and later, following my national service, I moved to Southampton where I formed and lead the local branch of the World Wildlife Fund’s youth club, the Wildlife Rangers.

Then, a chance meeting afforded me the opportunity to take a position at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Gloucestershire.  After a year with the Trust, I was honoured when Sir Peter Scott himself recognised my youth work and recommended me for a position in the education department where I became assistant to the education officer and was primarily responsible for educating visiting school parties.

Later, as a member of the Gloucestershire Trust for Nature Conservation, I was instrumental in the formation of their youth division, the Watch Trust for Environmental Education.  Then, fate took a hand once again when a guest speaker offered me the chance to assist in opening and developing an environmental field study centre in Orkney.  Three days later, my family and I agreed to move to Orkney despite never having been there before. 

By the time it was decided that the field study centre plans would not be going forward, I had already relocated and fallen in love with Orkney.  I had been deeply touched by the spirituality of its ancient past which renewed my inner spirit.

After 25 years of youth environmental education, I decided to combine my two passions, teaching and Orkney, and, in 1990 Wildabout was born. 

Over the years, I have been fortunate to cross paths with many guests who have enriched my life.  One such meeting happened in April 2005 when I took a Canadian lady on tour.  Within the first hour of meeting Christie, I was in love, and by the end of the following day, I was certain she was too.  One year later, to the day, we were married at Woodwick House here in Orkney and have been running Wildabout together ever since.

It has been more than two decades since I began touring Orkney and I still venture out each morning, looking forward to introducing new guests to its beauty and wonders.  I truly am Wildabout Orkney and always will be.

 

 
Clive Horton
 

Managing Partner,
Qualified Professional Orkney Tourist Guide,
Highland Park Distillery Accredited Guide.

Born in the heart of England, my early working life took me worldwide as a navigation officer with Shell Tankers and then the Danish company Maersk Line.

Having met and married my wife Rosemary in the early 1980′s, I came ashore and became a teacher in Cornwall. From there promotion took me northwards to Lincolnshire and then in 2000 I achieved one of my life’s ambitions of living and working on a small island when I became Head Teacher of Shapinsay Community School in Orkney.

After retirement from teaching in 2011  I moved to Mainland Orkney and for two years ran Appie’s Tea Room & Craft Gallery in Sandwick with Rosemary.

Whilst running Appie’s I was able to share  my knowledge and love of Orkney with guests on a daily basis, so taking over the ownership of Wildabout Orkney was a natural progression, to not just talk to visitors  but to be able to get out into the wonderful countryside and show my guests just what makes Orkney so spectacular.

 

 
Christie Hartley
 

Travel Consultant & 
Qualified Professional Orkney Tourist Guide

There is something magical about travelling.  From the anticipation in the planning to the empowerment of stepping out into the unknown, every second is exhilarating.  The best part is that the adventure never really ends because there is always a part of you that is changed forever by the experience.
 
Scotland had been calling to me since further back than I could remember, so when I finally set my visit for the entire month of April 2005, I began carefully planning the trip of a lifetime.  First, I travelled through the amazing Western Isles and Highlands.  Then, at the last minute, I altered my plans to include a two-day visit to Orkney before returning home to Canada. 

That seemingly small decision changed my life.  Not only did I discover islands of unparalleled beauty but I fell in love with the tour guide who introduced me to Orkney!  I moved to Orkney in December 2005 and Michael and I married four months later.

Orkney is such an unbelievably special place with its breathtaking scenery, spectacular monuments and welcoming island community.  It casts a spell on you and doesn’t let go.  I am certain you will discover exactly what I mean the moment you arrive in this incredible land I call home.

 

 
Rosemary Horton
 

Partner,
Artist and Craft-worker,
Experienced Primary School Teacher.

I qualified as a Primary School teacher in 1979 and since then have taught in small village schools in Cornwall with less than 30 pupils, large city schools in the West Midlands and Lincolnshire with over 500 pupils, and a variety of situations in between.

Wherever I have lived and worked I have always taken an active role in the local community, assisting at Youth Clubs, teaching in Sunday School, organising and leading Church groups for young people age 14-21, training as a Rainbow and Brownie unit leader with Girlguiding UK and most recently undertaking the role of West Mainland District Commissioner.

I have always had an interest in sewing, painting and craft work and  since moving to Orkney in 2000 I have developed this more extensively. From 2005 to 2011      I ran a small retail outlet in Kirkwall and still regularly sell my crafts through local craft organisations.

During 2012 and 2013 I was the manageress of Appie’s Tearoom and Craft Gallery in Sandwick, West Mainland, and enjoyed meeting a wide range of people from around the world. Our menu promoted quality local Orkney produce and I was pleased to promote the wonderful landscapes, history and wildlife of Orkney alongside my husband Clive.

I look forward to combining all my skills and interests into promoting and developing Wildabout Orkney’s tours and holidays and to meeting some of you who are reading this.

 
 

 

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