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Ian Johnston

Ian Johnston

Committed | Passionate | Positive

Mini Bio

My formative working life was a balance of firefighting and adventure travel so in preparation for my ‘next life’ I qualified as an instructor of Mountaineering, Telemark skiing and Sea Kayaking.

At 16 I joined a six week expedition to Iceland and have since canoed in the Yukon, dived in the Galapagos, taught telemarking in Norway and Europe, and rock climbed wherever I can! I was fortunate enough to go to Vancouver, buy a van in a bar and travel 14,000 miles from Valdize, Alaska to San Diego, California climbing all the way then selling the van for $200 less than I paid for it!

Returning to the UK, however, is a real joy; few who haven’t visited for the first time will really understand what’s on offer. Once you’ve visited it’s wild places, you won’t fail to be impressed.

Favourite Place to Play

In winter, the classic ice routes on the ‘Ben’ (Ben Nevis). In autumn, searching for good conditions to take my sea kayak into tidal races.

Not a lot of People Know This

On one trip, everyone else could play a musical instrument. I couldn’t play anything so I was compelled to learn a few ‘tunes’ on a tin whistle. Don’t worry, I won’t trouble you with them!

Qualifications Read More
  • Rock Climbing Instructor
  • Mountain Walking Leader
  • Mountain Climbing Instructor
  • BASI Level III Telemark Ski Teacher
  • BC 3 Star Sea Kayak
  • CTC Mountain Bike Trail Leader.
Experience Read More
  • Spent six weeks as a 16 year old backpacking in Iceland.
  • Spent 31 years in a real job as a Firefighter.
  • Rock climbing and Mountaineering for 49+ years; UK, European Alps and North America.
  • Alpine and Telemark ski touring throughout Europe. I’ve guided and led trips to Switzerland and Norway as well as Scotland!
  • I’ve spent over 20 years sea kayaking and exploring the coastlines of Wales, the Scottish Islands and Alaska.
Biggest Adventure Read More

The trip from Alaska to California by van, climbing along the way, was pretty big!

Specialist Subject Read More

Knots, I’m a terrible bore! Someone once asked me “What knot I tied my anorak with”!

What Fellow Travellers Say About Ian

See previous comments

Adelaide Flanagan
Wilderness Walking - Isle of Skye
Reviewed on 09/08/2023

Our guide, Ian, was knowledgeable, passionate, organized, and prepared. Our safety was always paramount and I honestly don’t know how he so expertly took care of all of us. He even performed shoe repair out in the middle of a day-long trek!

Maureen Wheatley
Wilderness Walking - Isle of Skye
Reviewed on 08/08/2023

Thanks to Ian - very relaxed, accommodating and enjoyable

Ina Negoita
Sailing and Walking - Knoydart, Skye and The Small Isles
Reviewed on 07/08/2023

There was nothing Ian didn't know or couldn't do. He advised us well before each excursion as to clothing and kit, and got us out walking at each opportunity we had, despite the weather and re-routing. He led us well as a whole group too, taking care of individual needs, abilities and concerns. I felt extremely safe with Ian guiding us, and I only needed to think about the physical demands of the walk. I think he gauged our physical limitations well.

Jacky Rattue
Sailing and Walking - Knoydart, Skye and The Small Isles
Reviewed on 07/08/2023

Ian was a flexible and inclusive guide.

Denise Druitt
Wilderness Walking - Isle of Skye
Reviewed on 01/08/2023

Ian was excellent! Would sign up on another trip just because he was the guide. He is a great driver..no scary bits on the road. He was always watching to see who needed help but then left us to have our space as well.
He did an awesome job of letting us know what the plan of the day was…but was flexible if he needed to be. He is a very good teacher and very positive! AND he can read poetry to make a hike even more special!

Helen Saunders
Wilderness Walking - Isle of Skye
Reviewed on 31/07/2023

Thank you, Ian! Aunt Val feels very proud that she was able to complete the walking each day and not have to sit out.

Amanda Robertson
Wilderness Walking - Northumberland and the Lake District
Reviewed on 18/07/2023

Ian was wonderful. He was knowledgable and helpful with a wonderful sense of humor. He always took the 'pulse' of the group. We really enjoy having him as a guide and would love to be on another of his trips.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

We're delighted you had such a lovely time with Ian, he's a brilliant guide.

Jacqueline Low
Wilderness Walking - Northumberland and the Lake District
Reviewed on 17/07/2023

Ian is a wonderful guide. He really knows his stuff. Incredibly experienced, he’s full of advice on the art of hiking (technique & gear). But he also shares tales of his past that are mesmerizing on the trail. Also, he skillfully balanced the varying abilities & desires of a diverse group, keeping us all happy when faced with poor weather or logistical deadlines involving transfers & inflexible meal reservations. Above all else, he kept us safe whenever conditions became difficult.

John Seidel
Wilderness Walking - National Parks of the UK
Reviewed on 14/07/2023

Ian was very personable, extremely knowledgable (flora, fauna, geology, cultural history -- and music!) and worked harder than anyone realized to keep the trip both organized and fun. He was particularly attuned to the various needs of our group. We would gladly join him on another adventure.

Kate Hanson
Wilderness Walking - Arran: Scotland in Miniature
Reviewed on 19/06/2023

Ian Johnston, our guide was incredible. He was skilled in mountain trekking, knowledgeable about the history of our environs, and had a razor wit that put us all at ease. Having gone on several Wilderness Scotland treks, I believe the guide makes the trip, the group camaraderie takes second and a third is what you are actually doing. Ian's wealth of experience, often related in very entertaining stories, his physical strength, wise observations, and general calm helped make our trek a success. He seemed to be a good judge of human nature and I loved how he was able to have conversations with everyone and was a good accessor of our physical abilities. He offered us help scaling some of the more difficult scrambles and had wonderful suggestions for how to best climb a challenging path.

Victoria Salvato-Lechner
Wilderness Walking - Arran: Scotland in Miniature
Reviewed on 25/05/2023

Ian was very safety conscious but fun at the same time. He did an excellent job managing people with different abilities (and some egos!). He got all of us--including some 70 year olds--up Goatfell, which was impressive. We felt like we were in very good hands at all times. We liked his stories and history lessons. He is a natural at trips like this and he really made the experience special.

Ellen MacDermid
Wilderness Walking - Arran: Scotland in Miniature
Reviewed on 07/05/2023

As mentioned above, Ian Johnston had just the right blend of deep knowledge and a self-effacing sense of humor. He made constant efforts to learn more about each group member and was discreetly attentive to any personal needs or limitations. Awesome guy!!

Andy Lechner
Wilderness Walking - Arran: Scotland in Miniature
Reviewed on 29/04/2023

Book a trip with Ian

Trip / DepartureAvailabilityStatusPriceBook
Wilderness Walking – National Parks of the UK
12th May - 21st May 2024
4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 3,295Book Now
Wilderness Walking – National Parks of the UK
23rd Jun - 2nd Jul 2024
8 place(s) leftAvailable 3,295Book Now

Make Trip Private

Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.

We work together with our team of guides to decide which departures they lead each year. As part of that, guides provide available dates that they are free to be booked. This means that any of the dates you see in the first field of the form below, could be perfect for your private departure or customised tour.

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