Following short term appointments on Rum and in Orkney I moved into countryside recreation working as senior ranger at country parks in Central Scotland (Calderglen) and Cornwall (Mount Edgcumbe). These were formative, exciting times but after 7 years of dealing with up to 400,000 visitors a year I got back into conservation management with the last intake of Wardens in the old Nature Conservancy Council. At first I worked at Thorne Moors in Yorkshire – a lowland peat bog with no staff, no visitors and no budget – bliss!! I then managed to get back to Scotland - to Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve in Wester Ross. This is the UK’s first ever NNR and I was responsible for all aspects of visitor management as well as managing Rassal Ashwood NNR.
In 1992 Scottish Natural Heritage (the Government conservation agency) was created and I became Area Officer for Wester Ross. Eventually the rain and the midges got the better of me and I gained a secondment to Highland Council to lead an innovative project on community based interpretive planning. I was part of the team in the mid ‘90’s that wrote the renowned ‘Sense of Place’(follow link) interpretive planning handbook – I wrote the community section. I also had fun organising a study visit for 10 like minded people to Idaho, Washington and Oregon to look at interpretation where we were hosted by the inimitable Sam Ham. Sam has had a big influence on my thinking (and many others) since that time.
I returned to SNH and worked on EU funded projects and then came a big break! I obtained a Thyne Scholarship to visit E Australia to study wildlife tourism in World Heritage Sites. On my return, following an inspired piece of job creation I was appointed as the first staff member within
Before going independent in 2007 I was Heritage Manager within Highlands and Islands Enterprise (regional development agency), where my role was to maximise the benefit communities gain from their heritage. I led HIE’s response to the Coastal and Marine National Park consultation undertaken by the Scottish Government. Two areas of work were highlights of this time. I created a Challenge Fund to support 3 innovative approaches to the use of technology to link tourism and heritage. This attracted over 50 applications and I accompanied the winners on a study visit to the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I also chaired the largest interpretive conference ever held in the UK – the Vital Spark in Aviemore in October 2007 - attended by 330 delegates from around the World. Summer 2017 I have been one of 2 people organising the joint IE/AHI Conference in Inverness with over 200 delegates - probably the 2nd biggest interpreters conference in the UK!
I have travelled extensively in the US and Europe, have spoken at events in Australia, Korea, Norway and Sweden. I have worked throughout Scotland, in England and Northern Ireland and am currently working on projects in several parts of Norway and northern Sweden.