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What does it take to become a Professional Tourist Guide in the Scottish Highlands

What does it take to become a Professional Tourist Guide in the Scottish Highlands

photograph by Viola Lewis

Many things look easy at first sight, but when you try it, it becomes a different story. Over the last weekend 9 daring tourist guide students took their practical assessment. I was fortunate to see them perform after they had completed a one-year course to become STGA Green Badge Guides for the Northern Highlands.

STGA Green Badge

They applied their knowledge and showed their guiding skills whilst conducting a walking tour of Inverness (the capital of the Scottish Highlands), a coach tour along the Great Glen and guided their group at the sites of the Culloden Battlefield and Urquhart Castle.

photograph by Viola Lewis
STGA Green Badge Assessment, Urquhart Castle

Did they bring Scotland’s heritage alive? Did they communicate the fragility and uniqueness of the places we visited? Did they tell the stories of the people who inhabited the Highlands in the past and who are living here now? Did they look after our safety and comfort? Did they make us see, understand and appreciate what we where looking at? Do they embrace the business ethics and approaches required by a professional tourist guide? These are the difficult questions we assessors face. How can you capture the art of guiding? Over the 60 years of its existence the Scottish Tourist Guides Association has developed Standard of Performance, which govern the work of their members at all levels – whether Yellow, Green or Blue Badge.

Back at the desk now, full of experiences, it remains for me and my colleagues to record and evidence what we have seen. Check back in a wee while if you want to know more … .

Viola Lewis, STGA Accredited Trainer for Tourist Guides

photograph by Viola Lewis
Inverness Castle across the River Ness
photograph by Viola Lewis
Inverness City Centre

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