The Art of Guiding in the Great OutdoorsWilderness Guide Training Programme - Upland Group (May 2012). Credit: Bob Kinnaird

This is the first Guide Training Programme, allowing those working in the Great Outdoors, to showcase the skills that turn a good customer experience into a great customer experience.

Wild Scotland has developed a guide training programme fit for the ever-expanding adventure tourism sector, not only for professional guides who are looking to increase their already considerable knowledge at an “Advanced” level, but also as a means to encourage new entrants to the industry at “Introductory” level, allowing them to understand their guests better and to enhance their experience of the environment in which they operate.

This new programme, developed by the industry for the industry, is aimed specifically for professional outdoor guides working on a wide range of leisure trips and instructional courses.

2016 Programme

Please see our leaflet for full details and FAQ.


For a full list of dates and prices, please click here:



  • Level 1 Introductory – 2 days

Day 1 Classroom based
This module introduces the nature based ‘active’ tourism sector in Scotland. Participants will explore the different aspects of what makes a good guide and have an understanding of the breadth of ‘products and services’, the range of destinations and the potential customers.

Day 2 Field based
Participants ‘receive’ a guided experience, from meeting and opening brief, to close and wrap up.
There will be focused discussion on the guests’ experience and exceeding expectations, as well as the necessary guide qualities of knowledge, communication skills and empathy.

Next course date: TBC


  • Level 2 Intermediate – 3 days (+ 4 days specific training)

Day 1 Classroom based

This module builds on the classroom day at Level 1 to understand how to create great customer experiences. Guides at this level will have already gained experience in their field, upon which to hang some more sophisticated concepts such as Emotional Intelligence and striving not just to meet client expectations, but to exceed them.

Day 2 Field Based

This a day where guides will work with an experienced Wild Scotland Guide, who will lead the day in the activity chosen by the attendees. The day will include guided experiences and discussions and a chance for the participants to guide each other and receive formative feedback from the WS guide and their peers.

Day 3: Outdoor Access and Wildlife Law

The Outdoor Access workshop is designed to provide those working in the outdoors in Scotland with an understanding of Scottish access rights, with particular emphasis being placed on the right to access land and water for commercial and educational purposes and the subsequent extra responsibilities on those leading groups into the outdoors. The second part of the day, Wildlife Law, will focus on the legal framework in which all guides operate, in relation to wildlife and habitats, in terms of Scottish, UK and EU legislation where applicable.

November TBC


The following components can be waived (providing current certificates) or need to be acquired separately:                

Leave no Trace Awareness course

Training in navigation

Outdoor first aid training


  •  Level 3 – Advanced: 1 day assessment plus 5 days of specialist modules

Guides will be assessed leading a group for a day in their chosen environment and activity. They will be observed throughout the day by a Wild Scotland assessor and receive feedback at the end, followed by a written report and decision on a successful completion.

Next course date: to be confirmed with the individual candidate.


Day Modules: 

A range of day modules are part of Level 3 but are also available as stand-alone CPD days.

Please visit our page Day Modules


Applying for funding:

Employers wishing to put their employees through the Programme, as well as individuals looking to enhance their own skills, will be eligible for grant aid through Skills Development Scotland (SDS). As part of the Flexible Training Opportunities scheme, businesses can apply for up to 50% of the tuition fee.

Comments & Accolades

Some comments from the participants on the 2011 original programme:

“well researched, nice approach and great getting out and about, some really good instant take away stuff to use”
“inspiring thought provoking and interactive – great way to learn”
“shame we couldn’t have done more, great take away and use stuff straight away, fantastic for the pragmatists”

The original programme named ‘The Wilderness Guide Training Programme’ received recognition as one of the 20 most innovative eco-tourism projects of the year on the Guardian Green Travel List 2011, and also received Highly Commended as runner up in the ‘Most Innovative Sustainable Tpurism Initiative 2011’ category of the Association of International Tour Operators (AITO) Sustainable Tourism Awards 2011.


The Programme is being assessed for accreditation at degree level with Edinburgh Napier University.

 Booking Form