Everyday is a different adventure

The last couple of weeks have been an adventure!

We have officially started the season and have been out with 2 vans nearly every day which is fantastic, whoop whoop!! most of the tours have been to the Isle of Skye even though we did get an interesting one to Oben the other day. The family had gone on tour with Mark the day before to the magical Fairy Pools which had been a dream of their daughters and they had a great time exploring. Unfortunately they had been having a little bit of trouble with their hire car and it made them little skittish to drive over here on our roads. Their plan had been to drive to Oben and spend a few days there before flying to there next destination to begin another adventure but they where not very comfortable driving that far anymore. When mark heard this he spoke with Wendy and between them both they managed to get the hire car back to the company and took the family to Oben as well as doing a tour of Glenco on the way. They where a lovely family and we didn’t mind going out of our way to help them. We are so fortune that we meet such a vary of people with in our work. We learn so many different stories and cultures.

The other exciting news that has happened is that we have finally gone live with the visitors centre in Inverness. We got our first tour from them on the 14th of June and have been getting booking from them most days ever since. They have just moved to a new more central position in town so we are hoping that means good things for us.

 

A mad dash to Wales

My mother (Wendy) and I are very spontaneous people. Last Tuesday we only had 1 van booked for a tour so Wendy was suppose to be taking the day off. The only problem with that is that unless she’s not in Inverness she will carry on working as she also has a guest house to run. So I get a phone call about 8.30am and get asked if the kids and I fancy going to see my big brother for a few hours. Now you would think that is a nice way to spend the day and something that most families do. What a lot of families don’t do is travel 8 hours to see family for just for 2 hours before setting off home again. My brother lives in north Wales! So of course I agreed and we aimed to leave town within the hour. Unfortunately with 3 children and 2 dogs that did not happen. By the time we had all packed up and got on the road it was nearly 10.30 then we had to go get fuel and snacks so didn’t leave Inverness till 11. We played a lot of car games and learned that the puppy is actually a good traveler as long as you are ready to catch her when you open the door. She was so eager to see everything going on that she would jump out as soon as the door was open but she would happily wait with her tail wagging once she was out and could see.

We arrived in north Wales about 8pm and thankfully they where having a heat wave and it was still lovely and bright out so we decided to meet my brother, his wife and my lovely 3 year old nephew on the beach when the kids and dogs got to run off most of their energy. All 4 kids (and my big brother) ended up in the sea and had the best 2 hours of their lives Im sure. The only problem was that my middle and youngest had managed to go through both sets of clothes I had brought them. We decided at this point to book a hotel and stay the night son I could wash there clothes and we could set off the next morning again. We found a hotel that allowed dogs in the next town so said our good byes and went on our way. Now as I had already said we where having heat wave which the hotel seemed unaware of. The temperature in that room was stifling! especially when you add 2 adults 3 kids and 2 dogs. The puppy had the time of her life jumping all over the place and giving everyone good night kisses. So after a very uncomfortable nights sleep and having to go to the shop to buy more clothes, sand is not easy to get out of jeans, we set back off up the road and arrived back just in time for dinner 🙂

Since we have been back we have not had a chance to stop with having both vans out every day and still having the guest house to run so i am very glad that we took the mad dash brake when we got the chance and I’m also very thankful that Mark was here to hold down the fort and carry on with the tours while we went on a mad adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An eventful week for our work Vehicles

We have had an eventful week with the vans..

It started so well with the sign writing on the first van being completed. We used the new picture of Eilean Donan castle that we have changed all the stationary too and it looks really good on the dark van. We changed the lettering and words to “Tours with a difference” which was not on the old Sangyong that we had before upgrading when we expanded. The symbols for the social media that we use and the wifi symbol have also seen added to the van. All in all it looks amazing and we are very pleased with the results. I can’t wait to take it to the middle of the isle of Skye and get some proper marketing shots of it. I’m even more excited to get them both finished.  Unfortunately since we have had the van done we have not had very good weather to get the photos that I would of liked but I have a few that show it off.

The other van 

While we have been getting the first van sign written unfortunately the other van got side swiped.. It was parked up for the night after it been cleaned and made ready for the tour the next day when one of the cars, parked up the hill hand brake had failed and came crashing down the hill going over a kerb, swiping another car and finally ending in the side of our van. We are very fortunate that the person that owned the car thats brake had failed came to find out the owner of the van. He was very apologetic and even though its only a 3 week old vehicle we are very understanding that these things happen and just grateful that he didn’t just drive away like so many other people would of done. Thankfully the damage is not too bad and we can hopefully get it repaired quickly and looking back to perfect again. Soon enough we will be out with 2 vehicles both looking amazing under the Iona highland tours banners and the vans first crash will soon be just a funny story that happened along the way of the first year of the new business.

Thank you for reading. Catch up with you next week when I’m sure we will have many more adventures to share.

Mary Craven

                                                       

Even more tours to explore

Once again it is update time. I have tried not to leave it so long this time but we have been equally as busy. This last couple of weeks we have done a little rebranding and changed the picture on all the stationary. We have also added a few new exciting tours to our range as we have learnt more about our guests.

Stationary 

So lets start with talking about the new stationary. Trying to get the new leaflets right has probably been the toughest challenge I have had to date while I have been part of the company. I very quickly did some about a month ago using the old leaflets as a template and just changing the bits that needed doing before sending them to be printed. I was quite proud of this until they arrived a week later. The first thing we noticed was that the computer had change the world Beauly to beauty. Then we noticed that all the Eilean Donan castles where spelt incorrect due to my dyslexic brain telling me that the one that was wrong on the original leaflets was correct so I changed all the others to match… opps  so all in all we had 5000 leaflets that were rendered useless and  £300 down the drain that we would never see again. Needless to say I spent a good few hours on the next lot.

On the new leaflets we added a picture that I took of Eilean Donan castle (photography is a passion of mine) while I joined the team on tour last month. That wasn’t the only change that we made. We added a whole new evening tour in as well as changing the text to a more readable and modern style. We added little more about us and injected the teams personalty into them. The most important thing was the fact we got 3 people to proof read them before sending off for a measly 2500 but now they have arrived and look amazing!! we will be ordering some more very soon.

While we changed the picture on the leaflets we decided to order some more business cards at the same time. So I also changed the picture on them and moved the text a bit so again they look clearer and more modern. I am most defiantly very proud of the way they have turned out and hand them out any chance that I get. I’m thinking of getting some made with my name and role on them just so I can hand them out at meetings and look important hehe.

I am very excited to inform you that the first of our two vans will be getting sign written this Thursday. I can’t wait to see how the new design turns out. Once again we have decided on a modern look with the new picture we have changes the rest of the stationary to. We have also included the symbols for all the social media platforms that we use, Facebook, Instagram (my favourite) and Twitter. We have also started a new website which is tourhighlands.co.uk that one Is marks baby that he has built from the blank screen up. I have to admit he has done a cracking job, that reminds me I need to add a blog on there too….

 

New Tours

We started the expansion with the plan of making things simple and only use the tours that have proven to be popular in the past 4 years that Wendy has run the company and tours her self. However as, many businesses do we have changed our plans and business model as we go along. We now have a total of 5 tours and have 2 more in development. We started with just the 2 Isle of Skye tours which have been popular for many years. However we have discovered that more companies have now cottoned on to this and have set them as their main tours. So even though we offer extras that they don’t, the picnic lunch for instance, we don’t like to be the same as others. Which means we have expanded even further and added tours that suite different people. At the end of the day its our guests holiday and we want to be the highlight that they remember when they go home.

So our tours we now offer;

  • Isle of Skye, Kilt Rock – 9 hours and lunch included
  • Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools – 9 hours and lunch included
  • Local evening Tour – 3 hours
  • Ship Excursion – 6 hours
  • Walking/Hikeing – 6 hours and lunch included

We have tried to accommodate for everyones individual tastes so now we have tours that involve a lot of walking and ones that focus more on the history of the highlands. Mark has taken on the walking tours as he loves to be in the outdoors. Wendy is a much better story teller when it comes to the history side of things. We do still have Eddie as part of the team but he has taken a little step back due to other commitments so he mainly takes on the role of the evening tours.

Mark and Wendy took Bella the company’s mascot and our middle child, Faye 6, to explore the walking tour of Plodda falls and Dog falls. They had such a good day discovering the paths with the waterfalls and steams. We always test our routes to make sure they are suitable for people of all ages and abilities and Bella always loves an adventure.

As I said we have 2 new tour routes in development at the moment so make sure you stay tuned to find out what the exciting new routes area and what adventures we go on along the way.

Thank You as always for reading

Mary Craven