Nicholas Merchant’s career has mirrored his abiding interest in Antiques. He has worked for some of the major Auction Houses in London as well as running his own book business devoted to the Decorative and Fine Arts. His particular interest is English 18th century furniture and Country Houses. However, his interest is broad and he likes to discuss objects, not just for themselves but in their historical context. Nicholas is much in demand as a lecturer which has taken him recently to the United States, South Africa, Europe and all over the United Kingdom, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Since joining the panel of lecturers of the NADFAS in 2004 his convivial style of lecturing has resulted in over 500.
Author, broadcaster and TV presenter, Frances Bissell has been described as ‘simply one of our best writers on food and cooking’. Her latest book, her 15th, ‘The Scented Kitchen’, was published to critical acclaim, hailed by Raymond Blanc as ‘enchanting’, by Marina Warner as ‘poetic and seductive’ and by Sir Roy Strong as ‘full of good things’. She has been guest chef in some of the world’s leading hotels and restaurants, as well as British Embassies in Europe and elsewhere. Frances is much in demand as a lecturer, teacher, judge and consultant and is probably the most widely travelled of her generation of chefs and food writers.
Rita has a large fund of knowledge on the history of the Western Isles and regularly contributes to the content of our itineraries.
John has been sharing his love of the Scottish islands with Hebridean Princess’ guests since 1994, and is a member of the Mountain Bothies Association as well as a radio journalist.
Andrea is interested in the history, myth and legend of Scotland, and her knowledge reveals many of the lesser-known details of our destinations.
Footloose guide Pat is an experienced mountaineer, walker and ornithologist. Pat has carried out research for a number of our itineraries.
Anne has a special interest in the architectural heritage and history of Scotland. Having read history at Aberdeen, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with Hebridean Princess’ guests.
Ted is a Footloose walking guide and researcher with interests in history, folklore and local knowledge, shared in entertaining talks.
For all things Scottish, past and present, its people and regions, Marilyn enthusiastically provides added insight and her own personal touch.
Hugh is a keen hill walker with experience of walking the Scottish mountains. He accompanies some of our Footloose cruises and knows the Western Highlands well.
The history and culture of the islands are a constant fascination for Ralph, who has a particular fondness for Skye and walking in the Highlands and Islands.
Martin is an author, journalist and politician and was appointed UNICEF Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies in 2001.
With a love of Scottish literature and the history of the Highlands and Islands, Sue is a fount of local knowledge on our regular strolls in town and country.
After graduation, Charles was employed at the Central Office of Information as a member of the design and management team for the British Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. In 1971 he was appointed Head of Design at the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland and in 1985 transferred to the United Services Museum in Edinburgh Castle as curator of fine art, silver and medals. After 11 years here, Charles was appointed Chamberlain of Duff House, Banff, an 18th century William Adam mansion. In 1983, he was appointed one of the Queen’s Heralds in Scotland with the title of Dingwall Pursuivant of Arms. Houses and Castles of the Clyde - 4th November 2014
Graham Archer is a former senior member of the British Diplomatic Service whose responsibilities involved him in international relations and conflict resolution.
Kay is an Irish guide who loves to impart her deep knowledge of all things Irish with wit, passion and a dash of Blarney!
Professor Ian Beckett is Visiting Professor of Military History at the University of Kent. He was Professor of Modern History and Head of the School of Literature and History at the University of Luton before becoming Major General Matthew C Horner Distinguished Professor of Military Theory at the US Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia. He was Professor of History at the University of Northampton from 2005 until February 2009 when he joined the University of Kent. He has led Battlefield Tours to South Africa, lectured on Swan Hellenic and Hebridean cruises.Professor Ian Beckett is Visiting Professor of Military History at the University of Kent. He was Professor of Modern History and Head of the School of Literature and History at the University of Luton before becoming Major General Matthew C Horner Distinguished Professor of Military Theory at the US Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia. He was Professor of History at the University of Northampton from 2005 until February 2009 when he joined the University of Kent. He has led Battlefield Tours to South Africa, lectured on Swan Hellenic and Hebridean cruises. Ian will be joining the river cruise Cruising the Rhine and the Moselle commencing on 31st May 2014.
Phil Wilkinson’s 40 years in the Royal Air Force involved thousands of hours in the air – an activity he still tries to engage in as often as possible. His time on the ground was equally challenging, including exchange appointments with both the French and United States Air Forces, and assignment as commander of the RAF station in Berlin at the time of the Fall of the Wall. His final period of duty was based in Moscow, as Defence and Air Attaché, during the turbulence of Russia’s emergence from the Soviet era.
Phil has been the National Trust’s Wildlife and Countryside Advisor in Northern Ireland since 2000. She has worked for over 30 years in the natural history field in Northern Ireland, focussing on nature reserve and countryside management, environmental education and interpretation. Phil has given guest lectures on natural heritage in Northern Ireland universities and represented National Trust abroad on various nature conservation, landscape workshops. Along with her husband Bob, who has also worked in nature conservation in Northern Ireland for over 30 years, they have a passion for seeking out flowers, birds and butterflies in wild places in Ireland.
Donna is Director of the Centre for Nordic Studies based at Orkney and Shetland Colleges and Head of Cultural Heritage and Curriculum Leader at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). As well as serving on several UHI Committees, she is Director of HI-ARTS and past chair of the MLA International Scottish Studies Group. Author of a number of publications, Donna gained her PhD in Renaissance Scots Literature from the University of Edinburgh. She is also currently on the board for Museums Galleries Scotland and is passionate about Scotland’s cultural heritage, both Norse and Scots.
Paul studied geology at university in the late 1960s, developing a lifelong interest in all aspects of world geology. Since 1971 he has worked as a professional exploration geologist in the international oil industry, visiting or living in over 40 countries. He regularly leads special interest field holidays in many parts of the UK where geology forms the main theme specifically on the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Devon and the Yorkshire coast. Through illustrated presentations and informal chats, Paul will bring alive the geological secrets of the Highlands and Islands of this very beautiful and remote region of the United Kingdom.
Maurice began his horticultural career in the Woodland Garden in Bushy Park, adjacent to Hampton Court Palace. Following his marriage to a Scots girl, he relocated to the gardens at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. In 1973 he became Head Gardener at Ross Priory, a country house beside Loch Lomond and in 1992 became Head Gardener and Property Manager for the National Trust for Scotland at Arduaine Garden, where he remains. Between 2002 and 2004 he also looked after Crarae Garden and has also organised and participated in two seed collecting trips to Nepal and a plant study tour to Chile.
Darren Rees has been painting and showing people wildlife for over 30 years and is one of the UK's most respected nature artists, as well as an experienced naturalist guide.
Lynne Plummer has been in and around music all her life, coming from a very musical household. She started formal studies of the piano and double bass at the Junior Royal College of Music and then used her “good ear” to work as a studio manager for the BBC World Service.