I have fairly broad experience of trekking guides and in my view Andy Davidson of Up and Doon Guided Walks is right up there with the best. He even looks like how I think a mountain guide should look!
We picked a reasonable day for climbing Ben Nevis, the weather was mostly good except for a bit of rain at about half way up and low cloud at the top. We still had great views before the clouds came in and after they went away! I found it a tough day but Andy gave gentle encouragement whenever he reckoned I was flagging a bit!
He also demonstrated several qualities which I'm sure set him aside from many other guides.
There were four of us in his group that day (Me + 2 + Andy). One of the two abandoned his trek after about 10 minutes (!) and the other guy turned out to be incredibly slow even by my standards (trust me, I'm getting old and slow). This fellow had a rather annoying 'couldn't care less' attitude. I know we should always go at the speed of the slowest member of a group but this bloke stopped about every 10 minutes 'just to relax'!! Andy was apparently totally patient and showed absolutely no signs of irritation - I reckon he deserved great credit for that alone.
Another unusual aspect of the way he goes about his business is that he cares so deeply about Ben Nevis from an environmental viewpoint that he does something about it. He offers his clients a partial refund of the guiding fee if they are willing (there was definitely no pressure, simply a suggestion) to fill a plastic bag with some of the rubbish deposited by previous trekkers. He even provides a rubber glove as well as a bag!
I'd definitely use Andy again, we had a great day!
Michael B - Sydney Australia.
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