Can’t say enough about "Big" Mike McKinlay. He took us to the top of the mountain, so to speak, and everywhere in between. We laughed, we stopped for the necessary, we ate lunch at places we would never have found. Most of all we saw things that we never could have seen without Mike.
John & Glenda, Clumbia, South Carolina (September 2015)
My wife and I love theater and we decided to go to Edinburgh for the best (theater) Fringe festival. We were right! Well after seeing 42 plays and having the time of our life, I thought it couldn't get better than this. Well we were wrong!
Yesterday we went on a journey with Mike McKinlay to the Scottish Highlands. I call it a journey because it was much more than what people (and I) would consider a tour.
First of all, very quickly you feel that Mike is a local friend who is going to show you things that you've never seen before, but places that he has found and loved. Such is the case. We traversed up cliffs in the Highlands that were old military roads where I'm sure tour buses would not go (or fit for that matter)! The vistas were breath taking. There is the ambiance of wind, cutting clouds thru the tops of mountains, and sun glistening off others. To add to it we were fortunate to see heather cascading down these cliffs like purple blankets. This beauty has to be seen to be believed! Adding to the scene are herds of sheep. You have the stuff that dreams are made of.
Mike is a wealth of historical knowledge. This made the day both informative as well as just darn fun. My wife and I are not into golf, fishing, or shopping. If you are so inclined I'm sure that Mike would tailor the journey that way.
At the end of this 10-hour trip we were fulfilled beyond our imagination. Worth every penny and more, but don't tell Mike!
Thank you, Mike, for a trip of a lifetime.
Bruce and Chris (August 2015)
Words alone cannot describe the incredible experience that Michael prepared for us. He listened to our proposal that we wanted to experience the Highlands, not follow bus tours, visit quaint towns, and see local sites. Michael put together an incredible trip that took us through back roads of the Highlands where mega-buses could not travel, and visited local sites that were unique to the area. He was a wealth of knowledge, entertaining, and funny. My whole family loved him and the day he prepared for us.
Simply fabulous, incredible, professional, well prepared, comfortable, funny, entertaining. I cannot recommend him enough.
Dr. Russ Couturier Boston, Massachusetts (2015)
Mike drove my family and I from Edinburgh to York, England – the next leg of our UK trip, and we found him to be very friendly and full of interesting information. He has an obvious love of Scotland and spoke fondly of the Scottish Highlands, the Lochs and golf. We happened to travel on a very wet and cold day but Mike kept our spirits up by driving through some of the less well-travelled roads, so we could see some of the lovely English countryside.
On our way down to York we stopped at Alnwick Castle and Mike also took us to see some remains of Hadrian’s Wall. My family and I were really happy with Mike’s service and would highly recommend him.
Alex Ciceran, Canberra, Australia (2013)
I would recommend Mike McKinlay to anyone who wants to see the most of Scotland in the least amount of time or if you want someone with incredible knowledge to show you around.
My niece and I only had a few days to see as much of Scotland as possible, so I asked Debbie if she had any suggestions. She recommended Mike. I am so glad she did. I emailed Mike and he responded quickly. We put together a plan for what to visit and set a time and date. He arrived on time and we quickly made our way around Scotland. I let it up to Mike to pick the places we would visit as I knew he would pick the best places. He asked me questions about what I was interested in and as we drove around and talked it became apparent to me that he is also a good listener. He was able to ascertain from our conversations the type of things I liked and he adjusted the tour accordingly. We had a great adventure. I loved every minute and I saw some of the most beautiful places one could see in one day.
We left early in the day to maximize the amount of daylight we would have. On the way to the Hermitage with the beautiful waterfalls and trails, we stopped at the Forth Rail Bridge where Mike showed us the monument of how many had lost their lives building the bridge. The youngest being David Clark, age 13, rivet catcher. Then we moved on to Pitlochry to the Queen’s View and saw the most magnificent fall colors. We went along Loch Tummel to the Fordingall Yew and along the Loch Tay to Ben Lawers reservoir which was just below the snow level. We stopped for lunch at Killin next to the Falls of Dochart and then stopped by Stirling Castle on the way back to Edinburgh. The next day was just as fun with trips to Arthur's Seat, Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and Greyfriar’s Bobby's statue, the North Sea, Tantallon Castle and last but not least, Glenkinchie Distillery.
Mike is knowledgeable about the history and areas we visited. He is so easy to be around that I felt as if I had just reconnected with an old friend. I believe he had as good a time as I did. Mike is punctual, professional, courteous and an excellent driver. He is willing to change plans on a dime and goes with the flow which made my whole experience so much fun because we would find one thing that was super duper and that would lead to something else that might not have been planned. We would change the plan on the spot and move on. We explored! It was so much fun! In fact I had such a good time I hired him again for the next and what was our final day in Scotland. We planned an early day so we could see as much as possible before I had to catch my train to Paris. All of the places I couldn't visit the day before were visited on this day, and more besides, and he was able to get me to the post office to mail off my boxes and to the train on time. I fell in love with Scotland and even though I already felt I'd found home, Mike showed me places that were magical and so I fell even deeper in love with Scotland. He has a way of helping one see Scotland in many different lights. I was there in the fall but Mike's descriptions of spring and summer were so vivid that I could easily imagine those times of year as well and in fact has made me want to return so I can see the beautiful colors of Scotland in every season. It would have been easy for a tour guide to take me to all the usual places, but because of his knowledge of the area, Mike was able take me to the tourist sites that I wanted to see as well as show me some of the more less travelled spots that are beautiful beyond description.
We had a private tour so it was somewhat expensive but I feel it was worth every penny and then some. He is a wealth of information and so much fun. I would hire Mike again in a minute and I will recommend him to everyone I know who is travelling to Scotland.
Thank you Debbie for your recommendation. Please continue to tell your other guests about Mike. He is a real gem.
Mary Neese, San Bernardino, California (November 2013)