Jonathan’s inspiration to become a naturalist came from an unusual source–the television. As an avid fan of exotic nature documentaries, Jonathan cultivated a collection of animal and plants facts and a desire to become the next David Attenborough that led him to begin experiencing and appreciating nature first hand. He gained an expansive knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s wildlife and habitats while getting his bachelor’s degree in zoology, his master’s degree in ecology, and spending time in the field.
Jonathan furthered his education by volunteering on nature reserves and then began his guiding career in 1995 with two summers at Aigas Field Center, outside Inverness. He continued leading groups in a variety of settings until, in 2006, he realized a lifelong dream by starting Red Kite Tours, his own guiding company. Jonathan describes running Red Kite Tours as the most satisfying endeavor of his life.
Jonathan’s main interest lies in experiencing and sharing his knowledge of wildlife with travelers, but he also uses folklore, geology and place names of the Highlands to help travelers gain a full understanding of the exceptional landscape and the animals who call it home. Since 2003, Jonathan has visited Finland, Iceland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Latvia on field trips to gain a wider perspective on Scotland’s’ ecosystems within a European context.
Committed to consistently furthering his education and abilities as a guide, Jonathan has continued to pursue professional development in his field, logging many hours of continuing education over the years. In 2014, Jonathan qualified as a Scottish Tour Guide Association Blue Badge Tourist Guide, a feat that requires study time equivalent to earning a master's degree.
Born just outside of Glasgow and thus, a lowlander by birth, Jonathan, who currently makes his home in Maryburgh (near Inverness), is a highlander by inclination. Known for his ability to talk in a knowledgeable and entertaining manner about most subjects related to the Highlands of Scotland, Jonathan gives travelers a true education. But, be careful if you ask him about dragonflies; it could be the start of a very long conversation since they are his favorite wildlife.
Upcoming Adventure with Jonathan:
Scotland's Wild Highlands & Islands
Praise from Natural Habitat travelers:
"Jonathan was one of the best Expedition leaders I've ever experienced. He was quite knowledgeable in a multitude of areas from Gaelic culture to Architecture to Geology to History and animal life, etc. He was quite well organized and attentive to our wants and needs. Jonathan was quite professional and had a good senses of humor; he inspired wonder and awe in all of us, every minute of the tour."
"Jonathan was the best tour group leader I've ever experienced. I loved his combination of patience, good humor (humour?), and knowledge. Everything went very smoothly, but I know (from first hand experience with another guide) that that means he was working hard every single minute in ways we couldn't see to ensure we had the best. I came to the trip with a reasonable amount of natural + cultural history background, but I learned so very much more, and it put what I'd known earlier into much wider context. Yay Jonathan!"
"Jonathan is an outstanding trip leader. His knowledge was unbelievable! I don't think there was a single question asked that he was not knowledgeable on. His concern for the group safety was outstanding. All arrangements for trips, lodging, meals, etc. were excellent. There was not a single thing I can think of that would be negative in any way."
"Jonathan exhibited endless enthusiasm, patience, and kindness throughout the trip. He proved adept at engaging all of the participants and ensured that we were equally involved in the adventure. He is in the top tier of guides we have ever traveled with on our trips."
"Of all the trips Will and I have taken, with Nat Hab as well as with other companies, Jonathan was the very best leader we have had the privilege to be with. He was knowledgeable in a variety of subjects, and if he didn't know the answers, he got them for us that evening when we met for dinner. Jonathan was professional, knowledgeable, helpful, and fun to be with."
"Jonathan was outstanding. He was very knowledgeable about flora, fauna, history and archaeology for the Outer Hebrides. He was also delightful to travel with, and accommodated everyone's needs and desires."
"I'm surprised that Jonathan didn't wear a size 10 hat because I don't know how he kept all the knowledge and information he had inside a regular-sized head!!! I was SO impressed with him: knowledgeable, friendly, extremely helpful, on and on!"
"Jonathan was a pleasure to be with---humorous, knowledgeable, helpful, and concerned. Well prepared in every aspect - the focus of the trip, the people on it (and their personal needs), the history and environment - no one could ask for a better leader to implement Natural Habitat Adventures goals. This is the third trip I have taken and I have found the leaders to be highly professional and Jonathan was more than equal to the task of maintaining you standards."
"A rating of 10 out of 10 is just not high enough to rate Jonathan's knowledge, helpfulness and attention to each of us. I learned so much--about the geology, geography, creatures, and culture of the Highlands. Jonathan is very special as a guide."