At the end of each year it’s always valuable for any forward thinking business to review the year past. As a growing outdoor business and for us to stay ahead of our competition, we looked back at both our highs, our lows and all our 2014 year review customer feedback. On reflection we’ve had an outstanding year. We hope you agree!

Some of our 2014 highlights/developments included;

  • Outfitting new premises based by the Caledonian Canal, Inverness (Jan-Mar)
  • Recruit and train up a seasonal P/T Administrator & a Social Media Intern (Apr-May)
  • Ran a ‘Come & Try Weekend‘ to promote our new location and paddle sports (5/6 Apr)
  • Deliver two evening training sessions for our Freelance Instructors
  • Deliver more courses and run more adventures than 2013
  • Supported more self-guided paddling adventures
  • Set up retail accounts to stock kit from Peak UK, DD Hammocks, Cordee and Endless River
  • Increasing our fleet to include 6x Pyranha Fusion Cross-over kayaks
  • Become an approved Adventure Activities Licensing Authority provider (July)
  • Arranging & guiding the first group of paddles onto The Falkirk Wheel (10 June)
  • Introduced over 100 kids to canoeing & kayaking skills on the canal

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As you can see, some of our successes in 2014 are no mean feats, however they did come at a price, and a number of sacrifices were made.

The planned Highland Paddle Fest (May 14) was unfortunately put on hold and is currently being proposed for 2016.  Donald also withdrew from completing his BCU Level 5 assessment process in Jan which was booked for April 14. Both sacrifices required an investment of time, which was planned, however the opportunity arose to lease prime canal side commercial premises. Outfitting the office and workshop plus relocation of all kit was seen as a more beneficial and long term investment for Explore Highland.

Every successful small business has growing problems, and over 2014 we faced these also. Our work which is mainly leading and coaching groups in the great outdoors from 1-5 days means it’s difficult to communicate with our prospective customers. Even with a part time office admin, we still found it a challenge to respond to everyone and believe it or not, we do need to sleep too.

Donald did however find the time later on in the season to accept some freelance work and support a number of other local paddling providers including Glenmore Lodge, Skyak Advenutres, UHI School of Adventure Studies and Boots n Paddles. Explore Highand again over 2014 worked closely with Inverness Leisure and deliver seven days of Kids Kayaking sessions for their Active Holiday Programme.

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We love working within the outdoor industry and enjoy introducing new paddlers to the sport as well as developing their skills & experiences. To keep up with what the industry is offering and how the outdoor recreation market is evolving (for the better), Explore Highland can always be found organised, attended, supported and exhibited at local and national events.

Over 2014 we were involved with the following events;

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Dates for some of our 2015 planned courses, holidays and adventures are already released with more to follow in due course. Never content, over 2015 we intend to further develop our base, services offered and customer care to ensure we are your first choice for your Highland paddling adventures.

Thank you all for your support and custom throughout 2014 and we look forward to coaching, guiding and supporting your paddling again in 2015.

Safe paddling folks!

Donald Macpherson