BISKS Coaches for 2019

We have a great line up of coaches for 2019 and if you would like to find out more about each of the coaches, the pen pictures and biographies below will provide you with background.

The Coaches…..

Giles Trussell

“I have enjoyed sea kayaking for over 30 years. With many Scottish Island circumnavigations including Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna, Soay, Islay, Jura, Coll, Tiree, Kerrera, Scarba, Lismore, Bute, Rassay and Rona, Skye, Harris and Lewis, Pabbay and Mingulay to name a few, as well as visits to Shetland and a large amount of the Scottish mainland coastline. In a sea kayak I have also circumnavigated Stewart Island in New Zealand and enjoyed three Greenland expeditions and some Mediterranean forays including circumnavigations of Kefalonia and Ithaca.

I have also enjoyed a couple of longer crossings including a fast solo to St Kilda and back in 2018. Other paddlesport passions find me hurtling down class IV and V white water in a kayak and leisurely open canoe fun. I am a British Canoeing Level 5 Sea Kayak and Inland Kayak Coach and a Level 4 Open Canoe Coach.

When not paddling I am often found in the mountains walking and climbing in summer and winter. I have completed all the Munros over a journey of 39 years.

I’m a passionate runner, have recorded a Long Distance Record for The West Mounth Round and have competed in various mountain marathons at Elite level. In my day job I work full time for Glenmore Lodge and hold the MIC (Mountain Instructor Certificate).

In the past I have been an RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor and completed a 13 month Atlantic circuit in a 9 metre yacht.

Outside of all the aforementioned activities I enjoy flora and fauna, photography, cooking, fishing (not catching) iddly diddly music, Lavazza and whisky and attempts to play the penny whistle. My wife and 2 children are long suffering…

My workshop ideas – any stroke technique; personal and group risk management strategies; physical and psychological, tactical and technical fitness for paddling”.

Read Giles’ fascinating account of his sea kayak crossing to St Kilda at:

George Fell

After a flirtation with meteorology, working for British Antarctic Survey and the Met Office, I now devote all my time to paddling. Like the water rat, I believe that “there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”.

I love using sea kayaks to get away to quiet places, for a few weeks. The fact they have enough capacity to keep me supplied with cheese and nice coffee for the whole journey is a bonus.

I seem to specialize in “not-quite-circumnavigations”, with almost complete trips around the Outer Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland and Lofoten islands. I’m off to the Faroes in August 2019, so expect me to return with another couple of days paddling required to complete the loop.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, mountain, outdoor, nature and water
Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

George’s Workshop Ideas

Rock hopping – getting in amongst it without getting hurt
Navigation – 
Forwards paddling – how to find out what works for our bodies and our boats
Coaching is just another word for helping – how do we help others improve their paddling?

Tidal planning
Trip planning


Lara Adams

14 years ago, Lara Adams was a London-based Architect who put her job on hold to go and work for a summer at an outdoor centre on the Isle of Raasay. She never went back, and is now based on Skye and works as a Lecturer in Outdoor Adventure at West Highland College UHI. She loves leading sea kayaking trips around Skye as well as expeditions to explore other islands, and helping her students discover the outdoors for themselves. She holds Advanced Sea Kayak Leader with Moderate Water Endorsement.


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water

One of Lara’s plans for the Symposium is to run an Expedition Workshop

Planning and carrying out a short journey with other participants: an opportunity to ‘unpack’ the process of self-sufficient expeditioning by sea kayak. We’ll look at different kit, how to pack a boat, how packing affects trim, camp site selection, access and a ‘leave no trace’ approach, plus any other expedition-related issues that arise! An opportunity to share tips and ideas whether you’re already a confident expeditioner or are considering your first overnight trip.

Rowland Woollven and Jake McInnes

By popular demand, we are running a day of Inuit skills led by Rowland Woollven and Jake McInnes.

Traditional ‘Greenland’ paddles are becoming ever more popular (given their several thousand years of history, it could be said that they have never been unpopular!) – so come and discover what makes the ‘stick’ an elegant choice for both paddling and rolling in this day-long workshop.

Aquatic experiences by choice; beards and black clothing not compulsory (but if that’s your thing, that’s OK too!)


Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and water

Image may contain: outdoor and water

Find out more at:

Calum McNicol

Calum is an optimistic, energetic and dedicated father of 4, (as well as an accomplished Kayaker, Sailor & Ocean Rower!). He has been working full time as a paddlesports and sailing coach for 25 years around the waters off the west coast of Scotland and now coaches at Sportscotlands National Centre on Cumbrae.

He has developed a recent interest sea kayak sailing, which allows him to share his expertise of sailing and kayaking and offers interesting practical sessions to develop students knowledge of tides, meteorology and navigation.

He also enjoys expeditions and has taken part in numerous paddling trips to far flung corners of the globe including in 2009 when he took part in a high water, self supported kayak descent of the remote Tsarup Chu river in the Kashmir region of North India. In 2013 he was part of a team, which successfully rowed across The Atlantic Ocean and in 2014, he fulfilled a life times ambition by kayaking the mighty Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. 

He has a passion for the nautical environment uses the sea to pass on the message that everyone has the ability within them to fulfill their dreams, regardless of how wild these may be! 


Steve Macfarlane

Steve’s experience covers a lifetime of river expeditions and sea kayaking around the world. Born in Suffolk, Steve spent much of his life travelling before buying and developing the now award winning sustainable Glenuig Inn on the Sound of Arisaig, from which he runs sea-kayak guiding and coaching for bespoke days or residential courses.

Having focused on his love of the sea and sea-kayaking for the last 15 years, he has the best of all worlds living and working on the West Coast of Scotland with its spectacular coastline and abundant wildlife. Steve also manages to get away regularly to run advanced trips and courses at Sea Kayak symposiums around the UK and is delighted to be delivering 2 days of incident management at BISKS 2019



British Canoe Union 5* Sea-kayak Leader

BCU Moderate Water Endorsed Sea-kayak Coach

British Canoeing Endorsed Guide

REC4 Expedition First Aid and REC Advanced First Aid

ISKGA Advanced Guide (P)

WiSe Master for Safe Wildlife Watching

REHIS Intermediate Food Hygiene


Tania Mackie

“Living in the Highlands, I am inspired by the landscape from the mountains to the sea. Home is located on the Black Isle, where there are many places locally to explore by sea kayak, including the varied and often challenging, Cromarty Firth. I have also organised and led expeditions further afield including Shetland and Brittany.

As a trained Hatha Yoga Teacher who combines yoga with sea kayaking, I believe that the two disciplines are especially relevant when faced with the psychological demands of conditions or even rolling in a pool and as core strength underpins our performance, sea kayaking and yoga balance each other perfectly.

As a Sea Kayak Leader, Moderate Water Endorsed, UKCC Level 2 Canoe and Kayak coach who is also an aspirant Level 3 Sea Kayak Coach and qualified Summer Mountain Leader, I am dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all, specialising in specific coaching that supports individual needs.

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, outdoor and water

I can be found at or balancing in some slightly random places, including my kayak; Waterlily”.

Ian Bowler

Ian is a BCU Level 4 sea, Level 4 open canoe and Level 4 white water coach.  Ian has kayaked in remote places from Papa Stour in Shetland, to Patagonia, and quite a few places in between including Canada, New Zealand and Japan. His favourite local spots are the Western Isles and Ireland’s south and west coast.  He’s a qualified teacher of the deaf and works freelance as a teacher of children with additional support needs.

He was previously a director of Adventures Unlimited Scotland (CIC) and was the co-organiser of the first Black Isle Sea Kayak Symposium in 2015.


Justin Grant

Based in Invergordon, I have a somewhat varied background – almost all of it outdoors – having worked as a dairy farmer in Australia, archaeologist in Swaziland and tour guide in Zimbabwe amongst other occupations.

Currently my main interests, both at work and recreationally, revolve around Scotland’s raptors, and particularly both species of eagle; at present I specialise in the White-tailed eagle, its ecology and particularly interactions with humans. As a result of this when in a sea kayak I’m usually somewhere off the west coast of Scotland.

I’m a UKCC Level 2 coach with a Moderate Water Endorsement (Sea).

Margaret Pearson

Having been put off river kayaking at university, it was a long time before I ventured onto the water again in a kayak. Then I was introduced to sea kayaking on a day when the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the seals were playing. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

Through the training provided initially by the Inverness Canoe Club, and later with external providers, I have progressed from being a fair weather paddler to a BCU level 3 (sea) coach and sea kayak leader. I have even been enticed to go river kayaking and open canoeing on the odd occasion. As the lead coach for sea kayaking within the club I, along with others, organise the sea paddling programme for Inverness Canoe Club. I am also on the organising committee of the Scottish Women’s Paddle Symposium.

I have found sea kayaking to be a very addictive hobby – the more paddling I do, the more I want to do. Most of my annual leave from work is taken up by paddling holidays.

Ian Bowler

Ian Bowler



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