Canoe on Loch Shiel among rocky shoreline and ancient woodland

Employment opportunities

Freelance Paddle Sports Guides

Otter Adventures is an expanding multi-activity adventure tourism provider based in Strontian and specialising in slow adventure experiences. The area is remote, diverse and beautiful, but not part of the typical tourist trails in the Scottish Highlands. Most of its guests (ranging from two to 80+ years of age) are holidaying on the peninsulas and looking to explore and better understand the region while also being outdoors and physically active.

A growing number of guests are repeat visitors to the region and to Otter Adventures. They come back to us as we offer a small-group, often one family, personalised experience that is rarely available from larger commercial operations. The ‘family friendly’, personalised experience that takes place in, and is about, natural environments is integral to an ‘otter adventure’.

Due principally to continued growth and expansion of the business, I am now seeking qualified and experienced freelance guides to meet anticipated demand in 2022 and beyond as we grow our range of activities and adventures, as well as hire.

The ideal candidate will be able to operate independently in open canoe and sea kayak on moderate tidal waters and may be able to offer leadership or coaching in additional activities such as SUP, wild swimming, snorkelling, etc.

You will also need passion and enthusiasm for your adventure sport(s), a proven ability to lead a wide range of ages in the outdoors and the desire to tailor each adventure to the people on them.

Core responsibilities

Your principle responsibility will be to guide safely a range of half-day and full-day open canoe and sea kayak trips. You may also lead weekend wild camping adventures and multi-day expeditions.

On a typical day, you will be expected to be ready to meet your guests, possibly at a location other than Strontian, typically at 09:30 or 10:00. You can expect to finish after returning equipment to Otter Adventures between 16:30 and 17:30 and this will vary depending upon timings of trips (e.g. full-day or half-day). By their nature, expeditions require evening work and overnight responsibilities.

This freelance opportunity is for three days per week from Easter until early September, although there may be additional work before and after this, especially during the busier summer period.

During your time with Otter Adventures, you will be responsible to the owner of Otter Adventures who is also the principle guide.

Day-to-day responsibilities
Qualifications and experience

Before contacting me about any of these opportunities, please ensure that you are qualified to lead activities in the appropriate environment(s). Water‑based activities take place principally on 'open water' and 'tidal waters' and occasionally Grade 1-2 white water.

You will only be asked to lead what you are qualified and experienced to lead.

Essential Desirable
Paddle sports qualifications
  • BC Moderate Water SK Leader
  • BC Moderate Water OC Leader
  • Awards gained under previous scheme structures will be accepted.
  • Advanced paddle sport leadership or coaching awards;
  • Leadership awards in other relevant activities.
Other Qualifications
  • Clean driving licence
  • Category B may be sufficient.
  • Bushcraft experience or qualifications;
  • Outdoor food hygiene certificate;
  • 'Leave No Trace' or similar training.
  • Driving cars with trailers;
  • Knowledge, understanding of environment, wildlife and culture on the West Highland Peninsulas;
  • Minimum 30 days guiding since completion of leadership award.
  • Leading overnight/multi-day expeditions.
Personal Attributes
  • Emotional maturity to relate to wide range of ages and abilities;
  • Experience of tailoring guided trips to client needs and environmental factors;
  • Understanding of slow adventure experiences and our core values.
  • Desire to contribute to the growth of Otter Adventures and possibly return in future years.

You will be paid £150 per day on a self-employed / freelance basis (i.e. you invoice Otter Adventures at the end of the month for days worked) with an additional payment for each night on expedition as well as your food during these adventure.

You must be registered as self-employed prior to commencing work with Otter Adventures as you will be responsible for your own tax and National Insurance payments.

If leading full-day or multi-day adventures that include food for guests, your food will also be included in addition to your daily fee.

No formal training is offered other than an induction day.

Application process

To learn more about the company and to gain an idea as to the range of trips currently offered, please look over our website to see the range of adventures we offer. For an informal chat about the role - opportunity, please telephone Karl, the owner, on 07521 676274. If you would like to visit Otter Adventures before applying please call and arrange to do so. I would be happy to meet and chat with you.

Applications should be by email to and must include your current CV. You should also write a short statement detailing how you meet or exceed the essential job criteria and what you will bring to Otter Adventures.

Outdoor equipment sales

At the end of a season we may sell off some of our equipment in order to ensure our guests benefit from having up to date equipment that is in fantastic condition. It also means that the wider community can benefit from buying nearly new outdoor equipment that is still in great condition and should last the average user many years to come.

At this time we have no equipment for sale.
Subscribe and never miss an adventure

By subscribing you will hear stories from our latest adventures, informative posts and videos straight to your inbox. There may even be an occasional special offer! We promise never to spam you or sell your details, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow our adventures on social media