James Tait is a superb guide – impressively knowlegeable about his native Shetland, entertaining, friendly and adaptable. I visited Shetland with a specific commission – to write about “storm-watching” for The Times – and over the two hugely enjoyable days my wife and I spent with him, he tailored the time exactly to my needs. He was even able to conjure up Storm Gertrude, with her 105 mph gales, which suggests he has very good connections indeed! Rather than delivering rote lectures, he talked informally, so it was like having a friend with us. I have had many guides over 20 years of travel writing for national newspapers and James proved one of the very best.  (January 2016.)

Stephen McClarence     Travel writer – The Times, Daily Telegraph etc.

Winner of Travel Article of the Year award in the VisitEngland Awards 2015.


Living in Shetland for the summer (2019)  was the best thing I have ever done for myself.  Shetland's beautiful land and seascapes are rivalled only by the generosity of her people.  I took Island Trails' Northmavine & Eshaness tour on my last day in Shetland.  A wonderful way to spend the day before heading home.  Thank you.

Coleen Whiteside, USA.


I wanted to say a bit thank you for a fantastic day out - it was a real pleasure seeing and learning about Shetland, its way of life and history, both ancient and modern.  (May 2019.)

Tracy Reid, Australia


I enjoyed two single-day small-group excursions with James during my visit to Shetland in the summer of 2016. I just want to place on record that these were well designed and executed perfectly. James was knowledgeable and gently informative without going over the top with constant chatter. He stopped frequently for photography both at his own initiative and when requested.  Two excellent days. I never recommend anything to anyone but Island Trails provided me with all for which I could have hoped.
Roger Chambers, UK.


Our trip to The Shetland Isles was wonderful thanks to having James as our guide. He asked us what we were interested in seeing and delivered exactly what we said. He is knowledgable, personable, prompt and charges good prices. I would recommend him to anyone visiting Shetland. He made our trip there more enjoyable by far!  (June 2014.)

Stephanie and Mark Griffith, USA.


Travelling with James you get to see and begin to understand so much of the local area and community, and the history of the area. 3 extremely good days out even if changeable weather! (May 2014.)  See full review on Tripadvisor.

Debbie Hart, England.


Field Farm tours is pleased to highly recommend James and Island Trails as an outstanding guide. Having worked with him to produce a very successful agricultural tour to Shetland (October 2013) for a group of UK farmers we plan to send him future groups.  Well done James.

Gordon Smith, Tour Manager, Field Farm Tours.


My mom and I wanted to thank you again for our fabulous tour!  It was the best of our trip!  We fell in love with the Shetland Islands and would love to return to further explore its beauty and mystery. THANK YOU for making it such a special trip and sharing your love of the place that you call home! (July 2013, on a cruise ship visit to Lerwick.)

Cyndi Powers & Kathy Wright, USA


"I decided to take advantage of James’s post Up Helly Aa day tour of the South of the island.  When most of the island was closed for business James provided not only an interesting but entertaining day. Many people would have considered stormy weather less than ideal for such a day, however, the view points which James took us to allowed us to see some spectacular scenery.  James’s local knowledge and contacts taken in conjunction with his friendly manner and his clear enthusiasm and pride in the island made this tour one of the best & memorable I have been on.  It is experiences such as this one which will not only remain with me but encourage me to return to Shetland."  (January 2013.)

Dr Sandra Percy, Scotland


"The Shetland wool tour (September 2012) turned out to be a real hit thanks to James and his knowledge of the islands. He helped me put an excellent program together combining wool and wool production with the history and culture that has shaped and created the wool business in Shetland. The 15 “Swedish Knitters” were delighted with the service provided by James and Island Trails and I look forward to working with James in 2013 when more Swedish Knitters will get the opportunity to experience wonderful Shetland".

Elisabeth Nicholson, Elphin Travel, Sweden


“Dear Island Trails, My clients recently returned home from the Shetlands after a wonderful trip hosted by your team. I want to thank you for making my clients "once in a lifetime" trip something special to remember”.

Stephanie Chale from Mountain City Travel, Kimberley, BC, Canada


“Shetland is a very special part of the world, and with James Tait as your guide you will see and experience some of the best on offer. James’ stories and information add the local colour which really makes the difference between just seeing and really understanding a place. We had a magical afternoon on St Ninian’s Isle, where the Celtic treasure was found. It was indeed a treasure to see the island, with its combination of scenery and history, on a beautiful day. We really enjoyed our time with James, and recommend Island Trails for visitors wanting to get the most out of their days on Shetland. We come from another beautiful island at the other end of the world, so we feel strong connections.”

Robyn and Neville Mendham, Tasmania, Australia