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.


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


We have come home full of impressions. Thanks for those great guided tours we had with you. Unforgettable! We were completely taken by Shetland, its nature and history, but most of all the so kind, generous and helpful people we met. We want to come back and see more of your fantastic islands. (May 2015.)

Elisabeth and Tommy Jeppsson, Sweden.


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


“The morning I spent at St Ninian’s Isle stands out clear in my memory when other drive-through visits have faded or merged, because James built a connection to the island by telling me its stories. I already knew that a knowledgeable and enthusiastic local guide is the best way to get to know a new place and by tailoring the tour to my interests James created a vivid and relevant experience. Thank you so much James! I will always remember St Ninian’s Isle – the shipwrecks, the smugglers, the puffins and the treasure – with joy”.

Jo Henwood, NSW, Australia


“Our family really enjoyed the trip with you to the most southern point of Shetland. We are convinced, that we have seen all the exciting places, the small museum, the lighthouse, the rocks with the Puffins and the ruin of Scalloway castle. All that in an approx. 4 hour trip”.

Wolfgang Henrichs, Germany


“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