Sinclair and Kathleen Dunnett

I'm KATHLEEN DUNNETT. I was born in Perth (Scotland, that is!) but many of my family come from Inverness. I bought a house from Sinclair in Inverness and that's how we met. At that time I was a travel agent; later I had my own travel agency.

I sold my interest in the travel agency in the early 90s and did B&B out of our house in Inverness, also running self-guided bird-watching trips out of Inverness.

When we moved to Orkney in 1995 I looked after Sinclair's aunt who eventually died in 1999 at the age of 100 years and 4 months.

During our time in Orkney I trained as a professional driver and passed the bus test. I also completed the Orkney Guiding Course and led many trips in Orkney. In 2001 I completed a HOSTGA training course (Highlands of Scotland Tour Guides Association).

After returning to Inverness I was actively involved with the running of Puffin Express, including guiding tours. I drive a few tours now for Highland Experience who took over our routes when we wound down our business.

In May of 2009 Sinclair made a joke about keeping chickens in our garden . . . I took it seriously and a month later we got six "Shaver Brown" pullets - that's one of them above. We currently have 8 Shaver Browns and 1 Black Rock.

Sinclair C Dunnett - Proprietor of Puffin Express - Brief Biography.
I was born in Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, where my father was chief sub-editor of the SCOTSMAN newspaper, my mother a nurse. In the 1950's we moved to a farm in the Black Isle, a peninsula north-east of Inverness, capital of the Highlands. My high school was Dingwall Academy, from where I went to the University of Edinburgh and took a general science degree.

I then worked in Tanzania (under a scheme called VSO) as a game warden. I worked on special projects in Lake Victoria and the south-west side of the Serengeti National Park.

Hiking out from a deep wilderness bothy in NW Scotland, autumn [fall] 2014

After that I moved to Canada. I worked in northern Alberta in oil prospecting, summer (mosquitoes) and winter (to - 55°F). I'm glad I had that time in industry, otherwise I've always worked in wildlife research/conservation or as a guide.
I returned to Europe when I got a job with the University of Amsterdam as the junior member of an expedition studying chimpanzees in Guinea (West Africa). We made a movie showing (i.a.) the wild chimps mobbing a dummy leopard with sticks, stones. This was shown quite a lot in the early 1970's, on The World About Us on BBC and by National Geographic in North America.

In the early 70's I returned to Scotland with some reluctance, but it was the only job in wildlife I could get at the time. I worked for several years on red deer - similar to the wapiti in North America - doing some work on the dispersal of deer and techniques for aging them. I did my second degree at this time, an M.Sc. in wildlife management through the University of Aberdeen. My years abroad had been interesting in themselves; in addition, I could now see the good things about my own country which I had been blind to when I lived there, and envisaged settling in Scotland.

However, before that could happen the Africa thing had got me again and in 1974 I was away to the rainforest on the Zaire River Expedition. I studied the distribution of the bonobo (Pan paniscus), or dwarf chimpanzee, along the remote Lomami River.
I returned to Scotland in 1975, got engaged (and married) to Kathleen, and started a wildlife tour business called CALEDONIAN WILDLIFE. Initially this was just round Inverness, showing deer & eagles & pine trees to naturalists. However we soon added some of the islands off Scotland - the first we came to was Orkney - and in 1979 we did our first trip abroad, to Iceland. We added other overseas destinations - Tanzania, obviously, where I had been in the Game Division - Texas; France; the USSR (as it was then); Poland; Alaska; India & Nepal; Ethiopia; Botswana; Alberta & BC; Svalbard [Spitzbergen].

In 1995 I acquired the day-tour business, GO-ORKNEY, and moved to Orkney. About the same time I merged Caledonian Wildlife with NATURETREK*, a wildlife and adventure tour company in the south of England. I still guide for them, especially in the winter. In November/December of 2004 I completed my 6th trip for Naturetrek (and 9th since 1992) to MALI in West Africa, land of the River Niger and the fabled city of Timbuktu. Sadly, Mali is not the best destination at the moment for visitors.
Most winters since 1985 I've led a tour, or tours, in Poland seeking bison, elk, wolf and other large mammals rare or even extinct in the rest of Europe.

In June 1999 Kathleen & I left Orkney and returned to Inverness where we ran day-tours out of Inverness till 2011. In my semi-retirement - ha!ha! - I lead groups off cruise ships visiting the Highlands and run private trips, especially to Orkney and Lewis.
I also drive & guide some tours out of Inverness for Highland Experience, especially: Applecross, John o'Groats, and Loch Ness/Whisky.

For some winters I did lectures for the extra-mural department of the University of Aberdeen.
Sinclair C Dunnett
Inverness, October, 2017

*NATURETREK run wildlife and adventure tours in all the world's continents. I guided trips for them in Iceland, France, Alaska, Mali, and Scotland, and currently guide their Poland winter trip.

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