I'm Jenny and I'm one of the founders of Walking Tours in Scotland, alongside my dear friend Liv. We started this company in 2017 and it has been my pride and joy ever since. From doing every tour the first summer, to hiring and training new guides, to opening up in new cities, I've loved (almost) every minute. I want to tell you a little more about my story and what we've been doing since lockdown.
I loved Glasgow from the first day I visited the University of Glasgow on the open day. Of course I'd visited Glasgow before being from Dunfermline, but I'd never visited with the prospect of actually living here. It was a gorgeous May day and instantly I knew I'd be at home here. From getting up to no good in my first years of university to exploring the city by myself and learning new things every year, I knew I wanted to try and stay in Glasgow after graduating. Going into my final year of university, I started looking at grab jobs and realised sitting in an office all day is exactly what I didn't want to do.
I met Liv and we both shared a love of entrepreneurship and one night we got talking about starting walking tours in Glasgow. The next month was filled with having coffee dates figuring out how we could make it work. By the end of that month, we had done tons of research into the history of Glasgow and taken a load of walks around the city figuring out the route. We built a Facebook, this website and a Trip Advisor page and got our first booking, right in the middle of the final weeks of university.
The next two months we were prepping for our final year exams and using the tours as an escape from the library. We slowly gained more presence online and by the beginning of that summer we were filling up our public tour slots. All I remember from that first summer is tired legs and lots of laughs (amongst tears). We worked our absolute asses off to make the tours work and by the end of our first summer we were hiring our first guides to take the pressure off.
Fast forward three years and here I sit in my Walking Tours in Scotland jumper, operating in four cities with 16 guides across the country. It's safe to say I'm proud of us and how far we've come despite the challenges.
Coronavirus hit us hard, like it did to every small business across the world. We watched this business we've been putting blood, sweat and tears into crumble before us. The death of the tourism industry was on the front page of newspapers, our family and friends were looking at us sympathetically and we started looking for other work.
It would be a lie to say it's been easy and we're only excited to get back. We know there are troubling times ahead of us but we also know we are NOT giving up. This business is our baby and we adore showing off our country to tourists with the huge help of our guides. I can't wait to see our first big group of tourists on a tour and to get a message from our guides telling us about the tour!
However, we're not quite there yet and we need to remain cautious in order to save lives. Despite our urge to return to normal, we know that following government rules and ensuring the safety of everyone is the top priority. Therefore, instead of running our regular daily public tours, we will be running private tours for the foreseeable future.
On these tours, you will have no physical contact with the guide, and enter no buildings during the tour. If spaces we walk are busy, we will find an alternative, safe route. We will be as flexible as possible with rebookings at no extra cost if you cannot attend a tour due to health concerns. We are taking all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of guests and guides.
For more information about these tours, to book a slot or to buy a gift card for a future tour, you can do so here: www.walkingtoursin.com/tours
I hope to see you on a tour soon!