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James Orpwood Mountaineering

Welcome to James Orpwood Mountaineering, my own small business which came into being after deciding to pursue my true passion in life - sharing my love of Scotland’s mountains and wild places with others.


A former fisheries scientist, I have been exploring the Scottish hills for the past 20 years, having first moved to Scotland to pursue a career in science. My story, from mad keen angler and fisheries scientist - to finding professional and personal fulfilment in the mountains, is told in my debut book, A Quest For Fulfilment, published in 2020. Please contact me using the Enquiry Form if you would like to buy a copy.


I hold the following awards:

  • Winter Mountain Leader;
  • Summer Mountain Leader;
  • National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) Tutor Award;
  • Rock Climbing Instructor;
  • Climbing Wall Instructor; and
  • Trail Cycle Leader.

I am full member of the Mountain Training Association (MTA), the nationally-recognised membership organisation for walking and mountain leaders, climbing instructors and coaches in the UK and Ireland. Full members hold nationally-recognised awards, have been subject to a rigorous training and assessment process, and undertake continued personal development to ensure their skills and experience are up to date.

As well as Scotland, I also love world travel and have trekked and climbed in Morocco, Nepal, Bolivia, Iceland, Norway and Ecuador, summiting peaks to over 6,000 m. Closer to home, I also enjoy spending time exploring the mountains of Wales and the Lake District.

From my home in Aviemore, where I live with my wife, Ellen, I have the Cairngorm Mountains on my doorstep - for us, the result of many years of determined hard work and commitment to achieve our dream, together, having met in Nepal in 2008.

I hope to welcome you very soon.

James Orpwood

Photo credits: Gill McMillan (main picture); Wendell Martin (head and shoulders).

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