Fishing in Scotland – Introduction by Stewart Collingswood (founder and MD)
Since 2004 we have hosted thousands of guests from all over the world on fishing trips, corporate fishing events and mixed fishing and touring vacations in Scotland. We are an Orvis endorsed tour operator and fishing guiding company, based near Edinburgh, in the seaside town of North Berwick.
This is our 18th year in business, and our passion for Scotland remains strong. We constantly strive to improve all aspects of what we deliver. As well as running our business I consider myself an ambassador for Scotland. If you’ve never been here, Scotland is a very friendly (and safe) country for guests to visit, and you’ll find our people are genuine, helpful, passionate and enthusiastic.
Delivering Orvis Endorsed trips since 2004
I founded Alba 18 years ago. Disillusioned after running a software company, I took to the hills in search of inspiration. Armed with a notebook and a few ideas, I wrote down everything I loved: fishing, photography, Scotland, beautiful locations, food, whisky, heritage, e-procurement, and tourism. Not an obvious combination, you might think, but it led to the formation of a new concept, a company delivering one of Scotland’s most sought-after pursuits and one that embraces all the concepts sketched out 18 years ago on that hilltop.
When I launched Alba it was a new concept, and it took 6 months before the business started to materialise. We pioneered a new type of fishing trip in Scotland, complementing fishing days, vacations and trips and with good food, photography, and an absolute focus on customer service.
We set out to offer the best of Scottish fishing from Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Aberdeen, Inverness, and the Scottish Highlands. This led to entertaining hundreds of groups from all over the world including the Poet Laureate, Open Golf winner Louis Oosthuizen, the South Africa rugby team and the CEO of Gazprom.
We have faced many challenges through the years, and recently the pandemic, and lack of travellers was challenging. Luckily we were robust enough to ride the storm, and from July to October in 2020 we had a huge upturn in domestic UK business. People had a huge appetite to escape lockdown, and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors.
We used the time in Lockdown wisely. I saw this as an opportunity to gear the business for future success, and scrutinise, realign and improve everything we do. Accounting systems were improved, sales processes fine tuned and existing fishing tackle maintained and repaired.
New fishing equipment was purchased, utilising our relationship with Sage and Redington, 20 brand new auto inflate life vests added to stock. Our website updated and our team learned new skills, including all training on Covid prevention and infection control.
We all look forward to hosting you on a trip in Scotland and sharing this great country with you. Tight lines and good health. I hope 2022 is a more normal year for everyone.