Our People

We are very proud of our people at Caledonian Discovery Ltd and over the years we have attracted a great team of individuals that have contributed heavily to our ongoing success.

Five of a crew will look after you during your stay. An experienced skipper will be at the helm. The mate is an instructor qualified in a variety of outdoor activities. The cook is in charge of the galley and all things domestic helped by an assistant and they are all helped by the bosun who makes up the usual complement of crew.

On occasion there will be a themed week where there will be a music leader or wildlife leader as part of the crew.


Martin Balcombe

Company Director & Skipper

Martin lives locally with his wife and 2 children. He is a highly qualified and experienced skipper and outdoor instructor with qualifications from the Royal Yachting Association, Scottish Canoe Association, Scottish Mountain Leader Training Board and the Royal Life Saving Society.


Neil MacLeod

Marketing Administrator

Neil has the very enjoyable task of promoting Caledonian Discovery. Before joining the company he ran his own business advising small organisations the most effective way to develop their marketing ideas. He is now focused on making Caledonian Discovery a popular holiday destination.



Anne Marie MacDonald

Bookings Administrator

Anne Marie will generally be the first point of contact when you call or email the office.  She is extremely friendly and ready to help you through the booking process.



Armani MacLean

Financial Controller

Armani is our person who manages all the accounts. She also helps with the bookings and will probably be the first person you will talk to if you have an inquiry or wish to make a booking.




SwampyDave Roberts

Freelance Skipper

Dave, better known as Swampy, takes the helm for certain weeks over the course of the season.  Dave started with Caledonian Discovery in 2000 and progressed to skippering the barge in 2005.  In the winter, Dave is a ski patroller at the local ski resort.



Peter Renshaw

Freelance Skipper

Peter is a man of the sea with his first nautical qualification achieved at the age of 15. His last, to date, was his Master ticket for large vessels and Square Rig Yachts. When he is not with Caledonian Discovery he is at home in his beloved New Zealand, working with the Sail Training Adventure Trust, sailing Square Riggers.


Adam Evans


Brought up in Henley, Adam has spent most of his life on boats. His work with Caledonian Discovery started in 2013, gaining his Boatmaster Certificate in 2016. In the winter you will find him on the ski slopes, from Europe to Japan, instructing people how to master the art of ski-ing.



Brian Williamson

Freelance Skipper / Minibus Driver

One of the few true locals working with us, Brian started working on boats around Fort William at the age of 8. Since then he has travelled around the world crewing/skippering various vessels. More recently when not working with Caledonian Discovery Brian has skippered the seal island cruise vessel to view the wildlife on Loch Linnhe. He is also our occasional driver of the minibus, returning our guests to their starting point.




Olivia is a teacher and a freelance chef based in London.  She first worked with Caledonian Discovery in 2010 and she loves returning to cover holidays or breaks when required. It is her passion for food and the convivial atmosphere on the cruises which keeps her coming back.


Kevin Johnston


A multi-award winning chef (Grampian young chef of the year2010/12 Grampian Chef of the year 2013) he started cooking as his older brother suggested he should give it a go. He joined Caledonian Discovery in 2016 looking for a new culinary challenge away from Hotels. In the winter time you may be lucky enough to eat some of his sumptuous food in a chalet in the Alps.


Phoebe Bills


Originally from just outside York, Phoebe  has recently finished a degree in “International Politics” at Manchester Metropolitan University. When the season comes to an end, with Caledonian Discovery, she intends to head to France and work as a chef  during the ski season. The chalet guests will definitely be well fed.



Lucy Mcghee 


From Greenock, Lucy joined us in 2012 with a love of anything to do with engines.  From a very early age she has been passionate about historic vessels, particularly “Paddle Steamers”. This enthusiasm has allowed her to contribute regularly on articles in Paddle Steamer magazines.


Steve Sim

Bosun /Guide

From Aberdeen-shire, he loves the outdoors. His first time on board Fingal was in 2005 but the lure of other work, in particular photography, took him away from the Highlands. Now on his 4th full season he says his greatest learning experience was his time in the cubs and scouts, where he discovered there is a correct knot for each job.


Chris Absolom

Mate / Guide

Originally from Guildford, Chris has worked in Wales, the Lakes, France, Spain and now Scotland, as an outdoor instructor. With a plethora of outdoor qualifications his true love is for all sports which include a paddle!



Magnus Black

Mate / Guide

From the Orkney Islands, Magnus has recently qualified with an Honours degree in “Adventure Tourism”. Apart from his degree he is also qualified with a Mountain Bike Leadership Award and his Paddle ticket from the British Canoe Union.




It is with pleasure we can announce our skippers and most of our crew from 2017 are returning to cruise with us this year.

The crew, who represent the company so well, love the glen and will endeavour to make sure you enjoy the experience, with their own anecdotal stories, many of which are true!

Let us not forget the office staff who are waiting, as always, in keen anticipation for your inquiries.


We are all looking forward to your company in 2018 and we are sure there will be a few laughs and many stories to share.