Iain Miller hopes to cultivate the massive tourism potential in Donegal

His photographs are inspirational and have acquired a global audience

Michelle NicPhaidin


Michelle NicPhaidin


A former marine engineer, Iain Miller, 50, now lives the high life, climbing mountains and sea stacks across the west of Ireland on a daily basis.
A Scottish native, born and bred in the Orkney Islands, Iain came to Donegal in the early 90s to spend some time whilst he was working on the merchant navy ships. He enjoyed his time here and in 2005, he made Donegal his full-time home.
“I used to have a proper job,” he said.
Iain now lives in Tullaghbegly area in Gortahork.
He wakes in the morning and gazes out the window at a curtain of mountains around his home.
His life with means that every day, for him, is different.

He brings people to the top of sea stacks, brings others mountain climbing, brings people to watch birds hatch on sea stacks and others enjoy watching Basking sharks.
People from across the world choose to email Iain and inquire kind of adventure that he can provide for them.
“My unique selling point is selling top-end adventure activities. No one else has the experience to do it safely,” he said.
A brief glance at his CV in terms of mountaineering certification and his adventure experience certainly proves his point.
Iain finds the inquiries to his website are predominantly from the female in the relationship.
“It is always the eldest daughter or the mother who contacts me trying to organise something. It is very female driven,” he said.
A nice balance of women and men enjoy his adventures and many of those who take the time out of their busy schedule to go on Iain's adventures will tell you that it has changed their lives.
“I take couples to dangerous places and I control the risk. I am somebody that has an enormous amount of fun and I like people to enjoy themselves. I have enormous fun on a daily basis,” he said.

He also does mountain leader courses and hopes to get a lot of people trained in the skill of navigation.
He is, in essence, training an army of people who will eventually start out their own business and attract people to the west coast of Ireland on climbing tours.
He has recognised and embraced the enormous potential that the west of Ireland has in terms of adventure tourism and is harnessing and utlilising it.
“What that area doesn't have is people providing adult adventure,” he said.
Iain has travelled the world adventuring and is adamant that the west of Ireland can rival anywhere else.
“The west of Ireland is a world class adventure destination,” he said.

Huge potential

He believes that the Wild Atlantic Way from Mizen Head to Malin Head is one huge adventure trail and undoubtedly Iain is leading the way on this trail.
He loves his work, believes in what he is doing, and is hoping that the adventure will grow and prove to be economically favourable for areas on the west coast of Ireland.
“The entire Atlantic Way from Mizen Head to Malin Head has caves, sea stacks, mountains, it is all here, we just have to use it,” he said.
Iain and his adventures have been captured by his stunning photography.
Many photos on his Instagram account will see him standing at the top of sea stacks, on a kayak in the ocean or on the top of mountains in the snow with his beautiful dog.

Owey Island

All the photographs and footage have an edge, are different and are memorable.
One of the most memorable events, captured on camera, was when Iain and Fiona Nic Fhionnlaoich kayaked under Owey Island at 5am.
A crystal clear blue light lit up the cave and that cave soon became known as the blue lagoon.
Those who swam in the water described it as similar to swimming in light.
The footage went viral and ignited huge interest in the islands off the coast of Donegal.
His adventure photographs have certainly put him in the frame for a certain market and he enjoys embraces the interest ignited by them.
“I had seen that three weeks before. It was very atmospheric underneath an island in a cave. It worked out perfectly.
“People must see something and go ‘wow, can I do that and can I visit that area’?
“Most people don't know what they want to do. All I doing is give them a bit of direction.
“I used to take people climbing now I do that for a living,” he said.
When he gets up in the morning, Iain doesn't go to work, he gets up to enjoy himself, adventure and bring people with him.
“I tend to do what is going to make me smile. I look for the ultimate,” he said.
Iain has an extensive knowledge of Donegal and the west coast of Ireland and those who go with him on his adventures are never certain of what he has planned for them on the day, but they can be certain of one thing, it will be a day that they will never forget.

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