Tony is an incredibly entertaining speaker and has been acclaimed as the most amazing tour guide in Scotland. He can be booked for lectures, after dinner speaking and hop-on guiding.
Tour operators visiting the Highlands can commission him for after dinner speaking or an evening talk or lecture at their hotel. Tony is prepared to travel within 80 miles of Inverness or further afield by negotiation. An outline of the main talks follows:
The Story of Scotland
Tony takes you from the formation of Scotland by a collision between North America and Europe through to the formation of the Scottish parliament. A great combination of continental drift, geology, natural history, wildlife, stone age origins, Neolithic Highlanders, the Picts, Scots and Vikings, the real Duncan and Macbeth, William Wallace and the true Braveheart - Robert The Bruce, the Stuart kings and on into the violent Jacobite period and present day. A fascinating, fun and educational illustrated journey through our heritage. The talk can be adjusted to last between one hour and two and a half hours.
The Truth About Loch Ness And Its Mystery
Tony conceived and set up the first professional exhibition on the subject of Loch Ness in 1980. He quickly discovered that almost everything he was displaying was incorrect and an on-going period of change and improvement began. That learning curve experienced by Tony is presented in a hugely amusing manner which takes the audience from the local tradition of a giant fish, through the heady days of the seventies and early eighties when a prehistoric creature was envisaged and into the nineties when real science has taken up the challenge. His illustrated talk is absolutely fascinating for believers and non-believers alike. His conclusions will enthral and the audience is left with whichever monster they may desire! This talk takes between one hour and two hours.
Combination of Both Talks
Tony can combine both talks over two sessions. The combination requires two sessions of about ninety minutes with a twenty minute intermission.
Anthony Geoffrey Harmsworth
Email address: Tony@ Harmsworth.net
Age: 65 years old
Wife for 42 years: Wendy
One of the foremost authorities on the mystery at Loch Ness. He conceived and co-founded the Official Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre; was administrative coordinator of Operation Deepscan during 1986/7.
Between 1993 and 1998 he was the first lay-Bursar of Fort Augustus Abbey (www.FortAugustusAbbey.com), a Benedictine monastery at the southwest end of Loch Ness. Here he designed and staged the highly acclaimed Fort Augustus Abbey Story of Scotland Heritage Centre and also the Loch Ness Story Diorama.
He also invented the award-winning board game, Nessie Hunt; scripted the Polygram video Loch Ness Monster Story; wrote Mysterious Monsters of Loch Ness and Loch Ness, The Monster, the latter being reprinted on eight occasions. He is currently working on a full length book on Loch Ness.
Although born and brought up in England, his mother was from Scotland and both his parents had a love of the Highlands. This means that he is a rather strange combination of Tottenham Hotspur and Scotland supporter. Neither team ever win anything!
Tony earlier incarnation was in sales and industry holding down management posts with Loyds Retailers, Top Rank, Granada, Wella and Lenthéric Morny (BAC). These posts were in Manchester and the south of England.
He moved to Drumnadrochit in 1978 to follow up several years' interest in Loch Ness. In 1980 it was his idea to set up the Loch Ness Exhibition.
In the mid eighties, while still MD at the Centre, he produced his Loch Ness game, Nessie Hunt which had been in the planning since 1975.
In 1990, after a final disagreement with the owner of the Loch Ness Centre, he left to concentrate on a manufacturing company he had been setting up in his spare time in Fife.
The company, Genesis Creations Ltd, was a great success initially, growing to nearly fifty employees making fantasy figurines, but the recession in the early nineties caused many of its customers to go bankrupt and the resulting uncollectible debts caused Genesis to fold.
Returning to his knowledge of Loch Ness, he had to quickly establish a new business with positive cashflow. He chose to obtain a Public Service Vehicle driving and operating licence and ran very specialised half-day Loch Ness tours for small groups. Although extremely successful he still had a desire to return to visitor centre design and management.
In 1993 the opportunity arose with a contract to come up with a theme for the Perthshire Visitor Centre just north of Perth. With Dunkeld and Birnam being nearby he chose to take the much maligned Scottish king, Macbeth, and produce a presentation which contrasted the Shakespearean character with the real person who was, in fact, one of Scotland's better early monarchs.
Also in 1993 he was commissioned to come up with a rescue package for Fort Augustus Abbey whose boarding school had recently closed owing to falling numbers. He was then employed to manage the creation of the visitor centre he had designed and the doors opened in May 1994.
The Benedictine monks were so pleased with the results that they offered him the role of Bursar, which was the first time this position had been held by a lay person in any Scottish monastery.
The business grew extremely rapidly but the demands of the rambling Victorian buildings meant that the profits were all swallowed in repairs and maintenance.
When Abbot Mark Dilworth retired, a monk called Francis Davidson, hostile to the venture, was appointed to take control of the Abbey and, within five months of his appointment in March 1998, he shut the entire place.
He refused to allow any attempts to keep it open and disbursed all of the monks to other monasteries. The abbey is now being developed as a sort of luxurious timeshare and some of the buildings are in a shocking state of disrepair.
As well as a personal blow, this was also a serious financial blow to Tony who had had to give up all of his business interests when he took on the Bursar role.
Starting from scratch in 1998 he developed an Internet and Marketing Consultancy business which he still operates in a small way (www.Harmsworth.net).
Early in 2002 his wife, Wendy, joined him in this venture after retiring from a career in local government. In addition he set up a successful on line shop called The Scottish & Celtic Mall.
His main business today is a return to guiding and speaking on Scotland's history, natural history and Loch Ness. This has become very successful and today he guides not just tourists, but groups of university students too. If you come to the Highlands you should be able to attend either one of his talks or join one of his tours featured on this site.
Keeping tropical freshwater and marine fish and invertebrates; Imagineering and Writing; N-gauge railway modelling.
In addition he and his wife love animals. In the past they kept basset hounds and have had a number of cats. Living on a croft, they have also kept hens.
Tony has a great interest in Scotland's history and much of his time is also taken up in maintaining his www.Loch-Ness.org and www.Loch-Ness.com websites.