Guide Profile: Cathy Harlow

Monday, 5th February 2018

Destination Specialist

iceland cathy harlow on iceberg

Our guide, Cathy Harlow has worked with Discover the World for nearly 35 years, leading our Orcas and Auroras and Hiking in East Greenland holidays. Not only is Cathy a superstar in our eyes, but she was also Highly Commended in the Wanderlust World Guide Awards in 2013 and 2014. Cathy has also lead our Into the Blue whale-watching holiday – exclusive to Discover the World!

So tell us about your experience?

I trained as a guide in Iceland way back in 1986 and I then began working for Discover the World in 1988 – over 30 years ago! In 1994, I spent time in Australia and trained as a guide in the tropical rainforest and Great Barrier Reef, branching out into guiding wildlife tours in Dominica, The Bahamas, Madagascar, Florida and Sri Lanka.

As a guide, you need to have a range of skills and be knowledgeable on many subjects; you just never know what questions you’ll get asked! My passion for orcas began while guiding on whale-watching boats for three winters in northern Norway. However, I’m also into birds, plants, geology and the history and culture of the areas I guide in.

Do you have a favourite destination or area to guide holidays in?

Being fluent in Icelandic, I am most at home and know Iceland like the back of my hand. There’s also so much about East Greenland that inspires me. However, I like to focus on the ‘now’ and I get enthusiastic about wherever I’m guiding at the time.

Why do you think people should consider going on an escorted holiday if they haven’t travelled in a group before?

A guided trip keeps you motivated to make the most of your holiday, particularly on short breaks. There is a huge variety of amazing experience alongside meeting like-minded people.

Finally, describe yourself in three words

I am positive, passionate and patient (the three P’s!)

“Having been in business since the sixties I am well able to recognise a gem and you surely have the finest in your industry; yes of course – Cathy Harlow. Simply a pleasure to be in her company while she imparted such deep and interesting Icelandic knowledge.”
Mr Bakewell, Iceland escorted holiday

iceland grundarfjordur orca watching ch

Feeling inspired?

Our collection of escorted holidays are chosen to appeal to independently minded travellers. They combine spectacular locations, incredible experiences and local knowledge to bring a place to life.

Speak to a specialist

Popular blog posts

7 Whale Watching Hotspots Around the World

Become a dedicated follower of flukes with our guide to the world's best places to spot cetaceans.
  • Wildlife

Friday, 17th February 2023

Destination Specialist

Top 9 Ways to see Canada’s Rocky Mountains

The Rockies are a must-see highlight on most Canada holiday itineraries, but how you choose to explore them can provide a truly unique perspective.
  • Adventure

Saturday, 25th March 2023

Destination Specialist

A Guide to the Best Road Trips

Imagine exploring a country at your own pace, driving through spectacular landscapes with your favourite songs playing in the background. From one-day classic drives to multi-day touring routes, read on for our pick of the world's great road trips.
  • Adventure
  • Inspire Me

Thursday, 9th June 2022

Pam Forrest

Suggested Holidays

Orcas and Aurora

from £1,866
excluding flights
4 nights Feb-Mar
Combine the excitement of seeing orca and the northern lights on this guided short break.
  • Northern Lights
  • Escorted
  • Short Break
  • Whale Watching
  • Wildlife
  • Winter Break

Best seller

Into the Blue – Whale Watching in Iceland

from £3,200
excluding flights
8 nights Jun
This 9-day small-group holiday is led by whale expert, Abbi Björgvinsson, and combines spectacular landscapes with three whale watching hot spots.
  • Wildlife
  • Escorted
  • Whale Watching