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About Us

Encounter Cornwall is run by David and Karen from their village base in Golant – two miles up the estuary from Fowey’s busy waterfronts.

David has been leading trips for most of his life. Previous to Encounter Cornwall his “patch” was the world – leading groups and travelling independently in over 100 countries from Mongolia to Timbuctoo – and from Bora Bora to the summit of Kilimanjaro. More recently sailing became a passion, qualifying as a Yachtmaster and competing in three Fastnet races before moving to the Fowey Estuary. After getting to know a little about a lot of the world he now focuses on getting intimate with this little patch of Cornwall. The abundant estuary wildlife; the subtle changes of the seasons and tides; the fascinating local and natural history; and in getting to know the many characters who live around the estuary.

Karen initially trained as a musician, and in order to help fund her studies ran a business designing and printing textiles. After moving to Cornwall in 2002, she studied horticulture at the Duchy College, and made the great outdoors her office! Now, the office space extends to the water, and her multitasking skills are put to good use being in charge of the creative side of Encounter Cornwall, along with the social media.



Our garden at the Boatshed was created from scratch, recycling much that was on site, and most of the plants are raised at home (plus a few to sell if you’re lucky!). Our floor map of the estuary was Karen's work, some of her artwork is for sale, and through her involvement with the wildlife and landscape she has become passionate about protecting and recording the natural environment. She regularly collects data and posts it on the ORKs wildlife records site for Friends of the Fowey Estuary.

She has discovered a new passion for photography - every photograph we use has been taken by Karen (apart from a few by David….) more often than not from a kayak, which is not as easy as it sounds!

Kayaking is our hobby as well as our living, but we also love singing & performing jazz together when we have time (usually in the Winter!). More recently they have both been heavily involved in designing and building "The Sanctury", an off-grid centre for activities with accommodation sitting in 12 acres of woodland and pasture which will open in June 2019.

2 years ago we also welcome Steve to the team. He has been a keen kayaker for many years, but as landlord of our local 'Fisherman's Arms' he had very little time to get out on the water in the summer! He is a skilled builder and DIY-er, and can often be found playing the guitar with us in the pub! He is now a licensed Boatman, and joins us guiding you in this very beautiful part of Cornwall.

Both David & Karen have a pretty good idea of what wildlife you are likely to see when, and are always happy to have an excuse to chat about it! Their passion for wildlife has won them two Cornwall Wildlife Friendly Business Awards  - commended in  2014 and Bronze in 2016. We are extremely pleased to have also won a Silver award for 'Best Guided Tour', 2017-18.

Encounter Cornwall is a member of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the local Friends of the Fowey Estuary, and were one of 12 specially chosen members of Coast (Cornwall Sustainable Tourism) Reboot – an experimental programme to show the positive environmental impact that businesses can have, which has helped shape our thinking!

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