Cathy Harlow


Cathy was born and raised in Scotland. While growing up, her family traveled to Iceland by sea (a 2-day journey across the North Atlantic) on five different occasions to spend their holiday. There were very few, if any, tourists during that time.  With each visit, she became more hooked on Iceland’s wild and extraordinary landscapes.  After she finished her degree in Modern Languages, she came back to Iceland and worked in a fish factory in the east.  During that time, she met an Icelander and there was then no escape!

While studying at the University of Reykjavík, she did a training course to be a guide and took her first group around the island in 1987.  She realized that guiding was the perfect job for her to combine her passion for Iceland with her language skills.  Cathy has been working 30 seasons as a guide in Iceland and eight of them have been with Icelandic Mountain Guides.  She also worked in tour operations, a useful experience in which she researched Iceland tours, set them up and sold them. She has twice been shortlisted for the Wanderlust World Guide Awards for her work as a guide in Iceland.

Cathy loves to hike in wild places, watch whales (orcas are especially her passion), ski, cycle, and do wildlife and nature photography. Her favorite place in Iceland is the Fjallabak region because of its amazing variety of landscapes and colors, but she also loves the remote Hornstrandir area.

Currently, she divides her year between Iceland, the UK and the French Alps

Education and Qualifications

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Qualified Iceland Guide

Reviews from Clients

  • "Cathy provided excellent leadership - both knowledgeable & energetic. We had lots of fun."Anonymous
  • "Cathy was amazing! She was knowledgeable, organized, and personable. She made plenty of comments along the way to explain what we were seeing". Eric, United States