Scottish Folklore, the Selkie and the story of our logo

The Selkie and the story of the Intrepidus Outdoors logo



At Intrepidus Outdoors we provide real adventurous experiences in wild nature. In order for us to effectively manage the very present risks that our staff and clients face, our managers and guides are highly experienced and competent professionals. However, our team also embody the Intrepid philosophy to always aspire to increase their knowledge, understanding and abilities in their environment, while training hard to ensure that progress is a reality. We all have an enormous amount of respect for individuals who have dedicated their lives to understanding their environment, in terms of knowledge and skill, and this is amplified for those people who have the ability to thrive in oceans, mountainous regions and waterways.

At Intrepidus Outdoors we have a Selkie as our logo, this blog post will explain why!

The Selkie – An introduction

The selkie is a mythological being found amongst the folklore of Scotland. Selkies are shapeshifters, transforming between seal and human form by shedding and replacing their skin. In their human form, selkie folk are always referred to as being incredibly attractive. They are graceful, kind natured and amorous, resulting in any humans coming across them falling desperately in love.

Tales of Selkies are predominantly found in the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland, though they are not restricted to Scotland. Selkies also appear in the folklore of Ireland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and seal tales are also present in the folklore of the Inuit as well as the Chinook people of the West coast of America, where the Columbia river meets the sea.

The communities from which the tales originate are dependent on the sea for their livelihood. Living in close proximity to the sea, such communities are well aware of it’s ability to be a wild, tempestuous and an unpredictable force. The selkie is a symbol of it’s calm and bountiful temperament who often appear to saves the lives of child or fisherman who have fallen into the sea.

The tales themselves always depict selkies in the same light and are common in theme. Selkies love to come ashore, shed their skin and bask in the sunlight, or sing and dance by the light of the moon. Without their skin, they cannot return to the sea.

A Selkie Tale

The sea king and queen once lived happily with their many beautiful children. The children would spend all day frolicking amongst the coral gardens and lush meadows on the sea bed and their lives were full of singing and laughter.

One fateful day the sea queen fell ill. Nothing her king or the other sea folk could do would save her and, only weeks later, she died. The sea king and his children were bereft. The children missed their mother’s comforting arms and her gentle voice singing them to sleep at night. No longer could singing or laughter be heard in the coral caves and gardens.

Despite his sorrow, the king felt it was his duty to remarry and provide the children with a new mother. The sea witch, an ugly individual, due to many years of bitter jealousy of others, quite fancied the opportunity to become queen and rule over all those who had cause her such strife. She took advantage of the situation and convinced the sea king to marry her. However her jealousy over others continued and she now targeted her ill feelings at the sea children, who despite their sorrow were still more beautiful than the queen could ever be, for they were graceful and kind of heart.

The sea witch cast a spell on the kings children, turning them into seals, cursing them to never again be able to live in the kingdom, but to swim as seals forever more in the ocean, apart from the one day a year that they could shed their skin and take their true form on land.

The king, in his fury, banished the sea witch to a cave in the darkest depths of the ocean but no one could reverse the magic that had been done. And so the seals swim, and can often be found frolicking and singing near to the coast, amongst the shallows as was the nature of the sea-children.

One day, many years later, a tired young fisherman was heading home along the coastal path to his two young children. He was recently widowed and was struggling to bring up his children alone. The fisherman had to go to sea to try and earn money to keep his family and had no choice but to leave the children at home alone when he did so. While rounding the headland he happened upon a seal skin, discarded on the rocks. The fisherman felt the fine, silky pelt of the skin and thought what a fine price it would fetch, enough to allow him to employ an old maid to look after his young children while he was at sea. He took the pelt home with him and locked it safely in his wooden chest, hiding the key in the eaves, until the time came that he could take it to market.

That night the wind howled and the waves crashed upon the shore in an almighty storm. The fisherman was huddled with his two young children beside the fire telling a story to settle them when they heard a feint knock at the door. On opening the door, the fisherman was faced with the most beautiful creature he had ever laid eyes on. She had an old hessian sack wrapped around her naked body and her hair was wild and knotted with seaweed. She collapsed, sobbing, through the door and near enough passed out with exhaustion. The young fisherman wrapped the selkie girl in blankets and laid her down near the fire, thinking she must have come from a wreck at sea.

On waking the next morning, the fisherman and his two children found the selkie girl sitting by the fire, cooking porridge. She was incredibly grateful to the fisherman for inviting her into his home but could not tell him from where she had come, just that she had nowhere to go. The fisherman, who was so enchanted by the young woman’s beauty, insisted she stay until she was quite herself again. And so she stayed, for without her sealskin, the selkie could not return to the sea.

And so the days and weeks passed, the young woman kept the house, cooked the meals and cared for the fisherman’s children. In the evenings the fisherman would tell stories and the young woman would sing to the children. The selkie grew fond of the fisherman’s children, they reminded her of her own brothers and sisters and laughter returned to her life once more.

The fisherman fell deeper in love with the young woman every day until one day he asked her to marry him. Although she longed for the sea, the selkie had no way of returning without her skin (which, enchanted by the selkie, the fisherman had completely forgotten about, locked safe in his chest!) and she had found some happiness with the fisherman and his family, so she agreed. They were married and had children of their own and lived together in the little cottage for several years.

One winter’s morning, when the wind and the waves had been building all night and it was sure that a storm was coming, the fisherman readied himself for a day on the boat. The selkie couldn’t believe her husband was heading out but he would not listen to her pleas, insisting he knew how to read the weather after so many years on the sea and that there was no danger, the storm was passing further south.

The fisherman set off and the winds did grow stronger, and the waves more voracious. As the little cottage was battered by the storm, a sudden icy blast shook the roof and a small rusty key dropped from the eaves, where it had been hidden some years earlier. This very blast also chilled the bones of the selkie, convincing her something terrible had befallen her husband. She was set into some sort of trance, faced with images of her husband being thrown from his boat as it was torn apart by the storm, into the mercy of the storm fuelled sea.

The children meanwhile were delighted with the gift that had fallen from the eaves and examined the key carefully, imagining doorways to magical worlds and chests full of treasure. At this thought, the eldest girl grabbed the key and dashed across the room to the old chest. She placed the key in the lock and as she turned it, the lock clicked. Her brothers and sister rushed to join her and with excitement in their eyes, the children slowly lifted the lid which creaked open.

Whether it was the noise of the key turning in the lock, the creak of the lid opening or the familiar old smell of her skin, the selkie girl snapped out of her trance, turning to see her children pulling her long lost skin out of the chest. She knew in that instant the fate that had befallen her husband and dashed across the room, taking her old familiar skin in her hands. With nothing more than a quick kiss on each child’s head, the selkie was out of the door and running to the shore. She threw off her clothes and put on the skin, diving into the water she had once called home. She swam out in the storm and found her husband, clinging to a broken barrel amongst the waves. She returned him to the shore near the cottage, where, the next morning, he was found, unconscious but alive.

The selkie however could never return to land, for the constraints of the witches spell had been broken, she had remained on land longer than the day she was allowed, and she would remain a seal forever more.

Foundations of selkie tales

The Sami people, who once inhabited parts of Scandinavia split into two groups, the mountain and sea Sami. The mountain Sami are most commonly known for herding reindeer whereas the sea Sami were fishermen and, in a similar fashion to the Inuit, would voyage far and wide in kayaks made from seal skin.

The Sea Sami of Scandinavia were skilled kayak hunters. Their efficiency, precision in a boat and knowledge of the ocean and coast line was unrivalled. It is thought that children as young as five could capsize their kayaks and then right the boat again with just their hands and a flick of the hips.

These Sami kayakers would wear skin clothing to protect them from the rain and the waves and, it is told, that on long voyages they would stitch themselves into their kayaks for better protection when battling storms and big waves.

The seal skin kayaks will only remain buoyant until it is saturated and once this point is reached, the kayaks would be sitting deeper, often just under the surface of the sea. The kayakers would need to come ashore, shed their skins and dry out in the sun before setting off again. One can only imagine what that must have looked like to passers by…

Intrepidus Outdoors and the Selkie

We have chosen to adopt the image of the Selkie for our logo because we think that Selkie folklore alongside the Sami people, the likely foundation of these tales, is the perfect metaphor for a company motivated by sustainabaility and competency in nature. Our team aspire to have that intimate knowledge of the canyons, rivers and coastal regions that the Sami people had of their hunting grounds.


Who are we | Intrepidus Outdoors

MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoningcoasteeringmountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. We are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people.

If you are looking for additional information about adventures from Edinburgh, we have published a number of blogs:

  • Welcome to Edinburgh- A guide to the Scottish Capital here
  • 6 steps to being happy like a Scot here 
  • You’ll never get bored in Edinburgh here 
  • 8 Scottish Wonders: here
  • Best Budget Hotels and Hostels Edinburgh here 
  • Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here
  • Best Restaurants in Edinburgh here

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the our  Trip AdvisorYoutube channelVisit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventures with us! Equally, if there is any gear that you would like us to review, drop us a DM.

Intrepidus Outdoors – Adventures Edinburgh, Scotland!

Intrepidus Outdoors is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and specialises in Outdoor Activities. We are an adventure tourism and outdoor education provider based in Edinburgh. However, we also operate out of Glasgow, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Tweed ValleyPerth, Fort William, Cairngorm National Park, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Loch Tay.

We specialise in canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. The experiences that we provide take clients into some of the most exquisite, incredible and extreme environments the UK has to offer. Through our MY Adventure (Edinburgh) brand we are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people. These expeditions are through the disciplines of hill walking as well as canoeing. 

Mission Statment :

To deliver the highest quality adventurous experiences to entertain, thrill and inspire.


Outdoor Activities: Edinburgh & Scotland

Our values reflect those of a business started by a small group of rock climbers and mountain bikers. The experiences that we have had adventuring, and our passion for the outdoors, has led us to choose a lifestyle dedicated to sharing our love for the outdoors with others. The approach that we take to the experiences that we provide, and the business that we run, is that of sustainability, and an unapologetic quest for quality.

For us at Intrepidus Outdoors, we recognise that our experiences kayaking in clean rivers, surfing on unpolluted beaches and climbing frozen waterfalls have contributed to who we are as people. Therefore, protecting the planet so that the next generation of adventurers can have their own experiences, is hugely important for us. We believe that for people, communities and businesses to make the choice to minimise their impact on our planet, they must first value the planet that we have. We feel that the best way for people to value our blue planet, is to have first hand quality experiences in nature. They can then see the beauty of a forest, feel the power of an ocean and learn to love what is outside our towns and cities, so that they then fight to protect them. We strive to through the products that we deliver make a small difference to peoples understanding of the impact that they have on our world.

Our experiences adventuring have made us who we are and Intrepidus Outdoors is a reflection of us. We provide real adventurous experience that we hope you will cherish.


Adventure Activities: Edinburgh & Scotland

There are cities where stuff is happening all year round and where you will never get bored. Edinburgh is undoubtedly one of these cities. It’s an extraordinary place, full of history, festivals, impressive architecture and plenty of attractions you won’t find anywhere else. Not to mention that we are located on the door step of so many amazing adventures and outdoor experiences.

We would like to introduce you to this extraordinary city, giving you a full range of possibilities that can be found north of the wall! Edinburgh has a huge dose of beautiful history, world-famous festivals, fantastic attractions, adrenaline fuled expereinces and great food. Edinburgh is calling you and you simply cannot refuse its invitation.

There are a many outdoor and adventurous experiences to be had in Edinburgh. If you are a thrill seeker visiting Edinburgh and interested in a canyoning, coasteering or mountain biking adventure in Scotland, Get In Touch!

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is a fantastic destination with a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. Here are 11 reasons why Edinburgh is a great city to visit with friends:

  1. Historic Architecture: Edinburgh is known for its historic and impressive architecture. Explore the medieval Old Town, with its narrow alleys and the iconic Edinburgh Castle perched on Castle Rock. The contrasting Georgian New Town offers elegant streets and squares.

  2. Edinburgh Castle: Dominating the city’s skyline, Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit. Explore the various sections of the castle, learn about its history, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from its vantage points.

  3. Royal Mile: The Royal Mile is the main street of the Old Town, running from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It’s lined with shops, pubs, and street performers, making it a lively and entertaining stroll.

  4. Festivals: Edinburgh is famous for its festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. If you visit during August, you’ll be treated to a vibrant atmosphere with countless performances, events, and shows.

  5. Scenic Views: Climb Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano located in Holyrood Park, for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. It’s a great place for a hike or a picnic with friends.

  6. Cultural Museums: Edinburgh boasts several excellent museums, including the National Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, and the Scottish National Gallery. These institutions offer a diverse range of exhibits, from art and history to science and technology.

  7. Whisky Tasting: Scotland is renowned for its whisky, and Edinburgh is a great place to sample some of the finest Scotch whiskies. Explore local pubs and whisky bars to experience the rich and varied world of Scottish spirits.

  8. Haunted History: Edinburgh is known for its haunted history, and there are various ghost tours that take you through the city’s spookiest spots. It’s a fun and eerie way to learn about the darker side of Edinburgh’s past.

  9. Dynamic Arts Scene: The city has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous theaters, galleries, and performance spaces. Whether you’re into traditional or contemporary arts, you’re likely to find something that suits your tastes.

  10. Friendly Atmosphere: Scots are known for their friendliness, and you’ll likely find the welcoming atmosphere extends to the city itself. The friendly locals and the convivial ambiance of Edinburgh make it an excellent destination for a memorable trip with friends.

  11. Outdoor Activities on your Doorstep: Edinburgh is on the edge of the Pentland Hills, Ochil Hills, East Lothian, the East Neuk of Fife and a hour and a half drive from the Cairngorm National Park. We deliver outdoor adventures, activities and exciting pursuits to all of these amazing locations. 

Outdoor Adventures Scotland.

We operate out of Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Tweed ValleyPerth, Fort William, Cairngorm National Park, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Loch Tay.

It’s no secret that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From the rural coastlines to vast mountain ranges, we have it all. Whatever kind of experience you’re after you’re sure to find it here, so we’ve put together an adventurer’s guide to Scotland to help get you started. Our guide breaks down all the outdoor activities Edinburgh has to offer and many more adventures to keep you entertained on your holiday.

Scotland’s allure for outdoor adventures is rooted in its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse landscapes. From the rugged peaks of the Scottish Highlands to the tranquil shores of its countless lochs, the country provides a stunning backdrop for a myriad of outdoor activities. Hikers can traverse historic trails like the West Highland Way, while mountaineers are drawn to the challenge of scaling iconic peaks such as Ben Nevis. The expansive coastline and intricate network of rivers offer opportunities for water enthusiasts, from thrilling white-water rafting to peaceful kayaking. Scotland’s commitment to preserving its wilderness allows for accessible exploration, inviting both seasoned adventurers and casual nature lovers alike. With a rich cultural heritage woven into its landscapes, including ancient castles and historic sites, Scotland stands as an exceptional destination for those seeking not just outdoor excitement, but a profound connection with the untamed beauty of the natural world.

Moreover, Scotland’s outdoor appeal extends to its diverse range of activities, accommodating adventurers with varying interests and skill levels. Cyclists can navigate scenic routes, taking in the breathtaking views of rolling hills and coastal panoramas. As winter blankets the land, the Cairngorms and Glencoe transform into playgrounds for skiers and snowboarders, offering a thrilling winter sports experience. Wildlife enthusiasts find solace in the country’s natural habitats, where red deer roam freely, eagles soar overhead, and seals bask along the rugged shoreline. The proximity of Edinburgh, the capital city, further enhances the Scottish adventure, providing a seamless transition from urban exploration to the untamed wonders that lie just beyond its borders. In every season, Scotland’s outdoor wonders beckon, promising a tapestry of experiences that blend natural splendor with a rich tapestry of history and culture.

MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoningcoasteeringmountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. We are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people.

If you are looking for additional information about adventures from Edinburgh, we have published a number of blogs:

  • Welcome to Edinburgh- A guide to the Scottish Capital: here
  • 6 steps to being happy like a Scot: here 
  • Adventures guide to Scotland: here
  • You’ll never get bored in Edinburgh: here 
  • Best Budget Hotels and Hostels Edinburgh: here 
  • Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here
  • Best Restaurants in Edinburgh: here

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the our  Trip AdvisorYoutube channelVisit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventures with us! Equally, if there is any gear that you would like us to review, drop us a DM.

Here is a list of our Frequently Asked Questions about Outdoor Adventures from Edinburgh!

What are the best outdoor activities in and around Edinburgh?

Canyoning, Coasteering, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Canoeing and Rock Climbing!

Is Edinburgh a good venue for adventures?

Edinburgh is on the doorstep of incredible locations for outdoor adventures. Only a short minibus ride and you are in world class venues for coasteering, canyoning, mountain biking and hiking.

Are your adventures suitable for beginners?

Yes. Our outdoor adventures are great for everyone!

Do you provide all the equipment?

We provide all technical equipment for your outdoor adventures with us. This includes canyoning and coasteering boots!

Is Edinburgh good to visit?

Yes. Edinburgh is a fantastic city to visit, offering a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Is Edinburgh expensive?

If you live in the south of England, No. If you live in the Midlands or the North of England, Yes.

How much is a pint in Edinburgh?

Between £4 and £6

Do you collect us from our hotel for adventure tours?

Yes. On our private adventure tours we collect clients from their hotels.

Where do you collect open group tours from?

Edinburgh Waverley Train Station – The Market Street Entrance.

What is the age range of your adventures?

Open groups 14+. Private groups all ages!

How extreme are your outdoor adventure tours?

Canyoning and coasteering has jumps up to 10meters and the canyoning has waterfall abseiling uptimes 17 meters. So you tell us?!

How much are your adventure tours?

Days trips from £95 per person including transport.

What is the most popular outdoor adventure from Edinburgh?

Canyoning. People LOVE canyoning. We also love canyoning!

Do you take pictures?

Yes. All instructors will take pictures with their iPhones and GoPro’s. They will send them to you after the adventure.

What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Our team like lots of different adventures! Some like the extreme trips like canoeing while others like the more mellow tours like canoeing.

How are your trip advisor review so good?

We aim the exceed the expectations of our clients on all our outdoor adventure tours from Edinburgh!

Where do you run adventure tours from?

We operate out of Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, Tweed Valley, Perth, Fort William, Bruar, Dollar, Alva, Cairngorm National Park, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Loch Tay.  .

What are your group sizes for private outdoor adventure tours?

Between 8 and 80!

Do you provide transport for your outdoors experiences?

Yes! We have a National Operators License to operate our own fleet of 17 seater minibuses.

Who is the best adventure tour provider in Edinburgh?

With over 350 5star TripAdvisor reviews the Intrepidus team aims to exceed our customers expectations in every trip!

What provider runs the best outdoor experiences in Scotland?

Intrepidus Outdoors run canyoning, coasteering and hiking almost every day and we have over 350 5star TripAdvisor reviews!


Unit 2/2
Edlin Industrial Estate
Edgefield Road
EH20 9QX


Phone: 0131 357 1990

Opening hours

Mon - Fri
8:00 to 18:30
Sat & Sun
8.30 to 19.30