A couple who uprooted to the Isle of Skye to work for an activity holiday firm have won their tribunal fight after being told they would be paid, "if the company survives."

Skye Highland Adventures Ltd, which offers bespoke activity breaks and a Zombie experience dubbed 'the most intense legally available" has been ordered to pay their former employees thousands after losing an employment tribunal fight.

Outdoor enthusiasts Gregor McDonald and his partner Adele Fraser seized the opportunity after they spotted an ad by the firm looking for activity guides.

They were interviewed by director Douglas Brady and offered jobs, which they accepted, agreeing salaries of £24,000 each and entitlement to paid holidays in their written contract.

The couple moved to Skye to begin working for the firm, which is based in the village of Kyleakin and offers activities including kayaking and canyoning and started work on May 1 last year.

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The tribunal was told that shortly after they started in their new roles it became clear that the firm was struggling to get bookings.

At the end of their first month the couple were surprised to learn they had not been paid.

They challenged the owner and were told that they would not be paid for the first month because it was a “lie” month. 

This was not in their written contract, however they agreed to keep working after being reassured they would be paid in due course.


Further trading difficulties occurred in June and it became clear that the business was struggling. 

The tribunal was told that "various promises were made by Mr Brady" that their wages would be paid. 

The director had also insisted that Ms Fraser used her own vehicle for moving equipment, despite it being too small for this purpose.

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Although she initially agreed, in mid-June she advised Mr Brady that she was no longer prepared to do so. They had also been told to log claims for petrol but did not receive any payment.

At the end of June it was clear that the company was in financial difficulties and the couple indicated they wished to terminate their employment.


Mr Brady argued that he was not liable to pay their wages because of training costs but there was nothing in the written contract suggesting there was any obligation to do this.

The tribunal was shown texts from the former director of the firm, one of which said: “I won’t take the p***, you will be paid for sure but it will be in dribs and drabs at this rate.” 

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A further text dated 15 August 2022 reads: “I will pay you if the company survives.” 

Mr Brady told the tribunal that he had been stressed when he wrote the messages. 

Mr MacDonald was described as a "credible and reliable witness" whose account was corroborated at important points by the messages and written contract he produced.

The tribunal found the firm had no right to withhold their wages and no written authority to deduct training costs.

It was ordered to pay Mr MacDonald £4,404 and his partner £3,602 for unpaid wages, holiday pay and mileage costs accrued.

Bespoke all-inclusive breaks offered by the firm include private chefs, fast boats, bbqs on secret beaches. 

As well as outdoor activities, the company offers a Zombie experience, called The Running Dead, with training in urban warfare by "seasoned veterans". The firm describes the £349 activity as "the most intense experience ever legally made available to the public."

Participants, who are required to be over 16 are kitted out in full battle rig, trained to use firearms and trained to operate from armoured vehicles in combat conditions.

In the tribunal papers, it states that Mr Brady claimed he wasn't aware that the hearing was taking place and that he had left the company to work for a competition.

However, when contacted by The Herald, he denied he had left the firm.

He claimed the couple had refused to do any training but also acknowledged that this was voluntary.

He also claimed they didn't have the requisite qualifications to do the job but this is not mentioned in the tribunal papers.

When asked why the couple had not been paid, he said: "I'm not a bad bloke and I'm not trying to dodge it. I can't pay what I haven't earned."