Dr Steve Taylor

steve-taylor.jpgHead of Centre

d: 01397 874217
e: Steve Taylor


Current research

SAINT logoSteve’s current workload is centred on project management and development, consultancy and academic research.  With a track record of securing EU-funding for projects, the development of tourism and outdoor recreation projects through funding streams such as Interreg, Horizon 2020 and COSME is a central part of Steve’s duties.

One of Steve’s principal current roles is the management of the Slow Adventure in Northern Territories (SAINT) project.  Working with micro-businesses in the Highlands to capitalise on the current interest in nature-based outdoor experiences is the aim of this 2015-18 trans-national project led by CRTR.  Co-financed by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme, the €1.7 million project draws together a range of partners in Ireland, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland and Sweden.

He has been centrally involved in the majority of the centre’s projects, some of which are detailed at https://www.whc.uhi.ac.uk/research/previous-projects.  Most recently the centre worked with ekosgen on the 2015 national study to map out adventure tourism provision in Scotland.

He was part of the team that secured Joint Programming Initiative funding for a €660,000 trans-national project on gastronomic tourism.  With CRTR’s participation funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the 30-month project has partners in Italy, Spain and Sweden.

A core member of the Adventure Tourism Research Association, Steve has been intrinsically involved in the organisation of the four previous International Adventure Conferences and is currently working with the Institute of Technology Tralee, Ireland on the organisation of the 2016 event.

Steve is currently working on academic papers that examine mountain bikers’ commitment to their activity, outdoor recreation in Estonia and the promotion of nature-based tourism in northern lands.


PhD in Tourism, University of Otago, New Zealand
MSc (with Distinction) in Rural and Regional Resources Planning, University of Aberdeen
BA (Hons) in Geography, University of Leeds


Steve has a background in sustainable travel. He worked for the public sector for five years developing transport policy, writing successful European funding applications and managing projects such as the Interreg IIIC ‘Concept’ sustainable transport project. A move into the private sector, working as Principal Consultant for Capita Symonds, saw him developing further project management experience in the sustainable transport sector. At this time he developed a great passion for mountain biking.

Seeking his next challenge, Steve left the UK to undertake his adventure tourism PhD in New Zealand. His thesis was entitled “Extending the Dream Machine’: Understanding Dedicated Participation in Mountain Biking. Using a qualitative method of in-depth interviews and general induction analysis, he interviewed mountain bikers in New Zealand and the UK to try to understand the range of psychological, sociological and physiological factors, along with site characteristics and information sources, which influence their participation.

Working a season in Whistler kindled Steve’s other outdoor passion, skiing. His other interests include hiking, winter mountaineering, travel and contemporary literature.

Research interests

Mountain biking

Sustainable travel/transport

Psychological elements of adventure sports

Peer pressure/social recognition of recreational participation

List of Publications

Varley, P. and Taylor, S. (eds.) (2014) Being there: Slow, fast, traditional, wild, urban, natural…’, 2013 Adventure Conference: Proceedings, CRTR, Fort William.

Rowsell, B., Maher, P.T., Taylor, S. and Mullins, P.M. (2014) Mountain Bike Tourism Under the Midnight Sun.  In Viken, A. & Granas, B. (eds).  Destination Dynamics. Turns and Tactics.  Franham, Ashgate.

Taylor, S., Varley, P. and Diggins, N. (2013) Review of mountain developments and potential opportunities in Scotland.  In Pothecary, F., Brown, K.M. and Banks, E.A. (2013). Mountain biking in Scotland. Understanding and resolving land use conflict’, Vol 1.

Taylor, S., Varley, P. and Diggins, N. (2013) Developing mountain biking in the Scottish Highlands.  In Pothecary, F., Brown, K.M. and Banks, E.A. (2013). Mountain biking in Scotland. Understanding and resolving land use conflict’, Vol 1.

Taylor, S., Varley, P. and Johnston, T. (eds.) (2013) Adventure Tourism: Meaning, Experience and Learning, Abingdon, Routledge.

Taylor, S. (2010) ‘Extending the dream machine’: Understanding people’s participation in mountain biking. Annals of Leisure Research, 13(1 & 2), 259 – 281.

Carr, N. & Taylor, S. (2010) Sex shops of the 21st Century: Are ‘you’ being served? In N. Carr & Y. Poria. (eds). Sex and the sexual during people’s leisure and tourism experiences. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Conference Presentations

Taylor, S. (2015) The role of biking in the regional economic development: a case study of Scotland. Bike Alpe Adria Conference, March 2015, Dobrovo, Slovenia – invited speaker.

Taylor, S. (2014) Mountain biking’s role in regional economic development: the experience of Scotland.  Fjord Norway/NCE Tourism Workshop, September 2014, Voss, Norway – invited speaker.

Taylor, S. (2014) Understanding Mountain Bikers’ Choices of Recreational Settings, The 7th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas, August 2014, Tallinn, Estonia.

Varley, P. and Taylor, S. (2012) Making Meaning: Doxa, Habitus and Symbolic Capital in Mountain Biking, “Meanings, markets and magic” 2012 Adventure Conference, Fort William.

Varley, P. and Taylor, S. (2012) A Review of Mountain Biking in Scotland: Opportunities And Developments.  Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland National Conference, September 2012, Perth.