Born & raised in the Orkney Isles, Alan is no stranger to long journeys. As a student in Edinburgh required a whole day of travelling with ferries, buses and trains to & from University when the cost of flights were too high. As a business-man he started a multi-store retail-franchise in Inverness, and had to undertake trips south to Birmingham with a 9am conference start but still had to work 9-5pm as a small business couldn't afford time away from the store, so a long drive and hotel stay was required. Imagine how much more could have been done if an overnight transport solution were available?
As a green badge tour guide in Orkney Alan was aware of how limited tourists time is in Scotland, especially if part of a bigger UK tour. His first restricted operators licence venture was with HORSE-ON, a north expression meaning to get from A to B with a bit of zest, taken from his Bus driving instructor when trying to accelerate quickly from a turn. The 16 seat luxury Iveco Daily minicoach from David Fishwicks served country restaurants with private hires from Kirkwall, and serving the cruise liners calling into port for short day trips around the island.
Following Retail and Property investments, Alan has returned to his calling with the formation of Travel by Knight - the logo based on one of his heros Don Quixote from the musical Man of La Mancha.
At the Euro Bus exhibition in October 2016, Alan approached Swansea Coachworks, conversion specialists of minibuses, with the idea of a bus with no seats, designed for sleep only travel, with an elevated headrest similar to sleeper bus designs he had seen in East Asia on larger scale vehicles, so that the person behinds feet would occupy the space underneath the pillow area.
Whilst the minicoach was under constrauction, a Double decker tour band bus was purchased in March 2017 to begin the Travel by Knight fleet, named Titania from her Liverpool origins, this has been used on hires to Germany and Glastonbury, an Ayats Bravo with 14 sleeping berths, upstairs entertainment lounge, and downstairs kitchen & toilet. Alan now having gained his Road Transport managers CPC, D+E trailer license, and Drivers CPC and working part-time as Transport Manager for a small coach company in Dunfermline, Travel by Knight was brought nearer to the Scottish central belt for a bigger population to bring this to market.
At the Coach & Bus show in Birmingham in October 2017, after a few setbacks the UKs first sleeper minicoach was almost ready. Swansea were unable to showcase her but 2 weeks later all was complete and she hit the road. Since then various marketing methods have been used to bring this to market as a new travel concept, saving passengers time from combining the time that they travel long distance with the time that they sleep.
Appearing in 4 bus trade magazines, Scottish newspapers, Radio Scotland and social media - Snowdonia the Sleeper Minicoach , named from her Welsh origins, was presented at the British Tourism & Travel show at NEC, Birmingham and was received well with hundreds wanting to get onboard, intrigued with the vehicle vinyl tagline "Would you go to bed with me?".
On the evening of the show was the Coach Tourism Awards, attended by Alan & Dei, and to much surprise were awarded the Innovation of the Year.
Alan has often quoted that the dream is to create a network of sleeper buses that will one day connect Glasgow all the way to Beijing in a series of 500 mile overnight journeys from city to city.
The minicoach will be on display at the Euro Bus exhibition in October, 2 years after the idea was planted and is hoped following a summer of busy charted bus rentals from people looking to save their day, when they Travel by Knight.
experienced driver of long haul road transport, and recently turned his hand to coach work. Meticulous to standards and cleanliness of the vehicles he is responsible for, your in safe hands when he is behind the wheel
Alan gives his cream referral for groups he’s looking to target with the overnight sleeper minicoach. Overlooking Aberdeen harbour with the Northlink ferry calling in