Wild Scotland: Highlands, Islands & Hidden Gems 

  • Innovative and flexible wildlife photography tour of Scotland

  • Choose one, two or all three sections!

  • Choose self drive or our transfers

  • Small group plus specialised hides and activities ensure the best photographic opportunities

  • Wildlife highlights include osprey, white tailed eagle, golden eagle, otter, red deer, pine marten, badger, dolphin, red squirrel, red kite, puffin & other breeding seabirds, native flora & magnificent landscapes

  • Individual Photography & Videography Tuition from award-winning wildlife photographer, film maker, BBC presenter and travel writer Trai Anfield

2019 DATES

 

Scotland: Highlands   Saturday XX – Monday YY June 2019

Scotland: Islands   Saturday XX – Monday YY June 2019

Scotland: SW Hidden Gem Hides 

Course leaders: Trai Anfield & Peter Haygarth

Minimum 4 people, maximum 8 in two groups

Wild Scotland Part 1: Highlands

xx May - yy June 2019

HIGHLANDS OVERVIEW

Join us on the northernmost section of our Scotland Spring Safari, when we will focus on osprey in full fishing dive, pine marten, red squirrel and dolphin. Along the way we will look out for all of the Highland's other iconic wildlife including golden eagle and red deer, as well as the stunning land, sea and sky scapes of the Highlands.  

Osprey: nowhere other area affords better chances of photographing these glorious birds head on in flight and diving for fish.  We will make use of specialist hides and to maximise our chances we will book in for two morning sessions. 

Dolphin: bottlenose dolphin and porpoise are a regular delight off the coast of Invernesshire.  We will have opportunities to photograph them from the shoreline, as they swim and play unbelievably close by, on the hunt for running salmon, and also from the water on our boat charter.

Pine marten: to see these lovely creatures in good light is indeed a treat!  During spring and summer when they have their young, martens can regularly be seen at this hide throughout the day.  We hope to be lucky enough to see the kits with their mother as they are introduced to the outside world. 

Red Squirrel: No Scotland safari would be complete without antics from these gorgeous wee animals.  Lithe, curious and full of mischief, they are wonderful subjects to photograph over and over again!

 

HIGHLANDS ITINERARY

 

1

Travel to Aviemore and check into Aviemore accommodation

 

1900 Pre-tour briefing and dinner (optional) - RESTAURANT

2

FULL DAY - RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

To kick off our Highlands experience we have secured an unprecedented private photography tour of the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with species which roamed Scotland in years gone by, including wolf, lynx, wolverine and bison.  RZSS are also a key partner of the Scottish Wildcat Project, and we will have a rare opportunity to photograph these small but charismatic and precious native cats that are now even rarer than tigers! ...speaking of which, the park also houses endangered wildlife from around the world and, depending on circumstances, we may have the chance to photograph snow leopard, amur tiger, polar bear and many other incredible species in natural surroundings - not Scottish, but an irresistible bonus!

Although an optional extra, this day is an invaluable chance for less experienced photographers to learn techniques before heading out into the wild, and also a terrific opportunity for more experienced photographers to add to their portfolio with unique behind the scenes access to rare species.

 

Overnight Aviemore accommodation

3

Aviemore Ospreys / Rothiemurchis

Early Morning:

Incredible access to this area’s famous ospreys, in flight, diving and fishing, from hide #1 at Aviemore Ospreys

Breakfast followed by Review and post processing session #1

Afternoon free - processing session #1/ Aviemore activities - cultural/wildlife etc

Overnight Aviemore accommodation

4

Early Morning: 

Aviemore Ospreys / Rothiemurchis

Incredible access to this area’s famous ospreys, in flight, diving and fishing, from hide #2 at Aviemore Ospreys

 

Mid Morning:

Breakfast, pack followed by transfer across to Black Isle

 

Late Afternoon:

Hide session with pine martens/red squirrel

Overnight Black Isle Accommodation

5

Early Morning:

Hide session with pine martens/red squirrel

 

Rest of Day:

Shoreline photography of dolphins, who feed around Chanonry Point on spawning salmon

Boat trip to continue our photography shoot out at sea

Evening: Review & Processing session #2

Overnight Black Isle Accommodation OR travel home

END OF HIGHLAND SECTION

6

Transfer Day for those joining us for both Highlands and Islands sections of the safari

A relaxed start to the day then we continue our Scotland safari with a scenic drive to Oban where we will catch the ferry across to the Isle of Mull, our base for the next 4 nights. Ferry boarding approx 1500.

Overnight - Mull Accommodation

Wild Scotland Part 2: Islands

xx May - yy June 2019

ISLANDS OVERVIEW

On this leg of our epic Scotland Safari we concentrate on species associated with the sea...and ironically we will be doing a lot of walking!

 

White tailed sea eagles are one of Scotland's most magnificent wildlife sightings, and also one of the country's great conservation success stories. During our bespoke photography boat trip we will spend several hours out at sea with these awesome birds as they patrol the skies above and dive for fish close to the boat.  A thrilling experience and a real photographic challenge!

Otters are shy but on our Mull wildlife tour our local expert guide will get us as close to these charming creatures as possible, on foot on a private otter walk.

Birdlife on the island includes golden eagle, hen harrier, short eared owl, while the coast attracts a plethora of waders in summer too.

Puffins are undoubtedly the bird that most people visit the Treshnish Isles to see, and here you'll encounter them closer than anywhere else, making for wonderful photography.  Although puffins may be the stars, you'll also find over 40 different species of birds on Lunga, including razorbills, thousands of guillemots on the Harp Rock, fulmars, storm petrels, kittiwakes, herring gulls, and shags (plus if we're lucky a few rarer migrants).  As well as concentrating on the birds -  the coast attracts a plethora of waders in summer too - we will look out for whales, basking sharks, dolphins, porpoise and seals from the boat, and visit Fingals Cave on the Isle of Staffa - a hugely impressive geological wonder that also happens to be very photogenic.

Flora is another highlight,, with a variety of habitats and little gems like sundew on this jewel of Scottish islands.

ISLANDS ITINERARY

7

Full Day

We will split into two smaller groups for the next two days, during which we'll photograph two key species: otters and eagles.

One group will go in search of otters, on foot on a privately guided photography walk (Mull Magic (Ruth)

The other group will walk through the heart of Mull's golden eagle territory, also searching for short eared owls, hen harrier and more Mull star species on this privately guided photography walk (Mull Magic (Ruth)

Overnight - Mull Accommodation

8

Full Day

Whichever walk your group did yesterday, you will do the other one today, photographing more iconic species along the way.

 

Overnight - Mull Accommodation

9

Half day 

Morning / Evening - to be confirmed

A private charter photography boat trip to photograph white tailed sea eagles in flight, diving and fishing in optimum light and close to the boat.

Rest of Day

Free - processing/activities

Overnight - Mull Accommodation

10 

Full Day

Today we head over to the Treshnish Islands by boat, the finest place to photograph puffins, razorbills, guillemots and shags, plus a chance to see whale, dolphin and Fingal’s Cave, Staffa on the way

Evening

Review and END OF ISLANDS SECTION

Overnight - Mull Accommodation

Fingal's cave

Otter

11

Transfer Day for those joining us for both the Islands and Hidden Gems Hides sections of the safari

A relaxed start to the day then we continue our Scotland safari by catching the ferry back to Oban, followed by a scenic drive to galloway, our base for the next 4 nights. Ferry boarding approx 1100.

Overnight - Kirkcudbright Accommodation

Wild Scotland Part 3: Hidden Gems

xx May - yy June 2019

HIDDEN GEMS OVERVIEW

South West Scotland’s Solway area is a little visited, wildlife rich gem.  We book exclusive use of a network of specialist professional hides to get you close to all of the region’s iconic Springtime species… these are the secret places that many top pros use to create those shots you see and think “wow – how did they get that??”  We will also take the opportunity to explore astro photography in this Dark Skies designated area…weather permitting!

Kingfisher - one of the most beautiful and dynamic birds to photograph - this hide is the UK's premier location for those WOW! shots

 

Sparrowhawk - Chris Packham's World's Best Bird, and star of BBC Autumnwatch 2015 - sparrowhawk Mad Max (& Mrs Max!)

Exclusive use of the hides used on Autumnwatch to photograph and video these tremendous sparrowhawks.

What Chris says about Mad Max:     "Best bird I've ever seen..."      "Awesome..."      "The greatest individual bird on planet earth..."

Watch Mad Max & Chris Packham's encounter on Autumnwatch at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p037b652

 

Adder - we're pretty keen to bet that this is as close as you could ever get to this fascinating and beautiful creature - a one-off photographic opportunity  

 

Badger - the hides here provide excellent access to this perennial favourite of UK wildlife.  Being able to photograph badgers here in daylight and close proximity means you'll go home with wonderfully intimate shots

 

Cuckoo - just back from Africa, these birds are keen to mate and put on a display for photography that's unmatched anywhere in the UK

Red Kite - the spectacle of up to 150 red kites spiralling overhead is a dizzying one. With exhilarating opportunities to photograph the birds in flight, diving for food and fighting in mid air for scraps, this is the perfect opportunity to bag a unique image.

 

Dipper / Pied Flycatcher - from these hides you will have the chance to photograph busy parent birds bringing in food for their hungry chicks

...and you're always likely to see a few surprise guests such as fox, red squirrel, deer and countless woodland birds! 

HIDDEN GEMS ITINERARY

(11

Travel Day to Kirkcudbright Accommodation)

We will split into two smaller groups for the next three days, during which we'll have exclusive use of a network of professional hides.

 

12 

Daytime

For group 1 our key species today is the kingfisher, and our hide here in Galloway is the premier place to photograph these brilliant birds in the UK

For group 2 our hide today will allow us to photograph Sparrowhawk, red squirrel, a plethora of woodland birds and - as dusk descends - fox and tawny owl

Evening

Badger / Pine Marten - staying in our small groups, we shall use two hides to access these elusive mammals

 

Overnight - Kirkcudbright Accommodation

13 

Full Day

Whichever hide your group was based in yesterday, you will photograph from the other one today!

Evening

Badger / Pine Marten - again, whichever hide your group was based in yesterday evening, you will photograph from the other one now!

Overnight - Kirkcudbright Accommodation

14

Morning / Early Afternoon

Staying in our small groups we will focus on Adder, Cuckoo, Dipper and Pied Flycatcher, rotating the groups through the hides so everyone gets the chance of some brilliant shots.

Afternoon

Review and Post Processing #3

Overnight - Kirkcudbright Accommodation

15

Late Morning

A relaxed start for packing up, followed by a fitting finale to our Wild Scotland safari: a photography session of up to 150 red kites in flight, diving, feeding and duelling.

Approx 3pm

Final goodbyes and head home

END OF HIDDEN GEMS SECTION