Shetland Photo Tours 2018
 

 Sunday 3rd June - Saturday 9th June 2018  - Sorry This Tour Is Full

Sunday 10th June - Saturday 16th June 2018 - Sorry This Tour Is Full

​Please contact me if you wish to add your name to the waiting/cancelation list.
 

We fell for the charms of Shetland and its friendly and welcoming people many years ago and have made many return visits. Each and every time have returned from our travels with stories to tell and memory cards full of images. It’s without a shadow of a doubt my second favourite destination to photograph wildlife, outwith my beloved Cairngorms.

Here’s some stunning facts and figures about Shetland and its abundant wildlife.

 

Shetland lies 600 miles north of London and just 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle. 

In mid-June Shetland enjoys the 'simmer dim' (Mid-Summer) the sun only dips below the northern horizon for a few hours. this results in a staggering 19 hours of daylight!

Shetland has over 1600 miles of spectacular coastline.

The population of Otters in Shetland is approximately 12% of the UK total and is the densest population in Europe!

In the Breeding season bird numbers swell to over a million breeding seabirds - that's more than 10% of the British total!

125,000 or 20% of the U.K's population of Puffins breed in Shetland.

Shetland has its very own species of Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes zetlandicus).

I am delighted to announce yet another year of our ever popular Shetland wildlife photography tours. The price is for a fully catered week staying in what is in my opinion the nicest property available in the Shetlands! The views from the property are simply stunning and can hardly be beaten. Otters swim in the Voe , Arctic Terns flit around and fill the air with their chatter, delicate Ringed plovers scuttle along the beach, Bonxies cruse by with a dark menace! And there's always a slim chance of a pod of Orca's, although they have always somehow evaded me, in 2017 by just a matter of a couple of days!! The unique Shetland Wren is abundant and nest very nearby in the stone dykes and along the rocky shores. Golden Plover and Dunlin inhabit the nearby hillside. At night lie in bed with the windows open and drift off to sleep to the sound of Snip drumming, life doesn't get much better!

On this tour we aim to share with you the best wildlife photography opportunities Shetland has to offer. With a maximum of three clients we can guarantee time spent with you as individuals. On the two days we have scheduled for Otter photography the group will be split up in to two smaller parties, one will guided by a good friend of mine John Moncrieff. John is a local lad, born and bred in Shetland. His intimate knowledge if ’his’ otters are second to none. Any day spent in his company is an absolute pleasure. One day spent with John in 2015 he showed us no less than five Otters within a one mile stretch of coastline!

 

We will travel in a well-equipped and spacious vehicle; this will allow lots of room for you and your equipment.

 

We always try our hardest to support local businesses; wherever possible all Breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be made using only the finest locally sourced produce. Snacks, juice and water will available throughout the day.

 

Below you will find an example of how the week’s itinerary would be. Like all activities that rely on the weather, the real-time schedule will be decided on a day-to-day basis, therefore maximizing the opportunities available.

Day 1. Sunday

 

You will be picked up at either Sumburgh airport or from the ferry in Lerwick. Depending on the times of the flights/ferries we will try to sneak in a sneaky few hours with my favorite of the Shetland residents, the Tammie Nories (Puffins). For those of you on the Ferry, you will be arriving in the morning so a packed lunch & snacks will be provided. In the evening, over a delicious home cooked dinner, we will have a chat about the week ahead and get to know each other.

Day 2. Monday

 

As you’ll still be a bit tired after yesterday’s travelling, today we will break you in gently with a day of Otter photography. After a hearty breakfast. We will meet up with John our resident Otter expert and split up into two small groups. One group will be guided by Andy and one by John (the groups will be reversed for the second Otter day) Today you will learn about Otter behavior, you will be become an expert in identifying and spotting sparainting spots (piles of Otter poo!). If you are feeling brave you can also sniff it, it smells faintly of violets! We will also be searching for rolling spots and fresh water pools, where the Otters bathe to wash the salt from there pelage. Once we locate an Otter a very careful and considered approach will be taken, no picture is worth spooking an Otter for. Our principal aim is to have close encounters with Otters; this will only be achieved with good field craft. John and Andy will carefully guide you in the correct approach.  If required the boys will also help you with camera settings and any technical assistance required.

 

A packed lunch, drinks and snacks will be provided. Home cooked evening meal.

Day 3. Tuesday

 

An earlier start today as we’re heading to the beautiful wee island of Fetlar. Getting there requires two ferry journeys. One from the mainland of Shetland to Yell, the second from Yell to Fetlar. One of the charms of Shetland is the possibility of surprise encounters. In 2013 whilst on this very journey Andy managed to see and photograph a very migrant to British waters, a Bearded Seal. Today’s main target species will be the rare and dainty wader, The Red Necked Phalarope. Nothing can prepare you for the speed these tiny wee birds wheel about in the margins looking for food. They look a bit like clockwork toys!

 

Another local delights found on the island include, Snipe. Fingers crossed we get some posers. Who doesn’t want the classic, ‘Snipe on a post shot?’ We will also be on the lookout for Red Throated Divers, Bonxies, Arctic Skua, Whimberel, Golden Plover, Wheatears and Meadow Pipits. Depending on the time constraints we may even have time to look for Otters.

 To maximise the time spent on Photography we will stay on the island until 8pm. This will result in late return to base of about 10pm. Don’t forget that at this time of the year it will still be light at 11pm!

A packed lunch and plenty of snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the day, on our late arrival back at base we’ll have a light supper before bed.

Day 4. Wednesday

 

After the late finish of the previous night we will have an easy day today. The target species today will be Tammie Norries (Puffins), Mallie’s (Fulmar) and the magnificent Gannets, we may even bump into some Arctic Skua's along the way.

 

Day 5. Thursday

For those who don’t fancy a lie in, we’ll have an explore around some of the nearby locations. One such area is renound for Orca sightings, you never know!

 

After lunch we will again spend the afternoon and evening with our resident otter guru, John.

We will hopefully capture some images in the softer early evening light.

Plenty of snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the day. Home cooked evening meal.

Day 6. Friday

 

I’m delighted to announce that today we will be visiting my favourite place in the world! Getting there involves an early start and late finish.

Hermaness is a National Nature Reserve. It has some impressive stats. 25,000 breeding Puffins. Its the third largest Great Skua colony in the world. 12,000 pairs of Gannets, 14,000 pairs of Fulmars, 20,000 Guilemot, need I say more?

The walk across the moors takes about half an hour to an hour. In recent years a boardwalk has been added and makes the trek so much easier. En route we are likely to encounter and be distracted by Dunlin, Golden Plover, Snipe and a personal favourite of mine the Bonxie (Great Skua). Last year we were gifted a wonderful photo opportunity. A Bonxie had a marathon bathing session in a pool of water no more than a few metres from the boardwalk. I’d been hoping for this opportunity many years.

 

As we reach the end of the path, there are two options. Head left for Gannets & Puffins and turn right for Puffins, Bonxies and Gannets! I’ve sometimes found just staying put and the end of the boardwalk to be most beneficial. (See below). The return journey will be made according to the weather conditions, as we will be at the most northerly point in the UK weather conditions can change rapidly.

A packed lunch and plenty of snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the day, on our late arrival back at base we’ll have a light supper before bed.

 

Day 8. Saturday

 

With heavy hearts it’s time to pack and head to the airport or ferry terminal. I’m sure after an action packed week in these wonderful and mesmerizing islands you like us will be hooked on the charms of Shetland, its wildlife, scenery and its friendly people. If flight times permit there will be time to stock up on gifts for your family, or for the cat sitter!

If you’re super lucky and have an afternoon flight to catch, it would be wrong not to have one last session with the Puffins at Sumburgh Head, wouldn’t it?

I’m sure like us you will fall head-over-heals in love with Shetland. The Islands have an infectious charm and when the weather is against you the wildlife still delivers. I’d be delighted to talk to you in person over the telephone if you want to be sold the virtues of this trip. Be warned, if you do call be prepared for a very long phone call, I can go on a bit, especially when it comes to Shetland!

Primary Species:

These are the species we will be concentrating on as our main photographic subjects.

Otters, Puffins, Red Neck Phalarope, Golden Plover, Arctic & Great Skua's, Red Throated Divers, Whimbrel, Snipe, Gannets. 

Secondary Species:

Common & Grey Seals, Shetland Wren, Gannet, Shag, Razorbill, Guillemot, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Fulmar, Arctic Tern, Eider, Shell duck, plus much more. Wherever and whenever an opportunity arises we shall make full use of it. Shetland has a wonderful habit of throwing up surprises!

What’s Included:

A full week fully of catered Photography Days including accommodation & travel from your arrival in Shetland.

Travel: All Travel from your arrival in Shetland in a comfortable and modern people carrier.

Guiding/Tuition: The full attention of the guide, patient and courteous help and advice when and where it’s required.

Giving back to nature: For each client on this trip I will be donating £50 to the Hillswick animal sanctuary in Shetland - I've chosen this great cause as they do wonderful work looking after sick or stranded Otters, seals and even the occasional Turtle! Details of their website can be found here A well deserving cause, I'm sure you'll agree?

Fun & Humour: Photographing wildlife should be an enjoyable experience. Although we’re serious about helping to obtain the best possible images, this will be done in a fun and relaxed way.

Accommodation:

I've chosen our accommodation for very good reason, not only is it (in my opinion) the finest on the island but it is ideally positioned with wildlife and nature quite literally at times on the doorstep .

The house warm and modern and is very well appointed. There are washing and drying facilities, these can come in rather handy with Shetlands unpredictable weather! Other facilities include, Underfloor Heating, wood burning stove, Wi-Fi.

All linen and towels are provided.

I'd recommend a minimum lens of 300mm on a crop sensor body. Preferably longer would be ideal. Please feel free to call me to discuss camera equipment in more detail.

Your fitness level will need to be moderate. There will be walking involved on most days. Again, feel free to contact me to discuss this further.   

Maximum Group size: 3

A non-refundable deposit of £395.00 will be required at the time of booking.

The Balance will be due six weeks before the first day of the tour.