Winter Wildlife in the Cairngorms

 

Pre-Christmas Tour Sunday 10th Dec - Friday 15th Dec 2017 - 2 Spaces Available

Winter Wildlife #1 - Sunday 14th Jan - Friday 19th Jan 2018 - Full

Winter Wildlife #2 - Sunday 28th Jan - Friday 2nd Feb 2018 - Full

Winter Wildlife #3 - Sunday 11th Feb - Friday 16th Feb 2018 - Full

 

Mountain Hare - CairngormsMountain Hare - CairngormsThis is my favourite hare, I've known him for a few years. He is a lot more receptive to many others. Taken from a very low perspective.  This is a fabulous time to photograph wildlife in the Highlands, the quality of the daylight at this time of the year is soft and clear. On the high slopes of the Cairngorms the Ptarmigan are in their stunning pure white plumage. Everyone’s favourite, the Mountain Hares are gathering in their snowy forms. Their thick white winter pelage protects them from the biting wind as they lie in the shelter of the leeward slopes. Down in the relative shelter of the Caledonian pine forest, the crested tits and squirrels are constantly buzzing around the feeders at our woodland feeding sites. On the windswept moors the Red Grouse slowly meander through the heather and grassy tussocks, forlornly picking at the nutrient-poor shoots of heather.  The magnificent Red Deer stags gather in small herds and gently while away the hours sleeping and feeding by the roadside, how convenient for the photographer?! For those of you that know me, it will come as no surprise to you that I absolutely adore the winter months in the Highlands. The wildlife is more approachable and the low winter sun casts a soft forgiving light. My love for nature has been with me from my formative years and some of my earliest childhood memories include close encounters with birds and wildlife. I love to share my passion for nature and experiences with others; I would love for you to join me on one of my Winter Wildlife photo tours.  I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about any of my tours; please feel free to contact me with your query. Primary Species:
 

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

Mountain Hare, Ptarmigan, Red Deer, Red Grouse, Crested Tit, Red Squirrel, Snow Bunting.

Secondary Species:
 

These are species I regularly see and photography on a typical winter’s outing whilst photographing the above. If any of these species present a good photographic opportunity, we’ll not pass them by!
 

Otters, Golden Eagle, White Tail Eagle, Dipper, Wild Goats, Roe Deer, Snow Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Siskin, Robin, Long-Tailed Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Goldeneye, Eider, Redshank, Dunlin, Turnstone, Whooper Swans, Geese.
 

What’s Included:
 

Five fully catered Photography Days plus five nights accommodation and travel on your arrival in Inverness.
 

Additional nights on a Dinner, bed & Breakfast basis are available at an additional cost of £65.00 per person per night.
 

Breakfast – Prepared with locally sourced produce, free range eggs, fresh local bread and award winning butchery meats.
 

Elevenses – Tea, coffee served with plenty of snacks.
 

Lunch - Hearty homemade soup, filled rolls & snacks served with tea, coffee.
 

Afternoon Coffee - Tea, coffee with plenty of snacks.
 

Dinner: Home cooked two course dinner. Typically a roast with veg and gravy followed by a decadent dessert (trust me, you will have earned it!)
 

Travel: All Travel from your arrival in Inverness in a comfortable 4X4 fitted with full winter tyres.
 

Guiding/Tuition: The full attention from Andy your local guide, who has an in-depth knowledge of both the locations and species visited during this tour. Patient and courteous help and advice when and where it’s required.
 

Giving back to nature: Five Caledonian pine trees will be planted in our ‘Trees for Life’ corporate grove on your behalf; this is as part of our ‘Giving back to nature’ policy. 
 

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:
 

After a cold and tiring day in the mountains imagine arriving home to the warmth of a roaring wood burning stove. This is what will await you at your carefully selected accommodation. After time to relax, Eileen your hostess, will serve to you home cooked dinner made from only the finest locally sourced produce. Sit back and enjoy the twinkling lights and panorama from your elevated position overlooking Inverness and the Black Isle. I’ve known Eileen for many years and she is a fabulous hostess, one of the best you’ll find in the Highlands.
 

Itinerary:
 

Day 1: Sunday

Arrival day - We will all rendezvous at Eileen View for 17:00 (earliest check-in 16:00) for a pre-tour chat and plan for the week ahead.

Dinner and early to bed!

 

Day 2: Monday

Being the start the week we'll start with a nice and easy day. After a relaxing and unrushed breakfast I'll pick you up in the comfortable 4X4 ready for our first day out with the cameras. The morning will consist of a session at our own private Red Squirrel site, we re-established this site last winter and within as couple of weeks had up to six individual squirrels visiting us on a daily basis. As I write this in March we are working to develop a jumping squirrel set up in addition to the classic portrait shots. After lunch we'll switch to our Crested tit site and spend some time with my absolute favourite woodland bird. The Cresties are not only great fun to photograph they are also extremely photogenic. Lyndsey and I established this site in 2014 and after  spending many months searching for the optimum Crested Tit site, we chose this spot, not only for the abundance of Cresties but the quality of the light and availability of the clean backgrounds. There are infinite possibilities for different styles of images. The only thing that will limit you is your imagination.
 

Day 3: Tuesday
 

After a hearty cooked breakfast I will pick you up at your accommodation. Weather permitting we’ll head for the hills in search of Ptarmigan. The walk from the car park to the birds is generally less than an hour, though this depends on the speed of the party, the weather and the conditions underfoot. Absolute care and consideration is given to your safety, you will not be subjected to severe weather conditions. Your comfort and well-being is paramount. Once the birds are located we will maximise the opportunities given and work with the birds. There may even be an opportunity to photograph Snow Buntings and Mountain Hare.

Home for dinner. Sit back and enjoy your photographs whilst soaking up the warmth of the wood burner.

 

Day 4: Wednesday
 

A delicious hot breakfast prepared with award winning produce. After yesterday’s exploits in the mountains we’ll take it a bit easier and go in search of Red Grouse. By far the best way to do this is by using the mobile hide (4X4). Depending on the tides we will then check out the east coast harbours for over wintering sea ducks and waders. The Long-tailed Duck would be our target species, although the Eiders and waders wouldn’t be ignored given the opportunity! If the group would prefer we could spend the late morning and afternoon photographing the beautiful mountain hares. This would be in addition to the other sessions with the hares, this option will be decided by the guests.
 

Dinner – Log fire – Bed.
 

Day 5: Thursday
 

Today after a tasty cooked breakfast we’ll be heading to the hills to spend the day in the company of my favourite, the Mountain Hares. At this time of the year they’ll be in their thick and cosy white winter pelage, and fingers crossed, we’ll have the opportunity to photograph them in snow. Depending on the weather conditions we may have lunch on the hillside. I will be on hand to guide you to the best hares in the best locations, taking into consideration the direction of the light and backgrounds. On this day you’ll learn about field-craft and the behavioural aspects of the hares, by the end of the day you’ll know what the hare’s going to do next, before it does!
 

Dinner – Log fire – Bed – Dream of hares.
 

Day 6: Friday
 

I think by now you will be familiar with how the schedule works! Breakfast.
 

Don’t be too despondent because this is the last day, as you’ve still got an action packed day to look forward to. The morning will be spent with the delightful and charming Snow Buntings, after spending a few hours in the company of these gorgeous wee birds we'll have lunch before driving to a location close to Aviemore to photograph the magnificent and majestic Red Deer Stags. Set in a beautiful mature pine forest, we will be shooting outside the vehicle in the open. The session will last two hours and requires you walking no more than 10m!
 

16:00 - End of Tour

 

An extra night of accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis is available at an additional charge of £65.00

 

Full Board

£995 Per Person
 

Maximum number of clients: 3
 

All Travel from your arrival in Inverness is included.
 

A £295 deposit will be required at the time of booking. The balance will be due six weeks before the first day.

Please note: The schedule can change at short notice due to climatic conditions. If this situation arises an appropriate alternative schedule will be introduced, to maximise both your enjoyment and photographic opportunities. There’s always something worth photographing!