Andy Howard Nature Photography | Cairngorms Black Grouse Ptarmigan Grousing Around Mini-Tour

Grousing Around Mini Break

Sunday 1st & Monday 2nd May 2016

Sorry this tour is now FULL

On this trip we will be focusing on Red & Black Grouse and the delightful Ptarmigan. There's no getting away from it, to photograph two of these species takes a little determination and will power. A pre-dawn awakening is the order of the day to photograph Black Grouse. The cock birds arrive at the lek approximately an hour before sunrise, after that you will be witnessing one of the most dramatic and spectacular natural events found in the U.K.

Drama, fighting, testosterone fuelled battles, male grooming.....No! Its not the latest episode of Eastenders!

Its the typical comings and goings at a Black Grouse Lek in the Spring.

Red Grouse are slightly more delicate than their Black cousins, saying that, I was once bitten by a rogue grouse, but that's another story! (Come on the tour and I'll tell you about it)


What’s Included:

Two action packed Photography Days

One nights accommodation - Bed and Breakfast

One nights accommodation - Dinner Bed & Breakfast

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

Travel: All Travel from your base in either Inverness/Aviemore in a comfortable 4X4 fitted with full winter tyres.

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

Giving back to nature: Two 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.


The first nights accommodation is still to be confirmed, but will be a decent quality guest house or B&B, close to the Black Grouse lek. This is to help with the very early start!

On the second night. 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.


Day 1:

Arrive in Inverness or Aviemore. You will be picked up from you point of arrival either the airport, rail or bus station and transported to your first night's accommodation. We will visit a local restaurant or curry house in the evening (not included in the price) Early to bed!

Day 2:

After the early session at the Black Grouse lek we will return to our accommodation, freshen up and have breakfast then head to some of my favourite Red Grouse hot-spots. I'm pleased to report that this will be done from the comfort of the 'mobile hide!'. 

After sundown we will head to the comfort of our second nights accommodation. Here you will be served a home cooked evening meal.

Sit back and enjoy looking and processing your photographs whilst soaking up the warmth of the wood burner.

Day 3:

On the third day we will head for the hills in search of Ptarmigan. By this time of the year most Ptarmigan are fairly approachable and settled. Most of their time is spent feeding and holding their territory. This results in the cocks becoming very aggressive and will think nothing of having a 'to-do' with a rival bird. As a photographer, the secret is to try to get right into the centre of the battle zone, this happened to me last year and resulted in me being surrounded by four Ptarmigan, all were totally oblivious to my presence.

Ptarmigan are quite simply beautiful, their plumage is as pure as the driven snow. To allow them to survive the harness of a Scottish winter in the mountains they have developed many ingenious ways to survive, not only do they grow extra feathers on their feet they also have tiny feathers on the outside of their eyelids. 

After we return to the vehicle we go our separate ways. If you require an additional nights accommodation or would like to add another day to your trip to photograph either Mountain Hare or Crested Tits? These options are available at an additional cost. Please feel free to contact me for prices and details.

Minimum clients required: 2

Maximum number of clients: 3

All Travel from your arrival in Inverness/Aviemore is included.

A £199 deposit will be required at the time of booking. The balance will be due six weeks before the first day.

Please note: If the weather is unsuitable to make the assent to the Ptarmigan. An appropriate alternative species will be provided.

Cost Per Person £599 - Introductory Offer SAVE £100 - £499 

On the 1st & 2nd of May it is possible to add an additional session in the Black Grouse hide on the preceding morning - There will be an additional charge of £150 per person for this.