Andy Howard Nature Photography | Winter Wildlife in the Cairngorms - March

Winter Wildlife in the Cairngorms

Sorry - All 2017 Winter tours are sold out - 2018 Dates will launched in Feb 2017


There’s a rather obvious (but much understated) reason to visit the Highlands at this time of the year; daylight. By late February the days are three hours longer than in January. That equates to an additional photography light and time in the field.    As my guest you will be guided to some of the most reliable wildlife photography locations in the Highlands. Many of which I’ve have many years of experience at and this gives you, as my client, the maximum time possible to capture the images you dream of.

The one question I get asked the most by other photographers is ‘when is the best time for the snow in the Highlands?’ and the honest answer is ‘anytime between November and April’. It really differs from year to year. All the images on this page were taken in late February and March; this will give you an indication of how it can vary. To 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 my earliest childhood memories are about close encounters with birds and wildlife. I love to share my passion and experiences with nature with others; I would love for you to join me on one of my ‘Highlands Finest – Winter Wildlife’ photo weeks.  I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about ant 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, Snow Bunting, Red Squirrel.

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

What’s Included:

Five action packed Photography Days plus five nights accommodation & travel from your arrival in Inverness.

Additional nights accommodation on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis are available at £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 or hot chocolate served with home-made tray bakes.

Lunch - Hearty homemade soup, filled rolls & home-made cake, tea or coffee or hot chocolate.

Afternoon Coffee - Tea, coffee or hot chocolate served home-made tray bakes.

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 of the guide, 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.


After a cold and tiring day in the mountains imagine arriving home 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: 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 2: 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 3: 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 and Purple Sandpiper will be our target species, although the Eiders and other waders wouldn’t be ignored given the opportunity! If the group would prefer we could spend the afternoon photographing the beautiful & charismatic mountain hares. This would be in addition to the full day, later in the week.

Dinner – Log fire – Bed!


Day 4: Thursady

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 5: 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 50m!

Dinner – Log fire – Bed!

Full Board

Minimum clients required: 2

Maximum number of clients: 3

All Travel from your arrival in Inverness is included.

A £250 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!