Red Squirrel, Crested Tit, Mountain Hare, Ptarmigan, Red Deer
This newly designed trip is dedicated to the Big 5 of the Cairngorms National Park. Such is the appeal of the Big 5 they really do not need to be described or sold in anyway. These creatures are some of the most sought after species in many wildlife photographers wish list. That’s what makes this tour unique, as it will give you the chance to capture them all within the duration of one trip.
Over the course of the four days we will focus on each of these fantastic iconic species. We will visit some wonderful locations and habitats from the ancient Caledonian Pine forest through majestic moorland before ascending to the high tops of the Cairngorm mountains.
The week will ensure that you have the opportunity to see and photograph the most wonderful Cairngorm secrets up-close and personal. This trip is limited to just 3 guests so maximum attention is assured to ensure everyone gets the best opportunities possible.
Arrival evening – We will have a short chat about the forthcoming days and go over various points like what equipment you need, starting times etc and any questions you have about the following days.
Day 1 – After breakfast we will take the short drive to the Red squirrel hide parking area which is followed by a short 10mins walk to reach the hide. We will then spend the morning photographing the squirrels as they scamper about the various trees, perches and jumps allowing us some great photo opportunities in this fantastic natural pine wood location. Lunch will be taken in the red squirrel hide then we will depart to the Crested tit site. For the rest of the afternoon we will concentrate on these fantastic little forest sprites as they flirt between different perches giving us a variety of shots using varying light conditions, and if the suns gods are with us some backlighting which is great for crested tits.
Day 2 – Today is Mountain Hare day and after a 35mins drive we will reach the parking area where we will be able to see the hill in front of us where we will spend the remainder of the day in pursuit of this appealing mammal. After getting our gear sorted we will then start the walk across to the mountain hare area. Weather can play a part in where the hares are located so once I have judged that factor we will hopefully soon start to locate some individual animals begin our photography. Mountain Hares often like to spend the day crouched up at their form entrance and if we locate one of the more approachable ones we will aim to spend some time with it as it goes about its daily routine of snoozing, stretching, yawning, grooming and having an odd snack. All adding up to some nice photo opportunities. Of course the unexpected can always happen so we will always be on the look out for one on the move and running giving us the chance to get a more action type image. As the sun drops below the mountain that is our cue to start to head back to the car.
Day 4 – Our final days photography will see us heading to the higher tops to find this hardy member of the grouse family, the Ptarmigan. After a short drive to the Cairngorm mountain car park we will head out one of the mountain paths taking us up the mountain. This is the most strenuous part of the trip and involves an uphill walk of around and hour. This will be taken at your own pace and leisure and many parts of the walk flatten out a bit so it is not all a steep climb and any steeper parts are gradual. Once we reach the Ptarmigan area it flattens out a lot more so most of the area where the birds are although rocky its easier walking. We often hear the Ptarmigan before we see them so always listen out for their distinct croaking call. Once located a gentle slow approach is required and hopefully the birds will accept us. If we are lucky and get some approachable birds they really are a treat to photograph and watch. If the birds are settled and behaving we will stick with them, if not we will leave them be and try our luck finding some others. When all possibilities been exhausted we will make our way back down the mountain to the car. Please note that this day is very weather dependant so will be scheduled for the day most suitable for this mountainous location, thus one of the above days could be swapped around.
Departure Morning – After your breakfast it is time to depart homeward.
Contact me with any questions.