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Tours / Wild Highland Winter 2021

Focus Species : Red Squirrel, Crested Tit, Mountain Hare, Red Deer, Red Grouse, Wild Goat, Seals, Eider Duck, Snow Bunting and of course we will not by pass any others that unexpectedly present themselves.

Wild Highland Winter is a newly designed trip offering the chance to photograph some iconic species in the Highlands. These creatures are some of the most sought after in many wildlife photographer’s wish list. Over the four days of photography we will endeavour to cover as many of the above-mentioned species as possible, however it will be unlikely that we can cover them all. Weather and availability will govern which species we target. Red squirrels, crested tits and red deer will be our bankable species and the others we will work into the remaining days to give you the best photographic opportunities we think are available.

We will visit some wonderful locations and habitats from the ancient Caledonian Pine forest through majestic mountain and moorland to stunning coastal regions.

This trip is limited to just 3 guests so maximum attention is assured to ensure everyone gets the best opportunities possible.

Below is a sample itinerary of how the tour will play out but please note this could change due to weather conditions or any other unforeseen circumstances, which may result in days being switched around to suit.

Arrival evening – We will have a short chat about the forthcoming days and go over various points like the equipment you will need, starting times etc and any questions you have in regards 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 follow and we will then move onto 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. Both these locations are on private sites exclusive only to us.

Day 2 – Today is Mountain Hare day. A 35mins drive will have us reach the parking area where we will be able to see the hill in front of us. This is where we will spend the remainder of the day in pursuit of this appealing mammal. After getting our gear together 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 we have taken that into consideration we will hopefully soon start to locate some individual animals and 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 of which will add 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, giving us the chance to get a more action type image. Depending on how we go with the hares if time allows we would try and fit in a visit to the snow buntings to round the day of.

Day 3 – Today is the red deer. After an earlier breakfast we will take the drive to a stunning location on the west coast which has all the surroundings and backdrops you can only dream of. This trip is a full day photographing arguable the Highlands most iconic mammal. Seeing a red deer stag standing proudly on a mountainside surrounded by breath-taking scenery is a sight to behold. Upon reaching this location we will endeavour to try and achieve some classic encounters with the deer, ideally trying to get you a variety of images ranging from portraits to the majestic stag against loch and mountain backdrop and many more beside. On many occasions the deer will be photographed from inside the vehicle or from its close vicinity. At other times the deer will not be so accessible and in these instances some short walks and stalking will be required.

Day 4 –  A couple of options remain for this day. One being a drive to the wild goat location where we would spend a few hours with these fantastic characters. Don’t underestimate how great a subject they make for a wide variety of images. Portraits, behaviour, environmental they have got the lot. Our second option is a split day between the red grouse where we would work from the car and try and achieve the classic grouse peering above the heather and any other opportunity they present to us. We would then travel on to the east coast where we would then endeavour to capture some moments with the Eider ducks and Grey seals that visit a quaint harbour. Some great behaviour and portraits can be achieved from both species and if it’s calm some glorious colours can be cast onto the water that adds another fantastic element to the picture. On occasion other subjects can also be photographed, such as cormorants, long tailed duck and merganser.

Day 5 Departure Morning – After your breakfast it is time to depart homeward.

 

 

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Cost: £1195

Deposit: Non refundable deposit of £300 to secure place. Final balance payable 6 weeks prior to trip.

Guide(s): Neil McIntyre

Group Size: 3

Tour Dates

Trip 1 : Arrive afternoon Sunday 24th January – Depart after breakfast Friday 29th January 2021  (3 places available)

Trip 2 : Arrive afternoon Sunday 14th February – Depart after breakfast Friday 19th February 2021 (3 places available)

Included

  • 5 nights B&B in a private single occupancy room basis
  • 4 days photography
  • All transport through duration of tour

Not Included

  • Packed lunches
  • Evening meals
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any personal items

Equipment

  • Digital DSLR or Mirrorless type system
  • Lenses - 500mm is ideal or a 300mm with cropped sensor or convertor.
  • 100-400mm zooms or similar are also fine.
  • A shorter zoom like a 24-70mm can also handy.
  • Tripod
  • Spare batteries and memory cards.
Clothing
  • Good warm waterproof Jacket and trousers preferable with quiet material
  • Waterproof walking boots
  • Extra layer like a fleece or light thermal jacket
  • Warm hat & gloves.

Fitness

fitness level image
The mountain hare day involves a moderate walk and requires a medium level of fitness. We can take it at a slow pace and stop plenty times during the walk to find the hares. All other species are normally located with in short distances and require minimal walking.