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Snowy landscape with hut

Wildlife Wonders of the Cairngorms: A Winter Photography Tour

£1,680 (Members price £1,630), Deposit £399
Aviemore, Iverness-shire
Red Deer in the woods

Duration & Dates

7 days (6 nights)

8th to 14th February 25


Arrival & Departure

Mountain Lodge, Aviemore arrival after 4pm, departure before 10am



  • Half Board Accommodation

  • Single occupancy rooms as standard

  • Vehicle and guides

  • All excursions



Members price £1,630

Deposit £399

Anyone can join as a member for just £25 a year

Group Size

6 people per tour 

Not Included

  • Initial transport to lodge

  • Evening Meals

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Camera equipment

  • Travel insurance



The Cairngorm Mountain region of the Scottish Highlands is a stunning destination for wildlife photography. Our 'Scottish Winter Wildlife' tour provides unparalleled opportunities to photograph iconic species such as Red Squirrel, Crested Tit, Mountain Hare, Golden Eagle, Grouse, and Red Deer. These majestic animals are often easier to spot and are at their most striking against the breathtaking winter landscape.

Our special guest guide for this tour is the internationally renowned nature photographer Neil McIntyre. With many years of experience guiding this tour in his home country, Neil brings unmatched expertise and knowledge of the Scottish Highlands. This exclusive trip, limited to just six guests, promises exceptional photographic opportunities with the added support of highly qualified Wild Arena guides.


Winter in the Cairngorms is a scene of stark beauty and rugged wilderness, a pristine landscape where nature showcases its resilience and splendour. The mountains, capped with glistening snow, create a dramatic backdrop against the deep blue of the winter sky. Crisp, cold air invigorates the senses, and the low sun casts long, ethereal shadows across the landscape, painting everything in a delicate, golden light.

In this serene and quiet season, the Cairngorms become a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. The Red Squirrel, with its bushy tail and russet fur, is a charming sight against the snowy ground, often seen darting between pine trees or gathering food at Neil’s exclusive feeding station. The Crested Tit, a rare and delightful bird, flits about the frosty branches, its distinctive crest adding a touch of whimsy to the winter tableau.

High on the slopes, the elusive Mountain Hare, now in its white winter coat, blends seamlessly with the snow, a master of camouflage. It is a privilege to catch sight of these graceful creatures as they bound across the drifts or sit quietly, surveying their wld domain. The Ptarmigan, another winter specialist, can be found in the higher altitudes, its plumage perfectly suited to the snowy environment, making it a challenging but rewarding subject for photographers.

Majestic Golden Eagles might be seen soaring above the rugged terrain, their keen eyes scanning for prey, a symbol of the wild and untamed spirit of the Highlands. Red Deer, Scotland's largest land mammal, gather in the glens and wooded areas, their impressive antlers and robust forms creating iconic silhouettes against the snow-covered hills.

The winter landscape itself offers endless photographic opportunities. Snow-laden pine forests, frozen lochs, and the sweeping, undulating forms of the mountains provide a stunning canvas for capturing the essence of the season. The interplay of light and shadow, the textures of ice and snow, and the serene, almost otherworldly stillness of the Cairngorms in winter invite deep creative exploration.

In essence, winter in the Cairngorms is a time of tranquil beauty and rugged elegance. It’s a season where the landscape and its wildlife offer moments of quiet reflection and breathtaking wonder, making it a perfect setting for those who seek to capture the raw and unspoiled beauty of nature.


Tour Highlights

  • Red Squirrel Photography: Capture intimate and close-up shots of the charming Red Squirrel at a private feeding location in pristine woodland. These lively and photogenic creatures are a delight to photograph, showcasing their vibrant russet fur against the snowy backdrop.

  • Crested Tit Encounters: Photograph the rare and elusive Crested Tit in a carefully selected setting. These delightful birds, with their distinctive crests and lively behaviour, offer wonderful opportunities for stunning bird photography.

  • Mountain Hare and Ptarmigan Adventure: Embark on an exciting journey high into the Cairngorms to photograph the iconic Mountain Hare, potentially in its white winter coat, with the added possibility of the elusive mountain Ptarmigan. This challenging session provides a chance to capture these elusive creatures in their natural, snow-covered habitat.

  • Golden Eagle and Falconry Experience: Work with one of Scotland's finest falconers to photograph majestic birds of prey, including the Golden Eagle, Tawny Owl, Snowy Owl, Great Grey Owl, Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, and Eagle Owl. Capture these magnificent birds in stunning natural settings, creating images that blend wildlife and landscape photography seamlessly.

  • Red Deer in the Highlands: Visit a high glen on a local estate to photograph wintering Red Deer in a picturesque woodland valley. This unique opportunity allows for close-up and portrait shots of one of Scotland's most iconic species in a breathtaking winter setting.

  • Scenic Landscape Photography: Explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Cairngorms, from frozen lochs and snow-dusted forests to sweeping glens and rugged mountain peaks. Utilise the early morning and evening light to capture stunning reflections, low sun, and the magical colours of winter.

  • Expert Guidance from Neil McIntyre: Benefit from the expertise of internationally renowned nature photographer Neil McIntyre, who will guide you through the best locations and techniques for capturing the beauty of the Cairngorms and its wildlife. With his extensive knowledge of the region, Neil ensures you get the most out of every photographic opportunity.

  • Comfortable and Cozy Accommodation: Stay in a spacious and well-appointed house in the heart of the Cairngorms, with single occupancy, en-suite rooms for each guest. Enjoy the warmth and comfort of a communal living area with an open fire, perfect for relaxing and reviewing the day's photographic achievements.

  • Small Group Experience: With a maximum of just 6 guests, enjoy a personalized and intimate photography tour. This small group size ensures plenty of one-on-one time with guides and fellow photographers, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment.

  • Evening Reviews and Feedback: Each evening, gather with your guides and fellow guests to review the day's work, share feedback, and discuss techniques. This provides a valuable opportunity to learn from each other and improve your skills in a friendly and encouraging setting.

Red Squirrel
Passionate Wildlife Photographers Welcome


At Wild Arena, we seek guests who are eager to embrace the creative journey of wildlife photography, rather than those merely looking to replicate specific images from a checklist. Our tours are designed for those who want to delve deeper into the art of storytelling through their photos, capturing the unique essence of the Cairngorms' and its wildlife. We emphasize the importance of putting wildlife first, ensuring that our photography practices respect and prioritize the well-being of the animals and their habitats. We are committed to teaching a wide range of techniques and providing the support and encouragement needed to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a passionate beginner, our goal is to help you unlock new levels of creativity and create beautiful, original images that reflect the true spirit of the Cairngorms' diverse wildlife. Join us if you’re ready to be inspired, to learn, and to explore the limitless possibilities of your photographic potential.


Pre and Post-Tour Engagement

Before your holiday begins, we will arrange a Zoom call to address any questions you may have about the upcoming week. This call will also be an opportunity for you to meet your fellow guests, and you'll be invited to join a personalised WhatsApp group. On our last evening together, we encourage guests to share their favourite images from the week, fostering camaraderie and collective learning among the group. Even after you return home, you can stay connected with us and your fellow participants through WhatsApp and Facebook, continuing to engage and share your photography journey.


What to Expect

We aim to welcome everyone as a friend and help develop their personal photography on an individual level. Small groups and all-inclusive accommodation ensure guests can relax and fully immerse themselves in their hobby.


Learning Outcomes


Throughout the week, you'll receive guidance on a range of photographic techniques, including:

  • Creative & compositional development adding new creative approaches to your photography.

  • Learning the best camera settings for capturing wildlife

  • Controlling movement with shutter speeds, both fast and slow.

  • Controlling depth-of-field with careful use of apertures.

  • Capturing the moment with the best auto focus techniques.


Your stay

We stay in a comfortable lodge, where each room features its own en-suite bathroom for your convenience. Your stay includes breakfast and lunch, ensuring you are well-fed and ready for each day's adventures. Aviemore, located just down the road, offers a variety of restaurants to choose from for evening meals, providing convenient dining options after your day of exploration.


Personalised Guidance and Small Groups

Our tours are designed for small groups, ensuring personalised attention and a relaxed atmosphere. Our experienced guides will support you in developing your photography on an individual level, helping you unlock the hidden stories in your surroundings.


Join Us for a Creative Journey

Our goal is to provide a week of relaxation, creative stimulation, and the joy of photography. We welcome you as friends, offering an environment where you can grow your skills, find inspiration, and create beautiful, meaningful images.

Snow Bunting
Red Kite in the woods

Day 1


Arrival and Welcome

Our tour begins with a pleasant evening introduction from your guides, who will outline the plan for the week ahead. We will be staying in a spacious, well-appointed house in the heart of the Cairngorms, with each guest enjoying their own en-suite room and access to a communal living area and kitchen. Breakfast will be provided daily, along with ample supplies for packed lunches. Evening meals can be enjoyed locally or with the guides at the house (for a small additional cost).


Day 2


Birds of Prey Experience
(B,L) An introductory day to ‘set the scene’ and check on everyone’s ideas and techniques. We will meet with one of Scotland's finest falconers, who will bring several native mountain birds, including the spectacular Golden Eagle. Together, we will find the perfect backgrounds in the surrounding mountain landscape to capture these magnificent birds. Additional species may include Tawny Owl, Snowy Owl, Great Grey Owl, Goshawk, Peregrine, or Eagle Owl.

Day 3 & 4


(B,L)  Local Wildlife Photography
We will transport guests to various locations around the beautiful Cairngorm Mountains. Highlights include an extended session photographing Red Squirrels at a private feeding location and capturing close-up images of the rare Crested Tit at another exclusive site. We will also visit a high glen on a local estate to photograph wintering Red Deer in a picturesque woodland valley, providing stunning portrait opportunities. The group will split into 2 and swap over activities on the following day.


Day 5
Coal Tit in the woods


(B,L) Mountain Wildlife Adventure
The group will head high into the mountains in search of the elusive Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare. This technically and physically demanding session will be guided by Neil, ensuring everyone maximizes this unique opportunity.

Day 6


(B,L) Highland Exploration
We will travel further afield, driving north into the Great Glens in search of Red Deer and stunning high mountain landscapes. This day offers ample opportunities to add scenic shots to your portfolio, with lochs, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls providing diverse photographic subjects.


Day 7


(B) After a final breakfast, we will round up the week before guests depart for 10am.

Please note: – The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on local conditions. Not all wildlife mentioned can be seen well at all times of the year & some activities mentioned may not always be available.
Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner


Venue Description: Aviemore Lodge and Surroundings


A Picturesque Retreat in the Cairngorms

Our inspiring tours to Scotland are based near Aviemore, nestled in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. This prime location not only provides access to some of Scotland's most breathtaking wildlife and landscapes but also leverages the unparalleled local knowledge of renowned wildlife photographer Neil McIntyre. Aviemore is a vibrant hub for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and modern amenities.


The Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK, encompassing a diverse range of habitats including ancient Caledonian forests, expansive moorlands, and towering mountain peaks. This area is a sanctuary for wildlife, with opportunities to observe species such as the elusive Scottish wildcat, red deer, capercaillie, and golden eagle. The park's varied terrain and rich biodiversity make it a paradise for photographers and nature lovers alike.


Aviemore and its Natural Wonders

Aviemore, situated within the national park, serves as an excellent base for exploring the Cairngorms. The town is well-known for its outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and mountain biking. The surrounding landscapes offer dramatic vistas, serene lochs, and the rugged beauty of the Cairngorm Mountains. Whether you are capturing the early morning light over the mountains or the intricate details of the local flora and fauna, Aviemore provides endless photographic opportunities.

Accommodation at Aviemore Lodge

Our guests will enjoy their stay in a large, comfortable lodge that combines rustic charm with modern conveniences. Each bedroom is well-appointed with en-suite bathrooms, ensuring a relaxing and private retreat after a day of exploration. The lodge features a cosy lounge where guests can unwind, share stories, and discuss the day’s wildlife encounters. The comfortable setting fosters a sense of community and provides a perfect backdrop for evening conversations.


A Memorable Experience in the Heart of Scotland

Whether you are marveling at the expansive landscapes, discovering the hidden gems of the Cairngorms, or enjoying the warmth and hospitality of our lodge, your stay promises to be both inspiring and unforgettable. Our tours offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature, hone your photography skills, and create lasting memories in one of Scotland’s most remarkable regions.

Steve - November 2019

“I went on the 2019 expedition, which was absolutely superb.

A wonderful itinerary put together by a team who are highly experienced, amazingly knowledgable, and hugely supportive regardless of where you are in your photographic journey.


I personally enjoyed this expedition as much for the camaraderie and sense of fun as for the photographic opportunities. Meeting Neil McIntyre was an honour, and his obvious passion for the welfare of the wildlife was heart warming.


I wish future expeditions the very best, and know they are going to provide the lucky attendees some very special memories."

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