top of page
Red Deer antlers in the long grass

Summer North Coast Birds and Landscape Photo Holiday

£1,399 (Members price £1,349), Deposit £300
Forsinard, Sutherland
js1-flower-summer-altnhara beach-June23-17062023-2343.jpeg

Duration & Dates

7 days (6 nights)

1st to 7th June 25

15th to 21st June 25

29th June to 5th July 25 - Full

13th to 19th July 25

7th to 13th June 26

21st to 27th June 26

5th to 11th July 26

19th to 25th July 26

If you are a group of 2 or more, please contact us for bespoke dates and itineraries.

Included

  • Full Board Accommodation

  • Single occupancy rooms as standard

  • Vehicle and guide

  • Transfer from Inverness airport or railway station

Price

£1,399

Members price £1,349

Deposit £300

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

Group Size

3 people per tour per 1 guide

 

Not Included

  • Initial transport to lodge

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Camera equipment

  • Travel insurance

 
Description

Summers in the far north can be fleeting, causing nature to burst into a frenzy of activity to make the most of the brief warmer months. As a result, our summer trips focus more on nature than other seasons. While we maintain a wide and inclusive view of potential subjects, coastal birds and close-up nature will be key elements of the trip. The long days of summer mean our itinerary includes early starts and late finishes to take full advantage of the seasonal light – this far north, it almost doesn’t get dark at this time of year!

A Burst of Life and Colour. Summer in the Highlands is a time of vibrant transformation. The fleeting warmth of the season brings a burst of life and colour into the landscape. Rolling hills and valleys are blanketed in lush, green foliage, while wildflowers add splashes of vivid hues to the scenery. The long daylight hours seem to infuse everything with a golden glow, creating an atmosphere of warmth and vitality.

Endless Light and Scenic Beauty. In the Highlands, summer days stretch long into the night, with the sun barely dipping below the horizon. This extended twilight, known as the "gloaming," bathes the landscape in soft, ethereal light. Photographers find this time particularly magical, as the interplay of light and shadow highlights the natural beauty of the region's mountains, lochs, and glens.

Wildlife in Abundance. The highlands teem with wildlife during summer. Birds return to nest and raise their young, filling the air with their songs. Coastal cliffs become bustling colonies of seabirds, including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills and Arctic Terns. On land, Red Deer graze in the meadows, and otters patrol the riverbanks. This season of abundance offers endless opportunities for capturing the diverse fauna of the region.

The Rhythm of Nature. Summer in the Highlands is a time of frenetic activity. Nature seems to operate at a heightened pace, making the most of the brief warm months. Rivers and streams team with insects, waterfalls cascade with renewed vigour, and the forests hum with the activity of birds. This dynamic environment provides a rich tapestry for photographers to explore.

Cultural and Historical Richness. Beyond the natural beauty, summer in the Highlands also brings the cultural and historical richness of the region to life. Ancient castles, weathered croft houses, and Iron Age Brochs stand against the backdrop of verdant landscapes, telling stories of the past. Festivals and gatherings celebrate Highland traditions, adding a human element to the timeless scenery.

A Sense of Serenity and Wonder. Despite the bustling activity, there is a profound sense of serenity in the Highland summer. The vast, open spaces and the majestic, unspoiled landscapes evoke a feeling of peace and wonder. Whether watching the sunrise over a misty loch or walking through a quiet glen at dusk, visitors often find a deep connection with the natural world, capturing not just images, but also the essence of a truly magical season.

 

Tour Highlights

  • Landscapes: A vast range of accessible landscapes, including dramatic beaches, waterfalls, and hills. The region features characterful man-made structures like Iron Age Brochs and weathered croft houses rich in colour and texture.

  • Wildlife: An evening hide visit for nesting Terns and Gulls, featuring two specialised hides that allow photography at eye level with the birds. Up to a dozen species are visible here in high summer, with nesting Arctic Terns and Black-headed Gulls as highlights. Expedition to a wild island, where over 200,000 birds breed each year on dramatic, towering cliffs. 

 

ds1-summer-108062024-3876.jpg
220062024-red deer-badanloch-summer solstice-June24-5551.jpg
ds1-summer-108062024-3622.jpg
 
Creative Adventurers Welcome

At Wild Arena, we seek guests who are eager to embrace the creative journey of 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 Highland landscapes, its people, and the ever-changing weather. 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 Highlands. 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

Your itinerary will be flexible to make the most of early and late light, seasonal changes, and weather conditions. Activities will include:

  • Visits to the dramatic seascapes of the northern coasts.

  • Island visit for north coast sea birds.

  • Hide visit for arctic turns and other migratory species.

  • Studio sessions focusing on moths, amphibians and detailed macro work.

  • Opportunities to photograph stunning sunsets.

 

All-Inclusive Experience

Stay at Forsinard Lodge, our comfortable base in the north of Scotland, where you’ll enjoy full board accommodation. The lodge provides a perfect retreat after a day of exploration, with facilities to review your photos, and engage in creative discussions with fellow photographers.

 

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.

js1-moth-forsinard lodge-june24-201062024-5888.jpg

Itinerary
 

Daily Excursions and Studio Sessions

Your itinerary will be flexible to make the most of early and late light, seasonal changes, and weather conditions. Activities will include:

  • Visits to the dramatic seascapes of the northern coasts.

  • Exploring rivers and waterfalls for dynamic water photography.

  • Studio sessions focusing on water droplets and detailed macro work.

  • Opportunities to photograph stunning sunsets, night skies, and potentially the aurora

 

Day 1
ds1-summer-108062024-4486.jpg
cows-summer-8575.jpg
220062024-red deer-badanloch-summer solstice-June24-5539.jpg

 

Arrival and Welcome Dinner (D)

  • Arrival at Forsinard Lodge, nestled in the wild landscape of northern Scotland.

  • Group gathering for a welcome dinner and an introduction to the week ahead.

Day 2-6

 

Daily Photography Excursions (B, L, D) Each day will be planned to make the most of the weather conditions and photographic opportunities. Expect a mix of the following activities throughout the week:

  • Morning Departures: On some days, we may leave early to catch the morning light, taking a packed breakfast with us. On other days, we might enjoy a relaxed breakfast at the lodge before heading out.

  • Full Day Excursions: We’ll explore various locations including local sites, the wild coastline, high country to the west, a seabird Island and Arctic Tern photo hide. Opportunities will include capturing landscapes, seascapes, North coast sea Birds and native wildlife.

  • Packed Lunches: To maximize our time in the field, we'll often take packed lunches with us.

  • Evening Returns: Some evenings will see us returning to the lodge for dinner and a review of the day's photography. On other occasions, we might stay out late, enjoying a supper on location to capture sunsets. 

  • Flexible Scheduling: We will adapt our schedule to include opportunities for sunset photography depending on the weather.

  • Specific Excursions: Potential specific trips include visits to dramatic coastlines, mountainous regions, Seabird Island Colony and Pool level hides for Arctic Terns. There will also be chances to look for local wildlife such as Red Deer and insects.

 

Day 7

 

Departure (B)

  • Final breakfast at the lodge.

  • Round-up of the week’s experiences and a final review before guests depart at 10 am.

 

This flexible itinerary ensures that we can adapt to the best photographic opportunities each day, providing a comprehensive and rewarding experience for all participants.

Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 
Venue Description: Forsinard Lodge and Surroundings

Our base for this trip is the beautifully situated Forsinard Lodge in northern Scotland. Originally built in 1870 by the Duke of Sutherland as a hunting and fishing lodge at the head of Strath Halladale, the lodge boasts a rich history. The river here was highly regarded for salmon fishing, and the surrounding area was known for its exceptionally large Red Deer stags. Forsinard Lodge has spent most of its life as part of a much wider estate, but it now serves as the perfect base for Wild Arena’s photography tours in this stunning and relatively undiscovered part of the Highlands.

Forsinard and the Flow Country

The lodge is nestled in the heart of the Flow Country, one of Europe’s most important natural landscapes. The Flow Country is an extensive area of blanket bog and wetlands, stretching across Caithness and Sutherland. This unique environment supports a remarkable variety of wildlife, including rare bird species, mammals, and plants. It is one of the largest and most intact areas of blanket bog in the world, and its conservation is crucial for both biodiversity and carbon storage.

Sutherland's Natural Beauty

Sutherland, the wider region encompassing Forsinard, is known for its dramatic landscapes, which include rugged coastlines, sweeping moorlands, and serene lochs. The area is sparsely populated, offering a sense of wildness and tranquillity that is increasingly rare. From the rolling hills to the intricate river systems, Sutherland provides an endless array of photographic opportunities, making it an ideal location for capturing the essence of the Scottish Highlands.

RSPB Forsinard Flows Reserve

We are fortunate to have amazing neighbours, including our good friends at the RSPB Forsinard Flows Reserve. This reserve manages a vast area of diverse upland surrounding the lodge, dedicated to the conservation of this unique habitat. The reserve is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike, offering a chance to see species such as the Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, and Red-throated Diver in their natural habitat.

Accommodation at Forsinard Lodge

Our guests are accommodated in recently refurbished bedrooms within the Forsinard Lodge building. Each room has its own new, en-suite bathroom and is comfortably furnished to ensure a pleasant stay. Guests will also have access to a conservatory lounge where meals can be served, and the group can gather in the evenings for relaxed conversation and camaraderie.

 

Culinary Delights and Hospitality

We pride ourselves on looking after everyone to the best of our ability. Adrienne ensures that guests are kept happy with delicious home-cooked food from our kitchen, providing a taste of the Highlands with every meal. The lodge is designed to be a perfect place for relaxation and learning, fostering an environment that encourages creativity and self-expression—a true 'home from home.'

Whether you are marvelling at the vast, open landscapes, exploring the intricate details of the Flow Country, or enjoying the warm hospitality of Forsinard Lodge, your stay promises to be a memorable and inspiring experience.

 

Carole - 2023

“A week at Forsinard, the new hidden gem on my photography calendar. Janet and David have magically blended their passion for photography and in-depth local knowledge with the area’s stunning settings and abundance wildlife."
bottom of page