Duration & Dates
7 days (6 nights)
8th to 14th July 23 - Low Intensity
22nd to 28th July 23
13th to 19th August 23 - Low Intensity
2nd to 8th June 24
Arrival & Departure
Forsinard Lodge arrival after 4pm, departure before 10am
Excursions to seabird island & hides
5 full days of creative photography
Fully inclusive accommodation
Expert guidance and tuition
Small group for individual attention
Un-discovered wild locations
Members price £1,349
3 people per tour per 1 guide
Initial transport to lodge
Summers can be short lived in the far north, so nature explodes in a frenzy of activity to make the most of the brief warmer months. This means our summer trips have more of an emphasis on nature than perhaps the other seasons. Of course, whilst we will still have a wide and inclusive view of potential subjects, coastal birds and close-up nature will inevitably form a key element of the trip. Summer also means very long days, so the itinerary will include alternate early starts and late finishes, to make the most of the seasonal light – after all, this far north it almost doesn’t get dark at this time of year!
During the week we will explore the dramatic scenery of the central north, looking for landscape, nature, architecture, plus historical and human stories to tell with our images. The tutors and guides will, as always, encourage a broad range of creative ideas and techniques to maximise our creativity whilst shooting.
We also hope to arrange 2 specific excursions for breeding seabirds. Firstly, an evening visit to a hide site for nesting Terns and Gulls. This location has 2 specialised hides, allowing photography at ‘eye level’ with the birds at amazing close range. There are up to a dozen species visible here in high summer, but the nesting Arctic Terns and Black headed Gulls are real highlights. Then secondly, we will venture west for a full-day expedition to a wild island, where upwards of 200,000 birds breed each year on dramatic, towering cliffs. A small boat will transport us to this amazing location, and we can spend the day exploring the huge cliffs, rugged shores and open hillsides for wildlife and scenery subjects.
Summer weather and conditions can still be unpredictable, but the long daylight hours, lovely early/late light and frenetic wildlife will definitely keep us busy!
The small team at Wild Arena are all passionate about photography and sharing our love of the Scottish landscape with our guests. Our creative photography tours are designed to make the most of our wild and unspoilt location to provide the perfect place for digging deeper into the world of making images.
During these special 7-day trips, we will be delighted to welcome a small group of guests to northern Scotland and spend some quality time, immersed in the process of searching for, finding, creating and carefully editing images that reveal the stories we want to tell. The trips are not genre specific, but instead aim to access whatever subjects we find to provide inspiration for great pictures. The guides and tutors are all extremely experienced and will encourage everyone with locations, ideas, techniques and settings to maximise the opportunity for learning.
What can you expect during your week with us? Well, we hope to welcome everyone as a friend and help develop their personal photography on a very individual level. Very small groups and all-inclusive accommodation should allow all our guests to relax into the week and really feel they have provided their hobby with the time it needs to grow and develop!
Our goal is always to treat each excursion as a ‘treasure hunt’, with great pictures and stories that need telling as our goal. There is nothing better than returning home with a picture you are excited to have discovered and feel you are able to share, through ‘capturing’ the moment in a crafted picture.
Key subjects for the week should include:
Key subjects for the week should include:
Landscapes: There are a huge range of landscapes accessible in the area with natural features like dramatic beaches, waterfalls and hills, as possible targets. The region is also rich in characterful man-made structures, including Iron Age Brochs and more recent croft houses and cottages with weathered exteriors, rich in colour and texture.
Wildlife: Many seabird species should have returned to the northern coast, such as the iconic Puffins and these can be seen along with Gannets, Terns, Cormorants, Eider Ducks, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Shearwaters, Razorbill, Guillemot and Kittiwake. On our boat tour we may also of course see Dolphins and Whales. Macro subjects might include Common Lizard, Common Toad, various Dragonfly species and other invertebrates.
Above all else, we want our welcoming, small group trips to be relaxing and creatively stimulating, providing the perfect combination of rest and enjoyment of the wonderful pastime of photography!
Our base for this trip is the beautifully situated location of Forsinard Lodge in northern Scotland. The building was originally built in 1870 by the Duke of Sutherland as a hunting & fishing lodge at the head of Strath Halladale. The river here was highly regarded for Salmon fishing and the surrounding area boasted Red Deer Stags of unusual size. The lodge has spent most of its life as part of a much wider estate, but now provides Wild Arena a perfect base for photography in this beautiful and relatively undiscovered part of the highlands.
We also boast some amazing neighbours including our good friends at the RSPB reserve at Forsinard, who manage a vast area of diverse upland surrounding the lodge.
Our guests are accommodated in recently refurbished bedrooms within the Forsinard Lodge building. Each room has its own new, en-suite bathroom and are comfortably furnished for our visitors stay. Guests will also have use of a conservatory lounge where meals can be served, and the group can come together in the evenings.
We pride ourselves on looking after everyone to the best of our ability and Adrienne will ensure guests are kept happy with delicious home cooked food from our kitchen. We also hope that the lodge is the perfect place for relaxed conversation, providing an environment that encourages learning and self-expression – a true ‘home from home’!
(D) Arrival at your base for the week, Forsinard Lodge in the heart of the wild landscape of northern Scotland. We will bring the group together for a welcome dinner and introduction to the coming week.
(B,L,D) After a later breakfast we will head out on our first gentle day of photography. We will stay relatively local, exploring the wild landscapes of the Flow Country of northern Scotland. We will take a packed lunch/supper and might well continue capturing pictures into the evening to make the most of the light and conditions we encounter.
(B,L,D) Again, a later start with a chance to review the first day’s photography over breakfast. We will then head out with packed lunch and supper, heading north onto the coast for some mixed shooting at a number of locations, including a dramatic beach and natural flower meadow. We will then spend the evening at a hide location to photograph nesting seabirds. There should be great opportunities with a number of species including Arctic Terns amazingly close to the cameras! Again, late back to the lodge, making the most of the evening light.
(B,L,D) After another slightly later breakfast with a chance of conversation and review, we will head into the higher hills to find summer landscapes and mixed subjects in this beautiful pat of the world. Back to the lodge for dinner and an opportunity for relaxed conversation and review.
(B,L,D) An early start, heading out with a packed breakfast/lunch to try and catch some nature subjects in morning light, possibly visiting a nearby headland and then some northern coastal locations. Back to the lodge for a relaxed evening meal and conversation.
(B,L,D) The final day of photography and another early start allowing us time to drive west to visit Handa island. After a short boat trip, we will arrive at this gorgeous location. Not only are there amazing numbers of seabird visible on the massive sea cliff, but also interesting landscape and history opportunities too. Back to the lodge for a later dinner and a chance for a review of the weeks work.
(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
Who should attend
Anyone who has a love of photography and the outdoors. Photographic experience level is not an issue with such a small group size, so we are just looking for a willingness to learn and try new ideas!
Wild Arena Tours are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.
Fitness level: You will need to be able to walk a few miles with your camera bag, over rough terrain. (Please note we do offer ‘Low Intensity’ tours for guests who feel a less demanding itinerary might suit them better).
Camera Knowledge: It is useful if you have a good working knowledge of your camera, but the Wild Arena guide will be on hand to talk through settings, ideas and techniques to make the best of the opportunities.
During this week of photography, we hope to teach you techniques for landscape and wildlife photography including, the use of shutter speeds, capturing the moment, telling a story and making the most of the light
'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.
Add in Adrienne’s delicious homemade meals, the delight of the old lodge and what is not to love. The group sizes are deliberately small making for an intimate learning environment, I can honestly say I feel totally recharged, reconnect to my photography and cannot wait to go back.'