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Aurora behind the RSPB tower at Forsinard Flows

Highland Winter Photo Holiday

£1,399 (Members price £1,349), Deposit £300
Forsinard, Sutherland
Snowy landscape

Duration & Dates

7 days (6 nights)

27th Oct to 2nd Nov 24

10th to 16th November 24 - Full

8th to 14th December 24

19th to 25th January 25 - Full

26th Jan to 1st Feb 25

23rd Feb to 1st March 25

2nd to 8th November 25

16th to 22nd November 25

30th Nov to 6th Dec 25

22nd to 28th February 26

8th to 14th March 26

22nd to 28th October 26

6th to 12th December 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

If you are looking for drama and the raw power of the natural world to add intensity to your images, then winter is without doubt the season to visit us! Snow is a frequent occurrence, often gracing us weeks of coverage, especially on higher ground and surrounding hills.

A Pristine White Wonderland. Winter in the Highlands can transform the landscape into a pristine white wonderland. Snow blankets the mountains, hills, and valleys, creating a serene and otherworldly scene. The crisp, untouched snow provides a striking contrast to the dark silhouettes of trees and ancient structures, offering endless opportunities for dramatic and breath-taking photographs.

Crisp Air and Clear Skies. The air in the Highlands during winter is crisp and invigorating, carrying with it a sense of purity and freshness. Clear, cold days are often accompanied by brilliant skies that stretch endlessly overhead. The quality of light is unique to this season, with a clarity that enhances natural beauty and brings out the details in the landscape. The low winter sun casts long shadows and creates a beautiful play of light and shadow on these wild lands of the far north.

Dramatic Weather and Moody Atmospheres. Winter weather in the Highlands can be wild and unpredictable, adding a sense of drama to the scenery. Snowstorms, frost, and ice can quickly transform the landscape, creating moody and atmospheric conditions that are perfect for evocative photography. The ever-changing weather keeps the landscape in a constant state of flux, ensuring that no two days are the same and providing a dynamic backdrop for capturing the raw power of nature.

Wildlife in a Wintry Setting. Despite the cold, winter is a fantastic time for observing and photographing wildlife in the Highlands. Red Deer descend from the high hills to seek shelter and food in the lower valleys, their presence adding life to the otherwise stark landscape. a variety of upland birds remain active, providing a lively contrast to the wintery scene. The winter backdrop enhances the visibility of these animals, making for striking wildlife photographs.

Skyscapes and Celestial Wonders. The long nights of winter offer exceptional opportunities for night sky photography. The absence of light pollution in the remote Highlands makes it an ideal location for capturing the stars, the moon, and, with a bit of luck, the Northern Lights. The aurora borealis, with its vibrant colours dancing across the night sky, is a breath-taking sight that adds a magical touch to the winter experience. Sunrise and sunset are more accessible during the shorter days, often painting the sky with extraordnary colours, creating stunning skyscapes.

Historical and Cultural Resonance. Winter in the Highlands brings a sense of historical and cultural resonance to the fore. Castles, Brochs, and croft houses look even more timeless against the wintry backdrop, telling stories of resilience and endurance. The stark beauty of these structures in winter evokes a deep connection to the past, making them compelling subjects for photography and exploration.

A Season of Peace and Solitude. Winter is a season of peace and solitude in the Highlands. The hustle and bustle of summer tourists gives way to a quieter, more introspective atmosphere. The vast, open spaces and the silent, snow-covered landscapes invite a sense of calm and contemplation. This serene environment is perfect for photographers seeking to capture the essence of solitude and the profound beauty of a world at rest.

Enduring Beauty and Quiet Strength. The essence of winter in the Highlands lies in its enduring beauty and quiet strength. It is a time when the landscape’s raw and rugged character is laid bare, revealing the true majesty of this wild region. Photographers and visitors are drawn to the Highlands in winter for its ability to inspire awe and evoke a deep sense of wonder. Every snowflake, every shadow, and every glimmer of light tells a story of nature's resilience and the timeless allure of this remarkable land.

Winter in the Highlands is a season of stark beauty, dramatic contrasts, and serene solitude. It is a time to embrace the raw power of nature, find peace in the quiet moments, and capture the breath-taking splendour of a landscape transformed by the season.

Tour Highlights

  • Skyscapes: Daylight, sunrise/sunset colours, and clouds. Night photography opportunities include the moon, stars, and hopefully even the northern lights.

  • 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.

  • Nature: The iconic Red Deer of the highlands, best photographed in winter when they are lower on the hills, plus a broad selection of upland birds. 

Above all, we aim for our small group trips to be relaxing and creatively stimulating, providing the perfect combination of rest and the enjoyment of photography.

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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

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

  • Compositional principles and creative approaches to photography.

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

  • Controlling exposure ensuring our snow is white and blacks are black in challenging conditions.

  • Use of filters to enhance and manipulate images.

 

Daily Excursions

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

  • Visits to the dramatic seascapes of the northern coasts.

  • Night-time shooting of skyscapes, light painting and potentially the aurora.

  • Opportunities to photograph stunning sunsets and sunrises.

  • Afternoon drives to find Red Deer and upland Birds.

  • Visit to a local distillery with a lot of the original features and machinery.

 

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.

 

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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.

  • Night time session to capture, moon, stars and skyscapes.

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

  • Visit to a local distillery.

 

Day 1
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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, and historical landscapes. Opportunities will include capturing landscapes, seascapes, waterfalls and the night sky

  • 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 sunset or night-time photography.

  • Flexible Scheduling: We will adapt our schedule to include opportunities for sunrise, sunset, and possibly night-time or aurora photography, depending on weather and solar activity.

  • Specific Excursions: Potential specific trips include visits to dramatic coastlines, mountainous regions, waterfalls, rivers and lowland meadows with frost or snow. There will also be chances to look for local wildlife such as Red Deer.

 

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.

 

David - March 2023

“My week with Wild Arena in the Highlands of Scotland was simply amazing and greatly exceeded my expectations. I can’t praise enough the excellent photo sessions in superb surroundings, the great accommodation and wonderful food."
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