Scotland 2020

Scottish Highlands Photo Adventure 2020

Sept. 1–14, 2020

Scotland’s North Coast 500, the Ultimate Road Trip

Join photography instructor Wayde Carroll and Scottish cultural guide Royston Brightman on the ultimate road trip—Scotland’s North Coast 500. During our full 13 days and nights together our small group of 6 to 10 like-minded travelers will practice a variety of photographic techniques.

In a land dripping with history (and its share of rain!) we’ll follow the ever-changing weather and the sweet and brooding light for some of the finest landscape and travel imagery possible. The Highlands are one of the most stunning and least populated regions of the United Kingdom.

Each day will be filled with some combination of photography excursions, technique building workshops, hands-on guidance, and Royston’s homegrown insights into each area. You’ll have the opportunity to work on perfecting travel photography skills including: landscape, long exposure, night photography, macro, portraits, fill-flash, and off-camera flash. Some evenings will be dedicated to sharing photos, discussing composition, and post-processing, so bring your laptop! Wayde’s main focus will be to make sure that everyone is set up to get the best images possible in each location.

Highlights of the tour include: Inverness, the Isle of Skye, a half-day marine wildlife cruise, Dunrobin Castle and its falcons, working sheep dogs, whisky tasting, short hikes to historical and scenic locales, dinner with a local family, Achness Falls, the Duncansby Stacks, Smoo Cave, Torridon, the famous Eilean Donan Castle, and much more. We’ll capture some well known iconic locations as well as magical hidden gems. We’ll always be on the lookout for animals as well such as the gorgeous red deer, the highland coo, sheep, goats, and puffins too.

We have a number of multi-night stays in one location, so if you just want to take a break and spend some time relaxing in the beautiful settings, you have that option as well!

13 Nights

6 to 10 Travelers

$6,195

(Double-occupancy; single supplement $975)

Itinerary

The tour officially starts the morning of Sept. 1. Guests should arrive before then and make their way to Inverness in time to meet the group at 9 a.m. at the Loch Ness Country House Hotel. See below for information on Wayde’s pre-trip workshop offering on Aug. 31.

Highlights

  • Arrive in Inverness!

Meals

  • Not included

Accommodations

  • Not included

Important Notes

It’s recommended that you try and book the Loch Ness Country House for Aug. 31, but you can stay at another location and meet us on Sept. 1 if you would like.

Optional Pre-Trip Session

If you’re interested, I will be offering a pre-trip session today in the early afternoon by appointment for anyone who would like to go over common camera functions and get warmed up with their gear before the tour begins.

There is no fee for this offering but registration with Wayde via email is required.

We begin our journey in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Join Wayde and Royston in the Loch Ness Country House Hotel lobby at 9 a.m. for a trip orientation and introductions. We won’t dillydally long before we jump into our first excursion, a short drive to the magical Fairy Glen for a walk through the seemingly prehistoric forest to photograph the beautiful creek and waterfalls. After a delicious lunch, Royston will guide us along the River Inverness to explore the city and hear its tales. We will have our first dinner together at the Dores Inn which rests along the shores of Loch Ness. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the elusive Nessy, the fabled Loch Ness Monster.

Highlights

  • Meet your travel mates and guides
  • Practice long-exposure techniques

Meals

  • Breakfast at your hotel
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner at Dores Inn

Accommodations

  • Loch Ness Country House Hotel

Important Notes

Our excursion today will be on a possibly muddy trail. Sturdy water resistant hiking boots recommended.

After our hearty Scottish breakfast, we’ll head out for a day of exploring around Inverness. We’ll visit a working cooperage (where barrels for whisky are made), and visit the sheep herding dogs of Leault. After a taking afternoon tea we will end the day with a traditional Scottish meal at a local family farm.

Highlights

  • Visit a working cooperage
  • Visit with working sheepdogs
  • Traditional Scottish meal

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner with local family

Accommodations

  • Loch Ness Country House Hotel

Today with an early start we will make our way to Achness, the rugged “field of the waterfalls.” The unique cascades in this less-visited site offer a multitude of interesting composition possibilities. We’ll enjoy lunch in the small lakeside town of Lairg before visiting Dunrobin Castle to photograph the beautiful grounds and enjoy the falconry demonstration. Our lodging and dinner tonight is at the charming Navidale House, the former hunting lodge to the Dukes of Sutherland, with a spectacular view overlooking Moray Firth.

Highlights

  • Achness Falls
  • Dunrobin Castle
  • Falconry Demonstration

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch in Lairg
  • Dinner at Navidale House

Accommodations

  • Navidale House (or similar)

After breakfast, we’ll take a short hike along the coast to the deserted clearance village of Badbea for a morning shoot. We’ll stop at a lovely tearoom before an excursion to the Whaliegoe Steps where we’ll cautiously make our way down the 330 stone stairs to photograph this unique former fishing harbor as well as the puffins and murres along the cliffs. Time permitting, we’ll visit a local artist, then make our way to tonight’s lodging.

Highlights

  • Badbea Clearance Village
  • Whaliegoe Steps

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch in Wick
  • Dinner our hotel

Accommodations

  • Granary Lodge or similar

For those early risers, we’ll head out before sunrise to photograph the prominent sea stacks at Duncansby Head. After a return to the hotel for breakfast, we’ll all make a quick stop at John O’Groats, the most northeasterly part of the British mainland, just to say we did! We’ll enjoy lunch in Thurso, then explore the rolling expanse of peat and wetlands known as the Flow Country. Here we’ll take a walk on the Dubh Lochan Trail through the unique landscape of the Forsinard Flows. Our lodging for the next two nights is in the lovely coastal village of Bettyhill where we’ll have stunning landscape opportunities right from the grounds.

Highlights

  • Sunrise at Duncansby Head
  • Forsinard Flows

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch in Thurso
  • Dinner at our hotel

Accommodations

  • Bettyhill Hotel

Today will be a full day of exploring mystical lochs, glens, brochs, and the mountains of the region between Bettyhill and Tongue. We’ll seek out Dun Dornaigil Broch, Loch Naver, Ben Loyal, and the Kyle of Tongue. This would be a great day as well to take a break from the driving and enjoy the gorgeous views from our lodging. We’ll plan on dinner and a sunset shoot at the hotel.

Highlights

  • Unique landscape opportunities
  • Exploring whatever strikes our fancy along highland backroads

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner at our hotel

Accommodations

  • Bettyhill Hotel

This will be another day of photographing the incredible scenery of the highlands as we make our way farther along the North Coast 500. We’ll stop at Smoo Cave, the scenic coastal towns of Durness and Kinlochbervie, and keep our eyes out for the iconic Ben Hope Mountain, the most northerly munro (Scottish mountain over 3,000 ft in height). Our home for the night is the lovely Kylesku Hotel, which sits on the panoramic banks of Loch Glendhu. We’ll take a short hike in search of red deer, which are plentiful in the area.

Highlights

  • Gorgeous coastline
  • Kylesku

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner at Kylesku Hotel

Accommodations

  • Kylesku Hotel

The stunning landscapes never end as we travel to Gairloch. Enroute, we’ll photograph Ardvreck Castle on Loch Assynt, Clashinessie Falls, and scenic Achmelvic Bay before having lunch in the beautiful harbor town of Ullapool. From there we’ll explore the winding coastline of Poolewe and Gairloch, where we’ll enjoy another two-night stay.

Highlights

  • Ardvreck Castle
  • Achmelvic Bay

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch in Ullapool
  • Dinner in Gairloch

Accommodations

  • Millcroft Hotel

Important Notes

Tomorrow we’ll take a half-day marine wildlife cruise. Guests who are prone to seasickness should make sure they have any medication they might need if the water is rough.

Today we take a private, half-day wildlife cruise in The Minch (a strait) in search of dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, numerous species of seabirds, basking sharks, white-tailed eagles, and more. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a well-deserved rest, taking time on our own to relax and enjoy the area or work on our photos.

Highlights

  • Marine wildlife
  • Free time for processing or relaxing

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch in Gairloch
  • Dinner in Gairloch

Accommodations

  • Millcroft Hotel

Today we make our way toward the mythical Isle of Skye. Our route will be filled with unique photo opportunities starting with an early morning shoot at Loch Maree and a drive through the impressively gouged glacial trench of Glen Torridon. We’ll explore the coastal beauty of the Applecross Peninsula, and traverse the nailbiting, winding, single-track Bealach na Ba’, the highest road in Scotland. After crossing the Skye Bridge, we’ll end our day near Portree where we’ll spend the next three nights.

Highlights

  • Loch Maree
  • Glen Torridon

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner in Portree

Accommodations

  • Royal Hotel or similar

We’ll have two full days to explore the incomparable Isle of Skye, the largest isle of the Inner Hebrides. Depending upon weather and group interest, we’ll have a variety of locations to explore and capture, including the Quirange, Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock Falls, Neist Point, the Fairy Pools, and the Sligachan. We’ll also take in a whiskey tour and spend time in the bustling harbor town of Portree.

Highlights

  • Old Man of Storr sunrise shoot
  • Neist Point sunset shoot

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner in Portree

Accommodations

  • Royal Hotel or similar

On our last full day together, we’ll make our way back to Inverness, taking our time to explore Elgol, and the infamous Eilean Donan Castle (the most-photographed castle in all of Scotland, and a must-see!) as well as other spots of interest along the way. We’ll have our farewell dinner and a dram together tonight in Inverness. Our lodging is close to the Inverness Airport and has airport shuttles available for your departure the following day.

Highlights

  • Elgol morning shoot
  • Eilean Donan Castle

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel or on the road
  • Lunch on the road
  • Dinner in Inverness

Accommodations

  • Courtyard by Marriott Inverness Airport

Sadly, this morning we’ll say our farewells and look forward to all the adventures to come! Our hotel has airport shuttles available for your departure.

Meals

  • Breakfast at our hotel

Accommodations

  • N/A

Post-Trip Extension 1

I’m offering a post-processing workshop following our Scottish adventure for those of you who are interested in taking your images to the next level. If you plan on printing or sharing your photos and you want them to look their absolute best, this workshop is ideal.

I’ll spend the first half of the class going over my workflow, file organization, and techniques for perfecting my images in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop with an emphasis on Lightroom.

The second half of the class will be spent helping you work on your own images from our trip. Together we will select photos from a variety of situations and process them to look their best. This will give you added skill and confidence, not only in your post-processing, but in learning how to envision the final look of your photos when out shooting in the field. At the end of the day we’ll leave time for anyone who would like to share their images with the other participants for encouragement and feedback!

Date

Sept. 14

Time

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fee

$200 per person (lunch included)

Post-Trip Extension 2

If anyone is interested, I am considering an extension, starting on September 15th, to do a photo walk/ workshop in Glasgow and/or Edinburgh. I will plan this further based on interest!

Note: All activities are weather-dependent; if poor weather keeps us inside, we’ll practice photo editing and post-processing techniques.

Meet Your Guides

Wayde Carroll

Principal and Photography Instructor

Royston Brightman

Cultural Guide