Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: Torridon – Raw Beauty of the Scottish Highlands with Niall & Charlotte Benvie

Torridon

Torridon – Raw Beauty of the Scottish Highlands with Niall & Charlotte Benvie

Highlights include…

  • Rugged Scottish mountain landscapes with lochs and islands
  • Sea lochs, harbour, old boats and white beach
  • Detail-rich old pine woodland
  • Waterfalls
  • Freshly leafed-out birch woods and flowers
  • Light painting opportunities
  • “Field studio” techniques
  • Post production tuition

Introduction

After a number of years showing guests Torridon just before winter closes in, this year we visit in spring while the birchwoods are fresh, the lambs still cute and the midges less active. We’ve moved our base too, close to Gairloch, which gives us easier access to more interesting coastal areas as well as to the north end of Loch Maree. But at its heart, this tour remains focused on the fabulous mountains that dominate the north west Highlands of Scotland. In some places, such as Glen Torridon, they tower overhead. In others, they provide a beguiling, distant horizon over a shell sand beach. This is not a National Scenic Area without good reason.

A turbulent geological past and intensive glacial activity have shaped the mountains of Wester Ross into some of Scotland’s most impressive upland scenery. It’s not necessary to climb too high to change your viewpoint entirely and at many locations we needn’t stray far to find great spots to shoot from. Ancient Scots pines rise above birches that clothe the lower slopes of the pale quartz massif of Beinn Eighe, Britain’s first National Nature Reserve. These dense woods are damp and extraordinarily rich in lichens, mosses, liverworts and ferns that can engross a macro photographer all day long. Tansley Bog, within the pinewood, is a renowned breeding site of the northern emerald dragonfly. The same glaciers that worked on the mountains have gouged out fabulous lochs such as Loch Maree, decorating its shore with boulders left behind as they retreated.

The mountains conjure with incoming weather systems to produce squalls then drizzle then brilliant sunshine then hail, all within an hour. Some days it is tranquil and the skies are blue. Mostly, it’s a lot more interesting than that!

Whether your interest is in the grand vista or intimate landscape, macro or movement, there is a great deal to work with in the area. This is a tour in which we give guests enough time to immerse themselves in a location, sometimes returning to it under different conditions, rather than try to fit in as many “beauty spots” as possible.

Tuition

Niall has worked in this area many times during his 25 year career so knows the best places to head. He is known internationally for his innovative approach to outdoor photography and is generous in sharing his ideas and methods. Guests often come away from our tours having learned something they didn’t even know they were interested in before!

Hospitality

We care a great deal about your comfort on our tours, choosing shooting locations best suited to the abilities of the group. We run this tour as a house party, using a lovely, large, well-appointed house near Gairloch which is exclusively ours for the week. Charlotte belongs to the “nothing is too much trouble” school of hospitality and is an imaginative, adaptable and talented cook (as well as a chocolatier by profession!) Freed from the constraints of hotel timetables, we can arrange meals time around when we need to be out shooting.

Brief itinerary

For full details download the PDF trip description

Our itinerary will depend on the weather conditions but we plan to visit all the destinations described at least once. The plan for the next day is published at dinner, laying out the weather forecast, the locations and tutorials for the next day, drive times, walking distances , where and when we’ll eat and what gear you’ll need. Experience has taught is that it’s more productive to have a plan to follow than make it up as we go along. Evenings will be spent on editing, post-production (using Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop) and analysis – as well as enjoying a splendid meal. We will aim to catch dawn and dusk most days unless the forecast is poor. If bad weather keeps us indoors, Niall has a number of tutorials to keep you busy and your processing productive.

Locations

Most locations are easily accessible and require only a short walk. If the fitness of the group allows, we will do some trekking in places to gain altitude. Here are the main areas we will visit, as and when the weather dictates:

Loch Maree with Views Over to Slioch

A great evening location, the loch provides a mirror for the dramatic massif of Slioch on calm days. A couple of small bays we know provide the very best foregrounds, even if there is a slight breeze. The end of Loch Maree is overlooked by a dramatic cliff rising above an incredibly lush, boulder filled woodland with the feeling of a lost world.

Beinn Eighe NNR

The woodlands and mountains of Britain’s first National Nature Reserve offer a glimpse into a wilder past. High rainfall encourages a lushness rarely seen in the eastern pine forests and ferns, mosses, liverworts and lichens abound. And above the old pines, the Beinn Eighe ridge, composed of white quartzite, rises dramatically. We’ll take our time and go part of the way up the “down” section of the Mountain Trail to get some great views into a large wooded gorge and over Loch Maree.

Loch Clair

Get your wellies on for the very best positions along Loch Clair, reflecting Liatach and part of Beinn Eighe. This is an iconic view that is worth returning to until the light is just right and the conditions calm. It’s a little bit of a drive from our base – about 50 minutes – but it’s worth it.

Lower Diabaig

We drive up out of Glen Torridon, taking in familiar panoramas over Loch Torridon, visit a fascinating set of falls then head over the moors before descending into Lower Diabaig. Used a location in a number of movies, the village’s setting in a secluded corner of the sea loch looks more Norwegian than Scottish. Normally, this will mark the furthest point we drive from base.

Glen Grudie Pine Wood

Given the right light, this wood right beside the road is a great location to shoot over towards Slioch. A river flows swiftly through the pines.

Mellon Udrigle

From this lovely shell sand beach there are views to the great mountains of Assynt and Coigach in the north east- and we go past some other great spots – according to the weather – en-route along the winding road. These include the rocky beach of Mellon Charles and the impressive Gruinard Bay.

What’s Included

  • Full board
  • Guiding & tuition
  • Transfers to and from Inverness airport

What’s not Included

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Entry to visitor attractions

Complete Itinerary and Full Details

This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and more details can be found in our PDF trip description
It is important that you read the full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.