Autumn Gold Landscapes

SCOTLAND: Cairngorms National Park & Torridon

Autumn Gold Landscapes

SCOTLAND: Cairngorms National Park & Torridon

  • Explore woodland, lochs and mountains at dawn and dusk
  • Capture the colours and moods of the UK’s wildest forest
  • Learn creative techniques to add variety to your images
  • Explore nighttime photography in clear weather
  • Top accommodation in our own country lodge and in a splendid lochside hotel
  • Evening presentations to inform and inspire

As the birchwoods of northern Scotland turn to brilliant gold and the high tops are dusted with the first snowfall of winter, the Caledonian Pine Forest, a rich, vibrant woodland that once stretched across much of the Highlands, becomes a landscape photographer’s paradise. Ethereal mists cloak mirror-calm lochs and ancient Scots pines stand sentinel, silhouetted against fiery sunsets. Crystal clear rivers cascade through ancient pinewoods, which have stood for 5,000 years and were once the haunt of wolves, boar and beavers.

Our tour focuses on two spectacular areas of Scotland: the Cairngorms National Park (3 nights) and Torridon (3 nights) with its sweeping sea lochs and towering peaks. Our aim is not only to capture the classic scenic splendour of these dramatic landscapes but to be artistically creative and to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Each day we will assess the weather and choose our location accordingly. Most days we will be out at first light to capture the dawn before returning to our accommodation for a hearty breakfast. After a short break, we’ll return into the field and shoot through until sunset. Beautiful lochs, wild forests, mountains and cascading rivers will all feature during this tour and whilst we’re out, we’ll discuss lighting, composition and creative techniques. We’ll also talk about tailoring our photography to the conditions –understanding weather patterns and how that impacts on light. If the skies are clear we may venture out at night to capture star trails and even the aurora, which can sometimes be seen from northern Scotland.

This tour is designed for serious photographers intent on securing a varied portfolio of images from two of Scotland’s wildest areas. There will be plenty of tips and tricks thrown in and all topped off with great food in two superb settings.


Dates: 20-26 Oct 2018

Cost: £1375

Deposit: £300

Single Supplement: £0

Group Size: 8

Guide: Peter Cairns

Principal Subjects: Pine forest and autumnal birch woodland; mountains and lochs; rivers and seascapes; creative and abstract autumn impressions

Cost Includes: Accommodation in single rooms; All meals; Transport during tour; Tuition and presentations; Transfers to/from Kingussie train station

Cost Excludes: Travel to/from the tour; Travel/cancellation insurance; Alcoholic drinks (wine is served with dinner); Personal expenses.


Peter Cairns

Peter Cairns

Pete has spent the last 17 years putting Northshots guests in front of stunning landscapes and enthralling wildlife. Behind the scenes he has been responsible for steering the company to being one of the most trusted and respected in the business. A passionate conservationist and communicator, he now spends much of his time photographing and filming in the Scottish Highlands for SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, a multimedia initiative amplifying the case for a wilder Scotland. 



Our accommodation in the Cairngorms is a lovely converted steading at the foot of the Grampian Mountains. Ballintean Mountain Lodge is comfortable and full of character - specially designed for photographic house parties. We have a range of single, double and twin rooms, all with private facilities*. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home! 

In Torridon we transfer to a lovely 4* country house hotel by an extensive sea loch. All rooms with private facilities. 

Both accommodations have Wi-Fi connections although phone signals can be patchy. 

*Two of our single rooms share a bathroom. Rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 


This tour starts in the Cairngorms (3 nights) before moving to Torridon (3 nights). 

Your room at Ballintean Mountain Lodge will be available from 5pm on arrival day. Cars can be safely parked at our lodge. Directions can be sent, as Satnav is not always reliable. Our postcode is PH21 1NX 

Train travel is generally reliable and we can offer free transfers to/from Kingussie station (7 miles). We can also drop off at Inverness train station on the day of departure, if preferred. 

Our nearest airport is Inverness (45 miles) and we can offer transfers on arrival day but we charge £40, which can be shared if other members of the group are travelling by air. We collect at 4pm on arrival day. On departure day, we can drop off at Inverness airport at 12noon (no charge). 


Meals are informal and will be taken within our accommodation. We offer home-cooked, wholesome food prepared with local ingredients. Breakfast, packed lunch, evening meal and home-baked shortbread provide the fuel to keep you going! We can almost always accommodate specific dietary requirements - just tell us on the booking form and we’ll make sure you get what you want. 


Most sites are accessible via a short walk but some require a higher level of fitness. You should be able to walk up to 1km over uneven ground. 


Weather is very changeable at this time of year and you should expect anything from warm, calm conditions to wintry squalls. Temperatures are likely to range from 0c to 15c with the possibility of strong winds. Conditions underfoot are often very wet! 


This tour is primarily aimed at providing our guests with great photographic opportunities and to this end, most of our time will be spent in the field securing images. Peter will however, provide help where it is needed and will offer guidance on fieldcraft, composition, lighting and photographic technique. For those guests looking for image critique and/ or post-processing assistance, this can be arranged subject to time available. For a more structured learning experience, please consider one of our Masterclass workshops. 

Giving Back

Northshots is a strong supporter of nature-based tourism contributing to rural economies to demonstrate the value of wild animals and wild places. We believe also that “taking” from the natural world obliges us to “give back” so we adapt our business practices to that end. We also contribute 3% of the revenue from this tour to Scottish charity Trees for Life which is working to restore Scotland’s Caledonian Pine Forest.