Coastscapes and Mountaintops

SCOTLAND: Sutherland

Coastscapes and Mountaintops

SCOTLAND: Sutherland

  • Capture the drama of less-photographed wild beaches
  • Explore mountain, moorland and sea lochs at dawn and dusk
  • Learn creative techniques to add variety to your images
  • Enjoy top-quality luxury accommodation in our own country lodge
  • Evening presentations to inform and inspire

As the last leaves of autumn fall and fade, northern Scotland braces itself for the onset of winter. With the changing season comes changing light, exciting light, light that lifts the ordinary into the extraordinary. It is this light that we shall seek out during this landscape tour covering the wildest, most sparsely-populated region of the UK.

Our base for this unique tour is just about as far north as the Scottish mainland stretches. At the head of the Kyle of Durness, there are magnificent views directly outside our front door. Just a short drive takes us to the idyllic machair beaches of Balnakiel, Sango Bay and Ceannabeinne. Further east we will venture to the Kyle of Tongue and its backdrop of Ben Loyal. An hour’s drive south takes us to the majestic mountains of Assynt, rising straight from the sea and providing a backdrop for cascading rivers and reed-lined lochs.

This tour is designed for photographers intent on securing images from a bit off the beaten track, away from photographic honeypots. The weather at this time of year can be challenging but the rewards can be more than worthwhile. There will be plenty of tips and tricks thrown in and all topped off with wonderful accommodation in a spectacular setting.

House Party

With exclusive occupation of carefully selected lodges, each offering a high degree of comfort and set in stunning locations, we are able to tailor our photographic forays according to the best light and time of day. Meals are cooked fresh by our own live-in chef and can be timed to offer maximum flexibility. Our house parties combine serious photography with serious fun.


Dates: 3-10 Nov 2018

Cost: £1455

Deposit: £300

Single Supplement: £0

Group Size: 10

Guide: Peter Cairns and Mark Hamblin

Principal Subjects: Wild beaches and estuaries, lochs and rivers, mountain landscapes, autumnal birch woodland, dramatic light!

Cost Includes: Accommodation in single rooms (see below); All meals; Transport during tour; Tuition and presentations; Transfers to/from Inverness train station/airport

Cost Excludes: Travel to/from the tour; Travel/cancellation insurance; Alcoholic drinks; 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. 

Mark Hamblin

Mark Hamblin

Mark has 20 years experience as a freelance nature photographer and has been leading photo tours at home and abroad since 1997. His principal photographic focus is on Scotland’s wildlife and wild places, spending his time on longer terms projects close to home in the Cairngorms National Park. Mark is a founding director of the Wild Media Foundation and is currently working on SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.



For this tour we take over a magnificent Highland lodge beautifully situated and appointed. For this “house party” we bring our own live-in cook allowing us to be completely flexible with meal times. 

All rooms have en-suite facilities* and guests will have use of a full-size snooker table, sauna and cinema room for those long wintry nights! 

* One room has a toilet and shower away from the bedroom. 


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. 


Weather is very changeable at this time of year and you should expect anything from calm conditions to wintry squalls. Temperatures are likely to range from 0c to 10c with the possibility of strong winds. Conditions underfoot are often very wet! 


Most sites are accessible via a short walk but some require a higher level of fitness. A walk out to spectacular Sandwood Bay is a 10-mile round trip and although this is optional, this shoot forms a key part of the tour. Another optional day is a hike up Stac Pollaidh which reveals one of Scotland’s finest views. This involves an ascent of around 700m on a well-established path. Overall you should be of sound fitness with a higher level required for these two excursions (with two guides we are able to split the group if necessary). 


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. Our guides 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 2% of the revenue from this tour to Scottish charity the John Muir Trust who work to protect wild lands and own a reserve within our shooting area.