The Great Wood: Impressions

Cairngorms National Park and Glen Affric, Scotland

The Great Wood: Impressions

Cairngorms National Park and Glen Affric, Scotland

  • Capture the colours and moods of autumn in the UK’s wildest forest.
  • Explore woodland, lochs and moorland at dawn and dusk.
  • Learn creative techniques to add variety to your images.
  • Enjoy House-party accommodation in our own country lodge and in a splendid country hotel.
  • Evening presentations to inform and inspire.
  • Free ‘Caledonia’ ebook and 1 year Trees for Life membership.

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 – The Great Wood - a rich, vibrant woodland that once stretched across much of the Highlands, becomes a nature 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.

The Caledonian Pine Forest is a place of great beauty with a beguiling character that has many stories to tell. This is a forest that weaves its magic each autumn becoming a rich tapestry of colour and texture – a delight for landscape photographers wishing to build a strong portfolio focused on this unique habitat.

Our tour focuses on two spectacular areas: the Cairngorms National Park and Glen Affric. Our aim is not only to capture the classic scenic splendour of the pine forest but to be artistically creative and to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.


These tours are often designed to run in a series across different locations and/or times of year, in order to get under the skin of a specific place or species. Rather than cherry pick ‘hero’ images with little context, the idea behind Storytellers is to put together a coherent, in-depth portfolio, often using innovative techniques, which builds into a compelling photographic story.


Dates: 22-28 Oct 2017

Cost: £1225

Deposit: £250

Single Supplement: £0

Group Size: 8

Guide: Terry Whittaker and Peter Cairns

Principal Subjects: Autumn colour (wide views and intimate details), Caledonian Pine Forest, rivers, lochs, sunrises, sunsets, impressions and abstracts.

Cost Includes: Accommodation; all meals; transfers to/from Kingussie; transport; tuition; digital presentations.

Cost Excludes: Insurance, alcoholic drinks and personal items.


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. 

Terry Whittaker

Terry Whittaker

Terry is a widely-published photographer specialising in wildlife conservation with a particular interest in the relationship between people and wild animals. Past projects include critically endangered primates in Vietnam, the wildlife trade in Asia and hunter-gatherer people in Paraguay. More recently he has been photographing efforts to save the water vole in the UK. It's also fair to say he's a thoroughly decent bloke.



Our accommodation in the Cairngorms is a lovely converted steading at the foot of the mountains. The Steading 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 *. In Glen Affric we transfer to a country hotel with single en-suite rooms. Both accommodations have wifi 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. 


Meals are informal and will be taken within our accommodation. As this tour is aimed at serious photography, meals will not take priority and will be fitted in around prime photography time. 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 warm, 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! 


We will not be walking long distances but some walks may be up to 1km and with uphill/ uneven sections. You should be of sound basic fitness. 

Meeting up and saying goodbye

Your accommodation will be ready at 5pm on arrival day. Cars can be safely parked at Ballintean throughout the tour. We say goodbye after breakfast on the final day of the tour. 


Our guides for this tour, Peter Cairns and Terry Whittaker, each have many years of photographic tour-leading experience. For those who would like assistance, they will take you through both technical and practical aspects of this type of photography and will be on hand to help you get the most from your time spent with us. 


We take our responsibility as a tour operator very seriously and are conscious of our impact on the environment. Not only do we strive to minimize this impact in a variety of ways, we donate of proportion of our income to forest and habitat restoration. All participants on this tour will receive a free 1-year membership of Trees for Life, one of Scotland’s primary forest restoration charities. 

Giving Back

We take our responsibility as a tour operator very seriously and are conscious of our impact on the environment. Not only do we strive to minimise this impact in a variety of ways, we donate a proportion of our income to a select number of conservation initiatives.

See our Giving Back page for details ›