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Often described as the last wilderness in Scotland, the Knoydart peninsula has an island atmosphere, isolated from the rest of the Western Highlands by the ‘rough bounds’, a notorious strip of mountainous terrain. For this reason, Knoydart has always been best accessed by boat which we use to our advantage during the week.
From our accommodation on the tip of the peninsula we can also explore the nearby islands of Skye, Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna, providing an appetising contrast of landscapes to work with during the holiday. On the boat trips we can expect to encounter whales, dolphins and porpoises, while sightings of golden eagles are common on Knoydart. Colin Prior’s photographic knowledge of the Highlands is second to none – and this region is one of his absolute favourites.
This photography holiday is based at a remote wilderness lodge on the western tip of Knoydart. During the week, we have access a boat which means that we can easily visit many remote coastal areas, allowing us unique opportunities to interact with the landscape. The surrounding area of Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn as well as the Small Isles archipelago and Skye are all within reach although we will select our daily destinations based on the weather and the best opportunities for our photography workshops.
We meet in Mallaig which is easily reached by car or train via the spectacular West Highland Railway Line. Mallaig has plenty of long term parking which is free and where vehicles can be left for the duration of the workshop. A short 20-minute boat journey will take us to Doune on the tip of the Knoydart peninsula. After an informal introduction of the group and to the facilities at Doune, we meet for dinner. (D)
After breakfast, we meet aboard the Mary Doune and head south-west to the island of Muck. Our anchorage is a secluded bay where coral sands are backed by rocky terraces on which a large colony of common seals resides. The bird life is often prolific with oystercatchers, ringed plover, dunlin and common gulls defending their territories from unwelcome visitors. We head up and onto a higher headland which has spectacular views overlooking Rum, Eigg and Skye, and if tidal conditions permit cross to Horse Island. Returning over Muck’s single road takes us to the tea shop where refreshments are available before our departure back to Doune. (B, L, D)
As we enter the mouth of Loch Hourn, which is essentially a fjord, the view north is dominated by Beinn Sgritheall – one of the steepest mountains in Scotland. We continue up past Ladhar Bheinn and Barrisdale Bay to one of the most beautifully wooded parts of the glen. To the north, the lower slopes of Druim Fada are covered with sessile oak, birch and rowan, whilst on the southern slopes stands of ancient Scots pine cover the landscape. (B, L, D)
Heading out in a south-westerly direction today, we travel down the east side of Eigg and arrive at the harbour an hour later. Here we transfer into a mini-bus and take a 20-minute drive to the Bay of Laig on the eastern side of the island. The Rum Cuillin rise vertically from sea level to almost 1000m and create a superb backdrop for photography in the bay. Two distinct areas provide endless photographic opportunities: the coral sand beach and the rocky shoreline where cannonball concretions are framed by the Rum Cuillin. (B, L, D)
Rounding the Point of Sleat – the most southerly point on Skye we head over to Loch Eishort where the full Cuillin Ridge rises before us. Our destination today is to Boreraig, an isolated spot on the shores of Loch Eishort where the remains of a pre-crofting township stand. It was from here in 1853 that Lord MacDonald forcibly evicted 120 men, women and children. Ammonites can be found in the limestones rocks. (B, L, D)
Rum’s rugged coastline is a landscape of contrasts. From towering sandstone cliffs to secluded sandy beaches, its underlying geology has created some fantastic photographic locations. At Guirdil the sea has channelled a cave through a sandstone headland and south, in another bay, lies a Torridonian sandstone boulder field where brightly coloured lichens can be found. (B, L, D)
We head along the east side of Rum towards, Canna’s the north cliffs which rise 200 metres from the sea. These are home to thousands of the breeding seabirds, which include, puffin, razorbills, shags, kittiwakes and white-tailed eagles. In the afternoon, we will sail to Sandy to photograph the basalt stacks on which a large colony of puffins’ nest. (B, L, D)
Following breakfast, we board the Mary Doune for the final time and return to Mallaig. For those travelling by rail, we arrive at 0930 in time to catch the morning train back to Glasgow. (B)
Our accommodation on Knoydart is an alpine- style wilderness lodge set right by the beach amongst magnificent coastal and mountain scenery, and views across to Skye.
With a spacious interior, you will be allocated a single room unless you request a double/twin. Bedrooms are located on the upper level while the ground floor consists of a large lounge and open plan kitchen (this is for tea & coffee – we dine in the restaurant). Shared bathroom facilities are adjacent to the kitchen, with showers, basins & toilets – there are no en-suite rooms.
Freshly prepared, locally sourced meals are taken in the adjacent “Taste of Scotland” accredited restaurant and are a real highlight of this trip, with freshly caught seafood a particular speciality. Special dietary requirements can be catered for. The restaurant is licensed and offers an excellent choice of wines, beers and spirits
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
You will be met by Colin Prior on the main platform at Mallaig Railway Station at 5:50pm on Day 1 of your trip. The time coincides with the arrival of the train from Glasgow. You will be dropped back at 10.00am on the last day in time for 10.10am train. For full details on how to get to Mallaig, please see our website: Recommended Travel.
For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website:
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY COACH
Colin Prior is one of Britain’s leading landscape photographers. His spectacular panoramic images capture the beauty and eternal quality of the world’s wild places, especially those of his own native Scotland.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|8th Aug - 15th Aug 2020||1 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,750||Book Now|
|Trip Dates for 2021||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|8th May - 15th May 2021||Trip Full||FULLY BOOKED||£1,750|
|15th May - 22nd May 2021||Trip Full||FULLY BOOKED||£1,750|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
As an avid adventurer, Stevie has life-long experience in Scotland’s outdoors. He’s Co-Owner and Head of Adventure with Wilderness and been with us for over 15 years in a variety of roles, with innovative trip design being both a passion and a speciality. In his spare time, Stevie runs the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, bringing the world’s most inspiring adventure film makers and athletes to an audience of over 1,500 each year. His experience of living in the Cairngorms National Park for over 7 years has helped design this exciting walking trip.
- Stevie ChristieAsk Stevie a Question
Green Graded Photography Holidays 1-3
Our Green graded photography trips are suitable for people who enjoy outdoor photography and easy hiking, and have a reasonable level of fitness. We will be accessing wild locations to photograph so you should be comfortable hiking for up to 3 hours at a time. Our Knoydart trip utilises a private launch and dinghy to access some remote locations so for this trip you must be also be comfortable getting in and out of the dinghy.
The terrain will be mostly good paths and hill trails but these can still be muddy and rough in places. Some hikes may involve an ascent up to a max of approx 1,500 feet / 450m. The days are fairly leisurely and we spend about 6-8 hours outdoors. Out timetable will be flexible however, so we may head out early for a few hours before taking a break and going out again in the evening to take advantage of the best light.
Our photography trips are not graded by your degree of photography skill – a small group size means you will have lots of time for one-to-one tuition regardless of your starting level.
Rated 4.92 out of 5 based on 37 review(s) of Photography – Knoydart and the Small Isles
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.
Reviewed on 20/08/2019
Age: 70 - 80
Country: United Kingdom
Trip Date: 03/08/2019
Trips Taken: 2
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
I liked everything, Colin Prior was incredible and the community at Knoydart was first class. What I found a little difficult was the communal shower set up, The environment is so extreme and off grid I dont know how it could be different? I was able to keep clean and comfortable.
The diversity of the group and how well it worked.
Knoydart is off-grid! This has to be considered in reviewing accommodation. It was clean adequate and 'just what it is' in such a remote environment. WILDERNESS SCOTLAND RESPONSE: Thanks for your comments regarding the lodge accommodation in Knoydart. It is a simple lodge, but we feel that the location and the food more than make up for the slightly more basic accommodation. We are of course aware that the lodge is off-grid, however as you know, they have a generator which provides electricity from 7am - 11pm, so any inconvenience is generally kept to a minimum.
Wonderful, patient, shared his knowledge - first class.
Wilderness reaches the places that are potentially unreachable! Excellent planning and execution incorporating first class leaders.
Reviewed on 23/07/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 06/07/2019
Trips Taken: 8
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Every aspect of the trip was wonderful - the lodge was great, but the dinners were the highlight - I gained weight! Colin Prior is fantastic and very helpful. I am taking his suggestions on photography and running with them.
I referred the lodging as "the bunk house" - the rooms small but cosy. The atmosphere was such that we got to know each other faster - making cups of tea together, going over our photos - I loved it...
Colin is fantastic - He took us to sights that were interesting and challenging for photography. He gave us a tutorial that was well done and full of good points that we could then use in the field. I would go on another tour with him in a heartbeat.
If you are interested in photography and want to work on your landscapes, this is a great tour. Additionally, the lodging is set up to get to know your fellow tour-mates and the meals cannot be missed.
Reviewed on 29/05/2019
Age: 50 - 60
Trip Date: 18/05/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Helpful staff whenever I had a query and quick, timely responses.
I knew the accommodation was basic, which it was, with a very (very) small room, with a lack of noise proofing to adjacent rooms. As a light sleeper, this did cause me some problems. Equally, I loved the place for its tranquility, the welcome, the food (which was fabulous) and it sort of went with the holiday.
A great photographic trip, helped by some days of great weather. Learnt a lot from Colin Prior and thoroughly enjoyed all the island visits - a unique way to see the area from a boat. Accommodation was basic, which might upset some, but was made up for by the location, the fantastic food and welcome from staff and the overall experience.