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    Photography Trip

    Muck and the Small Isles

    Next Trip: 9th - 16th May 2024 Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

    From: £2,850 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

    Book With Confidence

    Trip created by Colin Prior
    View Colin's Profile

    Region: Inner Hebrides including Skye
    Trip Type: Photography
    Accommodation: Classic
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 4 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £734

    Grading:

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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    The Small Isles are some of the richest and most abundant marine landscapes of Scotland, just waiting to be captured as you explore them alongside our expert guide and award-winning landscape photographer Colin Prior.

    The Small Isles archipelago comprises the islands of Muck, Eigg, Rum, Canna and Sanday and are located north of the Ardnamurchan peninsula and south of Skye. Around 40 species of birds regularly breed on Muck, and the marine life around the island is particularly rich due to the Gulf Stream, which flows past its shores, creating a rich marine environment that includes a large colony of common seals, dolphins, minke whales and occasionally, basking sharks.

    The week will be spent photographing on Muck, which not only has varied landscapes but superb views out to Rum, Eigg and beyond to Skye where sunrise and sunset opportunities will be possible. We’ll island hop to Eigg, Rum, Canna and Coll to capture some of the remotest coastlines in Scotland, made possible by our boat, the MV Lochan.

    Trip Highlights

    • Improve your photography skills in the company of Colin Prior - one of the UK's leading landscape photographers.
    • Access to some of the finest wilderness landscapes in Scotland by using our private boat as you tour the Small Isles.
    • Capture the spectacular mountain scenery and encounter wildlife such as basking sharks and corncrakes.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 - Arrival

    We meet in Mallaig which can be reached by car or train via the spectacular West Highland Railway line. Colin will meet you at the Calmac Ferry Terminal in Mallaig at 09:30am. The ferry crossing sets the scenes and you can admire the surrounding mountains from the ferry whilst keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife. After checking in at Gallanach Lodge, we will explore Gallanch Bay, where coral sands are backed by rocky terraces on which a large colony of common seals resides. (D)

    Day 2 - Exploring Eigg

    A short sea journey aboard the MV Lochan will take us to the Island of Eigg. We will be met at the pier, where we will transfer into a mini-bus for the short journey to the Bay of Laig, on the eastern side of the island. It is a spectacular location with a coral sand beach, set against the backdrop of the Rum Cuillin that rises vertically from the sea to over 800m. Endless photographic opportunities are to be found along the rocky shoreline where cannonball concretions stand exposed on the sandstone pavements, creating bold spherical shapes against the skyline. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 - Discover Canna and Sanday

    Today we head out towards the Isle of Canna’s north cliffs, which rise 150 metres above the sea. These are home to thousands of breeding seabirds, which include puffin, razorbills, shags, kittiwakes, and occasionally a white-tailed eagle makes an appearance. If conditions permit, we will land at Langanish and explore the headland where hexagonal basalt columns rise from the sea. After lunch, we will head around to Sanday, where following a dinghy landing, we’ll photograph the sea cliffs towards the basalt stack of Dùn Mòr on which a large colony of puffins nest from May to July. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 - Gallanach Bay and Muck

    Following breakfast, we will head over to the south-facing bay at Camus Mor on Muck where Valtos Sandstone has been overlain by lava flows that erupted during the Palaeogene period (66 million – 56 million years ago). After lunch, we will make the easy climb to the top of Ben Airean (138m) where the whole island reveals itself – with the Sgurr of Eigg and the Isle of Rum as a backdrop. Gallanach Bay is a popular playground for porpoises, which may have been a factor in the naming of the island as they are called ‘sea-pigs’ in Gaelic. Over 80 species of birds nest here, with the sea birds favouring Eilean nan Each. There are also many visiting species to behold and photograph. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 - Lichens and Castles

    The Isle of Rum is a landscape of contrasts. From towering sandstone cliffs to secluded sandy beaches, it is ideal for observing wildlife in its natural environment. As well as having one of the largest manx shearwater colonies in the world, Rum was the original location of the white-tailed eagle reintroduction program and has been responsible for their dispersal throughout the Hebrides. Red-throated divers, hen harriers and golden eagles can all be seen at Bagh Rubha a’ Mhoil Ruaidh, a secluded beach formed by rounded Torridonian sandstone boulders, which rise at an angle of 30° – the result of its exposure to Atlantic storms. Here, a colony of lichens embellishes the rocks in an explosion of colours. Following lunch, we will visit Kinloch and the castle, which was commissioned as a hunting lodge by George Bulloch, the son of a wealthy industrialist in 1897. (B, L, D)

    Day 6 - Coastal Seas

    Today we will continue to ramble and explore Muck and revel in the ever-changing aspects of sea and sky. In the north-west two drying islands form a peninsula. Eilean nan Each (G. – horse island) and Eilean Aird nan Uan – (G. – island of the headland of the lambs). In Gallanach Bay, sea beans from the West Indies are sometimes washed in by the Gulf Stream into the beautiful stretch of shell-sand beach and are considered lucky charms. Two long reefs form the east side of Gallanach Bay and between them is the tiny Port Chreadhain with a small jetty. Beyond there is another small bay called Camus na Cairidh (G. – bay of the weir), probably used for trapping fish in the past. As we walk we’ll be able to capture all of these novel sights and so much more in a deeply affecting view focused on the sea. (B, L, D)

    Day 7 - In Pursuit of Sharks and Skua

    After breakfast, we will head to the island of Coll aboard the MV Lochan. Coll has a rich variety of habitats from coral sand beaches with wildflower-carpeted machair to rolling dunes and grassland and remains one of the UK strongholds of the rare and secretive corncrake – with over 150 of these threatened migrants arriving on the island each spring. Depending on the wind direction, we will visit one of Coll’s secluded beaches, where we may have the opportunity to see Red-throated Diver, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Arctic Skua and Twite. During May and June, there is no better place to encounter one of the world’s largest sharks – the plankton-eating basking shark, as these majestic aquatic creatures (that can reach 11 metres in length), roam the warm waters offshore. Seals and otters are also likely, and as with any Hebridean island, there is always the chance of something unexpected. (B, L, D)

    Day 8 - Homeward Bound

    Following breakfast, we will check out of Gallanach Lodge and explore at our leisure until our departure on the ferry at 12:40pm. (B)

    X
    Photography Trip
    Muck and the Small Isles

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    All payments taken in local currency GBP

    Trip Dates for 2024AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    9th May - 16th May 2024Trip FullFULLY BOOKED £2,850
    17th May - 24th May 2024Trip FullFULLY BOOKED £2,850
    11th Jul - 18th Jul 20246 places leftAvailable £2,850Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    Seven nights, single occupancy accommodation at Gallanach Lodge. The family run lodge offers the finest in local cuisine, the most comfortable rooms and an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. Eight individually styled bedrooms provide the ultimate sanctuary and comfort with tremendous views over Gallanach Bay. The bathrooms and shower rooms have all been fitted with powerful showers and deep baths, as well as under floor heating and heated towel rails. All bathrooms have been finished to a very high standard and come with complimentary toiletries. A total of 8 bedrooms share 4 bathrooms and shower rooms u2013 there are no ensuite rooms.

    Meals Read More

    Freshly prepared, locally sourced, meals with freshly caught seafood a particular speciality. Included dinners are two courses as standard. Special dietary requirements can be catered for.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 7 nights accommodation in the purpose-built Gallanach Lodge by the shore. Each client will have their own single room unless a twin or double room is requested.
    • Breakfast, packed lunches and evening meals are included throughout.
    • All boat transfers during the holiday, starting and finishing in Mallaig, aboard the MV Lochan.
    • The services of Colin Prior, who will work closely with each group member throughout the trip, helping you develop your photographic skills.
    Trip Grading Read More

    Green Graded 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.

    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. Our 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.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    Arrival

    Colin shall meet you in Mallaig at 9:30am on Day 1 to depart upon the 10:20am ferry to Muck.

    Departure

    On the final day, you shall depart Muck at approximately 12:40pm, arriving in Mallaig roughly 2 hours later where the journey shall end.

    Your Photography Coach Read More

    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.

    He brings to his work a strong personal vision combined with supreme technical mastery of his chosen medium. Each photograph uniquely captures fleeting moments of nature that will never repeat themselves.

    Colin is also a patient and skilled photography coach and enjoys helping clients improve their skills on these trips.

    Photography Equipment Read More

    The information below is intended simply as a guide to help you achieve the most enjoyment from this tour.

    All brands of cameras and lenses do the same thing; they look outwardly into the world and record what they see on different sized sensors. What differentiates what they see is not the camera, but the person looking through the viewfinder. So, what will help you gain most from this tour is a familiarity of your own camera’s layout and menu structure. There is no shortage of tutorials on You Tube to aid you in this process and it is essential that you take the time to understand how to control the most salient features of camera.

    Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important that your bag can hold the equipment you wish to carry, comfortably, over uneven terrain and that your balance is not affected by its design, or lack of it. Backpacks distribute weight evenly between your shoulders and hips and are normally supplied with a rain cover.

    Lenses are a personal choice. Many landscape photographers will choose to shoot with a 16-35 mm, 24-70 mm or a 24-105 mm lens. Shooting with zoom lenses makes a great deal of sense as it reduces the equivalent number of prime lenses that would otherwise, have to be carried. Many photographers compliment their wide-angle zooms with either a 70-200 mm or 100-400 mm lens. If you enjoy working within the landscape, a 90 mm or 100 mm Macro lens opens myriad possibilities.

    Under certain circumstances, filters are indispensable. Graduated neutral density filters control contrast locally and come in a range densities and graduations. The dynamic range of modern sensors has mitigated the need to use filters on many occasions and accordingly, I carry only two – a 0.6 (2 stop) filter with a soft graduation and a polarising filter which I used judicially.

    Despite, image stabilisation allowing the hand holding of cameras down to very low shutter speeds, there is still no substitute for a good tripod in landscape photography. The emphasis should be on a relatively lightweight model which is easy to carry with one caveat; that it is more vulnerable in strong winds. One important factor when considering a tripod is that you can work comfortably with your camera at eye-level – many u2018travel tripods’ reach their maximum height well below this height and are stressful to use. Carbon fibre tripods are lighter and more expensive than those made from aluminium but do the same job.

    Backup and storage – always a good idea to have your images in more than one place. It’s a good idea to bring your laptop onto which you can back up but also to select your best images for the critique session at the end of the tour.

    Wet weather protection for your camera – this isn’t essential, however most digital camera don’t like moisture that much and it makes sense if you have some sort of cover – if it was raining heavily, it is unlikely that we would be photographing for long, however, a random shower or constant light drizzle can sometimes be problematic. Whilst there are specialist solutions available, having a polythene bag to hand would do the job.

    Lens cloth – a lens cloth is useful for removing rain or sea spray if it finds its way onto a lens.

    A remote release is crucial to ensure sharp images, either cable, Bluetooth or App.

    Spare batteries – make sure that you don’t run out of juice.

    Photo Gallery

    Speak to an Expert

    Chris Page

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Chris a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    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.

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