Osprey / Puffin Bootcamp

Cairngorms National Park & Fair Isle, Scotland

Osprey / Puffin Bootcamp

Cairngorms National Park & Fair Isle, Scotland

  • Exclusive use of dedicated photography hides for both fishing and perched ospreys.
  • Stunning locations in Cairngorms National Park.
  • House-party style format in our own country lodge.
  • Dedicated puffin photography in very best location on remote island.

There are some species that just have it and there can be few more spectacular sights in the whole of the UK than fishing ospreys in bottle green water or bullet-like puffins hurtling towards our cameras backlit by a setting northern sun. This tour combines in-depth photography of two of the country’s most photogenic wildlife subjects.

The first part of our bootcamp focuses on the charismatic puffin in perhaps the finest setting in the world for these engaging auks. Fair Isle, off Shetland, isn’t the biggest puffin colony but offers superb backgrounds, light and the ability for us to visit the colony at anytime of day or night. At this latitude that means VERY early and VERY late!

Moving south, from the comfort of specially built hides, we spend several dawns photographing fishing ospreys at VERY close quarters. From our base we also have access to the UK’s only site for close-up views of a feeding osprey. Against a distant background, frame-filling shots of this iconic emblem of The Highlands can be secured.

The second part of our tour will also take in the Moray Firth, home to the most northerly bottlenose dolphins in the world. As summer advances and migrating trout and salmon enter the Firth, the dolphins are ready and at a location where the Firth narrows the dolphins are often seen close to shore.



We specialise in wildlife bootcamps; dedicated photo tours focusing exclusively on one or two species in the very best locations for lighting and background. Such an approach allows you to secure a portfolio that goes beyond what is possible from a fleeting visit to a known hotspot.


Dates: 23-30 Jun 2017

Cost: £1545

Deposit: £250

Single Supplement: £0

Group Size: 8

Guide: James Shooter

Principal Subjects: Osprey, puffin, bottlenose dolphin

Cost Includes: Accommodation; all meals; rail station transfers; use of hides; ferry fares, airport transfers in Shetland; transport; tuition; digital presentations.

Cost Excludes: Flights (including transfer to Shetland), insurance, alcoholic drinks and personal items.


James Shooter

James Shooter

James is an established photographer and filmmaker with a passion for conservation communication. He has spent several years at Northshots developing an acute knowledge of Scottish wildlife and has led tours both in Scotland and overseas. A personable and engaging character, James will ensure you get the very best from your time spent with us. 



Ospreys: Our accommodation is a lovely converted steading at the foot of the Cairngorm mountains. The Steading is comfortable and full of character - specially designed for photographic house parties. There are wonderful views from the two-tier lounge where we enjoy evening presentations over coffee. We all eat together around our huge farmhouse dining table, where a glass (or two) of wine can be enjoyed with a superb dinner. We have a range of single, double and twin rooms, all with private facilities. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home! Wifi is available. *Two of our single rooms share a bathroom. Rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Puffins: On Fair Isle we stay in the recently-built bird observatory with modern facilities, including a bar (cash only) and excellent family cuisine. All rooms are single en-suite and of a good standard. Wifi is available but some mobile signals are patchy. 


Meals are informal and will be taken within our accommodation. 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. 


Ospreys: Photographic hides are all accessed via a short walk so only a minimal level of fitness is required. You should however be prepared to spend up to 5 hours sat in a hide remaining relatively still. 

Puffins: Our puffin site requires a short uphill walk which takes around 15 minutes. We will be working on an exposed headland - please be prepared for potential inclement weather. Throughout the tour you will need to adjust your body clock as we will be photographing at both dawn and dusk (with a break during the day). 


Weather is very changeable in Scotland and although it is often warm and sunny, rain, strong winds and sea mist (on Fair Isle) are not uncommon. Temperatures are likely to range from 5c to 20c. 

Meeting up and saying goodbye 

Our meeting point is the bar in the Sumburgh Hotel on Shetland at 5pm on 23rd June. The tour concludes in the Cairngorms after breakfast on 30th June. Flights from Sumburgh to Inverness for the second part of the tour will be advised on booking.

*For those guests travelling by car, we can offer safe parking at our base in the Cairngorms and a transfer to Inverness airport (1 hour). Your car will then be waiting for your departure from our base on the day of departure.


Our guide for this tour, James Shooter, is an experienced wildlife photographer. For those who would like assistance, he 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. 

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 ›