The Great Wood: Wildlife 2

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The Great Wood: Wildlife 2

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

  • Stunning location in Cairngorms National Park.
  • Exclusive use of dedicated photography hides.
  • Dawn shoots for fishing ospreys.
  • Evening shoots for foraging pine martens.
  • Tuition in remote camera trap photography.
  • Guidance on putting together a photographic story.
  • Excursions for landscape photography.
  • Evening presentations to inform & inspire.

The Caledonian Pine Forest, home to golden eagle, pine marten, wildcat and capercaillie, once stretched across much of the Scottish Highlands, a great living organism governed only by natural processes. Today, though diminished, it is still a place to make the imagination soar. ‘The Great Wood’ is a complex tapestry of pine, birch, willow, alder and rowan. Part of the sub-boreal forest which encircles much of the northern hemisphere, Scotland’s pine forest is home to an amazingly diverse range of species and thanks to restoration efforts, is now clawing its way back across large parts of the Highlands.

This second ‘storytelling’ tour in a series of three will capture the spirit of The Great Wood and will focus on the pinewood species of the summer months such as red squirrel, osprey and pine marten. Leaving photographic convention behind, we shall take a more journalistic approach to our images using wide-angle remote photography and camera traps. The aim is to craft a portfolio of images that work as a set, a story, rather than in isolation; to link our wildlife subjects with the forest on which they depend.


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: 18-23 Aug 2017

Cost: £1295

Deposit: £250

Single Supplement: £0

Group Size: 8

Guide: Terry Whittaker and Peter Cairns

Principal Subjects: Red squirrel and pine marten, osprey, woodland birds, pinewood landscapes.

Cost Includes: Accommodation; all meals; transfers to/from Kingussie; transport; tuition; use of hides; 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 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! 

*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. 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. 


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. 


The weather here is variable. You should expect rain and sunshine with temperatures between +10c and +20c. It can however, be cool in the mornings. 


On still humid days, midges can be an irritation. Please bring repellent. 

Meeting up and saying goodbye

Your room at The Steading will be available from 5pm on the day of arrival. Our briefing meeting normally takes place around 7pm. The tour ends after breakfast on the day of departure. 


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. 

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 ›