Pine Marten - Scottish Highlands


Note - I'm just gauging interest at the moment but I'm planning on offering Pine Marten photography workshops in the Scottish Highlands. If you're interested please get in touch using the box at the bottom of this page.

General:

The Scottish Highlands are truly a natural wonder of the United Kingdom. They're a breath-taking landscape of mountain peaks, Caledonian pine forest, fresh water lochs and heather moorland.

I was delighted to hear that I'd won Mammal Photographer of the Year 2017 with a Pine Marten photo taken in this area. You can read more about it here.

This workshop will be a week submersed in the area with the aim to spend as much time with the local Pine Marten as possible, both day and night.

The area is what I like to call primeval forest of pine trees smothered in lichen and moss. The ground is thick with moss as well which silences your footsteps as if you’re walking on snow. There are only a few houses around this area so you really do feel cut off. There’s no WiFi, mobile phone signal or TV reception - it's amazing how we take them for granted in the modern world. Here we can enjoy true wilderness and the natural surroundings. Personally I find it liberating.

We should expect to have just about every weather condition you can think of, apart from snow. The last time I visited I had just about every other weather form common in the area; heavy rain, cloud, sun and surprisingly hail. As the area is so thick with foliage it laps up the rainfall. Usually this then evaporates off in the heat of the afternoon and evening sun, creating beautiful misty clouds floating through the forest.

Our focus for the week will be Pine Marten, a beautiful animal native to Northern Europe and belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes otters and badgers. We should have opportunities to photograph them in daylight in the afternoons as they emerge from their den and then set up for telephoto and camera trap photography at night when they're most active.

Details:

We will meet at the Corran Inn near Fort William at midday. Once we're all together we'll then make the journey across the Loch by ferry (this currently costs £13, but best to check the website here) and then on to our base for the week. I will provide directions on confirmation of the booking and payment. It only takes about 30mins once we've crossed the Loch to reach our destination.

Once we're settled we can take an explore of the area to get a feeling of the habitat of the Pine Marten. It will also help to look for areas to focus on building a portfolio of Pine Marten images. We'll be staying in the one place so you can relax after unpacking. All accommodation, food and drinks will be provided in the cost (please let me know if any dietary requirements you may have).

During the day, we will gauge the Pine Marten's sensitivity to our presence - I've been when they're fine with you out in the open and also when I've had to use a hide due to them being skittish. I will provide a hide if needed.

For the camera trap and night time photography, I can provide a motion sensor and flash equipment, but if you have your own I recommend you bring it. I have one set so we will alternate each evening to make sure everyone has a chance of getting images. If you have your own obviously you can use it each night.

The main focus of our visit will be Pine Marten, but there is plenty of other wildlife in the area. We can set up a bird feeder to photograph garden birds and the rain usually brings out frogs and toads. There is plenty of opportunity for landscape photography as well.

I always recommend sturdy footwear and layers of clothing. Depending on the weather the temperature and conditions can change constantly through the day and can be quite cold, so it is best to prepare. A pair of wellies and waterproof clothing is also a good idea.

I'm aiming to run one or two of these week long workshops between June and August. Full details of the week will be confirmed to you at the time of booking and confirmation of payment.

You can read more about my visits to the area via my two blog posts below:

http://www.alastairmarshphotography.co.uk/Blog/pine-marten-scotland

http://www.alastairmarshphotography.co.uk/Blog/pine-marten-scotland-2016



Costs:

Maximum of 3 people

£800 for the week

What's included:

Photography expertise and guidance throughout

Accommodation

Food and drink

Camera trap and flash equipment if needed

Wildlife hide if needed

What's not included:

Breakfast/lunch on the day of meeting at the Corran Inn

Lunch/dinner on the day of leaving the accommodation

Travel to and from the accommodation

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