Scotland: The Hebrides
Come explore and photograph some of Scotland’s most interesting places and dramatic landscapes on this first of National Parks at Night’s photo tours of the islands of Scotland. The Hebrides are a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of the mainland. The culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic-, Norse- and English-speaking peoples. We will spend our time on the largest of the inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye, and the largest of the outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris. The history of these islands is ever-present in the landscape in the form of Neolithic, Mesolithic and Iron Age archaeological sites. We will explore cultures past and present along with the stunningly diverse landscapes we’ll encounter along the way.
May 13-23, 2018
This is a 10-night, 11-day photo tour. Your adventure begins with an overnight flight from the U.S. on May 12 and ends at Glasgow Airport before our flight home on May 23.
$5,295 single occupancy, $4,795 shared accommodations. Apply below.
Workshop leaders: Lance Keimig & Chris Nicholson (learn more about your teachers)
Skill level: This photo tour is open to all.
Class size: 10, with 2 instructors
Note: Deposit of $2,000 is required to reserve your spot at the workshop. Balance of $3,295 or $2,795 due on February 12, 2018. Or, you may choose the "Pay in full" ticket if you desire to pay all at once. Last day for a cancellation request is February 11 (see details here).
Sold out. Consider joining our Waitlist below, or check out our other workshops for 2018.
The TOUR Experience
Each day of this adventure will be filled to the brim, with plenty of time to photograph both day and night. Although the days are quite long at this time of year, we will experience the “Simmer Dim,” what the Scots call the incredible extended twilight experienced in northern latitudes in summer.
Our will trip begin with a drive thru the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. Our base for the first two nights is the Cuillins—Skye's most dramatic mountains. We can explore the area around Sligachan, which is the base camp for many of the walks into the Cuillin Mountains, or visit the Fairy Pools, a series of cascading waterfalls along the River Britte. Lance invites (or dares) you to join him for a swim in the chilly waters at the fairy pools.
On the third morning, we will travel by ferry to the Outer Hebrides. For the next five nights, we will be based at Uig on the west coast of Lewis by one of the largest and most impressive beaches you will ever see. Lewis is also the site of the Callanish standing stones. Callanish has become an icon of the archaeology of Scotland, inspiring many artists, poets and photographers. The pale stones have an extraordinary affinity with their landscape. Both to the north and south we will encounter many beautiful and exciting photo opportunities.
Harris and Lewis are not separate islands, despite usually being talked of as if they are. Harris is the southern third of the largest and most northerly of the Western Isles, most of which forms Lewis. Some say the distinction between the two dates back to a split in the MacLeod clan which dominated the Western Isles for centuries. Others simply point to the range of high mountains that impeded land access between Lewis and Harris, turning them into virtually separate islands. There are numerous sandy beaches and little coves, extensive moorland interspersed with lochs, and many historical sites throughout this sparsely populated area. We’ll retrace our ferry route back to Skye for a couple of days, exploring the northern part of the island.
Coincidentally, back on Skye we’ll stay in the tiny village of Uig, and will venture beyond to the Fairy Glen, a magical forest of hazel trees situated amidst strange and wondrous hills and valleys. We will hike across the spectacular Quiraing range, a basalt uprising that is the dominant feature of the Trotternish Peninsula.
Skye has something for everyone: sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, majestic mountains, quiet forests, and ever-changing skies that never fail to reward photographers with amazing light. For our last evening on Skye, we have a treat awaiting us at the legendary Three Chimney’s restaurant, where we will experience an unforgettable meal featuring the best of Skye’s local produce. The next morning we will make our way back to Glasgow, where we have our last night to explore the city before our flights home the next day.
What You Should KNow
Participants should have basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera.
If you would like to attend this tour but are unsure whether you have adequate photography skills, we can offer pre-workshop tutoring to get you ready for your adventure with us. Alternatively or additionally, a few of us have written books that may be productive pre-workshop reads.
What You WILL Learn
As this is a photo tour rather than a workshop, the emphasis is getting participants to great locations with great light, and making sure that everyone has the trip of a lifetime. We figure that you don’t travel to Scotland very often, and you wouldn’t want to spend your time in a classroom being lectured to!
That said, we do encourage you to think about and set goals for the trip.
What would you like to gain from this experience?
- Great images?
- Lasting memories?
- A break from the work-a-day stresses?
- Learn some new photography skills?
- All of the above?
The instructors will be available for one-on-one guidance in the field as much as time permits, and you can pull us aside during quieter moments to check out your images if you like. What you make of this is up to you, but we encourage you to think about it ahead of time.
You are responsible for your airfare from your home city to Glasgow Airport (GLA). Make sure you do not buy a ticket to Glasgow Prestwick airport. Plan to arrive no later than 10 a.m. on May 13, and your departure no earlier than 10 a.m. on May 23. If your flight leaves before 10 a.m., you will need to arrange your own transportation from the Glasgow hotel to the airport.
Food & Lodging
Unlike most NPAN workshops, this is inclusive of lodging and most meals during the tour. The price is based on single accommodation. There is a modest discount for those sharing a room. Each ticket includes the tour itinerary, all transportation and accommodations in Scotland, breakfast each day beginning on the second morning, five lunches, seven dinners.
Scottish weather is at best unpredictable, but May is usually the driest and among the warmest months. Expect daytime temperatures between 45 F and 70 F. It’s unlikely that we’ll experience long periods of rain, but the weather can change quickly; there will be sunny spells and showers, wind and ever-changing dramatic skies.
Recommended attire: As is usually the case, breathable layers work best. Synthetics that wick moisture and dry quickly are a good choice. Bring waterproof outerwear and hiking boots, and a hat and gloves just in case. Casual attire is the norm, but bring something nice for dinner at Three Chimneys—nice, but not dressy.
This trip will include lots of outdoor activity, including a couple of long walks. Some might even call them hikes. The longest of these will be about a 5-mile traverse of the Quiraing on Skye. We’ll do a variation of the walk described on the linked page above. There is one very steep hill, and a little bit of scrambling along the way. Please consider your physical abilities and limitations prior to registering. You could always decide to skip the hike, but it is one of the highlights of the trip.
Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our workshops.
If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.
My Source of Inspiration
I made my first trip to Scotland in 1995, and had the good fortune to spend about a month exploring the country. After two weeks in Edinburgh during the famous Edinburgh Festival, I joined a hop-on, hop-off minibus tour that made a circuit around the country stopping at various points along the way. No place made a bigger impression on me than the Isle of Skye. Mountains, woodlands, rivers and waterfalls, and the beautiful town of Portree (or Port Rìgh— “king’s harbor” in Gaelic).
In just a few days, I was hooked. The next year, I chose the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, one that I still have today. A few years later, I named my son Skye, and then in 2001, when I launched my first website, it was of course: TheNightSkye.com.
I knew that I would return someday, and in 2002 I did. I had the idea to develop a photo tour to Skye and Orkney, another group of islands I had visited on that 1995 trip, and went on an extended scouting trip to get to know them better. The next year, I led my first group to the islands, and this tour will be the ninth or tenth since then.