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Muck and Small Isles Photography Tour

£2,650.00

Trip at a Glance

Dates

18 May 2023 - 25 May 2023

Duration

7 nights

Location

Muck and the Small Isles

Start / Finishes

Mallaig

Excertion

Moderate

Price

£2,650.00

Deposit

25%

  • Spend eight days on location with Colin Prior
  • Seven nights, single occupancy accommodation at Gallanach Lodge
  • Enjoy excellent home-cooked food using the finest local produce
  • Breakfast, dinner and packed lunch
  • Four days private charter aboard the MV Lochan
  • Capture the spectacular coastal scenery of Canna, Eigg, Rum, and Coll
  • Tutorials and critique session with individual feedback
  • Group size 8

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 – there are no ensuite rooms. More information can be found here: https://www.gallanachlodge.co.uk/

Travel Insurance
Food on Calmac Ferries
Drinks
Gratuities

Moderate - these tours involve straightforward hiking generally over good trails. Terrain underfoot is mainly on paths or hill trails which may be muddy in places. There may be a limited amount of uphill walking.

Tour Synopsis

‘There is a perpetual mystery and excitement in living on the seashore, which is in part a return to childhood and in part because for all of us the sea's edge remains the edge of the unknown; the child sees the bright shells, the vivid weeds and red sea-anemones of the rock pools with wonder and with the child's eye for minutiae; the adult who retains wonder brings to his gaze some partial knowledge which can but increase it, and he brings, too, the eye of association and of symbolism, so that at the edge of the ocean he stands at the brink of his own unconscious.’

Gavin Maxwell, Ring of Bright Water (London: Penguin, 1974)

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 breed regularly 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, which includes a large colony of common seals, dolphins, minke whales and occasionally, basking sharks.

During the course of the week, we will visit the islands of Eigg, Rum, Canna and Coll and photograph some of the remotest coastlines in Scotland, made possible by our boat the MV Lochan. The rest of 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.

Situated at the north side of Muck and overlooking the coral sand beaches of Gallanach Bay, Gallanach Lodge is a beautiful, purpose-built lodge, and offers fully catered accommodation of the highest standard with memorable views across the sea to Rum, Canna and Skye.

All bedrooms have been individually styled to provide the ultimate sanctuary and comfort with the double rooms having superb views over Gallanach Bay, where guests can enjoy seals playing from their bedroom window. The bathrooms and shower rooms have all been finished to a very high standard and fitted with powerful showers, deep baths, and under-floor heating and come with complimentary toiletries. A total of 8 bedrooms share 4 bathrooms and shower rooms – there are no ensuite rooms.

Guests will enjoy Gallanach Lodge’s passion for excellent home cooked food using the finest in local produce. All meals are served in the main dining room complete with a double-sided wood burning stove. The handmade, elm wood dining table which seats 18 people was made by the same craftsman on Rum who made the beds. The dining room has a full height glass wall to let the evening light stream through while taking in the breath-taking views.

The images used to promote this tour were captured by Colin Prior either on a personal trip or on a previous tour and are representative of the type of weather that we may or may not experience throughout the duration of this tour. In Scotland, one must be prepared for constant change.

Please note that our excursions to the other islands are dependent on suitable sea conditions and if there is a significant increase in wind speeds it may not be possible to venture offshore.

Itinerary

Day 1

Depart Mallaig - Muck. 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 0930. We will board the ferry to Muck which departs at 1020 and arrives at 1225. 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.

Day 2

Isle of Eigg, Bay of Laig. 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 twenty minute 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.

Day 3

Isle of Canna and Isle of Sanday. Today we head out towards Canna’s north cliffs, which rise 150 metres above the sea. These are home to thousands of the 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, photograph from the sea cliffs towards the basalt stack of Dùn Mòr on which a large colony of puffins nest from May to July.

Day 4

Muck, Camus Mòr. Following breakfast, we will head over to the south-facing bay at Camus Mor 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 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.

Day 5

Rum: Bagh Rubha a’ Mhoil Ruaidh, Kinloch. 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. Despite only being a temporary residence, Kinloch Castle took three years to build, using sandstone imported from the Isle of Arran and dozens of craftsmen. It was one of the first private residences in Scotland to have electricity supplied by a hydro-electric scheme that has been in use ever since.

Day 6

Muck, Eilean Aird nan Uan, Port Mòr. 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.

Day 7

Isle of Coll. 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 huge mammals (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.

Day 8

Following breakfast, we will check out of Gallanach Lodge and explore at our leisure until our departure on the ferry at 1240.

Essential Information

Lightweight boots or wellies often the terrain we cover is boggy and wellies are the best way to keep your feet dry.
Waterproof jacket and trousers
Hat for sun protection or warmth
Casual clothes for evening wear
Personal wash kit
Head torch
Midge net
Sunscreen
Re-usable water bottle

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 ‘travel 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.

To confirm your booking, you are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the tour price. Once we receive your deposit, the contract between us will become binding and covers everyone you are booking on behalf of. After this, we will send you an invoice for the balance and advise you of the date for payment of the same. Brochure and website prices are quoted in UK Sterling. Payment will be accepted by:
Maestro, Visa Electron, Visa Debit and Solo debit cards or Visa/Mastercard/American Express credit cards.
Bank Transfer (details available from our office).

For our full Booking Conditions can be found here: Here

To confirm your booking, you are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the tour price. Once we receive your deposit, the contract between us will become binding and covers everyone you are booking on behalf of. After this, we will send you an invoice for the balance and advise you of the date for payment of the same. Brochure and website prices are quoted in UK Sterling. Payment will be accepted by:
Maestro, Visa Electron, Visa Debit and Solo debit cards or Visa/Mastercard/American Express credit cards.
Bank Transfer (details available from our office).

For our full Booking Conditions can be found here:

We strenuously recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy as soon as you have booked your trip with us.

A travel insurance policy protects you and your holiday arrangements from the unexpected before and during your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have adequate cover, and we are not able to offer advice on insurance. However, we recommend your policy should include cover for emergency medical costs, cancellation or curtailment of your trip, personal belongings/baggage and personal liability:

In the event of emergency rescue and medical care and/or repatriation from a trip due to injury or medical emergency, any evacuation and medical costs will be borne by the client.
If you need to cancel your trip with us, then you may lose some or all the money you have paid.All luggage and personal equipment are, always, at your own risk. We will not be responsible whatsoever for any loss, damage to your luggage and/or personal equipment.

Some options for Travel Insurance Providers include:
Campbell Irvine Direct
Journeyman Insurance Services

However, we recommend you do your own research to find the best provider for you.


Park Inn by Radisson
Glasgow City Centre
139-141 West George Street
Glasgow G2 2JJ
0141 221 1211

Motel One
78-82 Oswald Street
Glasgow
G1 4PL
0141 468 0450

Grand Central Hotel 4-Star Hotel
99 Gordon St
Glasgow
G1 3SF
0141 240 3700

Radisson Blu Hotel,
Glasgow
301 Argyle Street
Glasgow
G2 8DL
0141 204 3333

Premier Inn
Glasgow City Centre (Argyle Street)
377 Argyle Street Glasgow
G2 8LL
0333 777 7292

Millennium Hotel Glasgow
George Square
Glasgow G2 1DS
0141 332 6711

Jurys Inn Glasgow Hotel
80 Jamaica Street
Glasgow
G1 4QG
0141 314 4800


Premier Inn Inverness
19-21 Huntly Street
Inverness
IV3 5PR
Tel: 0871 527 9302
www.premierinn.com

Premier Inn Inverness
Millburn Road
Inverness
IV2 3QX
Tel: 0871 527 8544
www.premierinn.com

Eildon Guest House
29 Old Edinburgh Road
Inverness
IV2 3HF
Tel: 01463 231969
eildonguesthouse@yahoo.co.uk

Dionard Guest House
4 Star
39 Old Edinburgh Road
Inverness
IV2 3HJ
Tel: 01463 233557
www.dionardguesthouse.co.uk

Glenmoriston Town House Hotel
4 Star Luxury Hotel
Ness Bank
Inverness
IV2 4SF
Tel: 01463 223 777
www.glenmoristontownhouse.com

Lynver Guest House
4 Star
30 Southside Road
Inverness

Colin will meet you at the Calmac Ferry Terminal in Mallaig at 0930. We will board the ferry to Muck which departs at 1020 and arrives at 1225. We will return by the same ferry on the following Thursday which departs Muck at 1240 and arrives in Mallaig at 1450.

Coronavirus - COVID-19

We continue to run tours in a way that is true to our values, respecting each of you as individual travellers, whilst respecting the communities that we are visiting.

Please note that new bookings will only be accepted on the provision that if the trip is unable to go ahead due to Covid 19 restrictions and the trip suspended, payments will be held indefinitely and can be put towards any future workshop.

Traveller responsibility


1. We request that all travellers bring a minimum of 2 reusable masks.
2. That clients declare if they feel they that they may have COVID-19 symptoms.
3. That you do not travel if you feel unwell or are symptomatic before the trip.
4. That you follow all guidelines and procedures set out by us and any suppliers we use.

The current situation in the UK

To stay informed, we recommend you visit the UK Government website as well as the Scottish Government site.

Travel advisories and inbound health measures
If you are travelling from outside the UK then you must review the contents of this section of the Scottish Government guidance before considering travel to Scotland.

Travel advice for travellers visiting the UK from common locations

United States   |   Canada   |   Australia

We recommend you check your own government advice with regards to travel to the UK and Scotland.

Pre-trip information
Please take extra care to read through any pre-trip information you are sent, paying particular attention to the COVID-19 details and requirements, such as bringing your own face masks, and being aware of any rules which apply in Scotland which may be different to rules where you live.

Please also check with your airline/train company about any specific requirements they may have in place for your journey to Scotland. If you’re informed, then you’ll be able to raise any questions with us ahead of your trip, which of course we’ll be delighted to help with.