Photography by Ian Cameron

Sutherland Masterclass



Course Duration: 5 days ----- £1095
(Half Board single occupancy of twin/double rooms).


* Maximum group size (Summer) FIVE 

* Dawn - dusk field tuition

* Evening review / critique

* All transport at location included.

* Pick up/drop off to/from Inverness accommodation, bus and train Station.


Sutherland is one of the most sparsely populated and wild regions in the UK.  It is a place of towering skies and classic large scale landscapes where the mountains are separated by large tracts of land, huge lochs and estuaries. Sutherland is an area much less explored by photographers, its remoteness and comparative inaccessibility being largely responsible.  I have visited this region for many years and have come to the conclusion that the best time to visit is early June.  The chances of decent weather are greatly enhanced, the sun rises and sets in positions that benefit both the vast and pristine north facing beaches and estuaries and also illuminate, Sutherland's most shapely mountain, Ben Loyal to best advantage.

I have run the summer course for three seasons in succession and it has always proved very popular, but there are some caveats that you must bear in mind.  During the summer months the very best light is confined to either end of the day and since the days are extremely long (approx 19 hours), a siesta period during the middle of the day is de-rigeur to catch up on much needed rest.  The early summer course is designed to avoid the worst of the midge season yet ensure that the direction of early morning and late evening light is optimal, but it is fair to say that if there is zero breeze, the midges will be out, should that happen midges can be managed with repellants and light coloured clothing and the slightest breeze will mitigate the problem entirely.  

We will base our stay around one of the most beautiful areas in Sutherland.  The Kyle of Tongue has a simply monstrous estuary with an ever changing palette of colour and light.  The tide comes in at walking pace and fills the rivers making for wonderful pattern shots across the salt flats.  Dominating the hotel and the immediate area is Ben Loyal, some very pretty lochs and woodland.  Should you tire of mountains and lochs, an unlikely scenario, then a short walk from the hotel will take you to Castle Varrich (30 mins). Sutherland probably has the very finest beaches in Scotland, they are devastatingly beautiful.  Balnakiel has miles of golden sand, Durness has a red sand beach punctuated by sharp pointy black rock stacks then there is the delightful Ceanna Beinne, "can of beans beach", probably my favourite outside the Isles of Harris, and a curious geological structure known as a Tombolo at Loch Eribol.  Finally there is Torridsdale beach, remote and stunning a 2km tramp over dunes that virtually guarantees no other photographers will be there, and those windblown dune patterns are untouched by human hand or foot.

Your accommodation during both courses is at the Ben Loyal hotel near the Kyle of Tongue, single occupancy of double or twin bedded rooms on a half board basis.  The hotel serves very good meals and the rooms are comfortable and reasonably spacious, en suite with the usual tea / coffee making facilities. 

Of course weather can never be guaranteed but this area of Scotland has a reputation for being considerably drier than many areas along the west coast lower down.  With a maximum of just four guests there should be plenty of room for everyone in the vehicle and all their gear and I will be able to give you more attention to help you get the best out of your camera. 

For those wishing to join the courses you should plan to arrive the day before the course commences and book overnight accommodation in Inverness OR alternatively book the overnight sleeper train from Euston / London to Inverness.  The train arrives around 8.30am.  I make pick ups from overnight accommodation and the train station at Inverness around 10am on the commencement date.  If you intend to drive up to the Kyle of Tongue you should plan your arrival there for around 14.00 hours.  I would suggest you make reciprocal arrangements for your return trip the course finshes around 4.30pm and thereafter I drive back to Inverness and will be pleased to drop folk at either the train station or any pre-booked Inverness accommodation around 7.30pm on the final day of the course.    

Grade: Easy Mostly short duration walks on relatively flat ground. Average fitness required.
  Midges a possibility, early sunrises and late sunsets, siesta period during the day from breakfast until 2pm

A £200.00 Deposit is required to reserve a place on this course.