Northern Exposure – Highlands Photo Tour

Highlands Photo Tour – Destination summary

Highlands Photo Tour – Wild and empty Highland Landscapes, Puffins and seabirds, mountains,  stunning beaches, castle ruins, remote crofting villages.

The Northern Scottish Highlands feature some of the finest and most dramatic beaches and mountain scenery in the whole of the United Kingdom.

You’ll have 6 days to explore and photograph some of the remotest and wildest corners of the Scottish Highlands as we travel over the top of the UK mainland covering part of the NC500 route and more remote parts. From Inverness we travel west to our first base the former Victorian Spa town of Strathpeffer.  From here we’ll spend a day exploring magnificent Torridon  before passing through Ullapool and the mountainous terrain of Inverpolly.

Two nights on the far north west coast will give us easy access to the stunning beaches around Oldshoremore and pay visit to Handa Island by RIB boat and spot and photograph some Puffins from the high cliffs.

The vistas around both Kyle’s of Durness and Tongue are incredibly beautiful at low tide and the northerly road  across the top to John O’ Groats into Caithness is dotted with stunning beaches and cliffs.

From our third base in Thurso on the  north coast we reach John O’ Groats and nearby sea stacks before we head back down the  east Sutherland coast and back to Inverness.


This Highlands Photo tour kicks off in Torridon features some famous Scottish peaks in a chain  that runs north along Glen Torridon. Ben Eighe, Ben Alligin and Liathach will provide a back drop for a session amongst the mountains offering majestic vistas and Highland scenes. Loch Maree shimmers at the foot of Slioch and we’ll spend dusk capturing some beautiful scenes along its western shore.

Inverpolly and Assynt

The Highlands north of Ullapool have been described as Scotland for the connoisseur. One of Scotland’s best loved peaks Stac Pollaidh,  sits proudly above the rocky loch strewn landscapes, hemmed in by other classic peaks.

 We’ll explore this ancient landscape as we travel up to Sutherland along the winding  roads that hug the coast.

Sandwood Bay & Oldshoremore Beach

Sandwood Bay is remote and along with its famous sea stack Am Buachaille is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in Scotland and there’s and option to take a hike at dusk to this iconic location.

Nearby Oldshoremore is another example of a small classic crofting community and also has a stunning  beach to photograph nearby. We’ll be hoping for some wild sunsets to complement this wild and evocative part of Scotland.

Handa Island

Handa Island is home to a colony of seabirds including Puffin , guillemot, Fullmar and Razorbills that nest along the high cliffs and sea stacks. You’ll take a short boat trip over to the island to explore its coastline  and cliff top trails on foot, while catching and photographing it’s abundant birdlife.

The Northern Beaches & Kyles

The remote Highland village of Durness is a scattered hamlet and nearby beaches provide a quiet setting to relax and explore before we photograph a few of its finest, Balnakeil, Sango and Chailgeag.  Turning south along Loch Eriboll we hug both shores which are lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Views from its eastern shore reveal dramatic views back towards the peaks of Cranstackie and Foinaven.

The Kyle’s of Durness and Tongue make for striking abstracts at low tide as we  make our way east.

Ben Loyal and Ben Hope

We’ll have the opportunity to photograph two of the regions favourite peaks in Ben Hope and Queen of the Highlands Ben Loyal over a remote Lochan.

Caithness and East Sutherland

Scotland’s most northerly point is Dunnet Head  and it’s Lighthouse  offers great views to Orkney and the sea birds nesting in the adjacent cliffs. From our comfortable base near John O’Groats you’ll also  explore the village, pay a visit to the Dunnet Distillery ( Rock Rose) in Castletown or the Old Pultney whisky distillery in Wick and the nearby cliff tops that offer great views out over  the Duncansby Sea Stacks.

South of the former  Herring boomtown town of Wick are the  ruins of Castle Sinclair that sit on the edge of a cliff and we’ll take our time to explore and photograph both the ruin and nearby sea stack.

On our final day of this Highlands Photo Tour we make our way south to the old Whaligoe steps that desend to an ancient harbour, explore the beach at Berridale, enjoy lunch at the Riverside bothy and take a short detour by my ancestral home of Glen Loth prior to arriving back in the Highland capital.

Extra information

Start time 10:45 – 11:00 pick up Inverness 22nd May

End time 16:30 drop off Inverness 27st May

Getting there  Inverness is serviced by bus and rail  from Edinburgh or Glasgow (3-4 hrs) or by air from major UK airports plus Dublin and Amsterdam airports

Accommodation Ben Wyvis Hotel Starthpeffer,  1 night –  The Old School House Inshegra, Sutherland – The Manor House , Thurso  – 2 nights. All single occupancy rooms.

Meals – packed lunches or cafes along the way. Dinner at local restaurants /pubs as appropriate to our schedule.

Essential equipment camera, lenses and good quality tripod.

Non essential but recommended Polariser, neutral density graduated and straight neutral density filters would be useful. I use Lee ND filters both hard and soft.  A Laptop with Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software. Good quality waterproof camera bag.

What to expect

This photo adventure includes an initial practical tutorial on basic shooting skills, use of camera gear and equipment on location on the first day.  This includes camera workflow, shooting in manual mode and reading histograms.
A photo adventure’s  main objective is guiding you to the best locations at the right time with suggestions on types of shot, general settings and composition advice. Participants should be familiar in the use of their cameras to get the best out of the locations, however help is always on hand  and advice freely given.
Walking – A few walks and hikes up to around 90 mins each way  will be part of the itinerary. The terrain can be boggy and rocky in places.

Participants will be invited to share 6 of their  final images  with Glen and their fellow participants for comment after the trip via a secure online link.

The Highland’s reliably fickle weather can be a feature of Scotland and her dramatic and romantic landscapes. Conditions can be glorious at times but it’s not unusual to turn cool and rainy at any time of year. This can and often does add to the dramatic nature of light and land. It’s important that you have adequate and good quality outdoor clothing ( jackets and over trousers) including waterproof hiking boots that are waterproof. 

Locations and fitness.
Not all locations will be by the roadside, some locations are easy to reach, some require a little effort, walking sometimes on muddy and boggy surfaces. This can involve  short hill walks, walks across rocky, uneven terrain and slippy surfaces. Walking times can be up to one hour – one way, however  participation is optional at every location.

All ages above 18 years are welcome but a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required, regardless of age in order to fully participate and appreciate a Lightstalker’s photo adventure or workshop.  If you have any doubts of your suitability for a specific trip please contact Glen directly.

Northern Exposure Photo Tour
22nd - 27th May 2023 6 days
Places available: only 4 places available - 2 places left
Trip fee: £1950.00
Booking deposit: £250.00
Starts / ends: Inverness


  • 6 full days on location
  • 5 nights single occupancy accommodation
  • 5 breakfasts
  • Pick up from Inverness and drop off
  • Boat to Handa Island
  • Tea coffee and snacks*
  • Practical guidance on location
  • Day and dusk sessions
  • Lightstalker Adventures limited edition Beanie

Not Included

  • Transport to / from Inverness
  • Lunch or evening meals
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Entry fees
  • Please ensure you have adequate travel Insurance

Lightstalker Highlights

  • Torridon & Inverpolly
  • Loch Maree
  • Stunning Sandwood Bay
  • Hand Island Puffins
  • Oldshoremore beach
  • Stac Polly and Ben Loyal
  • Kyle of Durness and Balnakeil
  • Dunnet Head / Duncansby Stacks
  • Whaligoe steps
  • Caithness
  • Long exposure seascapes
  • One of the remotest regions of the UK
  • Taliored help and guidance
  • Creative advice
  • Off the beaten track locations
  • Plenty time on location
  • Post trip review
  • Small groups (max 5)
  • Highland guide with local knowledge
"Glen inspired us with his commitment to finding the right lightened opening our eyes to finding beauty in the ordinary.
He helped us develop skills to turn an ok shot into a great shot."
Craig Burns, Canberra, Australia