Autumn Gold - Photographic Tour - SCOTLAND: Cairngorms National Park

Autumn Gold

SCOTLAND: Cairngorms National Park

  • Capture the colours and moods of autumn in the UK’s wildest National Park.
  • Explore woodland, lochs and moorland at dawn and dusk.
  • Learn creative techniques to add variety to your images.
  • Enjoy top accommodation and food in our own country lodge.
  • Evening presentations to inform and inspire.

As the birch woods of the Scottish Highlands turn to brilliant gold and the high tops are dusted with the first snowfall of late autumn, the Cairngorms National Park becomes a nature photographer’s paradise. Ethereal mists cloak mirror-calm lochs and ancient Scots pines, withered over three or more centuries, stand sentinel silhouetted against fiery sunsets. At this time of the year, the Highlands is a landscape of captivating beauty, enhanced by a clarity of light unique in the UK.

Our photographic adventure will include visits to primeval pine forests; hidden glens rich in autumnal colour; sweeping heather moorlands and rugged mountain scenery. From our base in Glenfeshie we will take full advantage of the wonderful natural tapestry of landscapes right on our doorstep but we will also venture further afield, perhaps to the autumnal delights of Glen Affric or Torridon.

Our aim throughout this retreat is not only to capture the classic scenic splendour of the Highlands, but also to be artistically creative and to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. We shall explore patterns, shapes and textures and look at the creative use of lighting and composition. Our outlook will remain flexible so that we can react to conditions as they arise, taking account of the weather, light and time of day.


Dates: 24-30 Oct 2020

Cost: £1225

Deposit: £250

Single Supplement: £0

Group Size: 8

Guide: Peter Cairns

Cost Includes: Accommodation in single, twin and double rooms; all meals; rail station transfers to/from Kingussie; transport; tuition; digital presentations.



Our accommodation in the Cairngorms is a lovely converted mountain lodge in spectacular Glenfeshie. The Lodge is comfortable and full of character - specially designed for photographic house parties. All rooms are private with en-suite facilities. Accommodation has Wi-Fi connections although phone signals can be patchy.


Your room at Ballintean Mountain Lodge will be available from 5pm on arrival day. Cars can be safely parked at our lodge. Directions will be sent, as Satnav is not always reliable. Our postcode is PH21 1NX.

Train travel is generally reliable and we can offer free transfers to/from Kingussie station (7 miles). 

Our nearest airport is Inverness (45 miles) and we can offer transfers on arrival/departure day but we charge £40 per trip, which can be shared if other members of the group are travelling by air.


Most sites are accessible via a short walk requiring only a reasonable level of fitness. You should be able to walk up to 1km over uneven ground. 


Meals are informal and will be taken within our accommodation. As this retreat is focused on photography, meals will be fitted around prime photography time. Our live-in cook can accommodate all dietary requirements.


Weather is very changeable at this time of year and you should expect anything from warm, calm conditions to wintry squalls. Temperatures are likely to range from 0c to 10c with the possibility of strong winds. Conditions underfoot are often very wet!


Ideally you should bring along an SLR camera with both a wide-angle and medium telephoto zoom lens. Other lenses may also be used including a macro lens. A polarizing and ND grad filter(s) will also be useful, along with an ND filter to achieve slow shutter speeds. A good tripod is essential. A head torch is a must for travel on early morning shoots.


Peter Cairns is your guide for this retreat. Peter has 20 years of photographic tour-leading experience and knows this part of Scotland intimately. For those who would like assistance, he will take you through both technical and creative aspects of landscape photography and will be on hand to help you get the most from your time spent with us.

Giving Back

Peter Cairns Photography is a strong supporter of nature-based tourism contributing to rural economies to demonstrate the value of wild animals and wild places. We believe also that “taking” from the natural world obliges us to “give back” so we adapt our business practices to that end. We also contribute a significant part of our revenue to Scottish charity Trees for Life which is working to restore Scotland’s Caledonian Pine Forest.