Join me on a 6-day photography and adventure workshop in the stunning, remote and awe-inspiring Assynt and Coigach area of the North-West highlands where we will be taking to wild camping high and low to capture scenes that will leave you speechless.
The Assynt and Coigach area are two small areas a short drive from Ullapool in the North-West highlands. Scotland throughout is stunning but this little area offers dramatic mountains, like islands surrounded by Lochs. While the mountains are dramatic, most don’t even reach Munro status (3000ft) which means for the most part, it is easier to ascend them.
Stac Polliadh is one of the most prominent and climbed in the area but it is only a walk of just over an hour to the top. Suilven stands guard over Lochinver and is one of the mountains of the area which is so distinct and recognisable, begging to be climbed but rises to a height just over 2000ft. There are plenty of other mountains in the area to list, all with their own appeal and dramatic viewpoints with views as far as the eye can see.
This is an area I really love and admire and have visited on numerous occasions to really give me a great knowledge of the area. To extract the best out of the area, sunrise and sunset from the tops is my favourite way to photograph here, though there are still plenty of locations low down.
We will spend 6 days wild camping, meaning we will sleep in tents to ensure we are close to our spot for sunset and sunrise without having to do lengthy walking once setup. We will have 5 nights here and we will spend 3 nights near or on summits and 2 nights lower down to rest and relax, ensuring we don’t burn out. We may require flexibility with the weather and plans may change on the day, meaning we may for example do 2 summit camps before a low down camp. In the worst case scenario (unlikely), we may have to check into a local hostel/bunkhouse to retreat due to unsafe/inclement weather and this cost should be budgeted for (£20/night approx). There are showers locally to keep us fresh as well as some small shops and a Tesco in Ullapool.
The price includes loan kit of a tent, sleeping bag and roll mat (based on 2 sharing tent). You will need to bring your own suitable bag, food and other outdoor gear. A list will be sent out on booking of what you should ideally have with you to ensure a comfortable trip. Transport can be arranged on a first-come-first-served basis for 2 people who wish to travel without a car, this is purely down to limited space with big wild camping bags. To those driving, once in the Assynt area the driving will be minimal.
With a small group size you’ll be sure to get plenty of 1-2-1 tuition, ensuring you learn as much as you possibly can over the week as well as enjoying your time in Assynt and Coigach. I will be on hand for any questions help you may need. You may also already be a proficient photographer looking for more adventure who needs less help with the technical side, this is also fine and I will cater and base my time around everyone’s individual needs.
On the first day, we will meet in Inverness or Ullapool, depending on which way you are travelling and make our way to the mountains. We will meet with enough time to spare to camp on the flanks of Stac Polliadh on the first evening, completing both a sunset and sunrise from up there. We will head down and explore some low down locations before camping low. Our next summit camp is potentially Suilven, providing the weather allows. This is a 6 mile walk either way. Our final summit camp will be on Sgurr an Fhidhleir (The Fiddler) which offers stunning views across Assynt with dramatic drops.
I run relaxed workshops that require flexibility. With mountain weather, plans can often change and I will advise on a day-by-day basis what we are to do. I aim to take you out and show you how I would work as if I was there on my own. However, I always keep personal photos to a minimum, only setting up to demonstrate my workflow once everyone is happy/the conditions are unique.
Throughout the week we will look at basic techniques such as focusing, use of filters vs exposure blending, composition, working with the light and much more. We will also look at more advanced techniques as the week progresses.
This course has been listed as medium/hard difficulty but please read the itinerary closely below. If you have any health concerns, please contact me for advise prior to booking. You should be mountain fit but we will take our time with the walks. You will be carrying up to 20kg packs of walks up to 6 miles (max) and over varying terrain with amounts of uphill. If you have any doubts about what you are capable of, please contact me first.
Below is a rough itinerary to give you an idea of what the trip entails.
Day 1: Meet at Inverness at 12, collect any last minute extras from a local supermarket before driving on to Ullapool to meet the remainder of clients. Continue to Stac Polliadh and ascend to camp the night. Do a sunset and sunrise here.
Day 2: Drop down from Stac Polliadh after doing the sunrise and photograph a few locations low down. We will get showers and drive over to Lochinver to camp near Suilven.
Day 3: This should hopefully be the big day. Drive to Lochinver and ascend Suilven. This 6 mile walk should take us to the summit of the areas most impressive and remote mountain. The first 4.5 miles is along a good deer stalking track but the last section looks impossible as you approach it. However, the closer you get, the easier it seems and a steep last push will have you at the summit to capture the sunset and sunrise.
Day 4: After the sunrise, drop down again and arrive back in Lochinver. We will be tried and achy from the long walk so it will be good to replenish and refresh ourselves. Again we may choose to head back for a shower and then we will camp on either on the Aird of Coigach overlooking Stac Polliadh or Achnahaird Beach. Sunset and sunrise here.
Day 5: We will complete our final summit which could be the Fiddler, a relatively gentle walk up moorland to reveal a dramatic drop below.
Day 6 : After completing sunrise we will head down and back to the cars, have a debrief session before heading off home.
The itinerary is subject to change, usually due to weather and more suitable locations may be scouted in these instances.
Please note: There is a minimum number of people for this course to allow it to run.