How to plan a photography tour to Scotland
The country is rich in deeply rewarding photographic experiences and world-class visual opportunities. Here are some of the highlights not to miss on a driving itinerary.
Vistas abound in Scotland. From heather-clad mountains and mist-shrouded glens to centuries-old castles perched atop rolling hills, this is a land that doesn't let down — and a driving itinerary is an ideal way to take in some of the best sceneries on offer.
Starting from Edinburgh, crossing the Firth of Forth is a photographic joy, with three architecturally significant bridges from successive centuries sweeping over the river, including the UNESCO-listed Forth Bridge. On the other side lies the timewarp village of Culross, one of the best examples of a Scottish burgh from 17th and 18th centuries.
Driving on into the historic heartlands, Stirling Castle dominates from its rugged perch. Feel the grandeur of the Scottish monarchy in the Great Hall and let the view out towards the Wallace Monument frame your shots. Below the castle are the famous battlefield of Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge, an evocative medieval stone span — stare at it long enough and you may start to imagine William Wallace’s army will march over it at any moment.
Pushing north, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park — Scotland’s first national park, which celebrates its 20th birthday in 2022 — wraps around your lens, with Munro mountains rising and lochs sparkling all around. After the vast moorland of Rannoch Moor, the glens get tighter and the mountains Tolkien-esque as you drive through Glencoe.
Reaching the west coast, the Atlantic welcomes you. It’s a short hop by ferry to Ardnamurchan, a peninsula that’s home to the most westerly point in the UK. A highlight here is Nc’nean Distillery, located on the wild neighbouring peninsula of Morvern. Said to be the first organic distillery in Scotland, it adopts what it claims is a sustainable production model. Non-whisky drinkers, meanwhile, can explore the craggy coast by sea kayak.
The UK’s highest peak looms large on the approach to Fort William. Ben Nevis, soaring over 4,000ft, is a photographer’s dream: different in every light, from every angle. Swoosh over 2,100ft high on the Nevis Range Mountain Gondola to get in amid the mountains, and from the top, short trails open up the majesty of the Great Glen fault line. Down on the glen floor lies Loch Ness — a glacial wonder so voluminous all the water in English and Welsh lakes combined wouldn’t fill it.
Dropping south into the vast expanse of the Cairngorms National Park, there’s no let up in the camera-pleasing scenery. This is the UK’s largest national park, home to Munro mountains, Scotland’s fastest-flowing river (the Spey), the Cairngorm Plateau and the ancient Caledonian Forest of Rothmiemurchus. Here, don't miss Loch an Eilein, a wood-shrouded lake that sports a small island topped with a ruined castle: Scotland in one shot.
With so many experiences around you, it can be hard knowing where to end. Handily, the Snow Roads provides a framework for your photography. This 90-mile route takes in swathes of the Cairngorms, the UK’s highest road and striking art installations — all of which will have you reaching for another memory card.
Plan the trip
All the highlights mentioned above and more can be discovered as part of Drumscot Tours’ Landscape and Photography Tour of Scotland.
The tour lasts seven days, including arrival and departure. Starting and ending in Edinburgh, the itinerary covers 365 miles, from the Lowlands up and around some of the most scenic parts of the Highlands. It includes two experiences with expert photographers: a private four-wheel-drive vehicle photography trip in Glencoe and a private photography workshop in the Cairngorms. Guests are escorted by a dedicated driver, who’s also ready to assist with day-to-day arrangements, and stay at a range of characterful accommodation, from B&Bs to lodges.
A family-owned, Scotland-based tour operator, Drumscot Tours organises bespoke itineraries around Scotland as well as sample itineraries that can be tailored to suit any requirements. To allow visitors to get immersed in all that Scotland has to offer, the minimum tour duration is three nights.
For more information, visit drumscot.com
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