The Hebridean island of Mull boasts nearly 300 miles of coastline, and just about every inch offers a scenic photographic opportunity. In April the tussle between winter and spring is in full swing, adding the full gamut of light and shade, and every kind of weather to this inspiring landscape. Not only that, Mull is also home to some of Britain’s most iconic wildlife, from the magnificent White-tailed Eagles that are easy to see from a boat trip plunge-diving into the water, to the herds of Red Deer that haunt the glens, to the playful Otters that forage just offshore. Expert Robert Harvey will help you get the best out of this thrilling week of photographic adventure!
+32 71 84 54 80
Présente le mardi et vendredi toute la journée
Tue 6th Apr - Sun 11th Apr 2021 - 2011 €
Tue 5th Apr - Sun 10th Apr 2022 - 2011 €
All accommodation is included in the tour cost.
A comfortable hotel on the Sound of Mull, with private facilities.
All food is included in the tour cost, except for lunch on Day 1.
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
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Please note that the itinerary below offers our planned programme of excursions. However, adverse weather & other local considerations can necessitate some re-ordering of the programme during the course of the tour, though this will always be done to maximise best use of the time and weather conditions available.
Arrive Glasgow, transfer Mull
We will meet in Glasgow at around lunchtime and transfer by minibus to Oban, where we will catch an afternoon ferry to Mull. Depending on how long our journey takes, it might be possible to do some seabird photography around Oban prior to the departure of the ferry.
Our hotel for the next 5 nights is located only a short distance from the ferry terminal at Craignure.
There may be an opportunity for a short walk before the introductory presentation by Robert on photographic techniques for birds and mammals.
Otter & Eagle Photography
As the best time to look for Otters is first thing in the morning, we aim to make an early start today to go and look for these charming creatures as they forage amongst the seaweed and shallow waters along the island’s coastline. Once we’ve found the right spot, we plan to take our time to enjoy both watching and photographing these endearing mammals.
Our other key photography target today is the magnificent White-tailed Eagle. This species has been very successfully reintroduced to its native habitat in Scotland, and Mull is one of the best islands to see this huge bird soaring along the coastline with a profile described as ‘a flying barn-door’!
Observing one of these birds plunge down and snatch a fish from the sea is an unforgettable sight, but they are also fond of scavenging carrion and are always on the lookout for the remains of a seal or deer. To allow us the best chance of photographing them, we will join a specialist cruise off the west coast of Mull, which departs from Ulva. This trip is specifically designed for those who wish to experience, and photograph, the power of these majestic birds first hand. Taking to the water allows us to get closer to the fishing eagles, when they are less wary of the presence of people. Depending on how we get on today, and the weather, there may be the opportunity to return to
look for Otters again this evening.
Staffa & Treshnish Islands Boat Tour
Today, we will join one of the boat tours that journey to Staffa and the Treshnish Islands. Staffa is famous for its hexagonal rock columns, formed by volcanic eruptions many millennia ago, and Fingal’s Cave, known for its amazing acoustics, the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. This small island is only half a mile long by a quarter of a mile wide, and is a dedicated National Nature Reserve in its entirety.
Naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks wrote: "Compared to this what are the cathedrals and palaces built by men! Mere models of playthings, imitations as his works will always be when compared to those of nature."
Sea conditions permitting, we will land on both Staffa and Lunga Islands. On the way we will look for a variety of seabirds and keep our eyes peeled for the resident pods of both Bottlenose Dolphins and harbour porpoise which are frequently sighted in this area, and Whitebeaked Dolphin are also possible. Our main focus on Staffa will be the fantastic geological features,
but we might also encounter some seabirds starting to breed.
Lunga is part of the Treshnish Isles, a group of islands owned and managed by the Hebridean Trust.
They are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the national importance of the high level shore platforms that they provide, making excellent nesting locations for thousands of seabirds, the most common of which are Kittiwake, Razorbill and Guillemot. Although it will be a little early to encounter these species in large number, there should still be some individuals around the island. We may perhaps
encounter a few Shag, Puffin and Fulmar as well. Also on Lunga are the ruined remains of seven blackhouses, once home to around 20 people. These are traditional dwellings of the Scottish Highlands, usually consisting of double walled drystone packed with earth, timber rafters and a thatched roof. There was no chimney so the interiors often got fairly smoky!
Returning to the hotel, there will be an opportunity to review images taken by the group. Robert will offer some advice on processing and provide a critique to assist in getting even better images of Eagles and Otters during the next sessions.
Otters & Eagles
Once again, we will split the day between Otter and Eagle photography. This day will be very similar to Day 2, giving us the chance to improve on any images taken earlier in the week.
Today we will head for the south end of Mull, and the lovely island of Iona. This picturesque little island is best known for its abbey, but also has a number of other buildings of historical significance and some great beaches. Thought to be the burial place of 48 medieval kings, including Macbeth, there is a real sense of timelessness about the island.
Just a short ferry ride from Fionnphort will take us to the island. Vehicles are greatly restricted here to help preserve the island, so there is very little traffic which creates a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere, and means that we will be doing our exploring on foot. From Iona we will be able to look back towards Mull, and on a clear day we will be able to get good views of Ben More and the west coast of Mull. For those interested in landscape photography, the rocky shorelines and beautiful, white sand beaches offer up many possibilities for varied images. Spring flowers such as celandines, primroses and wild hyacinth or shore plants like thrift and roseroot create splashes of colour in the foreground, while the sea’s ever changing hues provide an interesting backdrop to the ancient and ruined buildings found throughout the island. The colour spectrum varies from pale turquoise where the sunlight plays over shallow, underwater sandbars, through the darkest of blue in the deeper waters, to slate grey on duller days.
Iona Abbey and the Nunnery are among the places we plan to visit during our time on the island.
The abbey has many decorative features that can look particularly striking in a black and white photograph. Migrating waders, including Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling stop off on Iona in the spring time to refuel as they head north to their Arctic breeding grounds. These birds tend to feed along the shoreline, their position on the beach determined by the level of the tide. The challenge will be in locating a suitable piece of shoreline that allows us to be at eye level with the scurrying birds. Early April also sees the return of the Corncrake and we may be fortunate enough to hear the first rasping call of the year during our visit.
Our plan for the day will remain flexible to allow for the weather and the interests of the group.
Return to Glasgow
This morning we may have time for one final drive out in search of Otters. Returning to our hotel for a late breakfast, we will review and share our images with the group, before making the return journey to Glasgow, via Oban. We will aim to be back in the city in the late afternoon.