Scotland Photo Tour: Highlands, Isle of Skye and Isle of Mull

Tour Intro

Tom Bol is thrilled to be taking you to the wild landscape of the Highlands in Scotland, and the Western Isles. This itinerary features the Isle of Skye, Isle of Mull and the Highlands. Each day will be at a relaxed pace, allowing enough time to photograph the diverse landscape as well as taking in the local history, people, and culture. After immersing yourselves in the Isle of Mull, travel to the Isle of Skye via ferry, and then on to the Highlands.

The Isle of Mull can lay claim to some of the finest and most varied scenery in the Inner Hebrides. It has the rugged ridges of Ben More, black basalt crags of Burg, blinding white sand beaches, rose-pink granite, and emerald waters that fringe the coastline. It also boasts two impressive castles, a narrow-gauge railway, and the sacred island of Iona. The majority of visitors return to Oban at night, leaving hidden corners for us to explore. The waters to the west of Mull provide some of the best whale, and Puffin spotting opportunities in all of Scotland.

On Skye you will photograph the spectacular Quiraing range, basalt uprising that is the dominant feature of the Trotternish Peninsula. A trip across the peninsula will take us to the tiny village of Uig, and beyond to the Fairy Glen, a magical forest of Hazel trees situated amidst strange and wondrous hills and valleys. We will also spend a day in the Cuillins - Skye's most dramatic mountains. At the meeting point of three sea lochs on the west coast of the Scottish mainland is the very photogenic Eilean Donan Castle where we will stop to photograph.

Tour Highlights

• The lochs, moors, and mountains of the Highlands.
• Photograph and explore the diverse landscape of the Isle of Skye.
• Exploring the quaint seaside villages of Mull.
• Customized boat trip to the Isle of Staffa, and the smaller isles in search of Puffins.
• Accommodations on the harbor in Kyleakin and countryside setting on Isle of Mull.
• 10 Maximum number of participants.
• Professional photography leader Tom Bol.

Tour Itinerary

July 10: Home
Scotland River Flow

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

Depart from the U.S. today on an overnight flight to Glasgow International Airport (GLA). Your arrival time on July 11 will need to be around 11am or prior, if any questions or concerns, please contact our office. Recommendations for airport hotels will be given if you would like to arrive early.

July 11: Glasgow – Isle of Mull
Scotland Home Flowers

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

Sam Gardener, your guide and driver, will meet you at the Glasgow Airport and depart for the Inner Hebrides. It is about a three-hour drive to Oban, in which you will then travel via ferry to Craignure, Isle of Mull. Oban is one of the main towns of the west coast and we will stop a while to admire and photograph. Overnight Isle of Mull (D)

July 12-14: Isle of Mull
Highland Cow

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

Tobermory, the island’s main town, sits at the back of a pretty bay and the multi-colored stone houses and old pier present a lovely setting. We’ll spend some time here, perhaps visit the distillery, or indulge in some of the appetizing seafood available at the many restaurants. From Tobermory there will be a short drive to the Glenforsa Hotel, our base on the island for four evenings. The Glenforsa is a comfortable and unique hotel close to the sea in the middle of the island, ideally situated for our various tours. The hotel boasts its own grass runway, and the wooden clad buildings were brought from their original site in Norway early last century to be reassembled on Mull.

At the south end of Mull, we will visit Iona Abbey on the beautiful Isle of Iona with its white sand beaches, and given proper weather conditions travel out to the Island of Staffa for the extraordinary Fingals Cave and other basalt rock formations, as well as the puffins and seabirds that breed there and on nearby islands. Your guide has arranged a private boat trip, giving the group extended time at a leisurely pace to photograph. The north of the island is different again with glorious views to the Western Isles, fine golden sands at Calgary, deep glens, rocky fortresses and plenty of surprises for photography. Duart Castle and Torosay Castle gardens are close to where we stay and will provide further photo opportunities.

We’ll take advantage of some early morning and late night photography of the surrounding landscape. Organized walks with Tom, or simply wander on your own as time permits. Overnights Isle of Mull (B, two L, two D)

July 15-17: Isle of Skye
Eilea Donan Castle

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

From Mull we will have a gentle day travelling to the Isle of Skye, by way of two short ferry journeys across the Sound of Mull and the Sound of Sleat, and a forty-mile drive across the spectacular Ardnamurchan Peninsula. This being the most westerly tip of mainland UK, a lighthouse is featured as one of your many photographic opportunities en route. Mallaig, is a busy fishing village full of interest; Tioram Castle, set on a rocky headland near Acharacle, will present another opportunity.

A warm welcome awaits us at a quaint harbor side hotel, where we will have views of the harbor and Castle Moil - an ancient MacKinnon stronghold - with its own Viking history and ‘saucy’ Norse traditions. Not far from Kyleakin are the Black Cuillin Mountains, the sparkling waters of Loch Sligachan, the Sleat Peninsula, and the quaint villages of Wester Ross.

Following are examples of a few of the amazing sights that await you. We will head North on this lovely Isle to the Trotternish Peninsula, which consists predominantly of a long basalt outcrop, giving rise to the dramatic cliff and mountain scenery roundabout. Driving around the “North End” of Trotternish, we will make a number of varied photo stops along the way. At Duntulm we will spend some time on the beach where we will find some fascinating rock pools and other subjects. A few miles further on we reach The Museum of Island Life at Kilmuir, which is a fascinating folk museum, housed in six Black Houses, giving a vivid impression of a previous life on Skye.

Photographing the strange and dramatic rock formations of the Quiraing is a highlight along with one of Skye’s best-known sights, The Old Man of Storr.  It is a pinnacle of rock, 160 feet high, visible from much of the east coast of Skye. It is surrounded by other incredible rocks, and we will walk up to its base, and into The Sanctuary, from where we can spend a few hours enjoying the fantastic views as well as the extraordinary photographic potential of the rocky landscape. Given time we can explore Lealt Falls and some of the amazing views across the Sound of Raasay. Overnights Isle of Skye (B, three L, one D)

July 17-20: Glencoe
Tobermorey

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

Your guides will take into consideration the interests of the group, and weather conditions to determine the most opportune photo stops along the drive to Glencoe. Your accommodations are set in the heart of Glencoe, surrounded by mountains. You will have two additional days to immerse yourselves in the highlands of Scotland, with Glencoe being an excellent base from which to explore the region. In the Highlands, the past is all around. Ancient Cairns and stone settings, the later brochs (defensive round towers), then the Picts with their mysterious carved symbol stones have all left their faint traces on the landscape. Although the old clan ways have vanished, the Highlands are still a special place and a place apart, enjoyed not only for their unspoiled environment, but also for their particular sense of the intertwining of past and present.

Signal Rock is a pleasant short walk from the inn, where in the past, bonfires were lit to warn of imminent danger. The walk follows a small wooded valley with the banks of the burn full of wild flowers. A couple of miles away are three varied walks in the Glencoe Lochans area. Each walk which takes an hour or so, gives attractive views to Loch Leven, the Pap of Glencoe, and is through attractive grounds landscaped in the nineteenth century with woodland and lochs.

From Rannoch Moor there are distant views to the surrounding mountain ranges, Blackmount to the west, and the almost perfectly shaped mountain, Buachaille Etive Mor, the subject of numerous well-known photographs. Our various drives will offer numerous stopping points to admire and photograph the tumbling burns, waterfalls and cascades, sometimes in fine woodland, other times in open moorland. There are fine views from beside the road at various points, and even better views can be gained with some relatively short walks. The Devils Staircase is a short uphill stretch of The West Highland Way, leaving the main road opposite Buachaille Etive Mor, and offering even better views from higher viewpoints.

An eleven-mile long sea loch, Loch Leven, takes us from Ballahullish in the west to Kinlochleven in the east. The loch is fringed to both north and south by steep sided mountains, giving some dramatic scenes. On the shore there is a small harbor originally used by the slate industry; a fine walk along the shoreline provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Overnights Glencoe (B each day, L one day).

July 21: Glencoe - Glasgow

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

There will be additional photography stops as you drive through the Highlands, returning to Glasgow late in the day. Overnight airport hotel Glasgow (B)

July 22: Glasglow - Home

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Scotland

The hotel is right across the street from the airport, therefore your return flight can be at any time on the 22nd. (B)

Photo Leader

Tom Bol
read more
Tom Bol

See how Tom Bol got his start at https://vimeo.com/120904640

The September 2011 Photo District News education issue, listed Tom as one of the best photo workshop instructors in the country!

Tom Bol is a freelance photographer specializing in adventure sports, nature, and travel photography. He has been photographing full time for twenty years, and teaching workshops for ten. Assignments have ranged from national ad campaigns for clothing companies to producing images for worldwide tourism clients. With a background in guiding adventure sports, Tom’s editorial assignments often result in interesting situations, including shooting from the bottom of a crevasse on Mt. McKinley, to running into a snow leopard at twenty thousand feet in the Himalayas.

Tom is a regular contributor to Digital Photo and Outdoor Photographer magazine, a contributing photographer at Canoe and Kayak magazine, and a regular speaker at tradeshows representing Nikon and Manfrotto. He was also on the list of National Geographic Adventure’s “50 of America’s Top Visionaries” for his photography.

Note from instructor:

I think workshops are a fantastic way to develop as a photographer, both technically and artistically, and have a lot of fun during the process. On these workshops I’m available at anytime to offer advice and critique of images. I will offer formal classes as well as field demonstrations on technique and creative choices in image making. For those that are interested, we will explore flash technique and light painting. I will also provide participants with “workshop notes”, excerpts from magazine articles I have written on a variety of topics.

I really enjoy working with participants one on one, being able to focus on specific areas with individual’s results in faster, more effective learning. What I enjoy most on workshops is seeing how participants can improve their skills in such a short time.

Having been to numerous workshops over the past 5 years, Tom has to be my favorite instructor. With Tom you are guaranteed 3 things - an in-depth knowledge of photography and lighting with an ability and desire to share this with participants, energy and lots of it, and FUN! Tom loves spending time with his students and getting to know each one, as to maximize the workshop for each person. A workshop with Tom is time well spent.

B. Peterson

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 6 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 5 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Tom Bol is really inspiring and has great positive energy. As a teacher, he really wants you to learn and succeed. I really appreciate his selfless desire to help you improve. His enthusiasm is contagious.

L. Barcheck

Having been to numerous workshops over the past 5 years, Tom has to be my favorite instructor. With Tom you are guaranteed 3 things - an in-depth knowledge of photography and lighting with an ability and desire to share this with participants, energy and lots of it, and FUN! Tom loves spending time with his students and getting to know each one, as to maximize the workshop for each person. A workshop with Tom is time well spent.

B. Peterson

Loved the variety..... landscape, architecture, people and animals. One of the best trips ever!!!  Hi marks on the hotels. I know we had some really nice and a couple average, but considering where we were.... you did good.

Namibia pics are up ... www.where-2-next.com.  What  a great collection of photo ops!

 

S Wolfe

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

Accommodations are at quaint inns or lodges, all rooms having private bathrooms. Typical lodging in these area’s are traditional, clean and more than comfortable for photography groups. Breakfasts will be taken at the lodges, while lunches will usually be picnics in the field or pub lunches, with dinners at local restaurants. The food is both delicious and wholesome. Transportation will be in a comfortable mini-bus with ample room for your luggage and gear.

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