DAY 1 Saturday - Welcome
Late afternoon / early evening rendezvous at the Sumburgh Hotel.
After our welcome dinner there will be an optional evening excursion
to photograph a spectacular sunset or some atmospheric scenes -
the soft light of Shetland's Simmer Dim is a photographer's dream!
Overnight at the Sumburgh Hotel.
DAY 2 Sunday - Mousa
The tiny island of Mousa lies off the east coast of the south Mainland.
We have arranged exclusive access for our group during the morning
and early afternoon, to spend several hours with a wide range of
approachable birds - they include Black Guillemots, Great and Arctic
Skuas, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers and Arctic Terns. There will
also be opportunities to photograph the magnificent Iron Age Broch.
In the afternoon we visit a site just north of Lerwick where we
can get unusually close to Grey and Common Seals. The antics of
these enormous animals as they vie for territorial dominance offers
spectacular photographic opportunities. Overnight at Sumburgh.
DAY 3 Monday - South
We spend the morning at the bustling seabird colonies of Sumburgh
Head. Subjects we would hope for include Puffins in pink Thrift,
Shetland Wrens on lichen-strewn stone walls and Fulmars at arm's
length! With luck we may spot passing cetaceans - Killer Whales
are regularly seen off Sumburgh Head during the summer months and
hunt exceptionally close inshore! After lunch, we head a few miles
north to a rich expanse of heathland. We'll spend the remainder
of the afternoon with Arctic Skuas, Great Skuas, Whimbrel, Golden
Plover and Snipe in breeding habitat and also find plenty of wildflowers
including Bell Heather, Tormentil, Heath Bedstraw, Wild Thyme, Lousewort
and Butterwort. Overnight at Sumburgh.
DAY 4 Tuesday - Noss
We take our chartered boat - exclusive to our
group - to the spectacular seabird colonies of Noss
National Nature Reserve. From sea level, we will have
the unique opportunity of using wide angle and
telephoto perspectives to capture 20,000 Gannets,
40,000 Guillemots and 5,000 Kittiwakes! Puffins,
Shags, Black Guillemots will also be on offer. The
many natural arches, caves and dramatic sandstone
cliffs add to the experience. We return to Lerwick at
lunch time and head north to catch a ferry to Yell
and then across Bluemull Sound to Britain's most
northerly inhabited island - Unst. The late afternoon
will be spent at Keen of Hamar National Nature
Reserve. This serpentine fell-field is a locally
unique habitat and home to an array of rare wild
flowers. Diminutive Arctic alpines include Moss
Campion, Arctic Sandwort and Northern Rock Cress.
Other species in flower will include the strange
Moonwort, Early Purple, Northern Marsh and Frog
Orchids, Stone Bramble and the endemic Shetland
Mouse-Ear Chickweed - found here but nowhere else in
the world! Overnight at the Baltasound Hotel.
DAY 5 Wednesday - Fetlar &
Hermaness at 'Dusk'!
We travel to south Unst to connect with the
morning ferry to the island of Fetlar. The prize here
will be the handsome Red-necked Phalarope which is
famous for its breeding role reversal. Fetlar holds
over 90% of the British breeding population, although
the birds' stay on the island is brief - they
generally arrive during the third week of May and are
gone by the end of July! Phalaropes are typically
confiding and the Fetlar birds are no exception - we
once watched a female picking insects from our tripod
legs! Red-throated Diver, Dunlin and Arctic Tern are
frequent visitors to our chosen loch and will also
offer us some superb photographic opportunities. We
return to Unst for an early evening meal and offer an
optional walk to Hermaness cliffs for the rare
opportunity to photograph Puffins and Great Skuas
against what will hopefully be a magnificent Simmer
Dim sunset. Overnight at the Baltasound Hotel.
DAY 6 Thursday - Hermaness by
We spend the day on Hermaness National Nature
Reserve. The moorland is home to 800 pairs of Great
Skuas - the second largest 'Bonxie' colony in the
world - and the cliffs house 50,000 Puffins, 40,000
Guillemots, 28,000 Fulmars and over 20,000 Gannets!
We'll have the opportunity of photographing seabird
colonies from our cliff-top vantage point - a
complete contrast to our sea level portraits at Noss.
There will also be the opportunity to photograph some
dramatic seascapes at Britain's most northerly
lighthouse - Muckle Flugga. The reserve also offers
typical moorland flora like Heather, Crowberry, Bog
Bilberry, Bog Cotton and the carnivorous Sundew.
Overnight at the Baltasound Hotel.
DAY 7 Friday - Yell & North
We leave Unst and head south to the island of Yell. Here we have
a terrific 'macro' site for photographing an abundance of Round-leaved
Sundew and other typical moorland / blanket-bog plants. We continue
south catching the ferry to the north Mainland for our second 'macro'
stop of the day to photograph one of Shetland's rarest plants -
Oysterplant. This delightful perennial - also considered nationally
scarce in the UK - has unmistakable bright blue flowers and is typically
found above the strandline on shingle and pebble beaches. The plant
is now restricted to just a handful of sites in Shetland. The site
we visit also offers opportunities to photograph the vibrant Shetland
subspecies of Red Campion, Sea Mayweed, Sea Sandwort, both Heath
Spotted and Northern Marsh Orchids, Marsh Marigold and Common Lousewort.
After lunch we head out the majestic Eshaness cliffs and spend the
afternoon photographing some of the most iconic Shetland landscapes
like the Drongs, the Dore Holm and the amazing Hole of Scraada.
The cliffs also offer fantastic opportunities to photograph Fulmars.
We return to the south Mainland in the late afternoon and prepare
for our farewell dinner. Overnight at Sumburgh.
DAY 8 Saturday
After breakfast we'll transfer you to Sumburgh airport, or make
arrangements for you to travel to your onward destination in Shetland.
2018 Operating Dates
Sat 26th May
Sat 2nd June
Sat 2nd June
Sat 9th June
Sat 9th June
Sat 16th June
Group Size - strictly limited to 6
Shetland Wildlife is ranked as the 'Number One' wildlife and photography
operator in Shetland by the traveller review site TripAdvisor
who awarded us Certificates of Excellence in 2014, 2015, 2016 and
This trip is aimed at all levels of photographer from absolute beginner to experienced professionals. As published and award-winning wildlife photographers ourselves, we started taking pictures over 30 years ago and we never forget the learning curves we went through (and still do!) to reach the dizzy heights of being pho-tour guides today! We even remember what it was like to use film! Our groups are limited to six, we use two hotels for this itinerary to reduce daily travel time and thus gain maximum photographic time in the field, and, unlike others, we charter boats to reach the prime seabird colonies of Mousa and Noss to ensure maximum photographic opportunities for our time ashore at these very special places.
Experience counts for a lot and with over 20 years of both practical and logistical pho-tour experience, let us show you why we do it better than anybody else - and why we are regarded by our customers as the number one choice!
To gain maximum benefit from this trip we recommend:
- Body - a DSLR camera
- Lenses - wide angle fixed or zoom, telephoto lens preferably
between 300mm and 600mm although a 100mm - 400mm or 200mm - 400mm
zoom would work well. A dedicated 100mm macro would also be useful.
- Teleconverters - 1.4x. 1.7x or 2x.
- Support - a good tripod is essential
- Flash - useful for fill flash in high contrast daytime situations.