Go on a photographic safari in Shetland

Take amazing images of British species with other BBC Wildlife readers on this exciting seven-night trip.

Take the opportunity to track otters with experienced guides
14th July 2018 - 21st July 2018

Take the opportunity to track otters with experienced guides © Brydon Thomason


Join wildlife photographers David Tipling and Brydon Thomason in the enchanting Shetland Islands on this exclusive BBC Wildlife reader holiday. Organised by Shetland Nature, the specially designed itinerary is aimed at people with a passion for wildlife who want to get more out of their nature photography. 

Learn about the fascinating cultural heritage of the Shetland Islands, enjoy the archipelago’s unspoiled beauty and encounter an array of exciting species, including puffins, red-necked phalaropes, frog orchids and orcas (this is one of the best places in the UK to see them).


Photograph Atlantic puffins and a range of other birds © Brydon Thomason


Wildlife photography is now more popular than ever. Whether the choice is a bridge camera or an SLR, a camera has now become as much a part of peoples enjoyment of nature as  a pair of binoculars.

This holiday is designed to celebrate this exciting new age, particularly for anyone with an SLR or indeed a bridge camera wishing to learn how to get more out of their photography and the natural world and where better to bring this together than the Shetland Islands,

With the support of two experienced leaders and the Shetland Nature team, you will have hands-on photography tuition throughout your stay. Most of the excursions will be in small groups, apart from rotations when using purpose-built hides to see northern breeding birds and during a day of otter tracking.

Otters are very much a speciality of Shetland Nature tours and the opportunity to photograph them is one of the highlights of this action-packed week. 


Guests will spend time tracking a photographing otters © Shetland Nature clients: Ian and Rose Lockock 


Overview of itinerary

Special target birds in your unparalleled itinerary include Arctic and great skuas, black-guillemots, curlews, golden and ringed plovers, and northern gannets – you will travel on a chartered boat to capture their feeding frenzy. It is important to us that we take time with each species and location so you can appreciate the experience – you are on holiday after all.


Photographing the gannet feeding frenzy © Josh Jaggards


Guests on the reader holiday will have the opportunity to photograph northern breeding birds, including great skua © David Tipling 


Keeping the weather in mind, we must remain relatively flexible so as we can get the very best out of our week. We aim to include the following: 

  • Sumburgh Head National Nature Reserve
  • Unst's Hermaness National Nature Reserve
  • A day trip onto Noss National Nature Reserve
  • The island of Fetlar for red-necked phalarope
  • Gannet feeding frenzy - exclusive boat charters to Noss & Hermaness
  • Rotations round which ever bird hides have been set up during the week
  • Guests will be paired off in rotations of two for dedicated day of otter tracking


With a bit of luck, you may get to see and photograph orcas during this holiday © Brydon Thomason


In association with Shetland Nature




DAVID TIPLING is one of the UK’s leading wildlife photographers and has written and illustrated more than 40 books on birds and wildlife photography. He first visited the isles in 1982 and has been a near annual summer visitor since. This year he will lead his 60th Shetland itinerary.


BRYDON THOMASON is a native Shetlander with over 30 years’ experience of the islands’ wildlife. He established Shetland Nature just over 10 years ago and is co-author of Otters in ShetlandHe has worked on or featured in numerous television documentaries about Shetland and its wildlife, including such as BBC's Springwatch, Countryfile and Grand Tour of The Scottish Islands.



Where: Shetland Islands, UK

When: Saturday 14 - Saturday 21 July 2018

Cost: £1,590

Maximum group size 8 people


What's included:

  • Track and photograph Shetland’s otters
  • Photograph northern breeding birds from purpose-built hides
  • Develop and hone field craft skills and subject knowledge
  • Chartered boat to photograph gannets
  • Travel with two esteemed guides
  • Seven nights’ accommodation at Sumburgh Hotel and Saxa Vord Resort
  • Breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal each day
  • All on-island transport, excursions and ferry fares 


What's not included:

Travel to and from Shetland, hotel bar/room tabs, alcoholic drinks, tips, travel insurance and other items of a personal nature. 



The first two nights and the last night will be spent at the Sumburgh Hotel, which is convenient for arrival and departure, whether by air or by sea, and for exploring the Shetland mainland.

The rest of the holiday will be based at the Saxa Vord resort on the isle of Unst which offers a superb base for logistics and access to our north isles shooting locations.


Please note: 

Moderate fitness and agility level is required for this trip - some parts of the itinerary involve a fair amount of walking, perhaps up to five miles a day.

Note especially on otter tracking days the terrain and pace can be challenging however there is always the offer to help with carrying gear - something that we regularly do for guests when working on otters.

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