This is a three day residential workshop for 1-2 people.  You will stay in my new self-catering cabin "The Drey Inchberry" and spend 3 mornings photographing red squirrels. There will be the opportunity to photograph other species in the afternoons or to receive help editing your images.

The workshop is available at any time during the year and is dependent on availability of the accommodation and hides.  Drey availability information is on the website, but please also drop me a email with your preferred dates so I can confirm.


"Three day of "Squirrel Therapy" has worked, we are returning home very refreshed and relaxed. Thank you Karen for looking after us and introducing us to your red squirrel family, as well as the cresties, snow buntings and long-tailed tits. Well thought out workshop, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay." Liz, March 2022


"Had a wonderful time on the squirrel therapy, the squirrels showed well and posed perfectly. We both got some great images and video. Karen's very welcoming and helpful. Thanks for sharing your furry friends with us. Hoping to return in 2022." Chris & Paul, December 2021


ABOUT THE RED SQUIRRELS

Red squirrels are the most wonderful of creatures.  In the winter they sport magnificent ear tufts and thick coats and are very active as they search for food. In the summer and autumn they are out and about for longer and there's also the chance of seeing their kittens (baby squirrels).


I believe that the best way to capture strong images of an animal such as the red squirrel is to spend quality time with them, learning their behaviours so that you can anticipate when to take photographs.  I know my local squirrels and their habits intimately having spent many many days in their company since I moved to the Scottish Highlands and I can share some of this knowledge with you.  It's been fascinating learning their behaviours and quirks. 


MY DECIDUOUS WOODLAND SQUIRREL SITE 

Unlike most red squirrel photography sites my site is in deciduous woodland. This allows for different images from those taken in pine wood.  The colours and foliage change throughout the year.

The site is very natural and there are lots of opportunities to photograph the squirrels not only eating nuts but also sitting in the trees, grooming, scent marking  and interacting with each other.

There is no permanent hide at this site, but a pop-up hide can be provided if the weather is very poor.  No hide does mean you can take more intimate and engaging images as the squirrels are aware of your presence.  It's also possible to get eye-level images, something difficult to do at most hides.  It is a 10 minute walk from the accommodation through woodland. The path is a little uneven in places but relatively easy to walk. A chair can also be provided if you'd prefer not to sit on the ground.

Here are a selection of images taken at my local feeding station and in my garden (sadly I no longer have squirrels visiting the garden).

Here's a video of my red squirrel site.  This was filmed in late July/early August 2021 when the squirrels are in their summer pelages with no ear tufts.  Still gorgeous though!  The film shows how natural the site is and some of the photographic opportunities.

CAIRNGORM SQUIRREL HIDE

We'll also spend a day (or two depending on the weather) at a great hide in the Cairngorm National Park.

This hide is situated in a clearing in a pine forest and has a number of different squirrels visiting, the light is good and there's a fair chance of snow over the winter months and flowering heather in August. 

The hide is dug into the ground allowing for eye-level images - my favourite!   

There's also the opportunity to photograph the squirrels jumping and over the summer there's a reflection pool.


Afternoons

Red squirrels are only active in the mornings over the winter, preferring to spend their afternoons snuggled up in their dreys.  Therefore we can spend a couple of hours photographing other species - for example snow bunting (winter), crested tits (Dec-Mar), red kites, red deer* or reindeer*.  Alternatively we can head back to base and I can help you choose and edit your images.  I can also give you pointers as to what can be done to achieve different photographs during the remainder of the workshop.

During the summer and autumn the squirrels are out and about for longer, so it's up to you how long you wish to spend with them and if you'd like to do other photography as well.

* extra cost involved


Example Itinerary (winter)

Day 1: arrive from 4pm (earlier may be possible, please just ask)

Day 2: Local red squirrels in the morning then red kites or crested tits & woodland birds in the afternoon.

Day 3: Cairngorms - red squirrels morning, snow bunting, red grouse or red deer in the afternoon. We often go to Costa in Aviemore for lunch (not included in price).

Day 4: Local red squirrels in the morning.  Workshop ends.  You do not need to empty The Drey until after the workshop.


Accommodation & Location

You will be staying in my new (June 2021) cabin "The Drey Inchberry".  It's an open-plan space 6x4m with shower room and mini kitchen (combi microwave/oven, fridge, freezer and sink).

The beds are 2 European singles which can be combined to form a super king.

It's very well insulated so is nice and snug over the winter months.

There is no wifi (it's horrible here!) but there is 4G.

The accommodation is self-catering although milk, tea and coffee are provided.

For more information have a look at the website and Facebook pages.

The Drey is situated 5 miles West of Inverness on the road to Beauly.  It's surrounded by fields and woodland and overlooks the Beauly Firth and Ben Wyvis.  

Equipment

Warm  and waterproof clothing is essential.  We'll be sitting outside or in a pop-up hide at my squirrel site so you'll need extra layers (I can provide hot water bottles or blankets).  Good walking boots or wellies and gloves. I can highly recommend heated waistcoats and gloves, alternatively the disposable hand and foot warmers are brilliant if you feel the cold as much as I do!

Lenses: For the squirrels anything from 200mm upwards. 300-500 is ideal.  The squirrels come close at my site but you will also want to photograph them in the trees.  A fast lens is recommended (f2.8-f4 ideally), but not essential.

Tripod can be used at my site and for photographing other species. For the Cairngorm hide you need a beanbag.  (I have both a spare tripod and spare beanbag if required)

Cable release is useful for jumping squirrels.

Price

This workshop is suitable for 1-2 people.  Ideally if 2 people you should be friends/partners as you'll be sharing The Drey.

It includes 3 nights self-catering accommodation, transport to/from the sites we visit. The cost of the squirrel hides.   

You will arrive at The Drey the day before the workshop begins. There are then 2 full days (squirrels morning, other species if desired afternoons) and one half day (squirrels morning).

Not included is food and drink although hot drinks and snacks are available when at the local squirrel site. 

Also not included is any cost involved in pay-to-visit locations we might go to in the afternoons of days 1 & 2, should those be of interest (free alternatives are available). When booking we can discuss what, if anything, you'd like to do in the remaining hours of daylight.


1. Person: £660

2 People: £860


Depending on availability, if you'd like to stay extra nights in the cabin the cost is £60 per night for 1 person, £80 per night for 2.


If you'd prefer to do the 3 day workshop without accommodation then please contact me for tariff.


I can do a two day "red squirrel therapy" workshop instead if this is more suitable, and I can also reduce the price slightly if we do three days with my local squirrels and don't travel to the Cairngorms.  Please contact me for details.


  • Workshop Booking Request Form

    To inquire about a workshop please complete the form below
  • Please complete all the fields. If you are flexible about when you'd like to do the workshop then add this information in the "Other Information" box.

    If you wish to do a residential workshop, please check the availability page on The Drey Inchberry website to ensure those dates are free.

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