13th – 20th April
This weeklong workshop concentrates on the remote and beautiful landscapes of Ardnamurchan and Moidart. An anonymous C18th writer described the area as "the highlands of the Highlands". Stretching from Knoydart in the north to Ardnamurchan in the south, the five peninsulas extending from Scotland's west coast are collectively known as the Rough Bounds. The "Bounds" are made up of heather moorland, glens, numerous lochs, ancient woodlands, rugged mountains and a spectacular coastline.
Despite its beauty, this area is relatively less photographed than much of the highlands due to its geographic isolation and inaccessibility. Gaelic was predominantly spoken until the mid-20th century and it wasn’t until 1966 that one of the largest settlements, Glenuig, became accessible by public road. Even today much of the main access route is single-track, though a good network of side roads allows easy exploration of the surrounds.
Human history in this region tells of Mesolithic people of over 6,000 years ago, iron age settlers, and later the Irish Saints who were followed by the Vikings. Then came the Highland Clans, followed by the Clearances and ultimately the formation of crofting communities which make up many of the townships and hamlets of today.
Our base will be the small township of Roshven (Gaelic: Roisbheinn), located on the eastern shoreline of Loch Ailort, roughly equidistant between Mallaig and Ardnamurchan. Towering above it is Rois-bheinn, the highest mountain in the area at 2894 feet. We will be staying in two self-catering cottages overlooking the loch and within easy reach of each other.
To the south of Loch Ailort lies Moidart (Gaelic: Mùideart: meaning muddy sea loch). Loch Shiel and the River Shiel form the east and south boundaries, the west is edged by Loch Moidart and the Sound of Arisaig. Like Ardnamurchan, it has been designated as a National Scenic Area for its outstanding scenery and landscape.
Northwards from our base, the beaches along the coast between Arisaig and Mallaig are amongst the finest in Scotland. They formed the background to much of the delightful film "Local Hero". A superb place for sunset photography and only half an hour from "home".
Ardnamurchan (Gaelic: Àird nam Murchan: meaning headland of the great seas) is probably the least accessible of the Peninsulas. We’ll take a full day to explore this remote area. The single-track road from Salen winds westwards along the ancient oak-lined shore of Loch Sunart. The road climbs up round Ben Hiant to reveal magnificent views across the Sound of Mull to the northern tip of Mull and the Isle of Coll beyond. We’ll visit the stunning beach at Sanna Bay and continue to the impressive Ardnamurchan Lighthouse at the most westerly point of the British mainland. On clear days the Small Isles and the hazy outlines of Skye and the Outer Hebrides may be seen from this expansive viewpoint.
All along the peninsulas, there’s a mixture of dramatic rocky coastline and beautiful sandy beaches. We’ll aim to visit a number of its highlights including Tioram Castle, the Singing Sands at Gortenfern and the secluded sandy coves of the beach at Ardtoe. Turbulent spring weather will hopefully provide a variety of photographic backdrops, from moody dark skies to warm glancing light.
All transport during workshop
Full board accommodation
Photo tuition from David Ward
Transport to Roshven
£2,500 for single occupancy
£500 fee payable at time of booking