May 15th - 25th, 2016
Discover all that Scotland has to offer on the 2016 Scotland Landscape, Culture, and Whisky Photography Tour with Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures. We’ll explore this enchanting country filled with legendary castles and lochs encompassed in beautiful, landscapes…this is the season for colorful bluebells, baby lambs, and returning Atlantic puffins. This land of fascinating historical tales and artifacts dates back thousands of years. One of the most classy and elegant whisky producers in the world, the Scots will be sure to teach us the age-old art of whisky distilling and the proper way to taste a good whisky. Please join us as we’re immersed in the Scottish culture for an experience not to be forgotten!
2016 Scotland Landscape, Culture, and Whisky Photography Tour I Travel Plans
Sunday, May 15
Monday, May 16
Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland, any time of day. Transfers provided to the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh. Spend the day at leisure to recover from jet lag or begin exploring Edinburgh’s many attractions, just outside your room within walking distance. Pamper yourself in premium “rooms with a view” for two nights at the renowned Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh.
Tuesday, May 17 (B, D)
Gourmet breakfast at the Waldorf. We’ll head out in the early morning to explore the medieval Old Town of Edinburgh with a local guide. Along the Royal Mile, we’ll photograph the historic fortress, Edinburgh Castle. Other highlights along the Royal Mile include Victorian-style houses, Holyrood Palace, and an extensive mix of shops, restaurants, galleries, museums, and pubs. Edinburgh is a beautiful city rich in history! Lunch on your own with some free time to explore. A pre-dinner whisky tasting at The Scotch Whisky Experience for those interested. Group welcome dinner to follow. Overnight Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh
Wednesday, May 18 (B, L, D)
Today we’ll board our private 35-passenger coach with bathroom and make our way to the beautiful Isle of Skye. Our first planned stop will be at the small St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ballachulish. This time of year the bluebells should be in full bloom, a beautiful foreground for photographing this old stone church. We’ll stop for a quick tasting at the Ben Nevis Distillery in Fort William (along with any others that we may pass along the way). Visit and photograph the romantic and iconic Eilean Donan Castle. On an island, surrounded by the forested mountains of Kintail and at the meeting point of three sea-lochs, Eilean Donan is an awe-inspiring site, and in fact, one of the most recognized castles in Scotland. Lunch on Isle of Skye with a quick stop at The Gaelic Whiskies before we arrive at the beautiful Kinloch Lodge. Tonight we dine at their Michelin-starred restaurant.
Thursday, May 19 (B, D)
An early breakfast and then depart to the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, Dunvegan Castle. Dunvegan is situated on a rocky outcrop from the shores of Loch Dunvegan and has been home to the Chiefs of Clan McLeod for nearly 800 years! Photograph the vast landscapes of Skye.
No trip would be complete with out a little shopping therapy…guess who included this in the schedule?? We plan to stop at Skyeskyns, where sheepskins are made using time-honored methods of leather-making, one of the oldest crafts known to man. Find a lasting Skye keepsake – luxurious fleeces and quality leather goods, including the world-famous Highland hand-combed fleece, exclusive to Skyeskyns. One more chance for a unique Skye keepsake today when we visit Edinbane Pottery, supplying an alluring variety of unique wood-fired pottery.
We continue the scenic loop around Skye, visiting the famous Kilt Rock, spectacular sea cliffs that resemble a kilt due to the colorful basalt columns that form it. Mealt Waterfall fireballs off the cliffs into the Sound of Rassay below. We will see Old Man of Storr, a large, spectacular pinnacle of rock featured in the movie Prometheus. The day will be filled with landscape photography. The month of May on Skye is full of frolicking spring lambs – hard to not stop and photograph the spring babies! A full day ending with dinner and an evening shoot of the Portree Harbor. Overnight Kinloch Lodge
Friday, May 20 (B, D)
On our final day on the Isle of Skye, we’ll make a visit to the captivating Fairy Pools of Glen Brittle. Here waterfalls from the River Brittle create blue and aqua crystal-clear water pools. The Fairy Pools combined with the rocky Callin mountains of Skye as a backdrop create stunning landscapes. After the Fairy Pools, we’ll surely be ready for a swallow of award-winning single malt Scotch whisky, so we’ll head over to the Talisker Distillery, the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye. Informal lunch at the Oyster Shed. Additional optional activities may include a culinary class or a spa treatment. Overnight Kinloch Lodge
Saturday, May 21 (B, L, D)
Today a morning visit to Armadale Castle. We’ll board a nearby ferry that will take us to Mallaig, a port town on the west coast in the Highlands of the mainland. We’ll drive along the coast from Mallaig heading toward our next ferry boarding destination. After lunch, we’ll board a ferry to take us to Tobermory, one of the “prettiest ports in Scotland,” on the Isle of Mull. An evening shoot of this colorful harbor town and its coastline is planned for this evening Overnight The Tobermory Hotel
Sunday, May 22 (B, L)
After breakfast, we will take a boat ride to explore the islands of the Inner Hebrides. We aim to visit the Isle of Staffa, named by the Vikings and known for the world-famous Fingal’s Cave. Keep an eye out for dolphins, porpoises, and whales! May is a great time to see the large colony of puffins on Staffa. These “clowns of the sea” congregate on the cliffs of the island and dive to catch fish in the sea below. We’ll continue to explore the isles and make our way to the Isle of Lunga, another popular breeding area for puffins. Guillemot, razorbill, kittiwake, fulmar, shag, great skua, and seals are also commonly seen here. Dinner and evening on your own tonight in the little town of Tobermory. For those interested, stop by the Tobermory Distillery for a tasting. Overnight The Tobermory Hotel
Please note that if weather is not cooperating, we will plan alternative activities for this day.
Monday, May 23 (B, D)
This morning we’ll make our way to the ferry point and take the ferry to Oban. In Oban, you’ll have free time to shop, explore, and have lunch on your own. Taste the local whisky at the Oban Distillery, one of the oldest and smallest distilleries in Scotland! Or climb up to Mccaig’s Tower for spectacular bird’s-eye views across Oban Bay and the Atlantic islands. Excellent fish and chips in Oban, including Cuan Mor and the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant. A ferry runs every 30 minutes to the nearby island of Kerrera if you want to visit the ruins of Gylen Castle or spend some time with the Highland cattle. We’ll spend about 2.5 to 3 hours in Oban, so make the best of your time in this alleged “Seafood Capital of Scotland”! Our next destination is Dalhousie Castle, where we’ll spend our last two days in Scotland feeling like kings and queens! Dine in the Dungeon this evening.
Tuesday, May 24 (B, D)
Our final day begins with breakfast followed by an early morning drive with a local guide around the Scottish Borders to some iconic locations for photography, including the impressive ruins of Melrose Abbey. An early Christian monastery, Melrose Abbey was largely destroyed by the English army around 1385, but the magnificent ruins of a church built on the site in the early 15th century provide a picturesque elegance unsurpassed in Scotland. Decorated masonry in Gothic-syle architecture, superb windows, and unusual sculptures surrounded by lush greenery make this a location a haven for photographic opportunities.
The afternoon is free to experience all that Dalhousie Castle has to offer, including their Owl Encounter, maybe enjoy some time at the spa, or photograph the grounds. We could also arrange golf in the area. We’ll celebrate our newfound friends and memorable experiences tonight at Rosslyn Chapel with a private event of wine, tapas, dinner, and exclusive photography opportunities in and around Rosslyn Chapel. The chapel was founded in the 15th century as the Collegiate Church of St Matthew. This church boasts the finest architecture in Scotland with its unique and mysterious carvings and ornate stonework. You may be familiar with Rosslyn Chapel from the blockbuster movie, The Da Vinci Code.
Wednesday, May 25 (B)
Depart Edinburgh. Group transfer provided to Edinburgh by Dalhousie Castle.
Lang may yer lum reek!
Maximum 14 Guests
EXPLORER RATE: 5990 per person, based on double occupancy
NON-EXPLORER: ADD 200
Single Supplement: ADD 1050
All pricing in USD, not British Pounds
$500 Per person due at time of booking
Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, or check accepted
Deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are necessary, we require this request in writing. We will do our best to resell your space. Only if we can resell your space, we will refund (minus deposit and discounts given to sell your space). No partial refunds are possible for unused services.
September 15, 2015: $3000 First Installment
January 15, 2016: Final Payment
Check only for first installment and final payment. Please make check payable to Natural Exposures and mail to:
810 N. Wallace, Suite E
Bozeman, MT 59715
- Photography guidance by Daniel J Cox, logistic planning by Tanya Cox
- All accommodations, including two night’s stay at a castle and dungeon dining!
- Meals where indicated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner) and some beverages
- Entrance fees to various locations, whisky and wine tasting fees where indicated
- 35-passenger luxury private coach with onboard bathroom
- Guide/driver Con O’Leary
- Bottled water and snacks on bus throughout tour
- Airport transfers in Edinburgh (EDI) on scheduled arrival and departure days
- Special access to photograph in the Rossyln Chapel where The Da Vinci Code was filmed
- Owl Encounter or 25₤ credit in Dalhousie Castle spa
- International flights
- Meals where not indicated
- Miscellaneous expenses such as laundry, Internet, etc.
- Pre/post tour transfers
- Travel insurance
- Passport/visa fees, if applicable
- Gratuities for guide
Flights to Book
May 16, 2016
Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI) any time of day
May 25, 2016
Depart Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI). Group transfer time TBA.
Travel/emergency medical evacuation insurance is not required for this photo tour, but we always recommend purchasing it for any trip. We recommend one or more of the following, depending on your needs:
(use code natexp)
Allianz Global Assistance
(use travel agency ID F203564)
Terms & Conditions
Natural Exposures cannot control nor is responsible for abnormal weather, natural disasters, or any other disaster that might affect the trip. Travel insurance should be purchased to cover any missed flights or medical problems that may affect/delay your travel. National Parks have the right to change our itinerary.
By booking a trip with Natural Exposures, you agree to the following CANCELLATION AND LIABILITY POLICY
Accommodations for 2016 Scotland Landscape, Culture, and Whisky Photography Tour I
May 16 and 17, 2 Nights
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh
Experience luxury at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, known as The Caley to the locals. Elegant and spacious premium bedrooms have a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle and include blackout curtains, WiFi access (fee applies), mini bar, hairdryer, flat screen TV with pay-per-view option available, and the largest bathrooms of any hotel in Edinburgh!
Conde Nast Johansens Award of Excellence 2015: Luxury Hotel of the Year
Scottish Hotel Awards 2014: Spa of the Year for Guerlain Spa
May 18 – 20, 3 Nights
Kinloch Hotel is in a magical setting, nestled at the foot of Kinloch Hill on the tranquil shoreline of the sea-loch Na Dal in Sleat. Rich in tradition and heritage, Kinloch offers Highland hospitality and relaxation. Bedrooms are individually decorated with colors and textures to reflect Skye’s distinctive landscape and most have open views across sea-loch Na Dal in Sleat or Kinloch Hill. Cited as one of the world’s top 25 small hotels in Conde Naste Traveler Magazine, Kinloch is sure to delight. Complimentary WiFi available.
May 21 and 22, 2 Nights
The Tobermory Hotel
Once a row of fisherman’s cottages, these 200-year old buildings have been refurbished into a stylish boutique hotel. The Tobermory offers quality service and a warm Highland welcome. Tobermory was built as a fishing port in the late 18th century and is now the main town on Mull. It is a picture-postcard of a place with the brightly painted buildings along the main street to the pier and the high woodland-fringed hills surrounding the bay.
May 23 and 24, 2 Nights
Welcome to Dalhousie Castle, a magnificent 13th century fortress, just eight miles from Edinburgh’s city center. Set within acres of wooded parkland on the picturesque banks of the River Esk, Dalhousie Castle has luxurious surroundings, and the title as Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle. From the moment you arrive, you can expect a warm Scottish welcome and a truly memorable experience. Rooms are decorated in Scottish design fabrics and feature periodic furniture. Complimentary WiFi and hairdryer in all rooms.
Helpful Information for 2016 Scotland Landscape, Culture, and Whisky Photography Tour I
FOOD and DRINK
In most locations around Scotland you will find similar food options to North America along with traditional ones like oatcakes or Haggis. They are well-known for their Angus steaks, wild trout, salmon, oysters, prawns, and cheese. Scotland produces not only some of the best whisky (of course!) but also gin. You also cannot forget their Scottish shortbread!
We have included some whiskey distilleries on our tour for those interested. Whisky tasting is optional and many of the locations have photography opportunities for those that do not wish to participate.
Moderate activity on this tour. The majority of walking will be done in the city of Edinburgh and at the Fairy Pools (optional). Most places we can visit by bus, however, some walking is still involved. We suggest everyone get prepared physically prior to the trip. European tours always have more walking then most anticipate.
For US citizens, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay, and a visa is not required for visitors seeking entry as tourists staying less than 90 days. One empty page is required for the entry stamp.
No vaccinations are required to enter the United Kingdom.
Daytime temperatures in May average in the mid-50’s, similar to springtime in the northern US. Though rainfall levels are at their lowest point during April and May, rain is always possible. As in most places, Scotland’s weather can be unpredictable. Wintry weather could be found regionally during this time of year, particularly in the Highlands and areas with higher elevations.
The monetary unit of Scotland is the British Pound (£). Please check the currency converter for the most up-to-date conversion rates.
As many of you already know, we try to be flexible with our schedule. We will work around the weather some days along with European bus regulations. We will be traveling on a beautiful luxury bus and staying at some top notch places around the country. We are trying to leave some activities optional for guests based on their interests.
Visit Scotland.org for more information
Have a question?
Have a question about this tour? We're happy to answer any queries you may have.
Testimonials from Natural Exposures' Explorers
"If you ever want to travel to another country and you want to go first class, travel with Natural Exposures. They are number one in showing their guests the best time ever in the classiest way. I would recommend Natural Exposures Tours to everyone. If you want to go in style, go with NE!"
Michelle Duggan, Massachusetts
"Tanya and Dan’s logistic skills provide a seamless photo tour where one can truly enjoy the experience. With unlimited photographic opportunities Dan’s instruction has taken my photography to a higher level."
Linda Henry, Oregon
"What a trip
What a group
What a fabulous everything
To our next encounters with nature"
Maud and Leon Soriano, Florida
"I just wanted to again thank you for a wonderful week of photography and relaxation away from the office. It was a really a good group."
Sue Wolfe, Texas