Date: 03rd - 10th June 2017
The Knoydart Peninsula is a vast tract of wild land on the west coast of Scotland with few people, virtually no roads and some of the most impressive scenery in the British Isles. There is nowhere else in Britain quite like it.
Doune Bay is on the far western end of this peninsula. There are no roads, no cars. It is a place where you arrive and leave by sea and where you immediately feel relaxed. It is also a superb base for photography with an inspiring variety of landscape and wildlife, a convivial atmosphere and some of the best food on the west coast of Scotland.
In front of you lies a tiny golden beach with lots of possibilities for intimate landscapes; boulders sculpted by the sea and worn smooth by the wind and rain; patterns in the sand; shells scattered by the receding tide. Sunsets cast golden light onto the wet rocks and gently moving waves. Across the sea lie islands and mountains, silhouetted shapes at sunset, hazy patchworks of colour and light during the day. Distant and inviting.
These remote landscapes - Rhum, Eigg, Canna, Skye, the Cuillins, Loch Scavaig, Loch Nevis, Loch Hourn - are all accessible aboard the “Mary Doune”, a speedy and powerful motor launch, skippered by Andy Tibbetts who has lived at Doune for many years and always provides a very warm welcome backed up by a wealth of local knowledge. Photographic highlights include not only the dramatic landscapes but on previous visits we have spent time with dozens of dolphins, scores of seabirds and have even managed to photograph Minke whales and basking sharks. Nearer to shore, wildlife highlights might include the common seals which haul out on rocks in the entrance to Loch Scavaig on the Isle of Skye, the wild deer often seen on the surrounding hills (or even feeding near the lodge or Doune restaurant) or perhaps a chance to photograph otters virtually on our doorstep.
Every evening we return to Doune where we stay in a Scandinavian style lodge. This timber-framed building is warm and comfortable and has a communal area where we can relax and discuss the day’s experiences and present slide shows or workshops.
To round the day off we stroll over the short machair turf to the cosy restaurant where you will be presented with stunning meals (while keeping an eye out for sunsets through the west facing windows – and, by the way, it is the kind of place where it is OK to interrupt meals for sunset photography !)
The Doune restaurant was awarded the 2009 ‘Taste of Scotland’ Thistle Award in recognition of their use of Scottish produce and strong links with Scottish suppliers. The restaurant also received the EatScotland Silver awards in 2007 and 2008 for the outstanding quality of the food. In 2007 Doune restaurant was awarded the EatScotland’s ‘Destination Dining Award’ for providing the very best of food in the finest of settings, one of only 7 such awards of indivdual excellence in the country.
It was such a splendid week I sepent with Ben and the other participants. The week was a success in every respect. Perfectly organised and supported by Ben and his team, super accommodation and the food was fantastic. Everything highly exceeded my expectations. As I mentioned to Ben I would like to attend another tour.
Ben has a great approach - asks what is wanted, constantly ensures group members are ok with current 'place' suggesting options dependent on surroundings.