Ptarmigan Photography Workshop

Join Pete for a Ptarmigan Photography Workshop high in the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, to capture images of one of the UK's hardiest birds.

Please enquire first about these workshops, as numbers of ptarmigan on the mountains in recent years has fallen sharply, and if Pete thinks the chances of a successful trip are too low, he won't run such a workshop.



Ptarmigan Workshop

Available: October to April

Ptarmigan can change their feathers depending on the season, and during the winter, some can be almost entirely white.

As they blend into their surroundings so well, they are often heard before they are spotted.

These are mountain-top birds, so the day will involve a hike up to see them. The ascent may take a couple of hours if the conditions are slippery under foot.

It can be quite an effort to reach them, but they are most definitely worth it.

Plus along the way, red grouse, snow buntings, mountain hares, reindeer and even golden eagles may be encountered.

Pete will look for signs of the birds as you ascend the mountain, and once some are located, will advise on how to approach, based on his own experience of this fieldcraft. It depends on the birds and their tolerance though, as they will be very flighty if something like an eagle is soaring overhead.

If the ptarmigan are in the right mood, and are comfortable with your presence, then Pete will suggest angles for images, and advise on how close you might be able to get to the birds.

Fitness Level:

The walk to the corries where the ptarmigan are usually found can take over two hours, and is steep in places, and even more strenuous if there is snow on the ground. In addition to the effort reaching the location, you will also have to perhaps sit or lie for a time whilst doing your photography. Of all the workshops, this is the hardest work, and most dangerous.


  • Advice on clothing for the day plus what photographic gear to bring along.
  • Transport to the site in all weathers in a 4x4 vehicle, typically from an agreed meeting location.
  • Snacks and drinks throughout the day.
  • Instruction and guidance for approaching the ptarmigan.
  • Assistance with any camera settings if required.
  • Public liability cover via professional photographic insurance policy.
  • Not Included:

  • Accommodation.
  • Transport to and from the Scottish Highlands
  • Photographic equipment.
  • Fee:

  • 1-to-1 £275 per day
  • 1-to-2 £375 per day
  • A non-refundable fee of £50 is required at the time of booking
  • Multi-day discount deals are available
  • Full payment is required prior to the day
  • Book A Ptarmigan Workshop


    1Will the day be affected by poor weather?

    Yes, as the birds live near the summit of the mountains, the weather is a key factor when determining whether to begin the ascent. Strong winds, rain and snow would make photography nigh on impossible, and it would be dangerous to be up there. Also, in very windy conditions, the birds are on high alert, which makes approaching them very difficult.

    Conditions under-foot must also be considered, as it might be too dangerous to attempt the hike up the mountainside.

    Pete will offer an alternative day out should the weather or conditions force a cancellation for seeing the ptarmigan.

    2Can I cancel or change the date of the booking?

    Provided Pete is available for the new date(s) and sufficient notice is given for the change of date, then yes.

    Any deposit or money paid for a booking cannot be refunded should the booking need to be cancelled.

    David D.

    Thanks for a great time looking for mountain hares and ptarmigan - I've got a good set of pics so I'm well pleased.

    Hope the rest of your work in the Cairngorms goes well.

    All the best,