Shetland, Orkney and the Scottish Borders

After some years where my focus was on the high mountains of Africa (Rwenzori, Mount Kenya, Bale Mts.. and Simien Mts.) and the European Alps, I decided to return to one of my favourite spots in Europe - the Shetland Islands. To make it worth while I added the Orkney Islands, where I was joined by Christina.

One of the main reasons to go to Shetland was the combination of unique landscapes and plenty of wildlife (seabirds). Orkney was a very different destination as the amazing neolithic and iron age monuments are hard to beat by any other place in europe. All the same I was pleasantly surprised by the cliffs some of the islands had to offer.

The whole trip suffered from really (mean terrible....) bad weather. Therefore some locations had to be dropped and nearly no wildlife photography was possible. A good reason to come back.

In terms of logistics, I decided to go by our own car. The ferry connection to the Northern Isles are quite good and it was a drive from home to Amsterdam, ferry to Newcastle, drive to Aberdeen, ferry to Lerwick, Shetland.

Have a look and have fun....

Shetland Islands


Shetland - closer to Bergen than to London is a world on its own. I know the islands since the beginning of the 80ies and returned from time to time.

As already mentioned, Shetland has a unique combination of landscape and wildlife, mostly birds. The infrastructure is very good, weather in May and June normally quite dry and it is not crowded. This year however May and June was very cold, very stormy and quite wet. I had to skip some places I wanted to go to and there was nearly no time for bird photography. Strong winds (force 4-6) were average and thats not the weather you want to have to handle a 600 mm lens at an exposed cliff, 100m high above the waves. After three weeks I had been driving more than 2.500km on the Shetlands trying to be on the spot with the best weather. It payed off as you will see, but the effort was much more than expected. Islands like Foula, Papa Stour or Fetlar still wait to be visited.....

The pictures are selected in a way, that you will get a good impression of this fascinating archipelago!

Shetland und Orkney Inseln - Fotoreise und Workshop zu den Northern Isles von Schottland

Interessiert? Wir bieten eine fabelhafte Fotoreise mit Workshop im Juni 2016. Viel Zeit zum Fotografieren, möglichst wenig Fahrzeiten, interessante Unterkünfte.



Orkney Islands


Orkney is much better known and tourists are much more around than on Shetland. Shetland is a rough archipelago and the 100km or so between these two archipelagos make a big difference. Orkney is green and cattle farming is widespread. World famous are the neolithic monuments Skara Brae, Maeshowe and the henges Standing Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar, which are listed as UNESCO world heritage site.

Much lesser known are the landscapes and it is hard to find any information about the cliffs of the islands, only Orkneys iconic Old Man of Hoy can be found in all guidebooks. We had been pleasantly surprised by the amazing cliffs of Westray and even Orkney mainland has some coastal areas which are wild and breathtaking and of course not signposted.

The weather was a bit better than on Shetland and I was a bit astonished by the amount of tourists when the day trippers arrived from Scotland or a cruise ship called at Kirkwall.

At the end we have visited Rousay, Westray, Papa Westray, Hoy, South Ronaldsay and of course the Orkney mainland. These islands deserve more than a day trip!

Have fun

Scottish Borders


On our way back to Newcastle we had a pleasant day in the Scottish Borders.....


Overall the results are quite pleasing, especially taking the bad weather into account. I am sure I will return again to these islands, hopefully having more luck with the weather next time.....

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not the Northern Isles but.....

You are right, this picture is neither from Orkney nor from Shetland. I want to spread the word that I am guiding a foto workshop to the Falkland Islands during austral summer 2014/2015  and 2016/2017.

Falkland Islands Foto Workshop

But we have now a workshop on the Northern Isles as well

Northern Isles Foto Workshop 2016

All the best and have a good time!!!







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