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Barn owl

How to Book

The winter wildlife weekend cost, which includes three nights fully catered accommodation, is £300. The reserve entrance fee (free if you are a WWT member - you can join on arrival) is not included. There is a maximum of eight guests.

This is an affordable weekend break, and while the farmhouse is comfortable and recently refurbished, the accommodation is simple and no frills (though there is a coffee maker).  Single guests will be sharing a room (though we won't mix genders!), allowing us not to charge a single supplement and keep the cost of the weekend low for everyone. Some rooms are en suite, others share a bathroom: en suites will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, so book early!

We sell tickets for this event through the Eventbrite website. Click on the button below. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us first, using the email address at the top of this page.

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What to Bring

You need a long lens to get the best out of Caerlaverock, the majority of photography is from hides, and the subjects are wild birds. At least 400mm (full frame equivalent) is best, longer if you've got it. The hides are of a variety of designs, some best suited to using a tripod for lens support, some to bean bags, so bring both. Bring plenty of memory cards and don't forget your battery charger.

If you'd like some constructive critiques of your images, or simply want to show them off to your fellow photographers, bring a laptop.

You do need to bring plenty of warm clothing and wet weather gear - don't forget warm hat and gloves. If we're lucky we might get some wintry weather, which is great for photography, but you need to be properly equipped to enjoy it!

Winter Wildlife Weekend


November 22-25 2019 (three nights)

Please note: Only one space remaining, for female photographer in shared room, not en suite.


Join us for a packed weekend of winter wildlife photography, and a fun pre-Christmas get-together next November, on the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's famous Caerlaverock reserve in south-west Scotland.

The headline attraction will be photographing the many thousands of migratory barnacle geese and hundreds of wild whooper swans that flock to the Solway Firth, and the WWT's most northerly reserve, to spend the winter. It's an awesome spectacle and one of winter's top wildlife-watching highlights in the UK. The whole Svalbard population of barnacle geese overwinters in the area each year from October to April and it's become known, fittingly, as the 'Solway Serengeti'.  We'll be on hand to offer advice and help throughout the weekend.

We'll book the whole of the recently refurbished farmhouse on the reserve for the weekend, so we'll be perfectly placed to enjoy and photograph Caerlaverock's famous winter wildfowl spectacular from dawn to dusk, with somewhere warm and cosy to retreat to for meals and refreshments, and where we can relax and swap stories after a busy day's photography in the field.

Staying on site means we'll have full access to the reserve and its fabulous wildlife at first light, hours before the reserve is open to the general public. We'll have a choice of four towers, four observatories and some 20 small hides dotted around the 607 hectare reserve to photograph from. Chief among them is the new, improved (and heated!) Peter Scott Observatory which provides great views of the wild whooper swans and is the focal point for the twice daily swan feeds that should allow us lots of opportunities for great flight shots.

The reserve is pancake flat, and it's only a short walk to some of the best hides for photography, while even the most distant hides are only a few hundred metres away along well made tracks, so you don't need to be super-fit.

With luck we'll be in for an extra treat each evening when the resident local badgers, regular visitors to the garden, turn up to snuffle out the peanut treats left for them by the wardens. As the garden is floodlit we should be able to enjoy their comings and goings from the comfort of the farmhouse observatory while enjoying pre-dinner drinks. On our 2018 weekend we even enjoyed visits from an otter on two successive nights!

We'll be hosting the weekend ourselves and both of us will be on hand at all times for photography advice and general chit-chat. As well as three nights accommodation the price includes all meals (hearty home-cooking), wine with dinner, snacks and entry to the reserve. The idea is that it's relaxed, rather than a formal, structured workshop, but we'll fit in a short tutorial outside photography hours with practical tips and hopefully lots of inspiration, and we'll be more than happy to critique work and offer feedback on request.

We're excited to be offering this popular, residential winter photography weekend once again in 2019. It does tend to book up early, so don't wait too long if you're interested.

We hope to see you there!