The best osprey photography location in Europe?

Around four years ago I stood with the owner of a local estate watching a huge JCB shifting dirt this way and that. It had been a few years before that, when initial discussions took place at Rothiemurchus Estate in the Cairngorms, about creating a dedicated photography pool for fishing ospreys. This against a backdrop of UK photographers travelling to such sites in Scandinavia and paying handsomely for the privilege. And so, the best part of a decade later, after much dirt shifting, a few false starts and not inconsiderable teething problems, the pool is open and the ospreys are fishing it!

Photographing ospreys at Rothiemurchus isn’t cheap – roughly £120 per session – and for those who have previously used the site, you’ll know that shots were by no means guaranteed. The birds could fish over an extensive area and it was hit and miss whether they would dive near enough to the hides to get a decent sized image. Shots are still not guaranteed but with the new pool, you’re in with a much better chance of the plan coming together. Two low-level hides look out over a small lochan and if a bird dives anywhere in view, there’s a shot to be had. The backgrounds are good, the hides are well positioned and what has never been in doubt is the staff’s enthusiasm to help you secure the best shots possible.

I’ve been asked about the merits of osprey photography at Rothiemurchus many times and I’ve got to be honest, I’ve sat on the fence for the most part. Now I’m not on commission (are you listening Julian?) but I do like to see hard work and a pioneering spirit rewarded, so I would now say with some confidence that this is the finest location I know of, even taking into account the well-visited Finnish facility, for photographing fishing ospreys; not just in Britain but in Europe. OK it’s early days but if you’re thinking about travelling to Finland, my humble advice would be to consider this facility first.

You can book directly with Rothiemurchus here but if I can be candid, I’d recommend our very own package which includes full accommodation, food, transport, tuition and an added bonus, exclusive osprey photography at our own private site. You can view the tour here and although this year’s dates are full, here are the provisional dates for 2013:

May 11-15; July 13-17; July 20-24. Drop us a line if you want to be put on the reserve list.

The images in this blog are a mixture between Finland and the ‘old’ Rothiemurchus set up. If all goes to plan with the new pool, there will be a whole new generation of osprey images appearing in the media taking the bar to new heights.