Perfect your portraits and learn from renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior at his masterclass run in conjunction with Leica. Set in the grand hotel of Gleneagles in Perthshire, nearby lochs and heathlands give ample opportunity for the habitual wildlife photographer to improve their skills.
How do I get there? Fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow, they’re equidistant to the famous golfing resort in rural Perthshire. Even better is arriving at the hotel’s dedicated train station – a hangover from its history as a Caledonian Railway-owned hotel from 1924. The train from King’s Cross gets you to the mustardy moorland in just over five hours.
The stay: Gleneagles may have strong links to the world of golf (it hosted the Ryder Cup in 2014), but it’s only the beginning of the resort’s emphasis on truly British pursuits. An ongoing refurbishment harks back to the days when busy City workers would don their tweed and take the train here to enjoy the folly of shooting, croquet, tennis, archery, trout fishing and game hunting.
The food: The Strathearn is Gleneagles’ flagship restaurant and home to delectable Scottish mainstays like Hebridean crab and Highland venison, alongside slightly naff but ultimately charming carts serving beef wellington, gin-cured salmon and cheeses. It’s Scottish silver service to a tee with a focus on traditional food from nearby. The hotel also plays host to Andrew Fairlie, Scotland’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars, if you feel like splashing out on a more intimate affair. And of course, it wouldn’t be a trip north of the border without a dram or two before bedtime.
Ask about: If you’re as amateur with a camera as me, then you’ll be asking Colin Prior and the Leica team a fair bit. The gathered hobbyists did their best to soak up his know-how and we grimaced our way through an evening critique after a day out in the wild. After picking up a few tips and a ‘Must Try Harder’ mark you’ll also be wanting to ask about the recently opened American Bar: a high-ceilinged ode to the roaring 20s. A theme so strong head bartender Lulu Fedi scoured the globe to find the time period’s aperitif du-jour Swedish Punch. Do try her historic-modern mash-ups, like the Welcome Stranger.
And after that? On the second day of Colin’s masterclass you’ll visit the grounds of nearby Strathallan Castle (former home of Scottish music festival T in the Park) for some lessons in the ancient sport of falconry. Controlling the bird of prey, Margot, is one thing, but capturing her on camera as she swoops at 100mph is quite another, even with the latest Leica kit.