Seabirds and wildflowers

There’s a glimmering brilliance to Orkney in June. It’s joyously decorative as if it’s been storing all its light, energy and colour for these short summer... Read more

£1055 per person sharing
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30 May - 06 Jun 2021

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Sketching seabirds and seascapes

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John Threlfall

John will help you paint from nature amongst Orkney’s rich wildlife and mesmerising landscapes.

There’s a glimmering brilliance to Orkney in June. It’s joyously decorative as if it’s been storing all its light, energy and colour for these short summer months. Sea cliffs are carpeted in pinks and reds of thrift, campion and wild thyme, and meadowlands glow with the yellows of buttercups and cowslips. The breeding season has started for the Islands varied birdlife and the rugged cliffs are alive with seabird colonies.

Here the North Sea meets the Atlantic and the currents of wind and tide show in dancing light and movement around the 70 islands of the archipelago, which amazingly is only 50 miles south of Greenland.

During this weeklong Art Safari, John will share some of his favourite painting spots on Orkney Mainland and neighbouring Isles. Our painting explorations will include: the panoramic seascapes around Bisray Bay, the imposing Neolithic standing stones at Brodgar, Yesnaby’s dramatic two-legged sea stack, a fabulous assembly of Puffins, Kittiwakes, Black Guillemots, and Razorbills on Westray’s sea cliffs, and the beautiful contrasting landscapes of the Island of Hoy with its high hills, sweeping moors and stunning beaches.

The sea cliffs are breathtaking places to sit and paint birds (a quarter of a million at Noup Head on Westray alone), as well as for the sheer drama of your surroundings. While you are painting, keep alert for dolphins, harbour porpoise and minke whale, which often feed in the waters around Orkney.

Our base is the simple but comfortable Peedie Hostel in Kirkwall, conveniently located right on the harbour. We will have exclusive use of this 8-room hostel, so there’s plenty of space for living and painting. In the evenings, we can choose to eat in and self-cater or to go out to any of Kirkwall’s pubs or restaurants (lunches and dinners are not included).

Please note, our Orkney itinerary will depend upon the weather and the sailing times of inter-island ferries.


Day 1Arrive in Kirkwell and check into Peedie Hostel
Day 2Birsay Bay - Skiba Geo - Costa Head
Day 3 Ring of Brodgar & Yesnaby
Day 4Westray
Day 5 South Ronaldsay & the Barrier Islands
Day 6 Island of Hoy
Day 7 Moorlands & Lochs
Day 8 Departure Day
Ask for full itinerary
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From £1055 per person (including vat).

Single Supplement £346pp (2 single rooms available without supplement)

Please note most of the rooms at the Peedie Hostel have bunk beds.


The joining point and our base for the week is The Peedie Hostel, a couple of renovated fishermen’s cottages overlooking the harbour in Kirkwall.

By boat:  There is a ferry route from Aberdeen to Kirkwall which has between 4 and 12 sailings a day depending on the season.

By plane: There are direct flights from all major Scottish airports operated by LoganAir.


Shared accommodation with breakfast, all art tuition and guiding


Flight/ferry/transport to/from Kirkwall, lunches and suppers, art materials and personal expenses, shared taxis for evenings and arrival/departure, minibus transfers for painting excursions as detailed on the itinerary – please see note below.

Share of transport costs will be on a sliding scale from £95 per person in a shared 9-seater vehicle if there are 8 people in the group (or up to £190 per person if there are only four people in the group).

Please note: unlike ‘Hire and Reward’ operators we do not make profit on transportation and charge it at cost price divided by the number of participants. There is no obligation to use our transportation to join the tour and paying to join the tour does not give you the right to be carried in our vehicle. Transportation is provided as a courtesy between guided locations. If preferred, you can join the tour by following us in your own vehicle.

Enquire now on 01394 382235 or

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