Art Safari painting holidays and creative adventures in Scotland


Scotland title

Orkney, Seabirds and Coast


 02 to 09 June 2019


with John Threlfall

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 until now. Sheep gleam white on grasslands which slope glacially to the beaches and the sea.  It’s a birders heaven and it’s the height of the breeding season.

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.  Meadowland is full of buttercups and prowling oystercatchers.  Sea cliffs are coloured by sea pink or thrift, campion, wild thyme and ox eye daisies. 

While you’re finding the right place to sit and paint, look out for bog cotton and marsh orchids, and beautiful grasses and mosses.  The rocks, buildings and standing stones host splendid lichens too.  And look out for the voles darting into the grasses.

The sea cliffs are breath-taking 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 landscape and vertigo… though we’re not suggesting you paint from the top of the Old Man of Hoy!

Waders, divers, soarers… During the trip there may be chances of puffin, eider, razorbill, guillemot, skua and gannet, not to mention pipits and larks giving you a constant companionship of summer.  While tern, kittiwakes and fulmar wheel around you, keep pencils and binos to the ready for hen harrier, merlin, peregrine and short eared owl. 

We stay simply but comfortably at the Peedie Hostel in Kirkwall, taking over the whole of the 8-room hostel on the harbour, so there’s plenty of space for living and painting and flexibility for eating.  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).

Tour Cost per person sharing from £850 

Single room supplement (only four available): £200

Transport Costs (excluded): A share of transport costs will be added to the tour cost based on a sliding scale from £90 per person in a shared 9-seater vehicle if there are 8 people in the group, up to £180 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.

Our Price includes:  Shared accommodation with breakfast, all art tuition and guiding

Our Price excludes:  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 above.

Call to reserve your place on 01394 382235 or email