Creative Retreat in Orkney

Rediscovering a sense of possibility ~ Art & photography retreat with Margaret Soraya & Ute Amann-Seidel in Orkney, Scotland

Dates: 20-27 November 2021
Hosts: Margaret Soraya & Ute Amann-Seidel
Location: Stromness, Orkney, Scotland
Activities: Creative journaling, photography, drawing, painting & other creative treats
No previous experience required
Cost: £1980 (no single supplement)

This retreat is now fully booked. 

Book now

This week-long all inclusive retreat provides you with the space and a quiet place to delve into your passions and find your creative path through immersion in nature and the arts. We – Margaret Soraya from Quiet Landscapes and Wild at Art Director Ute Amann-Seidel – have teamed up to lead this women-only winter retreat for you in the breathtaking and ancient landscapes of the Orkney Islands.


Find your own possibilities

Aimed at those looking to remind themselves through creativity. Many of us arrive at a time or place in our lives only to discover we have lost ourselves. We, your hosts, have been there ourselves and our desire is to help others to also find their new possibilities. Creativity and quiet places are an ideal combination to provide a space for you to delve into your passions and spend time experimenting with your creative side through immersion in the landscape and the arts for a week.

We’ll have lots of creative things on offer for you to try and experiment with – everything’s optional of course. We will be there as facilitators rather than tutors. Slow down and find what calls to you creatively. Try:

Journaling & creative writing
Sketching outdoors
Cyanotype printing
Using your phone for mindful photography within the landscapes
Using Snapseed and other apps to create blended images with an artistic edge, then print your favourite images onto polaroid-style mini prints.
Photography: intimate landscapes – teaching based around either small details within nature or icm, multiple exposure and other artistic style landscape photography methods
Create with objects found in nature
Mixed media intuitive painting

Think spending a week with like-minded women to feel that special creative flow and take in the wonders of Orkney’s stunning nature.


The location – Orkney

Orkney in November? Seriously? – The answer is a big yes!

The breathtaking, natural beauty of the wild and rugged Orkney Isles stays with you for ever. Exposed to the full force of the Atlantic weather the inspiring landscapes are marked by towering cliffs, deep caves and giant sandstone sea stacks.

The unpredictable, wild weather is invigorating and the big open skies, rounded hills and incredibly beautiful beaches offer the ideal sanctuary for inspiration and reflection.

Orkney is also notoriously rich in archaeological remains. You get a feeling of continuity, the sense that for thousands of years people have worked the land and left their mark.

Our base for the retreat is Stromness which retains its original maritime charm with narrow winding streets, terraces of houses and steep passageways all leading to the iconic waterfront and harbour cottages where we will be staying.orkney-isles-photography-retreat-1

Location highlights

We aim for a good balance between exploring the islands and time to get creative. And, of course, time to do nothing, just be and relax. Weather permitting, we’re likely to visit:

The tidal island of the Brough of Birsay
Marwick Head RSPB reserve with breathtaking views along the coastline
The Standing Stones of Stenness near neolithic monuments
The Old Man of Hoy, a 449 sea stack (weather permitting). One of tallest stacks in Britain.
The Italian Chapel and the Scapa Flow wrecks
The sea stacks, cliffs, and wild seas of Yesnaby

This short video of one of Margaret’s retreats gives you a sense of the magical surroundings:

Our accommodation

We’ve secured a series of 4-star cottages along Stromness harbour, all with access to a pier with beautiful sea views. Every guest will have their own room and there is no single supplement. All except two rooms have their own bathrooms – en-suite bedrooms will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Set in Stromness, the cottages will be our base, “play area” as well as accommodation. In addition, we will hire a space at the nearby Pier Arts Centre for some of the  time. The cottages are within minutes walk from all local amenities, including the Pier Arts Centre, the Stromness Museum, cafes, deli, bakery, shops and chemist. It’s the perfect base to explore and photograph the wild and historic landscape of the Orkney Isles.

Your hosts

Both Margaret and Ute are passionate about inspiring others. Drawing on many years experience of all things creative and powered by their love of Scotland they create inspiring feelgood experiences for guests from all over the world.

Margaret Soraya outdoorsMargaret Soraya

I was 35 when I realised I had lost myself. I was divorced, penniless, homeless and ill, but knew there was a purpose for me. I found myself through the art I had studied at university and then photography. I’m now creatively fulfilled, healthy and filled with a sense of direction and purpose.

This retreat has been designed to help you find your sense of direction and purpose too.

I’m known for capturing the essence of wild, remote places in Scotland. I’ve been awarded the coveted Master Photographers Association Travel and Landscape Photographer of the Year for the past four years and my work has been published in the likes of Rough Guides and National Geographic Traveller.

Ute Amann-SeidelIMG_9723 (2)

Originally from the south west of Germany, I fell in love with Scotland on my very first visit as a student. Scotland has now been my home since 1997 and its beauty and spirit never cease to amaze me. I’ve always loved being creative, and in 2012 I co-founded Wild at Art to create opportunities for visitors from all over the world to connect with our beautiful locations and heritage through art holidays and retreats.

The sudden death of my life partner a few years later threw me into a major life crisis, which made me question everything and get rid of things that had lost their meaning. Including my day job as senior management consultant which I packed in to focus on Wild at Art, back then with no income to speak of. I also set up a second business, Fire & Rain, to create self-care retreats in Scotland for people who lost their life partner.

Nature, creativity and mindful living have had huge positive impacts on my own life and being able to share them with others through retreats like this is so fulfilling.

Price & inclusions

The retreat includes:
–  7 nights accommodation in one of the 4-star seafront cottages (single occupancy/ most rooms are en-suite)
–  Daily programme of walks, talks and creative things
– Welcome drinks and nibbles on arrival
–  7 breakfasts
– 6 lunches
– 7 evening meals with wine
– Minibus transport when travelling as a group while on the islands
– All creative materials incl. sketchbook journal
– Studio hire fees
– Wild at Art canvas bag
– Detailed pre-travel information by email.

The cost of this trip is £1980 per person. There is no single supplement. A non-refundable deposit of £400 is required at the time of booking, the rest is due 8 weeks before the start date. With the detailed pre-travel info we will also send you list of recommended things to bring, such as suitable outdoor clothing.

Book now

Flights and travel to/from Orkney are not included. Personal travel insurance is required.

We will collect you from Kirkwall airport. Flights depart from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness and connections can be made from Manchester and London.

Alternatively, we will collect you from Northlink Stromness ferry terminal sailing from Scrabster to Stromness. It is possible to leave your car at the ferry terminal in Scrabster if you wish.

All photographs on this page are by Margaret Soraya who owns the copyright. 

The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves; a return to reality. {George Mackay Brown}