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Tag Archives for " activity breaks loch lomond "

5 tips to enhance your photography skills

When it comes to photography, Scotland has so much to offer. When you think about Loch Lomond and the Trossachs you think of the lochs, forests, rolling hills, and rugged landscape that surrounds us at Gartmore house. There’s so much beauty it can be hard to know where to start and it’s even harder if you’re a beginner photographer. How can you make the most of the landscape and your equipment? Well, we asked our photography tutor, Ewan Barry, to give us some insider tips and tricks so that you can start improving your photography skills today.

Scotland: the photographer's playground

Scotland: the photographer’s playground

  1. What do you want your photograph to say about the subject?

Once you’ve decided what you want to photograph, consider what you’re trying to describe. What sort of feeling do you want to evoke? For example, you can explore movement, texture, and form. Bring them to the forefront of your photograph individually or combine them to create a multi-layered image. Once you know what you want to say, it’s time to find a way of capturing it on camera.

  1. Composition is key

The composition is the very foundation of you image. In many ways, deciding what to include is the easy part but you have to consider what you want to exclude as well. This can mean playing with elements like symmetry, negative space, shapes, and colours to direct the viewer’s eye across the photograph.

  1. Play with your camera settings
    Black and white images bring out texture and contrast

    Black and white images bring out texture and contrast

While it’s tempting to just point and click when starting out, a good camera will have a multitude of settings that will allow you to customise your picture. If you have decided to make movement your focus, then one particular photography technique to experiment with is different shutter speeds. Slow shutter speeds are ideal for photographs of running water whereas a faster shutter speed is perfect for birds taking flight.

  1. Control your camera

When you’re just starting out, all you need in terms of photography equipment is something such as a tripod that will give you some control over your final image. Even a small tripod will make all the difference to your pictures. If you are focusing on using longer shutter speeds like we mentioned above then it will work to minimise any unwanted motion blur and help to give you the crystal clear photographs you so desire!

  1. Don’t be limited by your equipment
improve your photography skills

Your phone camera is more than enough!

As a photography beginner, the thought of shelling out for a DSLR camera can be a bit daunting but don’t worry! Your phone’s camera is more than enough to capture some fantastic images when you’re first starting out. Of course, phones have their limitations in that they may not offer the same kind of quality or image size as traditional cameras, but this is only as issue if you want to make large scale prints. But these limitations can encourage a whole new level creativity as you hone your photography skills. In fact, most of the images shown here were taken with an iPhone 6s!
 
And there you have it! With these 5 tips you can start improving your photography techniques today.
 
 

1 Sewing Tutor Gill McBride

Q&A with our Sewing/Dressmaking Tutor Gill McBride

Our lovely Sewing Tutor, Gill McBride is an absolute whizz with a sewing machine. She’s the go-to guru for all things involving dressmaking and patterns. In this Q&A blog Gill shares her top tips and answers some questions about the course – we hope you find it helpful!
Residential Dressmaking CourseQ      What are your top 3 tips for great sewing?

  1. Get to know your sewing machine! It’s the first thing any new sewer, or any sewer with a new sewing machine, should do.  Over the years I have found that a ‘fear’ of the sewing machine is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to being a happy sewer.  Once you understand how to de-tangle it, re-thread it, sort the tension and so on, then you’ll be able to go straight to sewing without worrying about ‘what if’ the machine ……!
  2. Sew in stages! Most of us don’t have time to sit and make a whole garment at one sitting!  I’ve learnt this over the 45 years that I’ve been making clothes. So, break your project up into stages. Cut and prepare your pattern as one stage; pin your pattern and cut your fabric as the second stage; prepare for sewing and start sewing as a third stage and finally, do your finishing. In this way, you’ll make far fewer mistakes, you’ll manage to fit in an hour here and hour there and you’ll get your garment/project made – even though you have a full time job or are a full-time family and house person – without disrupting normal routines.
  3. Press as you go! Lack of pressing is one of the key things that makes a project look ‘home made’.  If you press as you go, you will be amazed at the difference in your finished garment/project!

Residential Sewing Course at Gartmore House
Q       What is your favourite thing to make and why?

A        I just love to tailor a jacket.  Even though I use modern speed tailoring techniques, it takes quite a long time and in fact the preparation takes most of the time and the sewing probably the least of the time.  But it is so satisfying.  And because the prep work has taken so long, the sewing to me, is less likely to have to be undone and redone!  I suppose that’s because I’m really taking my time to make the jacket properly and not hurrying as I do with so many other sewing projects!!  Ready to wear jackets never fit me very well because of my shape, so the pure pride and satisfaction of wearing a jacket that fits me really well, is immense!
 
Q        Who are your courses at Gartmore House aimed at?
A          The courses are aimed at all levels of sewers. The beauty of the sewing holiday is that we have 4 sewing days, so there is lots of time for everyone.  So if you are not so confident with your sewing, or you don’t have a lot of experience, you will still have time over the 4 days to learn and to sew and you won’t hold anybody up. The number of people on the course is small, so I have lots of time to spend with each person at whatever stage of sewing they are at.  The only course that probably demands more experience is the speed tailoring course.  It is much more demanding and it is better suited to more experienced sewers.
Sewing machines & overlockersQ         What about Sewing Machines?
A          Sewing machines come in all shapes and sizes and the best advice is to buy according to your budget.  Don’t ever be persuaded to buy more than you will use.  It’s easy to upgrade at a later date, but to buy a machine and not use most of it is a pity!  At Gartmore House, I can provide sewing machines (hire is £40 for the longer course or £20 for a weekend course), and I also bring along an overlocker.  So if you can’t manage to bring a machine with you, that’s not a problem at all.  Just let me know beforehand via the team at Gartmore House, and I’ll bring a machine for you to use. And, if you’ve never used an overlocker and are curious, then you can try one out!
 
Sewing course at Gartmore HouseQ         What’s the best thing about a sewing/dressmaking holiday at Gartmore House?
A          Having the time to sew without distraction; having company to sew with; having someone there to help with the sewing problems and questions; having loads of laughs, loads of fun and making new friends!  I love it!
If you’re interested in joining Gill on a Sewing Patterns/Dressmaking residential course at Gartmore House, please take a look at the course webpage, give us a call on 01877 382991 or email our team mail@gartmorehouse.com – we look forward to seeing you!
#gartmoreexperience

Conic Hill, Loch Lomond

Celebrating National Walking Month this May – Walking Resources and Top Tips

May is National Walking Month! Being situated in the midst of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and surrounded by the Queen Elizabeth Forest , we’re lucky to have some amazing walking routes on our doorstep and even some famous national trails nearby. If you fancy joining a guided trip then Gartmore House offers Introduction to Hill Walking Holidays with expert local guide Gavin Clarke.
In celebration of all things hiking and walking, here are some great resources and top tips if you fancy a wander around these bonnie parts!
 
 
– A nice article by Countryfile talking about walks in our national park – Countryfile’s Best Walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
Walk Highlands – a huge array of walking routes are listed on this fantastic website, with details of start/end points, route notes, downloadable GPX tracks and even the route marked on online OS maps – here’s the link to the ever-popular Ben Lomond – Scotland’s most southerly Munro
Ordnance Survey maps via the App – essential for safe hill walking. The App also has a lovely feature that allows you to point your phone or device at a certain vista and see all the mountains and features of the landscape named on your screen (such as towns/villages, lochs and lochans, hills and Munro’s)
Ordnance Survey videos and leaflets – a handy blog linked to videos and downloadable leaflets which you should view if you need a refresher on map symbols, safety when hill walking, or advice on choosing the right scale map for you
– Iconic long distance National Trails the West Highland Way and the Rob Roy Way are within easy reach of Gartmore House – these are linear walks so if you have 2 cars you can easily dip in and out of part of the route, or give us a call and we can assist with arranging a taxi transfer back to your car to make your life easier!

Loch Katrine Cruise

Loch Katrine Cruise

– A lovely longer walk at picturesque Loch Katrine; drive to the pier (approx 30 mins from Gartmore House), then take the Sir Walter Scott Steamship out to Stronachlachar Pier and then walk the 13km along the loch-side back to your car (or walk to Stronachlachar and take the boat back) – make sure you check sailing schedules first. Both ends of the ferry have good cafes to replenish your energy with tea and cake!
And our TOP TIP if you do one hill walk in the area – make it Conic Hill – this is a popular and ‘short but stiff’ walk from the pretty village of Balmaha – you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views over Loch Lomond.
Happy Walking!
#gartmoreexperience
To book or enquire further please visit https://gartmorehouse.com/walking-holidays/ or call us on 01877 382991, or drop us a line mail@gartmorehouse.com
 

  • May 1, 2019
  • News
Valentines Gifts at Gartmore House

Valentine Gifts at Gartmore House

Valentine’s Gift Vouchers

They say that true happiness is made from experiences and moments over material things.  With Valentine’s Day upon us, why not treat a loved one to an activity break gift voucher at Gartmore House? Located in the stunning Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Gartmore is a quirky estate offering a range of popular activity breaks.  Guests can choose from options such as crafting, painting, singing breaks and foraging for the foodie.
Activity breaks at Gartmore are designed for guests to escape from the fast paced life.  A break at Gartmore includes delicious home cooked food and a large roaring fire looking out over breath-taking Scottish views.  A perfect location to embrace a new passion or learn a new skill. Gartmore House is an 18th century country house with views that stretch 25 miles across to Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.
For further information and to purchase gift vouchers at Gartmore House visit www.www.gartmoreestate.com

A Valentine’s Winter Deal

If you fancy a wee Valentine’s weekend away with your loved one why not book our Winter Deal. You will enjoy a bottle of Prosecco in your room on arrival, accommodation with stunning views over The Trossachs, a 3-course dinner to tantalise your taste buds and full Scottish breakfast the next morning – all for just £89 per room per night.
Book online today or call the team on 01877 382 991
 
 

  • February 9, 2018
  • News
Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day

Happy Inspire Your Heart With Art Day! We love art here at Gartmore House, and offer a range of art breaks to get those creative juices flowing. From watercolour painting holidays to felting courses , we have it covered.
Inspire Your Heart With Art Day is an opportunity to reflect on how art is good for the soul. Art has many benefits for our mental well-being.
Art can move us to tears, or laughter and it can transport us to magical places. Art has the power to inspire us and it is a very healthy activity to take part in to encourage mindfulness. The statistics show us that taking time to relax and get creative, away from our screens, is fantastic for our mental health.
Art teaches us to generate a love for learning and creativity, it helps to support our brain development. Art is also fantastic for our problem-solving skills and is thought to improve our emotional intelligence. We would love to hear from you – what is your favourite type of art? Do you have a favourite artist?
Why not treat yourself to one of our creative activity breaks at Gartmore House?
To make a booking call us on 01877 382991 or email mail@gartmorehouse.com

  • January 31, 2018
  • News