Photography competition to mark Peatland ACTION 10-year anniversary

NatureScot PeatlandACTION dual languagelogo

NatureScot PeatlandACTION dual languagelogo

The photography competition is closed.

A selection of winning peatland-themed photos to feature in a celebratory 2023 calendar.

View final calendar.

Peatland ACTION photography competition

This December marks 10 years of Scotland’s national programme of peatland restoration, led and funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with NatureScot and supporting agents the National Park Authorities (Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs), Scottish Water, and Forestry and Land Scotland.  

To mark this milestone, we are on the look out for your favourite photographs and personal stories of Scotland's peatlands to feature in a celebratory calendar and a year-long touring exhibition in 2023.

NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION Programme Manager, Peter Hutchinson, said:

Healthy peatlands have many benefits for people and nature, and NatureScot recognises that peatlands mean different things to different people. We hope this photography competition, as part of our Peatland ACTION 10th anniversary celebrations, will shine a spotlight on the value and beauty of these habitats as seen through the lens of the people that work and play in this environment.”

The Peatland ACTION Photography Competition will close at noon on Monday 19 September.
Winning photographs will feature in the 2023 NatureScot calendar.
A collection of competition photographs and accompanying stories will be exhibited in a free travelling gallery in 2023. 
Further details including how to submit your photographs, Terms and Conditions, categories and a definition of a peatland are available on this web page.

Definition of a peatland

Peatlands are terrestrial wetland environments consisting mainly of peat – a dark brown substance like soil – in which waterlogged conditions prevent dying plant material from fully decomposing. The build-up of plant material exceeds decomposition slowly forming layers of peat over time; about one millimeter a year.

Peatlands will usually support vegetation that is peat-forming - in Scotland this is primarily Sphagnum mosses – although it may lack vegetation entirely as some peatlands are eroding.

Peat should have an organic layer or layers that exceed 50 centimetres deep from the soil surface and an organic matter content of more than 60%. 

There are four main natural peatland habitat types in Scotland: blanket bog, raised bog, fen and bog woodland. 

For further information on peatlands, visit Scotland's soils website.

Peatland ACTION photography competition - How to submit your photographs and Terms and conditions

Peatland ACTION Photography Competition

Terms and conditions

Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of the competition rules and the terms and conditions as set out below.


1.    It is free to take part. The organisers are NatureScot (formally Scottish Natural Heritage). 

2.    Anyone professionally connected with this draw is excluded from entry, including the judging panel or direct relatives of the panel. 

3.    The competition is open to everyone, of all abilities. Entrants under the age of 18 years need to have parental or guardian consent to enter. Parents/guardians agree to the competition rules, terms and conditions as set out herein on behalf of the entrant.

4.    Entries from around the world are welcome but, for all categories, images must be taken in Scotland and must either include one of Scotland’s four main natural peatland habitat types (blanket bog, raised bog, fen or bog woodland)  and / or wildlife (plants and animals etc.) on a Scottish peatland. A definition of a peatland is available on the photography competition web page.

5.    Competition submissions must not include any endorsements of products or services, infringe on people’s reasonable expectations of privacy, or any obscene, violent, racist or defamatory content.

6.    All entries must be received by noon on Monday 19 September 2022, no late submissions will be considered. 

7.    The judging panel consists of representatives from NatureScot and Peatland ACTION delivery partners. The panel will choose winning photographs (gold, silver and bronze) for each category and a selection of these will appear for each month of the calendar year (2023). An overall winning image will be chosen for the front cover of the calendar. 

8.    There are five categories: Landscape; Wildlife; Weather and climate; What peatlands mean to me, and Portfolio: Peatland restoration in Action. Further information on the categories is available on the photography competition webpage. 

9.    Photographs will be chosen for the month / season they depict, therefore all entries must state the month they were taken. Each photograph must be accompanied by a brief story about the photograph. This can be how or why it was taken, what was happening in the photograph, or anything else relevant to the image.

10.    The winners will receive copies of the printed calendar.

11.    All prize winning photographs will be used for promoting Peatland ACTION during its 10th anniversary year (2023) and any relevant Peatland ACTION work in the future.

12.    All prize winning photographs will be used in a touring exhibition across Scotland throughout 2023.

13.    The calendar will be printed in limited quantities, and will be available to purchase by charitable donation which will go to a charity/project chosen by the organisers. An online version of the calendar will be available for free download. 

14.    No alternatives to the prizes will be offered. 

15.    Decisions taken by the judging panel are final and no correspondence will be entered into.


How to submit

16.    Individual categories: There is a maximum number of ten photographs per person for the individual categories. Only one person can be the contact person and representative for each photograph.  

17.    Portfolio category: A single portfolio is to consist of six images and individuals can submit up to a maximum of three portfolios. Each portfolio should consist of at least three images in landscape orientation and at least one should be in portrait orientation. Only one person can be the contact person and representative for each photograph.

18.    Photographs should be sent via email to [email protected] and each photograph should fulfil the following requirements:
•    File format: JPEG only, landscape. 
•    Resolution: Entries should be submitted as lower resolution JPEGs, saved at 1600 pixels along the longest dimension. 
•    If selected for the calendar, you must be able to supply a high resolution file, preferably via WeTransfer and as a TIFF or maximum quality JPEG, at a minimum of 4000 pixels on the longest side, suitable for printing. This should be 8-bit, and at the original resolution. Please do not upscale. No borders, watermarks or signatures should be included.
•    To help us make sure you are properly credited for your image, please include your name and where the image was taken in the file name.
•    Images cannot promote specific products, companies or organisations.

19.    When submitting the photograph, entrants must provide their name, email address, contact number, and age group, as well as the month/year the image was taken, the location shown in the image and a brief story (50 words) relevant to the photograph for their entry to be valid.

20.    Incomplete entries or entries that do not comply with the formal specifications will be automatically disqualified.

Copyright, liability and GDPR

21.    Photographs may not be blocked by agencies or publishers and may not have received an award in another competition. 

22.    By participating in this competition, the entrants confirm and warrant that: 
•    They are the sole authors of each entry and that it is their original work.
•    They own the copyright and any other intellectual property rights of each image.
•    They have the permission of anyone pictured in the image (or, where the image shows any persons under 18, the consent of their parent/guardian) for the usage rights required by NatureScot and will indemnify NatureScot against any claims made by any third parties in respect of such infringement.
•    They have not licensed or disposed of any rights in the image that would conflict with uses to be made by NatureScot.
•    NatureScot and its sponsors and supporters are granted non-exclusive, irrevocable licence to reproduce, enlarge, publish or exhibit, on any media, the photographs for any purpose directly connected with the competition. 
•    NatureScot maintains the rights to make minor edits to images for the purposes of sharing on social media and any size constraints that might apply.
•    Organisers can sub-license photographs to the media for reproduction in connection with the competition and exhibition only.
•    NatureScot will make every reasonable effort to ensure that name credits are given to any photographs published in any medium.
•    The winners’ photographs will be used freely by NatureScot (including Peatland ACTION) for promotion purposes.

23.    NatureScot’s privacy statement applies to all personal data collected during the submission of photographs for the competition. NatureScot is the data controller for this project.

What kind of personal data we use and collect

24.    We use and collect the following personal data:
•    Name
•    Email address
•    Telephone number
•    Age group (under 18 or over 18). Entrants to include their age or age group.
•    Professional or amateur status

How we gather your personal data

25. You submit your personal data to us when you enter this competition

How we use your personal data

26.    We use your personal data for the purposes of this competition:
•    To assess competition submissions
•    To award prizes
•    To contact prize winners

Our legal basis for using your personal data

27.    To operate this competition and to award prizes, we must process your personal data. We are therefore processing your personal data in performance of a task carried out in the public interest. 

28.    This means you have the right to:
•    Access your information
•    Have incorrect information corrected
•    Be forgotten
•    Restrict the use of your information

Your Personal Data Right

29.    You can find out a bit more about your rights in NatureScot ’s privacy notice. The UK Information Commissioner also has more information about your rights.

30.    To make a request please write to the Data Protection Officer giving us your name and contact details and a description of the data you want to see. We will respond as soon as we can and by 30 days after your request at the latest. We might ask you to provide some form of identification so we don't give data about you to the wrong person by mistake.

How long do we keep your data

31.    This means we will delete your personal data once we’ve viewed and assessed all the photographs, and announced the winner. Information about winning photographs will be deleted after the travelling exhibition (end of January 2024). Read NatureScot ’s main Privacy Notices.

Announcement of winners

32.    NatureScot  will contact the winners by Friday 14 October 2022 and the winning photographs will be announced on the NatureScot competition website and on social media. The winners will be contacted through email.

33.    The winners may be asked to offer support to promotional activities related to the campaign and this contest, such as a quote and/or background information and photographs. This is not compulsory but encouraged.

34.    The prizes are non-negotiable, non-transferable, non-refundable and cannot be exchanged.  

35.    Any questions relating to this photography competition, contact [email protected].

Peatland ACTION photography competition - Competition categories

Photography Competition categories (of which there are five) are as follows:

Entries from around the world are welcome but, for all categories, images must be taken in and of Scotland’s four main natural peatland habitat types (blanket bog, raised bog, fen and bog woodland).

Peatlands: Landscape category

Scotland’s landscape offers many iconic images and peatlands are no exception as they form 20% of Scotland’s total land area.

In the 'Peatlands: Landscape' category, we are looking for images of Scottish peatlands in all its forms. From rugged, remote upland blanket bogs to gently sloping lowland raised bogs, and everything in-between.

The judges will be looking for an image that shows the beauty of Scotland’s peatland landscape at its absolute finest. The creative aim should be to show new places or new slants on familiar places. Surprise and challenge the judges with your interpretation of this broad category.

Peatlands: Wildlife category

In the 'Peatlands: Wildlife category', the judges will be looking for images of plants, birds and animals etc., in their natural peatland environment. This is an opportunity, for the photographer, to share with the viewer some of the unique and special wildlife found on peatlands.

Peatlands: Weather & climate category

Scottish peatlands are extensive because of the Scottish weather.

Peatland ACTION are restoring Scotland Peatlands to reduce the loss of carbon to the atmosphere and ensure these special places are better able to adapt to the anticipated consequences of climate change.

The judges will be looking for an image with great impact and one that conveys a message or tells a story about our weather and climate in a peatland setting.

The judges will also be looking for an image with great impact and one that shows the photographers aesthetic and technical considerations.

Peatlands: What peatlands mean to me

Being outside on a peatland means different things to different people. This category invites images from all aspects of the peatland environment – but especially your relationship with this environment. For some it is a tranquil place to escape for a walk along a boardwalk, listen to the skylarks, and watch the cotton grasses swaying in a gentle breeze, for others it’s a place of work or an outdoor classroom. These are just examples; the 'What peatlands mean to me' topic is up to you. 

Portfolio: Peatland restoration in action (six images per set, with a maximum of three sets)

This category has been created in recognition of the pivotal contribution landowners and contractors have made over the years. This category is open to everyone but aimed at land managers, contractors and volunteers undertaking peatland restoration. In this category, we are looking for a portfolio of six images (no more no less) on the theme Peatland restoration in action.    

All six images presented should work together to form a cohesive portfolio and creatively represent the theme. At least three of the images should be in landscape orientation and at least one should be in portrait orientation (for example three landscape and three portrait; or five landscape and one portrait; or four landscape and two portrait).

The judges will also be looking for images that show a particular restoration technique or a collection of restoration activities that convey a message about the importance of peatland restoration in the context of contributing to solving the nature-climate crises.

Last updated: