The Best of Scotland Wildlife Tour
June 21 - June 28£518 – £2652
The Best of Scotland Wildlife Tour
Did you know that the British Isles has recorded 24 out of the 26 European cetacean (whale and dolphin) species!? Well come along on this trip and we will do our best to find some. Spending three full days out on the water we stand as good a chance as any to spot orca, minke whales, common bottle-nose dolphin, harbour porpoise and many more. Along with basking sharks, oceanic sunfish and lots of sea birds. But this would not be an exploration unless we travelled over land as well and in the world famous Caringorms National Park we will hopefully find some pine martens, badgers deer, ospreys and golden eagles.
Amazing eagle watching
Find of the migrating basking sharks
Cruise around the Isle of Mull
Stakeout Badgers and Pine Martens
Up to 10 species of marine mammal
Country B&B accommodation
Top Animals on Tour
White-tailed sea eagle
Tour Dates: 21/6/2024 – 28/6/2024
Duration: 8 nights
Type / Focus: Whales & Eagles
Cairngorms National Park
You will be met by our zoologist guide at Inverness Airport or railway station before 12:00pm (please confirm arrival times), and after a lunch in the most northerly of all British cities we will head south and east to Aviemore in our private vehicle (40mins). Aviemore is a beautiful little village set on the outskirts of the Cairngorms NP; one of the largest and most stunning national parks in the whole of Britain. Here we will check into your accommodation, level – 3* / lodge (Garth Hotel / High Range Lodge Hotel) before going into the Cairngorms. We will visit Glenlivet for a jeep safari. Glenlivet is a privately owned area inside the national park and a place where we will hopefully find red deer, roe deer, golden eagles, black grouse, ospreys and many more bird species. After the safari we will have our evening meal at the accommodation. Depending on the weather and other local conditions we will visit a purpose made hide for mammal watching where badgers and the rare pine marten are very often seen alongside other nocturnal species.
Cairngorms National Park
We will rise early today and after a Highland breakfast travel to Insh Marshes. Insh Marshes is a brilliant place to come and see butterflies, orchids and dragonflies; along with plenty of birds such as goldeneye ducks, whooper swans, lapwings, redshanks and snipe. After a morning spent birding here we will go back to Aviemore for lunch before going back to Glenlivet for a guided walk around some of the grounds of Cairngorms NP. The walk will focus on the smaller species found here such as butterflies and wild flowers although by keeping your eyes peeled you may see golden eagles, buzzards and other raptor species. Our evening meal will be back at our accommodation again, level – 3* / Lodge – (Garth Hotel / High Range Lodge Hotel). Again depending on the weather and other local conditions we will visit a purpose made hide for mammal watching where badgers and the rare pine marten are very often seen alongside other nocturnal species.
This morning we can raise a little later and have a leisurely breakfast. Today we have a choice; either we will spend to the day walking around Cairngorms NP, Loch Garten or Insh Marshes or we can visit the Highland Wildlife Park. Birding around Cairngorms, Loch Garten and Insh Marshes has all the highlights explained in the previous days and if we have not seen any ospreys we recommend this option; however the Highland Wildlife Park is a great day out and a place which has very cleverly blended the current rolling glens and woods of the modern highlands with animals which became extinct in Scotland a long time ago unfortunately. Many of the species on show where resident British mammals until humans hunted them to extinction and some have been lost since the last Ice Age and some are just animals which do very well in Scotland’s temperate climate. Whatever the reason for them being on display its great to see grey wolves, brown and polar bears, reindeer, northern lynx, European bison, Amur tigers, Bactrian camels and many more animals in large, specially designed enclosures. Once we have finished either birding or at the Highland Wildlife Park we will travel to Inverness (the most northerly city in Britain) (1.5 hours) and have our evening meal at our new accommodation, level – 4* / 3* (Thistle Inverness / Waterside Inverness).
Today we will have a leisurely breakfast before travelling south around Loch Ness on the way we will visit Loch Ruthven; which along with Loch Garten and Insh Marshes is another RSPB Reserve and home to the very rare Slavonian grebe! Which will be our star species here as well as ospreys, black-throated and red-throated divers and Eurasian cuckoos. Later we will complete the circuit of Loch Ness, stopping for lunch along the way somewhere like Fort Augustus. Around the loch we will take in some of the sites as well as try and find the three species of deer here; red, sika and roe. Our evening meal will be back at the accommodation, level – 4* / 3* (Thistle Inverness / Waterside Inverness).
Isle of Mull
This morning we will set off from Inverness after breakfast and travel along the east coast of Loch Ness again and we will continue until we reach Oban (2.5 hours) and the other coast of Scotland. Depending on how long the drive takes we will either have lunch before or after the ferry over to the Isle of Mull. Here we will be met with our guides for the whale watching we will have on Mull. We will be transferred to our accommodation in Toberymory or Derviag, level – bed and breakfast, and have dinner.
Isle of Mull
After breakfast we will embark on our first day on the boat. We will travel around Mull, Ardamurchan Peninsula and the Small Isles with a lunch break on one of the Hebredies; where we will feel like we have the whole island to ourselves surrounded by wildlife. As for wildlife we will hope to see minkie whales, harbour porpoise, common bottle-nose dolphins, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, basking sharks, oceanic sunfish and many many pelagic sea birds. After a day on the boat we will be more than ready for our evening meal back at the accommodation, in Toberymory or Derviag, level – bed and breakfast.
Isle of Mull
After breakfast we will once again go out on our boat. We will travel around Mull, Ardamurchan Peninsula and the Small Isles with a lunch break on one of the Hebredies; where we will feel like we have the whole island to our selves surrounded by wildlife. The wildlife will be some of the same and hopefully seeing animals we didn’t find yesterday; but always keep a keen eye out as orca and not uncommon here at the this time of year. After a day on the boat we will be more than ready for our evening meal back at the accommodation, in Toberymory or Derviag, level – bed and breakfast.
Today is our last day on the Isle of Mull and the morning can be spent doing a number of things. We can either head out onto the boat for a half day trip to find more marine animals or have a half day jeep safari into the interior of the island and hope to find white-tailed sea eagles, golden eagles, red deer and other typical highland wildlife. Or we can spend the day at your leisure and do what you please. We will be leaving after lunch and catching the afternoon ferry back to Oban. From here we will drive back north and along the western shore of Loch Ness until we reach Inverness (2.5 hours) and our accommodation, level – 4* / 3* (Thistle Inverness / Waterside Inverness) and our evening meal will be here.
After breakfast there will be transfers available to Inverness airport or railway station; the tour finishes today at 12:00pm.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in Scotland during May and June is beautiful, there is little rain and lots of clear blue skies with bright sunshine to match and this is what were hoping for. The temperatures are usually in the low twenties and very comfortable.
Everything including in the above itinerary is including. The cost of our whale watching boats for the two full days and possible half day as well as the optional jeep safari are included, all meals and some water (usually 1litre bottle of water per person per day), entrance fees, accommodation, hire car and fuel costs are all included. Extras include a pick up and drop off to and from Inverness Airport or railway station (subject to your scheduled arrival and departure times), a reference library of field guides for the area and professional zoologist escort for the whole trip who will also act as driver.
We recommend that you bring your own pair of binoculars or scope, water proof clothing (incase the weather is not as nice as we hope), a light wind breaker for the days on the boat, sunglasses, suncream and a sunhat. It can also get cold on the boat and at night so a woolly hat, scarf and fleece are not a bad idea. Obviously comfortable walking shoes are a must. Any items of a personal nature such as medication are of course recommended if you need them. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera.
We have one or two spare pairs of binoculars (which can become very stretched in a group of 4 or 6 people when a golden eagle is spotted in the distance. There is the option for nocturnal spotlighting (subject to conditions) and the spotlight is included as are field guides, reference books and a small DVD library of wildlife documentaries focusing on the area we are in. A comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates and notable invertebrates in the area will also be provided for you to keep track of what we see.Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in the tour price only the following are at an extra cost; travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three meals provided, any drinks soft or alcoholic and any souvenirs, tips or other items of a personal nature.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Fly Be for flights to and from Inverness and the best website for fares is www.flybe.com. They are an ATOL bonded company and this provide all the securities related to ATOL protection. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
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Visas and Health Information
If you are a British citizen you do not need anything to enter Scotland and citizens from members of the European Union do not require visas to visit Scotland either. But please check with your embassy and the British High Commission to see if you are affected by any visa restrictions
There are no health restrictions or recommendations to visit Scotland but please refer to your local GP for more information.
Reviews of this Holiday
Alan & Rose Pritchard, California
Brett Smalls, Chesterton
Rob & Jayne, Cardiff