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Scotland's Mammals & Highlights of the Highlands

Tour Code: GBR37

An 8-day holiday in search of mammals and birds in Scotland's 'wild west', the Ardnamurchan peninsula, the westernmost area of the British mainland.

8 days from £1295(flights not included) Land Only Price: £1295 SRS: £160


The Ardnamurchan peninsula is the westernmost area of the British mainland and on this 7-day tour we’ll be staying on the Ardnamurchan Estate on the south coast of the peninsula from where we will make day-time and night-time excursions to look for the region’s special mammals, including Wildcat. Our base on the Estate gives us easy access to nearby woodland which holds a high density of one of Britain’s most beautiful and elusive mammals, the Pine Marten, as well as Roe, Fallow and Red Deer, Badger and Fox. The sheltered bays along the south coast of the peninsula are home to Otters, seals and seabirds and we will explore this, as well as the north coast where we will look for raptors and Red Deer. We will not confine ourselves to looking for land mammals, and on one day we’ll take to the sea to visit smaller isles and hope to see Minke Whales and other cetaceans.

  • Travel through breathtaking scenery in Scotland’s ‘wild west’
  • Look for Otters on Loch Sunart, a Special Conservation Area for the species
  • Stay on the Ardnamurchan Estate, close to Glenborrodale Castle
  • Woodland around our accommodation has a high density of Pine Martens
  • Red, Roe & Fallow deer plus Common & Atlantic Grey Seals
  • Night-time 4x4 safari to look for endangered Wildcat & other mammals
  • Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Black Guillemots & Kittiwakes
  • Great & Arctic Skuas & Arctic Terns at Ardnamurchan Point
  • Boat trip to Coll & Muck looking for cetaceans & seabirds
  • Common & Bottlenose Dolphins, Minke Whales, Harbour Porpoise & Basking Shark
  • Enjoy sweeping views to the ‘small isles’ from the north coast & visit Sanna Bay
  • Led by an expert naturalist & local guides

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable guesthouse; all rooms with private facilities.

Red Deer

Red Deer

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Meet Glasgow; transfer Ardnamurchan.

Day 2/7 Excursions on and from the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

Day 8 Return to Glasgow

The Ardnamurchan peninsula has a very special atmosphere, deriving from its isolated location in the far west of the Scottish highlands. Here, the remote situation and an invigorating blend of superb wildlife, breathtaking scenery and crisp sea air combine to offer the visitor a unique experience that is far removed from the pressures of modern life. On this tour, as we travel through a variety of stunning landscapes, it will be impossible not to be moved by a real sense of wilderness. The pace of life here is dictated by the remoteness of the peninsula and, as we adjust, we can truly appreciate the wild beauty of this unique place.

To reach it, we will meet in Glasgow, then journey north through Glen Coe to take the Corran ferry over Loch Linnhe to Ardnamurchan. This crossing lies on one of the ancient routes along which the highlanders drove their cattle to market in central Scotland. We then turn west and head through the pretty village of Strontian. From here, the single-track road hugs the coast for most of the 50 miles to Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly place on the British mainland. 

We will be staying on the Ardnamurchan Estate, close to Glenborrodale Castle, from where we will have relatively easy access to the best areas for wildlife. Woodlands around our accommodation hold a high density of Pine Martens and provide cover for both Red and Roe Deer, and August is the best time to admire the full antlers on the biggest stags. Fallow Deer, along with commoner mammals such as Badger and Red Fox, are also possible. Most of these species are best looked for after dark so we will head our after dark on at least one occasion, with a spotlight, for an exciting drive around the peninsula. There is even the possibility of an encounter with the most enigmatic of all British mammals, the Scottish Wildcat.

We will spend two days exploring the south coast of Ardnamurchan, which is home to seabirds, seals and Otters. Loch Sunart, which stretches along the south coast of Ardnamurchan, is in fact a Special Area of Conservation for Otter — the sheltered bays near Glenborrodale being particularly good locations for this popular species. As we travel west, the coastline becomes more exposed and both Common and Atlantic Grey seals can be seen, often ‘spy-hopping’ to get a better view of their human admirers! Regular flocks of Gannets, Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes sometimes fly close to shore, where we can also expect to see small numbers of Black Guillemots and a range of waders. Looking out from the historic lighthouse at Ardnamurchan Point offers the possibility of other seabirds such as Great Skuas (known locally as ‘Bonxies’), Arctic Skuas and Arctic Terns. We will also hope to see the Twite flock that often frequents this area from August onwards. 

One of the highlights of this holiday will be a day at sea with an experienced local skipper. We will sail from Loch Sunart across to Coll, where we can expect close views of the seals that live in the shallow, turquoise waters. After a visit to the Isle of Muck (including a well-deserved tea break in the café), we will return via the spectacular Ardnamurchan Point. We will be looking for the cetaceans that occur regularly in these waters, including Common Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise and Minke Whales; Basking Sharks are also possible. A boat trip across the ‘Sea of the Hebrides’ is an experience that will live long in the memory! 

We will spend our last two days visiting a variety of sites in the centre and on the north coast of the peninsula, including Sanna Bay, a truly magical beach with white sands and sweeping views across to the small isles. The journey to Sanna takes us through the geologically fascinating ‘Land of the Rings’, a landscape dominated by concentric rings of rocky ridges. This part of Ardnamurchan is home to a range of raptors including Golden and White-tailed Eagles. We will take time to seek out these iconic birds in their expansive wilderness, where displaying Ravens and herds of Red Deer are a common sight.

The Ardnamurchan peninsula is a magical place that retains the wild character of the ancient highlands. This holiday offers the chance to see a range of wildlife in unspoilt and unforgettable locations.

Red Deer (Alain Verstraete)Pine MartenWhite-tailed Eagle (Mick Stallwood)Sanna Bay (Alain Verstraete)Pine Marten (Alain Verstraete)Otter (Mick Stallwood)Otter (Alain Verstraete)Fallow Deer (John East)Loch Sunart (Caroline Northcott)Scotch Argus (Caroline Northcott)Beadlet Anemone (Caroline Northcott)Otter (Marcus John)Twite (Tom Mabbett)Common Seal (Marcus John)Two-barred Crossbill (John Willsher)Common Seals off Coll Ardnamurchan (Martin Hancock)Highland Cattle (Martin Hancock)Juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle (Martin Hancock)River Otter (Martin Hancock)Red Deer (Martin Hancock)
M.C
August 2015
The holiday was such a success as we had an exceptionally good leader. The food was excellent with an imaginative menu.
M.V
August 2015
Marcus's knowledge on all furred and feathered creatures. One cannot leave Jane, the cook, out. It's a gold star for each of her menus, lunches etc. Every day of the week. I enjoyed the 2 White-tailed Eagles flying as a mirror image, close up views of Pine Marten and the Otter with the spider crab!
J.L
August 2015
Range of wildlife seen. Very helpful staff at the lodge, knowledgeable and helpful leader, fantastic boat trip and skipper and great range of interests covered.
N.H
August 2015
I enjoyed all of it. The scenery the birds the Otters. Marcus was an excellent guide, enthusiastic and informative. I learnt a lot from him. He was tireless, leading us on early morning walks (one of these was a highlight with 2 Otters on glassy calm water) to late night drives. He found us White-tailed Eagles, many Otters, Pine Marten, Scotch Argus butterfly and much more. This trip was close to perfect.
A.C.
Glamorgan
Marcus was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour leader who did his utmost to ensure that everyone got something from the tour. The Pine Martens were a delight and the hour spent in the company of about 30 Common Dolphins was unforgettable.
J.M.
Gloucestershire
The accommodation was comfortable,as described in the itinerary. Afforded excellent views of Pine Martens and a nice location by Glenborrodale bay. Excellent food and plenty of it! Content was superb and provided an excellent opportunity to see some of the UK's most spectacular wildlife.
P.L.
North Yorkshire
The outdoor activity centre accomodation was more than adequate for this trip. Excellent area for drying coats and boots if necessary. Food very good and the catering staff were very obliging to try and satisfy everyone's needs.
P.L.
North Yorkshire
The outdoor activity centre accomodation was more than adequate for this trip. Excellent area for drying coats and boots if necessary. Food very good and the catering staff were very obliging to try and satisfy everyone's needs.
F.H.
Co. Durham
My second Naturetrek holiday and I didn't think it could possibly be as good as the first, but it was. In every respect it was an absolutely incredible wildlife holiday in a stunningly beautiful area of Scotland. My thanks and appreciation to the leaders who made it such a success.
H.I.
East Sussex
Thank you once again for another enjoyable holiday with plenty of wildlife. The food was first class.
S.H.
Cheshire
The Ardnamurchan trip was brilliant! The accommodation was very comfortable, much nicer than a hotel, the catering staff most friendly and the food excellent. Two good leaders and a lovely group of very nice people! We had wonderful views of otters, pine martens, basking sharks and common dolphins - fabulous!
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Wed 1st August 2018 - Wed 8th August 2018

6

£1295

more details

Flights: Flights are not included with this tourMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1295 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Thu 9th August 2018 - Thu 16th August 2018

1

£1295

more details

Flights: Flights are not included with this tourMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1295 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Fri 17th August 2018 - Fri 24th August 2018

4

£1295

more details

Flights: Flights are not included with this tourMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1295 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: United Kingdom

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Tour Reviews

The holiday was such a success as we had an exceptionally good leader. The food was excellent with an imaginative menu.
M.C, August 2015