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Wildlife Adventures – Scotland’s Big 5

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Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 2

5 review(s)
  • Dolphin-watching on an exciting boat trip
  • Finding Scotland’s largest birds of prey – sea eagles, golden eagles and ospreys
  • Sea kayaking with seals in the West Highlands
  • Seeking out the elusive wildcat on an evening excursion

 

Green Graded Wildlife Holidays 1-3

All of our wildlife trips are graded Green and involve straightforward hiking with no major ascents, as well as other activities which are pitched at novice level. You can expect to be active for around 5 hours each day so you will need a reasonable level of fitness. Please note that there may be some early starts and late nights as we seek to maximise our chances of finding wildlife, although you can always opt out of activities if you prefer an early night or long lie in the morning!

So to help you decide if you are fit enough for this kind of trip, ask yourself:

  1. Are you generally active and, for example, happy to hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascent, with rough ground in places?
  2. Are you up for a challenge and trying new activities such as sea kayaking or boat trips?
  3. Are you looking for a wildlife trip which involves more than simply sitting in a hide?

We spend 3 nights in and around the Cairngorms National Park. Our base here is at the beautiful 4-star Muckrach Lodge, surrounded ten acres of picturesque pastureland and a Scottish castle.

Muckrach Lodge offers the highest standards of customer care and service, all set in a stylish and relaxing environment. Evenings will be remembered for the wonderful meals, topped of with a local malt whisky served from the wide range available in the bar.

In Ardnamurchan, we stay at a small, family-run, Highland guest house which has one of the best panoramic loch and mountain views in Scotland. The hotel has was renovated in 2008 and offers comfortable rooms with free wi-fi. The meals here are a delight, with a strong focus on locally sourced produce.

Single guests willing to share will be accommodated in a twin room with a member of the same sex. For this itinerary, a supplement of £150 per person will be payable where a single, en-suite room is required. This is subject to availability as per our booking terms and conditions.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at the fixed seating area in the centre of Inverness Railway Station at 1400 on Day 1 of your trip. Most people choose to stay in Inverness before the trip. For full details on how to get to Inverness, please see our website: Travel to Scotland section.

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

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1 star 0

by Isabel Draper 17/06/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Confirmation of details of the trip thru' the post rather than online would have been preferable but I imagine that is asking for too much in 2015.
Trip Comments
The spectacle of boxing hares on the hotel lawn over breakfast was on a great bonus1
Accommodation and Food
Standard of accommodation was higher than expected.
Your Guide
Sarah is a natural at her job, you are very fortunate to have her on your staff.
The Bottom Line
Very well designed, clearly much thought and effort was put into trying to get a lot of interesting events into the time available. As there is quite a lot of driving in the Wildlife trip, it is very suitable for those who want to view several areas of Scotland.

by Tracey Barrett 16/06/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Quick response to questions asked and kept up to date with changes to the itinerary.
Trip Comments
The 'Big 5' is an amazing trip, although we would have liked longer on Mull (governed by the ferry times I guess). Highlights for us are too many to mention, but if we had to the sea eagles, golden eagles, osprey, otters, Dolphins, seals, ptarmigan, mountain hares, pine martin, red squirrel etc etc..... all helped by the week of temperatures in the 20s and sun.
Accommodation and Food
The Strontian Inn on Loch Sunart was very comfortable and welcoming, we had rose petals on the bed and a card and bottle of Prosecco in our room to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary from the owners. The room was serviced every day and the food was excellent. The Muckrach Country House Hotel was exceptional, stunning interior, luxurious rooms (only opened five weeks previously). All the staff went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable, even providing regular ice packs for my swollen ankle. The bonus here was the boxing hares on the lawn during our evening meal on the first night. Also Archie the resident "Hielan Coo". The standard and presentation of the food was outstanding.
Your Guide
Sarah Powell was outstanding! She went out of her way to understand what the members of the group wanted out of their holiday and her knowledge of the wildlife and history of the areas we visited was first-rate. When we went into the mountains she was a walking encyclopaedia of flora and fauna, most of which we wouldn't have even noticed! Her enthusiasm for her subject and for the Scottish outdoors was infectious. Sarah soon became more friend and part of the group than just guide. A fantastic representative for your company.
The Bottom Line
An amazing way to see the best bits Scotland has to offer. 10/10. Will definitely be booking again with you next year.
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE: Thank you for your amazing comments, we look forward to welcoming you back next year.

by Carol Ann Williams 14/05/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Too many parts that were wonderful to pick out a high point. I loved the kayaking. The boat trip where we saw the dolphins was great, but so was the day before when we watched them from the shore. I loved seeing the nesting seabirds from the boat. Seeing the ptarmigans made me happy. (When I was little I loved to look at the color pictures of animals in the encyclopedia. There was a picture of ptarmigans that I must have looked at hundreds of times. I never thought I'd see one in the wild.) The night trip to look for wildcats was fun- the photographer who took us around seems to have found what is the perfect job for him.
Accommodation and Food
The couple who ran the first place that where we stayed were so nice, they made one feel comfortable. At first I thought the second place we stayed was a bit much- it seemed too fancy. But it grew on me. The staff seemed genuinely nice. I'm a picky eater and I don't like any hot beverages, so I wasn't sure how I'd manage with the food and how difficult it would be to avoid tea, but it was no problem. (There was the packed lunch with the cheese and chutney sandwich, but I know some people like that, and anyway our guide made sure we didn't starve.) It was fun to eat away from the hotel those 2 nights- to see different places and try different food.
Your Guide
Great guide. Very knowledgeable, excellent communication skills, very enthusiastic . My traveling companion and I were somewhat nervous about how the trip would go, whether we would be able to figure out how things worked (being American and so not sure how things are done in Scotland) and whether we would slow down the group too much (not being the fittest and not having long legs). Our guide had insight into what Americans wouldn't know and he was calm and patient when we were slow or just clueless.
The Bottom Line
Great trip. .

by Edward Taylor 20/05/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I appreciated the recommendations for accomodation ahead of the trip in Inverness. The itinerary and detailed equipment lists were very useful.
Trip Comments
It was a fantastic mix of experiences. The sea kayaking was great fun and the time spent looking at ospreys, sea otters etc. was magical. It was good to spend enough time in one place looking at wildlife and the schedule was flexible enough to make the most of unexpected sightings. The atmosphere and enthusiasm in the group was great. I think a lot of this was down to our guide, Malcolm who made everyone feel included.
Accommodation and Food
The locations for both hotels were ideal (Boat of Garten and Strontian). Strontian had the edge as it was fun to stay in a family run place and chat to the owners about life there. And being right on the sea loch was a beautiful location. We also went for a delicious meal out in a pub/restaurant on Speyside while staying at Boat of Garten.
Your Guide
Malcolm our guide went the extra mile to ensure that everyone had a great time and felt comfortable on the trip. He has an amazing knowledge of wildlife (especially birdsong!) and his ability to spot things at distance meant we had a lot of spantaneous sightings along the way, which we might otherwise have missed. He conveyed amazing enthusiasm and humour throughout.
The Bottom Line
This trip was a great mix, both of animals and landscapes. I felt the walking was challenging enough, and matched the description in the notes. Some guests felt there was a lot of driving on some days. Maybe we needed an extra day to cover the itinerary.. My best time was staying on the Ardnamurchan peninsular and just the incredible peaceful feeling there.

by Ann Paton 15/05/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I booked late (3 weeks before the trip) as I saw on the web that a place had become available through a cancellation. Craig Little was very helpful in taking and finalising my booking.
Trip Comments
The trip was Scotland's Big 5. High points were seeing osprey (Boat of Garten and Kincraig); dolphin (Cromarty in the Moray Firth); ptarmigan in Choire an Lochan, Cairngorm; kayaking and seeing seals off Arisaig; seeing eagles and otters from Grass Point on Mull. But there were many other special moments.
Accommodation and Food
Lovely view from the bedroom in Strontian Hotel.
Your Guide
Malcolm O'Reilly was outstanding as a guide. Very knowledgeable about the area and the wildlife, enthusiastic about each day's programme, carrying out a lot of administration and driving, socialising in the evenings etc.
The Bottom Line
Great to be able to enjoy wonderful scenery and wildlife without having to worry about where to go and what to do. Size of group also very good (socialising, but not too much).

Trip Details

This wildlife holiday in Scotland is a fresh way to experience the fantastic and diverse wildlife of the Scottish Highlands.

Rather than being a list-ticking trip, it’s designed to be a fun and informative multi-activity trip across the Highlands.

Led by our expert guides, we’ll seek out species such as dolphins, red deer, golden eagles and even the Scottish wildcat as we explore Scotland’s wild places. And while we will visit a hide or two, most of the wildlife will be encountered as we enjoy activities such as boat trips, walks and even some sea kayaking. All activities will be conducted at an easy pace, so are suitable for everyone to enjoy.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Loch Ness

On the way to Strontian, we stop at Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle, the spectacular ruined castle on the banks of the loch. Rumour has it that Nessie resides in a sub-aqua cave beneath the castle, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled and may end this wildlife trip with a sighting of the most elusive creature of all. (D)

Day 2 – Isle of Mull, Eagles and Otters

From our hotel it’s a short transfer to the pier where we jump on the ferry for the 15 minute crossing to the Isle of Mull. We’ll go in search of its famous sea eagles and golden eagles, as well as spending time on the coast looking for otters. Even the ferry journey offers the chance to look for dolphins, whales and basking sharks. (B,L)

Day 3 – Sea Kayaking with Seals

This morning, we enjoy sea kayaking in the sheltered waters of the Arisaig skerries. This will allow us to enjoy close encounters with seals, and perhaps even otters or porpoises. No experience is needed to enjoy the sea kayaking and you’ll be looked after by suitably qualified, expert guides. After lunch, we visit a wildlife hide where we have another opportunity to see otters. In the late evening we venture out on an nocturnal visit to try and find Scotland’s most elusive animal – the Scottish Wildcat. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – CREAG MEAGAIDH & RSPB RESERVE

Today we transfer east to the beautiful Cairngorms National Park. On the way, we stop to take a short walk at the Creag Meagaidh Nature Reserve, which is home to several rare mountain plants. We enjoy an afternoon stop at the RSPB Reserve at Insh Marshes before checking into our accommodation. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Mountain Species of the Cairngorms

Today we explore the wildlife of the Cairngorm mountains. Accessing the mountains from a high level car park at 2000 feet, we enjoy an easy hike into the Northern Corries, where we hope to see Scotland’s only herd of reindeer. We’ll also look out for red deer, mountain hares, ptarmigan and golden eagles – as well as enjoying the spectacular scenery. (B, L)

Day 6 – Dolphins and Dunes

Show-casing the diversity of the Scottish Highlands, a short transfer from our hotel in the mountains takes us to the coast where we hop onto a boat for a dolphin-spotting excursion in the Moray Firth, one of the best places in Scotland to see these playful creatures. Back on dry land, we’ll enjoy a beautiful coastal walk, exploring the sand dunes and nature of this often overlooked coastline. (B, L, D)

Day 7 – Ospreys and Red Squirrels

Leaving the hotel after breakfast we visit a nearby nature reserve where we should be able to see ospreys, red squirrels and a number of other species which inhabit this beautiful and ancient Scots Pine Forest. (B)

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
Very well designed, clearly much thought and effort was put into trying to get a lot of interesting events into the time available. As there is quite a lot of driving in the Wildlife trip, it is very suitable for those who want to view several areas of Scotland.

Isabel Draper
17/06/2015

5

An amazing way to see the best bits Scotland has to offer. 10/10. Will definitely be booking again with you next year.
TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE: Thank you for your amazing comments, we look forward to welcoming you back next year.

Tracey Barrett
16/06/2015

5

Rated 5.0 out of 5 based on 5 review(s) of Wildlife Adventures – Scotland’s Big 5

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