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Trip created by Rachael Gavan
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Join us on a journey to the beautiful Hebridean island of Islay, one of the most wildlife-rich locations on the west coast of Scotland. Home to some of the most incredible spectacles, including Barnacle Geese, which flock to Islay in their thousands each year. Here, you will experience the incredible wealth of birdlife and marine life that seek refuge in the wild places of this intriguing island. Let your guide bring this island to life with their knowledge and interpretation of behaviour so that you don’t miss a thing. Set foot on white sandy beaches, coastal trails and the endless expanses of grassland found in the famous coastal ‘machairs’ as you gain a fascinating insight into the tapestry of island life.
Experience the true spirit and hospitality of Islay with a tour and tasting of one of the islands famous whisky distilleries. Relax in your handpicked luxury hotel accommodation and enjoy delicious, locally sourced produce each evening.
Arriving in Tarbert this afternoon, we’ll set foot on the Kintyre Peninsula and head out to spend the afternoon visiting the coastal wildlife reserve of Largiebaan. Enjoy a leisurely walk and keep an eye out for the wildlife that inhabits this area including oystercatchers, kestrels and skylarks. Settle into your historic accommodation for the night, tucked away just a few miles from Tarbert, on the northern tip of the peninsula. (L, D)
Approaching Islay by ferry this morning, we set out to explore the Oa Peninsula in the far south of the island. Our hike today takes though the Oa Nature Reserve, an area of breathtaking beauty which includes dramatic sea cliffs, freshwater loch, and wide-open moor and grassland. We’ll visit the American Monument, which commemorates the loss of two ships of troops in 1918. The viewpoint here is just 200m high, but it offers expansive views of the Atlantic and, on a clear day, the coast of Northern Ireland can be seen. Continuing on through the Nature Reserve we’ll keep a close eye out for a few island locals including twite, hen harriers and the majestic golden eagles that soar through the endless skies. (B, L, D)
Today we head north to the sweeping white sands of Loch Gruinart and Loch Gorm. During October around 20,000 geese arrive here from Greenland for the winter. There are sometimes so many that they turn the fields black. The sight and sound of such abundant life if is an incredible experience. We’ll explore this area on foot, looking to identify other species. This is a good area to see birds of prey including hen harriers, sparrow-hawks, merlin, peregrine and golden eagles as well as the flocks of small birds who feed in the stubble fields. (B, L, D)
Embark on a coastal walk along an easily accessible pathway that links the distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. We’ll stop here for an intimate tour and dram at one of these renowned distilleries before continuing on to Claggain Bay and Ardtalla beach. Your guide will help you spot the local birdlife and, if you’re lucky, you may get a visit from a native grey seal colony longing on the rocks along the shore. (B, L, D)
After a relaxing breakfast, we will take the morning ferry back to the Argyll mainland. Keep a lookout for marine wildlife and admire the captivating backdrop formed by the Paps of Jura as we go. Once back in Kennacraig, it’s a 90-minute transfer back to Oban. We should arrive at the train station by 2pm, where your trip will end. (B)
This itinerary is based in two different locations throughout the course of the trip, with one night on the mainland and three nights on the Isle of Islay. Each of the accommodations offer double and twin rooms, most with en-suite facilities.
For solo travellers: Accommodation is based on sharing a twin room with another solo traveller of the same gender. A limited number of rooms for single occupancy are available on a first come first served basis, subject to a single supplement. Please enquire for availability.
Single supplements vary across our itineraries so please refer to the u2018What’s Included – Accommodation’ tab on the trip page on our website for this trip or contact our sales team.
Throughout the journey, varied island produce will be served up in hearty meals. Enjoy some of the finest local produce from the land, air and sea and of course, any special dietary requirements are happily catered for.
On this trip we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|16th Oct - 20th Oct 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,095||Book Now|
|Trip Dates for 2021||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|22nd Oct - 26th Oct 2021||7 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,095||Book Now|
|29th Oct - 2nd Nov 2021||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,095||Book Now|
|5th Nov - 9th Nov 2021||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,095||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
Rachael is a true gem and we regularly receive feedback thanking her for designing inspiring itineraries and for being such a pleasure to chat to. In many cases the people Rachael designs tailor made trips for, actually become friends and she’s had more than one invite to far off lands as a result. Rachael believes in only the highest levels of customer experience and service.
- Rachael GavanAsk Rachael a Question
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: