On occasion the email response time was a bit slow, but ultimately all of my questions were addressed.
My personal preference is to have less time in a vehicle and more time outdoors. While we did and saw a lot of things all over the highlands (Mull to lochs to Cairngorms to Black Isle, etc.), the transit times & many stops felt somewhat tiring on certain days. I wonder if focussing the trip more tightly geographically would reduce the van time. I suppose there is a trade-off between the number of wildlife viewing opportunities and the distance one must travel to take advantage of all of those opportunities. The highlights for me were sea kayaking, the pine marten in the evening hide, and the Cairngorms hillwalk.
Accommodation & Food
We stayed in two places: The Strontian Hotel and Grant Arms Hotel. The former was small and private in a remote location, and the latter was a relatively large hotel in Grantown. I liked the Strontian better for its intimacy, and Julie worked hard to accommodate my dairy intolerance, but the lunches were not great (especially compared to other WS trips (Assynt and Women's Retreat in 2022 both had excellent food). Dinner next door to the Strontian was substantial (smoked salmon was great). The chef at Grant Arms took the time to mark up a menu for me showing which options were dairy-free, which was really sweet.
Dave is a great guide, very knowledgeable about far-flung wildlife viewing spots, and has a great eye for spotting wildlife. He got us everywhere on schedule--no small feat given all of the logistics on this trip--and even found time for some bonus stops (black-headed gulls, anyone?). He handled it all with calm and good humor. The afternoon tea breaks at the back of the van were such a nice touch!
The Bottom Line
This wildlife trip hits a staggering number of sites and habitats in a week--from western lochs and the Isle of Mull to the Cairngorms and Black Isle and seemingly everywhere in between--and one spends more time in the van than on Wilderness Scotland's wilderness walking trips, but the upshot is: eagles, otters, seals, osprey, seabirds, reindeer, songbirds, water birds, badgers, hairy coos, iridescent insects and a pine marten! It was all good, but the highlights for me were sea kayaking, Mull, climbing a Cairngorm peak, and seeing that pine marten up close.