The islands of the Hebrides are rightly known to be some of the best places in Europe for wildlife.
The Inner Hebrides lie closer to mainland Scotland and include Islay, Jura, Skye, Mull and the Small Isles. The Outer Hebrides are a chain of more than 100 islands located further off the west coast of mainland Scotland. Some of the main islands include Barra, Harris, Lewis, North Uist, South Uist, and St Kilda.
The adventure begins for most visitors on their ferry journey from the mainland to the Islands. Watching out for gannets (St Kilda is home to the world’s largest breeding colony of gannets), dolphins, porpoises and Minke Whales. The areas around the Hebrides are the best for whale watching in the whole of Europe and the islands are home to their own unique pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) and in the summer between (May – September) Basking Sharks are a common sight.
Make sure you grab a seat at the ferries forward viewing deck to have the best chance of seeing Hebridean wildlife in the water. On my last ferry trip back from Lewis with a Wilderness Scotland Hebridean Trail group, we spotted a number of dolphins and both great and pomerine skuas from the boat deck, plus good numbers of puffins and Tysties (black guillemots).