The Scottish Highlands
24th to 30th August 2023
Come and Join me this August
Come and Join me (plus another local guide - it'll probably be John but it could be Simon) as we spend 5 full days together, seeking out some seasonal Highland species.
August is the last chance to see our Ospreys, doing what Ospreys do best...catching fish. Adults are mostly still around busy recharging after a busy breeding season or still feeding large chicks in the nest. So there is a lot of feeding going on. Those chicks that have fledged are also honing their own fishing skills. Not yet as effective as their parents they can often be seen making attempt after attempt at catching a fish, often botching it up spectacualrly!
In addition to this undoubtedly seasonal highlight the forests are high in fruit content; the Red of Rowan and Lingon berry and the last of the Blaeberry are to be seen before being snaffled by birds about to head south. Many of the fungi are also organising themselves in the forest mulch and if it is damp will start to push toadstools and mushrooms. There are good chances of seeing all of the classic highland species Red & Roe deer, Red Squirrels (we just call 'em Squirrels up here), Black Grouse, two Eagle species, and local endemics like Scottish Crossbill and Crested tit.
Plus you'll get some insight into many of my favourite smaller species too. I never ignore the insect and amphibian life. Places are going fast. But if you can't get on this one, there will be others. See below...
Mull Wildlife Cruise with Hebridean Adventures
25th Sept to 1st October 2023
See a Top wildlife location from a new perspective
I know you shouldn't have favourites BUT if I was pushed I would choose the Isle of Mull as a strong contender as one of my top 3 locations of wildlife watching in the UK - it's a condensed, highland and island experience with good odds in picking up all of the charismatic beasties - both big and wee ones all against a backdrop of spectacular West coast scenery. It's a cracking time of the year too - with Autumn colours creeping over the hills and the testosterone levels in the Red Deer stags will be hitting their annual high with the Rut being in full swing.
This is a brand NEW relationship with the experienced team at Hebridean Adventures on their new ship, the very capable and stable (it has stabilisers! I know right!) Hjalmar Bjørge.
For this cruise around Mull and its surrounding islands and seascapes we'll all be based on board making shore excursions to explore the best locations and wildlife that Mull has to offer. I would hope to see Eagles and other fabulous birds (Autumn migration is underway), Otters, Deer as well as some of the richest marine life. It's the perfect time of the year to experience the best the oceans can deliver and the region is famous for its seals, whales and Dolphins.
Don’t miss out on this amazing chance to circumnavigate the Isle of Mulland enjoy the perfect week away on a slow-travel adventure cruise with me. For more info and booking information give the button below a click.
I look forward to seeing you on board
The Scottish Highlands in Autumn
3rd to 9th October 2023
Come and have a rut with us!
It's the Autumn in Scotland and I think it's a close call between which is my favourite season in the Highlands; Spring or Autumn? I can't choose between them. There are the beginnings of the leaf change, the great abscission - as hidden pigmentss are revealed, the Aspen leaves turn to golden cascades of coins, while birch is more subtle, Rowan doesn't know the meaning of the word, it's scarlet berries and foliage burn bright on the hills. The sound track is of the primeval, testosterone fuelled grunts and bellows of Red deer stags as the annual rut is in full swing. It's good for a bit of 'vizmigging' too (that stands for visual migration btw) and its all about migrating birds; both those checking out and those coming in for the winter and the straths and firths fill up will feathered travellers. There is still the chance of a bit of warmth in the sun and the last of the seasons insects will making the most of the last flurry of flowerings.
All this is in addition to all the usual bucket-list beasts; the Eagles, Otters, Pine marten, Badger, Crested tit, Divers, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Red Squirrel (we just call them squirrels here!) Then in the even we turn from creatures ot creature comforts in the fabulous Grant Arms Hotel - your home for the suration of the stay or longer if you fancy! The food is fabulous, the beds are soft and the whisky is as warming as the welcome - Oh, and did I mention the BWWC? The Bird Watching and Wildlfie club has a reference library and features nightly showings of Natural History films as well as guest speakers.... including at least one talk from your truly.
So if this sounds like the sort of Scotland you might want to experience before the winter draws in then click the box below for more details.
Wildlife of the Great Glen with Hebridean Adventures
10th to 16th October 2023
Travel the Great Glen fault line
This adventure venture is an association between me, Hebridean Adventures and SKYEFARI- this one will be a bit different. I've always wanted to do this trip and now I have the opportunity to not only do it on board the Hjalmar Bjørge but I will be able to share it with you!
As we travel up the Caledonian canal from Fort William to the Capital of the Highlands, Inverness, we'll be taking in the Autumn colours which should be approaching their peak as well as the best that the autumn season has to offer in ways of wildlife.
We'll be hopping off for shore excursions on board the uber comfortable 4x4 skyefari adventure minibus. For more information and booking details for this exciting trip please click the button below.
I look forward to seeing you on board
Wildlife & Whisky
Explore the tastes and wild sites of the highlands
Join me and my good friend, polymath and whisky expert Simon Saunders for a week of Wildlife and Whisky. During this 5-night 4-day holiday, we will be visiting three distilleries. Balvenie which has a world class distillery tour and is one of the only distilleries that the whole process from grain to bottle can be experienced. Tomatin where we will look at the history of the distillery through time and finish with a tutored tasting of some of their single malts. Macallan where we will experience the impact exceptional oak casks have on the maturation of The Macallan spirit. We will also visit the Whisky Castle for a private tasting session. (Distillery tours are subject to change).
As if that wasn’t enough, in between the distillery visits, we will take you so some of our best wildlife spots at this time of year - it's amazing what you'll see after a 'tasting session'!
We'll be looking out for seasonal highlights such as overwintering Sea Ducks, Divers, and Waders as well as Eagles and other Raptors, Crested Tits and Red Squirrel and much more. Included will be an evening at the Speyside Wildlife Hide to watch the Badgers and if we are lucky a Pine Marten.
Isle of mull wildlife extravaganza
16TH - 23RD JUNE 2024
From the comfort of Knock House in the heart of the 32,000 acre Benmore estate we will explore the beautiful island of Mull in search of a wealth of different birds and mammals, gaining a fascinating insight into island life along the way.
With luck we will enjoy views of otters, white-tailed and golden eagles, hen harrier and short-eared owl. A boat trip to the neighbouring Treshnish Isles will provide plenty of opportunity to spend time with one of the UK’s most charismatic seabirds, the enigmatic puffin, while a boat trip with Sea Life Surveys offers the chance of seals, common and bottlenose dolphins, basking shark and even minke whale. Amongst the many wildlife highlights we will visit some delightful villages, stretches of coastline and areas of outstanding natural beauty!
In the evenings we will enjoy a sumptuous meal of the finest local produce, reflecting on the days many highlights, before retiring to one of the house’s many living areas for a nightcap.
With exclusive use of Knock House and access to the entire estate, including some remote areas rarely visited by the general public, this trip to Scotland’s Eagle Island promises to be an experience you’ll never forget!
Wildlife & Whisky