The following itinerary gives an idea of what to expect this week. Exact locations will vary according to preferences and weather. Remember – some of the best wildlife encounters can be had in inclement weather!
Saturday Arrival. Orientation. Pine marten vigil (which can be held each evening!). Moth trap and short evening stroll to listen and look for bats, if fine.
Sunday (am) Glen Loy. Explore this lovely glen with a wide mixture of habitats including the original Caledonian Pine Reserve, which we will get a taste of. Walk up the glen to look for eagles and deer.
(pm) Glen Roy. View the famous Parallel Roads of Glen Roy and drive up the glen looking for raptors, red, roe and sika deer and small birds, particularly at Brae Roy, where we have a short walk. Keep an eye out for brown hares.
Monday : (early) Drive to Glen Garry to look for rutting deer before late breakfast.
(am / pm) Loch Eil. Drive round the loch looking for seabirds, sea eagles and otters. Have a walk in scenic Stronchreggan (deer and eagles) if time permits. Return via Corran Ferry. Look for red squirrels at the feeders at Inchree. Call in at Lochy Mouth on way home to look for waterfowl and otters.
Tuesday : (am/pm) Trip to Knoydart, departing from Mallaig on the Western Isles. Look for porpoise, seals and sea birds, with possibility of sea eagle on crossing, and afternoon cruise to Tarbert. Explore the peninsula around the village of Inverie, looking for raptors, deer, and a variety of birds. Return via scenic coastal route to Arisaig, looking for divers on the way.
Wednesday : (early). Have a look for blackcock near Fort William and then otters at Lochy Mouth.
(am/pm) Visit Cuil Bay, Duror. Look for otter, porpoise, waders and divers in various locations. Look at new Wildlife hub at Castle Stalker and admire the views across to Lismore. Visit the estuary by the Jubilee Bridge, Appin and look for waders and wildfowl. Further walk at Port Appin, if time.
Thursday : (am/pm) Ardnamurchan Peninsula – Ardgour and Moidart. Cross the Corran Ferry, look for black guillemot, seals, terns, divers and otters. Visit the shores of Loch Sunart. Walk through to Garbh Eiean wildlife hide to look for otters, seals and herons. Walk to scenic Castle Tioram through mixed woodland and estuarine habitat. Look for ducks, waders, eagles, otters, deer and much more. Return via scenic road via Loch Ailort.
Friday : (am/pm) Trip across to Speyside. Walk around the woods by the shores of Loch Morlich looking for crested tits and red squirrels, with possible Scottish crossbill. Lunch in Corrie na Ciste, Cairngorm, where we look out for grouse and mountain hare. Trip up the Cairngorm Funicular, with optional walk guided at the top to the summit of Cairngorm Mountain to look for ptarmigan and snow bunting. Call in at Insh Marshes on our return to look for hen harrier, roe deer and waterfowl.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast
Other options – Glen Nevis, Morvern, Loch Arkaig, Glen Etive