Dotterel and Ptarmigan Itinerary
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 viewing (which are present most evenings). Moth trap and short evening stroll looking for bats and listening for grasshopper warbler.
Sunday : (am) Look at moth trap. Visit Glen Roy. View the famous Parallel Roads of Glen Roy and drive up the glen looking for raptors and montane species such as ring ouzel and twite.
(pm) Drive up to the foot of Loch Arkaig, looking for waterfowl at Bunarkaig and orchids at Chia-Aig. Short walk at the end of Loch Arkaig to look for dippers, wagtails and flycatchers. Look for white-tailed eagles and ospreys along Loch Arkaig.
(evening) After dinner we head back into Fort William to look for otters.
Monday: (am/pm) Ardnamurchan peninsula – Ardgour and Morvern. Cross the Corran ferry stopping to look at black guillemot, with further stops on Loch Linnhe for seals, divers and possible otters. Continue to Loch Sunart, where we also look for otters, and then on to Lochaline, where we scan the basalt hills for eagles, and search for fossils along the sea shore. Return via Kingairloch, looking for eagles, otters and wild goat.
Tuesday: (am) Visit the red squirrel feeders at Inchree before carrying on to Cuil Bay. Search for butterflies and orchids if fine, along with a variety of birds and possible otter.
(pm) Explore the area of Appin, with a short walk across the Jubilee Bridge to look for flowers and butterflies, if fine. Walk around Port Appin, taking in the views and looking for a variety of wildlife.
Wednesday: (am) Boat trip along Loch Shiel from Glenfinnan to Acharacle. Look for golden and white-tailed eagles, along with divers, harriers and deer. (pm) Explore the northern end of Loch Moidart and walking along the shore at Arivegaig and Kentra, with a look at the beaches and bays at Ardtoe. Return via scenic drive via Glenuig and Loch Ailort.
Thursday: (am/pm) Cairngorm. We head across to Aviemore and search for crested tits and crossbills by Loch Morlich. Listen and watch for red grouse over lunch, before taking the funicular up Cairngorm Mountain, where we look for dotterel, ptarmigan, mountain hare and snow bunting on the tops. Visit an osprey nest site on the return journey
Friday: (am/pm) Boat trip – Arisaig to Eigg and Muck, with time ashore on Muck. Seals, seabirds, including Puffin, Gannets and Shearwaters on the crossing, with possibility of Porpoise, Dolphins and Minke Whale. Walk across the shore at island to Gallanach Bay, listening for possible corncrakes. Trip may be altered depending on weather and sea conditions.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast
Other options – Glen Loy, Rum, Glen Nevis, Arisaig and Rhu point, Loch Eil / Conaglen