Itinerary – Puffins and Pups
The following itinerary gives an idea of what to expect this week. Exact locations will vary according to preferences and weather. Please remember that some of the best sightings may be had in inclement weather!
Saturday : Arrival. Orientation. Pine marten viewing (which are present most evenings). Short evening walk after dinner, if fine. Set moth trap.
Sunday : (am) Glen Loy. Explore this lovely glen with a wide mixture of habitats including the original Caledonian Pine Reserve. Look for reptiles, butterflies (including Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small and Large Heath) plus moths, dragonflies and orchids. (pm) Drive up Glen Roy to explore the fascinating geology of this spectacular valley. Look for a range of moorland birds, including wheatear and ring ouzel, and sika deer. Walk at the end.
Monday : (all day) Treshnish Islands and Staffa. Early start and travel to Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, looking for otters, eagles and a variety of wildlife. Take a boat trip to Lunga on the Treshnish Isles where we should see puffins, other auks, kittiwakes, shags, and a wealth of plants. Watch out for sea eagles, skuas, porpoise, dolphins and seals on the trip across. Carry on to Staffa, where we explore the magnificent Fingals Cave and look out for more seabirds, before returning to Kilchoan, scanning the cliffs for golden eagle. Return via the spectacular coastline of Loch Moidart and Loch Ailort, still looking for otters along the way.
Tuesday: (am/pm) Loch Arkaig. Pass Bunarkaig Bay, with possible divers. Explore this lovely loch with its wealth of raptors and other wildlife. Park at Chia-Aig Falls and walk to end of the loch to look for wagtails and dipper in the River Arkaig. Make various stops along the loch looking for raptors, particularly nesting sea eagles and ospreys. Walk around the Allt Mhuic butterfly reserve to find orchids, birds, and if fine, butterflies and dragonflies. Carry on to end of loch where we have another short walk, if fine. (eve) Trip to Lochy Mouth to look for otters
Wednesday: (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 with pups, divers and possible otters. Continue to Glen Tarbet, where we take the narrow coastal road along Kingairloch, looking for eagles, hen harrier, otters and wild goat. Stop for lunch at a raptor viewing vantage point. Continue to Inniemore Forest in Morvern, where we have a walk around the old township, looking for birds, flowers, butterflies and dragonflies. Return via Loch Sunart, where we pause to look for otters at the end of the loch. Return via the Corran Ferry.
Thursday: Drive round the side of Loch Eil to Loch Linnhe looking for waterfowl, waders, otters and possibly eagles. Continue to Stroncreggan, where we explore this lovely glen, weather permitting, and look for orchids, deer, and a variety of birds including eagles. (pm) Glen Righ. Walk up to the spectacular Inchree falls admiring the views and looking out for woodland birds, including crossbill and goldcrest. Spend time at the red squirrel viewing wall.
Friday: (am/pm) Arisaig. Stop off at the Prince’s Cairn to look for seals with pups, and terns, before exploring the road to Rhu and taking the path to Port a Murrain. Look for otters, seals, divers and other seabirds, with the possibility of a range of butterflies and dragonflies if fine. Camusdarrach beach and dunes – chance to do some beachcombing, and even possibly rock-pooling, whilst looking for sea birds and dune plants including wild pansy. If time, carry on to Mallaig to look for grey seal in the harbour.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast.
Other options – Eigg & Muck, Loch Shiel cruise, Cuil Bay, Loch Ruthven, Cairngorm