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 can be seen most evenings). Moth trap and short evening stroll looking for bats, possible grasshopper warblers, if fine.
Sunday: (am) Glen Loy. Explore this lovely glen with a wide mixture of habitats including the original Caledonian Pine Reserve. Look for reptiles, butterflies and moths (weather allowing), and 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 deer, raptors and montane species such as ring ouzel and twite.
Monday: (early). Look for lekking Black Grouse and then Otters near Fort William.
(am/pm) Loch Arkaig. Stop off at Chia-Aig Falls and look for narrow-leaved helleborine. Visit near end of south Arkaig Pinewoods, looking for dippers and wagtails in the river Arkaig. Keep an eye out for ospreys, both white-tailed and golden eagles. If fine have a walk around the Butterfly Conservation reserve at Allt Mhuic, looking for early chequered skipper. Red deer should still be low down, and migrant woodland birds such as wood warbler and tree pipit should be around.
Tuesday: Trip around Ardgour and Moidart. Look for seals, otters, eagles and water birds. Visit Ariundle Oakwoods NNR and explore the woodlands looking at spring flowers and woodland migrant birds. Return via Kingairloch loop, looking for otter, wild goat and divers.
Wednesday: (am/pm) Road to the Isles. Stop off at Prince’s cairn to look for divers, terns and seals. Explore the road to Rhu, and walk out to the end of the peninsula. Look for divers, otters, seals and other coastal wildlife. Take the coast road round to Loch Morar, via Camusdarrach beach and the Silver Sands of Morar. Visit Mallaig Harbour for grey seals, if time.
Thursday: Visit Inchree for squirrels and walk around waterfall, looking for crossbill and other woodland birds. Possible stop at Ballachulish Quarry to look for peregrine and ravens. Lunch at Cuil Bay followed by walk across the peninsula looking for divers, twite, otters, waders and songbirds.
Friday: 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 to Gallanach Bay to view seal and tern colonies. Listen and watch out for corncrake on Muck.
Itinerary for Friday may change depending on weather, alternative Cairmgorms.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast
Other options – Cairngorm, Loch shiel, Morvern and Loch Aline, Glen Nevis.