Itinerary – West Highland Summer
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 watch (which can be held each evening!). Moth trap and short evening stroll to listen and look for bats, if fine.
Sunday: (am) Look at contents of moth trap. Glen Loy. Travel up the Glen looking at the various woodland and upland habitats, including Caledonian pine forest. Look for eagles in the upper glen, along with deer and ravens. Possibility of late reptiles, dragonflies and butterflies. (pm). Glen Roy. We visit the famous Parallel Roads and drive along this stunning glen, looking for raptors, upland birds and deer, including sika. Have a walk at the end, admiring the river terraces, and looking for a variety of woodland birds in the small plantation.
Monday: (am/pm) Ardnamurchan Peninsula – Ardgour and Morvern. Cross the Corran Ferry, look for black guillemot, seals, terns, divers and otters. Visit the shores of Loch Sunart, where we also look for otters and eagles with lunch at Laudale. Drive down into Morvern and along to Loch Aline, where we walk to a noted fossil site, looking for sea eagles along the way. Return via Kingairloch, with the chance of otters, wild goat and twite (OR Inniemore).
Tuesday: (early). Have a look for blackcock near Fort William and then otters at Lochy Mouth. (am) Cuil bay, where we explore the beach and walk across the peninsula looking for a variety of birds including waders, twite, divers and possible otter. (pm) Visit Inchree where we look for the red squirrels at the feeding station, before taking a walk up to the Inchree Falls, looking for woodland birds such as siskin and crossbill.
Wednesday: (am/pm) Boat trip to the Small Isles. Visit the islands of Eigg and Muck on the Sheerwater out of Arisaig. Look for cetaceans including minke whales, dolphins and porpoise, as well as basking sharks. Shearwaters should be still around with other seabirds such as gannets and young auks, as well as the possibility of passage migrants. We spend time ashore on Muck, where we walk across the island to a seal colony, and the magnificent beach at Gallanach, where we should be able to watch ringed plovers and other waders.
Thursday: (may change according to what we have seen) (am / pm) Loch Arkaig. Drive along the side of Loch Lochy via Bunarkaig for the possibility of divers, then along the scenic dark Mile to the Chia-Aig Falls. Walk to the River Arkaig, where we look for dipper. Continue along Loch Arkaig looking for sea and golden eagles, osprey and divers, as well as red deer. Park at the end of the loch, which we explore, before taking a short walk to the head of Glen Dessary, seeking chats and other birds. If time, return for a walk along the side of the Caledonian canal at Gairlochy, admiring the floral display, and detouring to the River Lochy in search of dipper and sand martins. OR Coastal trip
Friday: (am/pm) Trip across to Loch Ness and up the east side to Loch Ruthven to look for Slavonian Grebe and Osprey. Stop off at Loch Tarff en route in search of divers, and for a moorland walk with the chance of red grouse and raptors. Look for Hen Harriers and Sika deer. Return via the south side of Loch Ness with the possibility of Red Squirrels. Possible detours to Glen Gloy to look for eagles and Loch Oich to look for divers or River Garry for dipper and wagtails.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast
Other options – Rum, Glen Nevis, Arisaig and Rhu, Garbh Eilean hide, Stronchreggan.