This interesting wildlife holiday in the Highlands is centred on the flora and fauna of Wester-Ross and Sutherland and learning about wild foods. The week includes a trip to the famous Handa Island reserve where you will have the chance to see many nesting birds, including Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins, Fulmars, Arctic and Great Skuas. Birds of prey such as Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles and Peregrine Falcons are also common. The trip is also focused on identifying wild plants and leanring about wild foragable food.
We use naturally produced, local meat and vegetables some from the farm you will be staying on. Our fish and seafood comes straight from the ocean. We make all our breads, cakes, jams and pickles and we harvest wild foods according to the season. Come home to a venison casserole with wild garlic or a nettle and goats cheese tart, followed by home-made puddings such as a raspberry or apple tart or gorse flower and honey ice cream with rose hip syrup.
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Gigha, located three miles west of the Kintyre peninsular, is the most southerly island in the Hebrides and measures just seven miles long by half a mile wide. The island has unusually mild weather for Scotland tanks to its proximity to the North Atlantic Drift, which has helped to create the world-famous Achamore Gardens. Idyllic walks along beaches offer good chance of spotting seals and otters. Note Gigha is community-owned.
The Gigha Hotel (gigha.org.uk) has double rooms with breakfast from £48pp. The website has lots of information about the island.
Because it is set on the eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Gigha attracts a wide variety of sea birds such as Guillemot and Eider, which breed on Eilean Garbh. Inland, ducks such as Mallard, Teal, Wigeon and Pochard can be found along with Heron, Snipe, Pheasant and Red Grouse. The Hooded Crow and Jackdaw are present in considerable numbers, but geese are only occasional visitors. Mammals are under-represented, with Red Deer, Stoat, Weasel, Red Fox and Hare all being absent. In the mid-20th century Gigha had eight boats engaged in fishing for Cod and Lobster, but commercial activity ceased some time ago. Wikipedia
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Remote, basic but comfortable, award-winning hostel accommodation in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. Inaccessible by car, Loch Ossian Hostel, a converted boat house, is 20 minutes walk from Corrour railway station on Rannoch Moor. Ecological from top to toe – with bat-friendly paint (for benefit of colony in attic) and powered by wind and sun. Ideal for walking and wildlife observation. More information here
Go sea kayaking around the Isle of Skye. Plenty of opportunities to see puffins and seals. The place says
“Thanks to to the number of protected bays around the island, it is nearly always possible to kayak somewhere suitable. Uig Bay is a perfect place to go for a safe and enjoyable paddle, exploring the local wildlife. Secluded beaches and beautiful bays, sometimes only accessible by kayak” Visit site
The view from the beach at Scarista on South Harris is simply stunning. This beach is huge with lots of room for bucket and spading, crabbing and paddling and windsurfing. Wonderful walks for exploring the beach and sealife, but watch out for large shoals of various jellyfish that get washed ashore at certain times of year. On the other hand, the waters around the Hebrides are the cleanest in the UK. Views of the Hills of Harris and the Isle of Taransay where the BBC filmed their series “Castaway
The Isle of Mull is one of my favourite places in the British Isles. This place offers camping and bungalows next to the sea with views of Ben Nevis and the Caingorns. This is great base for exploring the island. There are otters on site on the loch and a seal colony nearby. Dolphins can occasionally be seen in the Sound of Mull from here. The owners note:
“Sea otters and red deer are regulars, and dolphins and porpoises are occasional visitors. Birds include terns, cormorants, eiders, curlews, herons, and buzzards, and you can watch gannets diving for fish out at sea. Golden and sea eagles occasionally fly past, and we can tell you how to find them off site.”