Scottish Wildlife Spotting
Zoos and wildlife parks are great places to educate children about the natural world but if you would like to see some of the most amazing creatures in their natural environment on your holiday then here are a few suggestions. Wild animals don’t always keep to a schedule so there are no guarantees here but with a little bit of patience you may be lucky enough to see a huge variety of Scotland’s most impressive residents.
One of the most reliable spots in the UK ,for watching dolphins at close quarters, is Chanonry Point, Fortrose, on the Black Isle. The appropriately named Dolphin House lies just a short walk from the beach where you can get spectacularly close. One hour after low tide is the best time when they start to chase fish up the firth and you may be fortunate enough to be standing only a few metres from them as they feed in the channel.
The isle of Mull has long been a haven for birdwatchers but you don’t have to be a hardcore twitcher to appreciate the sight of an eagle flying past. Cuan Choluim Chille near Torlosik is located in a national Scenic Area where eagles have been spotted flying past the house and otters sighted from the coastline just a short walk down a track.
Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water Books have inspired countless naturalists to come to Scotland to view its wildlife. Otters, the animals most closely associated with his books can be viewed from a specially constructed hide at Kylerhea only a short drive from Teangue House on the Sleat Peninsula. This is the perfect base for numerous wildlife excursions in the area and a visit to the Bright Water Visitor Centre in Kyleakin is a must.
If beavers are your thing then head along to Knapdale forest, just a quick hop from Achaglachgach. This is the home of the Scottish Beaver Trail, a conservation project which reintroduced beavers back into the area after their extinction in the UK over 400 years ago. Beavers are naturally shy creatures so the best time to visit is at either dawn or dusk but there is plenty to entertain children if you do visit during the day.
Holiday cottages come with all kinds of extras to make your stay that little bit more enjoyable but few houses can boast of a resident badger. Seahorses near Drumbeg is family friendly and remote but the neighbours will visit after dark if you remember to leave a peanut butter sandwich on the patio for them. (Badgers are fussy creatures so Whole Earth sugar-free peanut butter apparently works best!) A Pine Marten can also be spotted stealing the fat sticks from the bird feeder just metres from the kitchen window. Of course roaming red deer go without saying!
These are only a few suggestions to get you started, there is an abundance of wildlife out there to be discovered. If, however, this has inspired you then give us a call to check availability and make your next holiday luxurious as well as wild.
Photo: Chanonry point by Andrew Dowsett