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Hebrides Islands and Wildlife - 3 Day Tours

The summer solstice (around mid June) is the start of the peak time for Hebridean wildlife and during this time we run a ‘best of the Inner Hebrides’ tour. As the basking sharks are unpredictable at this time we concentrate on multiple wildlife activities basing ourselves on the magical Isle of Coll. The waters around the island are known as a marine wildlife hotspot with pristine white shell sand beaches, rocky islets and Hebridean serenity. As ever, our tours are based on having the best of both worlds with shore comfort and comfortable fast cabin RIBS for sea tours. Our tours will be led by our popular guides who are very experienced and passionate about the local environment and wildlife.

These ours are arranged Fri-Mon with 3 nights accomodation meaning a long weekend of activities. Days on the boat are based on Fri/Sat/Sun.

Please see what our itinerary options would be below.

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Trip Details

Basking Sharks

As described above, this is not the peak time for basking sharks, but it is a time when they are around with the spring plankton blooms. Numbers fluctuate year on year in the spring, but it's the right place to be in to find them, so we will have a chance to observe them as we'll be visiting the area they frequent.

Whales & Dolphins

We'll be operating around one the best whale and dolphin hotspots of the Inner Hebrides. There are very good chances of seeing minke whales, common dolphins and porpoises. We occasionally have bottlenose dolphins and rarely we see the elusive orca!!!

Seal & Lagoon Visit

A popular part of our summer programme. We have the opportunity for sheltered water snorkelling and kayaking near a colony of harbour and grey seals, making for memorable wildlife encounters. The protected lagoon has a number of rocky islets surrounded by shallow crystal clear water and white shell sand. In full summer on a calm sunny day, this is one of the most stunning locations in Scotland.

Fingal’s Cave & Isle of Staffa

The volcanic wonder of the Inner Hebrides! Basalt columns and pillars rise out of the sea to form the Isle of Staffa. Fingal’s Cave cuts into the island to form a natural spectacle. Inspiration for Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture’, we will land you on the island to explore this fascinating place.

If there is very calm weather we can also swim here, but we need to time this with other boat traffic and conditions so is usually an early morning trip.

Puffin Island (Treshnish Isles)

Another jewel in the Hebrides crown! Visiting the Treshnish Isles, we are able to land you onto the puffin colony where you can have incredible viewing experience with these comical seabirds. Getting within a couple of metres of the birds, the puffins are comfortable with our presence so incredible pictures can be taken. Everyone loves the puffins and they are an iconic species in this area. On the island there is also a seabird city where we can visit literally thousands of guillemots and razorbills nesting on the cliffs and fulmars and skuas circling above. A visit here is a wonderful wildlife experience.

Hyskier Lighthouse & Pelagic Cruise

Hyskier is an amazing rocky outcrop that holds one of the famous Stevenson lighthouses. Hyskier is around an hour’s journey away from our base and the reef is a volcanic pinnacle which thrusts out from the seabed in open water. This pinnacle acts as a magnet for marine life - we usually see cetaceans here along with basking sharks. Again there is a large mixed seal colony and a variety of seabirds. With a protected lagoon, it’s a great place for snorkelling, kayaking, and landing ashore to explore the island. Not many people make the journey here due to it’s remote location and we need perfect weather conditions and a full day to visit this special place. We only schedule this for our longer trips due to the distance involved.

Otters & Stargazing Evening

Another great advantage of visiting the island is the resident Eurasian otters. Our guides can lead short walks to look for them and although they are elusive, we do have stunning views of them fishing in the loch. In the evening we can combine this with some star gazing, given the Isle of Coll’s designation as a dark skies location. This means that the light pollution is so small that the night sky can be be fully viewed without interruption. Night photography is excellent at this location however given that these tours are around the summer solstice, we have long days which means we do have to wait a while for darkness! Usually this can be a relaxing after dinner activity when we have an evening of settled weather.

Coll Land Tour

We will schedule in time for a 4×4 based land tour of the Isle of Coll. Our boat tours are always very busy trying to pack in as much as possible but our guests always enjoy having some time to explore the island they are visiting. Our local tour driver is a great character and also passionate about the local wildlife. Highlights include the lovely sand dunes and RSPB reserve, looking for hen harriers, Brechacha Castle, a peat cutting area and a tale or two about the local gossip!

Evening Scuba Dive

For qualified divers we do have an option for an easy dive on one of the evenings. This way it doesn’t impact on time for other non-divers on the tour and we can accommodate small groups.

Staff and divers all rate this site as one of their favorites in Scotland so it's a must-do dive if you make all the effort to visit the island.

See here for more details on the dive and you can also hire gear from us

Accommodation

Accommodation is based at the 5* bunkhouse on the island where we stay for the duration of the peak season. It's a five minute walk from the boat and very close to the hotel bar & restaurant, cafe and shop. It is self catering, but you can buy supplies at the shop, order packed lunches on the island and eat out for dinner. Otherwise you can self cater for the full trip if you prefer.

This facility has three bedrooms with bunk beds sleeping either 4 or 6 per room. We do try to keep the rooms to same sex but this is not always possible. There is a very large living space with lounge, kitchen and dining area which easily accommodates the whole group, 4 showers and 5 toilets. 

For those who wish to have their own room, you can independently book the equally stunning Bed & Breakfast or Hotel. Costs vary depending on the room and view but based on 2 people sharing range from £40-£75 per person per night extra. We do have rooms reserved on the island during our tours so please contact us in the first instance.

What's Included

  • Three days shark and wildlife boat tour
  • Ferry pick up
  • Amazing wildlife, scenery and culture
  • Knowledgeable and experienced guides
  • Hot drinks and home baking snack after snorkelling
  • Guided evening otter & wildlife walk
  • Optional evening scuba dive for qualified divers
  • Onboard binoculars, books and information guides
  • Bunkhouse accommodation on the island (B&B/ Hotel option available for additional cost)

What's Not Included

  • Equipment Hire - please see here for gear hire.
  • Weather or wildlife guarantees! This is not yet the peak time for basking sharks (depending on the season) so book later if it's shark focussed tours you want.
  • Lunch - please bring your lunch with you for day 1. Packed lunches available on the island for day 2-4.
  • Travel to the meeting point on the Isle of Coll (ferry information here)