Boat charters and wildlife cruises in the Highlands

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  • Dolphins on the Moray Firth
    Dolphins on the Moray Firth

The wild and unpolluted waters surrounding the dramatic Highland coastline are more than just a blue fringe to fine scenery. They are well worth exploring in their own right so take a wildlife cruise around the inner Moray Firth or from the western seaboard and experience the resident aquatic wildlife such as whales, dolphins and seals.

East coast

The bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth are perhaps the most famous cetacean species in the northern waters. Here, the cool rich feeding grounds allow them to grow bigger than bottlenose dolphins anywhere else in the world.

Around the inner Moray Firth, many different operators offer wildlife-watching cruises and most operate between March and October.

To ensure maximum enjoyment, and the welfare of the dolphins, choose a member of the Dolphin Space Programme (DSP) for your excursion. DSP accredited operators are committed to providing high quality wildlife watching trips which do not cause disturbance to marine wildlife and are trained on how to approach a wide range of marine life including seals, seabirds and basking sharks, as well as cetaceans such as the minke and killer whales which can also sometimes be seen here.

Alternatively, if you'd rather stick to dry land, the mouth of Cromarty Firth, Chanonry Point near Fortrose, North or South Kessock beside Inverness and Fort George are all good shore watching places.

West coast

The western seaboard also offers excellent cetacean watching. Boat companies cover large stetches of the Highland west such as Lochaber, Ardnamurchan and Wester Ross sailing out of Mallaig, Armadale, Kyle of Lochalsh and Gairloch.

Various dolphin species can be seen of the west coast, as well as minke and killer whales. Harbour porpoises,the smallest of the species, are also spotted regularly.

If you stop off at Handa, near Tarbet, north of Scourie, you'll also see one of Britain's largest guillemot colony, plus puffins, razorbills, great and Arctic skuas.

The experienced and knowledgeable skippers leading these cruises give you your best chance of seeing these amazing creatures in their natural element. And while sightings can't be absolutely guaranteed, there's also the thrill of encountering something really special such as Atlantic white-sided dolphins, pilot whales or even sperm whales which have all been see in Highland waters.

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70 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Gradings


    Welcome aboard the MV Stardust for an unforgettable experience with our 1-2 hour trips. See Skye from the sea, fabulous views and unbelievable wildlife.

  2. Calum's Plockton Seal Trips


    Wildlife Tour


    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction


    Calum Mackenzie and the crew of the 'Sula Mhor' welcome you to Plockton, 'jewel of the Highlands', and home of Scotland's finest seal trips.

  3. Gradings

    John o' Groats

    Welcome to Pentland Sea-Safari

  4. Western Isles Cruises


    Boat Tour



    Welcome to Western Isles Cruises. The Western Isles is a 64ft passenger boat of wooden construction. We offer daily excursions to some of the most remote parts of the West Highlands including Inverie, Tarbet and the islands Eigg and Rum.

  5. Kintail Ranger Service


    Walking Tour


    Lochalsh area

    The National Trust for Scotland rangers based at Kintail offer guided mountain walks and sea kayaking from their beautiful west coast location in the Highlands.

  6. European Waterways Ltd


    Sailing Charter Companies


    The Highlands

    This is an eight passenger luxury hotel and sightseeing barge which sails along the Caledonian Canal.

  7. Gradings


    The Highlands and Islands Fastest RIBS ...eXperience the Thrill !

  8. Northshots


    Photography Tour



    Northshots Photo Tours and Hides

  9. Skye Island Tours


    Tour Guides



    SKYE ISLAND TOURS – Small-group tours to the Isle of Skye from Scottish cities and Day tours starting from South Skye.

  10. Go to St Kilda


    Boat Tour


    • 5 Tour
    5 Tour


    5 star Day adventure trips from Skye to the remote and spectacular islands of St Kilda - UK's only UNESCO dual world heritage site. Skye is linked to UK mainland by toll-free Skye road bridge.


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