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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64 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Wild At Heart

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    Forres

    Unique, beautiful coastal wildlife adventures! Day trips, wildlife watching and conservation holidays and nature retreats. We create the perfect outdoor experiences that are memorable, fun and increase awareness and care for the environment

  2. Gradings

    Halistra

    Let us welcome you aboard for a 'Seaskye Adventure' in the captivating North West coast of Skye.

  3. Birding Ecosse

    Type

    Tour Operators

    Gradings

    The Highlands

    Are you looking for bird watching tours in Scotland? Then welcome to Birding Ecosse the friendly, born and bred Scottish tour guide, offering fully guided birding tours tailor made for you.

  4. Cruise Loch Ness

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Tour
    4 Tour

    Fort Augustus

    Cruise Loch Ness aboard the Royal Scot from Fort Augustus.

  5. Ness and Moray Yacht Charters

    Type

    Sailing Charter Companies

    Gradings

    Cromarty

    Ness and Moray Yacht Charters offer bareboat sailing charters, skippered if required, from their readily accessible Inverness base at Seaport Marina, IV35LS [see googleMaps]

  6. TRIAN Tours

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Bonar Bridge

    Welcome to TRIAN Tours

  7. Eda Frandsen Sailing

    Type

    Sailing Charter Companies

    Gradings

    Mallaig

    Eda Frandsen offers the finest traditional sailing in the Western Isles of Scotland.

  8. Summer Queen Cruises

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Ullapool

    Summer Queen is the only boat from Ullapool that cruises through all the summer Isles and lands on the main island Tanera Mhor.

  9. Phoenix Boat Trips

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Inverness City Centre

    Observe the true beauty of the Moray Firth and its wildlife cruising on board "Seacruise". View the many different species of sea birds, seals and possibly a visit from the local bottlenose dolphins.

  10. Gradings

    Aviemore and the Cairngorms

    Wilderness Scotland is an award-winning adventure travel and ecotourism company specialising in wilderness holidays in the Highlands and Islands.

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