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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  1. Loch Ness by Jacobite


    Boat Tour


    • 5 Tour
    5 Tour


    Out on the dark waters of Loch Ness, everything seems to take on a new perspective. Surrounded by hills and with deep waters below, it's easy to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views as you cruise the loch in one of our vessels.

  2. Wild Highland Tours


    Wildlife Tour


    • Awaiting Grading
    Awaiting Grading


    A wildlife tourism company based on the Ardnamurchan peninsula offering daytime, twilight and night time tours as well as photography tours and courses, bespoke holiday and short breaks to see the spectacular scenery and wildlife.

  3. Gradings

    The Highlands

    Walk Wild Scotland offer small group guided walking holidays on the Atlantic archipelago of the Inner Hebridean Islands.

  4. Heatherlea - wildlife tour


    Wildlife & Nature walks


    Nethy Bridge

    Welcome to our wildlife tour

  5. Dolphin Space Programme


    Coach Tour


    Moray Firth

    Hoping to see the famous Moray Firth dolphins or other marine wildlife like seals, porpoises, whales and seabirds? Look no further.

  6. Sporting Scotland Ltd


    Tour Operators



    Welcome to Sporting Scotland Ltd

  7. Love Skye Tours


    Coach Tour



    Love-Skye tours around some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Your local guide, Angela has intimate knowledge of Skye’s hidden beauty spots. Our tours are friendly, flexible and very good fun! We promise a trip like no other.

  8. Birding Ecosse


    Tour Operators


    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Wild-Spirit


    Boat Tour


    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Kyle of Lochalsh

    Welcome onboard Wild-Spirit. Wildlife Watching at it's most exciting. 'Go further faster and See More' as we depart Kyle of Lochalsh in search of Whales, Dolphins, Orca, Porpoise, Seals, Sea Eagles, and Puffins. Fast, Safe and Fun.


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