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. TRIAN Tours

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Bonar Bridge

    Welcome to TRIAN Tours

  2. Calum's Plockton Seal Trips

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Plockton

    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. Skye Island Tours

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Kyleakin

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

  4. Mountain Freedom

    Type

    Hiking Tour

    Gradings

    Cuillins & central Skye

    Welcome to Mountain Freedom. Guided adventure - Walking and hiking for all abilities, wild camping and backpacking trips. photographic, wildlife and historical themed walks. Scrambling and rock climbing. We are based on the Isle of Skye.

  5. Wild-Spirit

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience

    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.

  6. Heatherlea - wildlife tour

    Type

    Wildlife & Nature walks

    Gradings

    Nethy Bridge

    Welcome to our wildlife tour

  7. 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.

  8. Gradings

    Inverness

    Boating Holidays on Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.

  9. Scot Mountain Holidays

    Type

    Hiking Tour

    Gradings

    Boat of Garten

    Departure guarantee on all our guided tours, plus single occupancy for solo travelers at no additional cost (for Cairngorms National Park holidays). Guided hiking vacations in the Cairngorms National Park and across the Highlands - our speciality.

  10. SkyeNorthWest

    Type

    Tour Operators

    Gradings

    Portree

    SkyeNorthWest Half Day and Full Day Small Group Tours on The Isle of Skye

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