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. Gradings

    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience

    Gairloch

    Unique to Gairloch 'Sealife' Glass Bottom Boat, the only cruise to combine looking below the waves while enjoying the magnificent wildlife and birdlife of Gairloch Bay.

  2. TRIAN Tours

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Bonar Bridge

    Welcome to TRIAN Tours

  3. Gradings

    John o' Groats

    Welcome to Pentland Sea-Safari

  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. Gradings

    Inverness

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

  6. Gradings

    Inverness, Loch Ness & Nairn

    Welcome to Slainte Scotland - Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn

  7. Glenlivet Wildlife

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience

    Ballindalloch

    Off road Land Rover safaris in the Cairngorms National Park all year round. Discover iconic wildlife, stunning landscapes and fascinating heritage on a tour of Glenlivet Crown Estate with an expert local guide.

  8. Misty Isle Boat Trips

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Elgol

    Visit Loch Coruisk in the heart of the Cuillin Mountains with Misty Isle Boat Trips. New for 2013. Trips to Canna to see the puffins and to the Isle of Rum. Also whale/wildlife spotting cruises on board the MV Heather Grace.

  9. Gradings

    Portree

    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. Isle of Skye Wildlife Tours

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    Portree

    Welcome to Isle of Skye Wildlife Tours

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