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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68 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. 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.

  2. Cruise Loch Ness

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Tour
    4 Tour

    Fort Augustus

    Cruise Loch Ness aboard the Royal Scot from Fort Augustus.

  3. John O’Groats Ferries

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    John o' Groats

    John O' Groats Ferries offer Orkney Island Day Tours from John O' Groats and Inverness every summer morning. Wildlife Cruises daily from John O'Groats departing 2.30pm. 90 mins duration.

  4. Gradings

    Inverness

    Our fantastic Isle of Skye Day Tour explores all of the top attractions on the island, plus Loch Ness & Eilean Donan Castle too!

  5. Loch Ness Cruises

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Tour
    4 Tour

    Drumnadrochit

    LUXURY CRUISING ON LOCH NESS Hourly cruises on our luxury 12 passenger cruiser, Nessie Hunter IV.

  6. Gradings

    Dunvegan

    Take an exhilarating 25 minute boat trip to see the seal colony and observe these playful sea mammals at close quarters.

  7. Wilderness Guides Canoeing

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    The Highlands

    Wilderness Guides offers guided canoe trips on the beautiful lochs and rivers around Fort William. Canoeing is a fun and easy activity, perfect for all ages and experience. Day and overnight trips are available, as well as canoe rental.

  8. Gradings

    • 4 Tour
    4 Tour

    Inverness, Loch Ness & Nairn

    Join us on a tour of the Scottish Highlands including Loch Ness, Inverness and Nairn. We offer a small group tour service allowing you to experience the delights of the area often missed in larger coaches.

  9. Glenloy Wildlife

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    Fort William

    Glenloy Wildlife offers all inclusive wildlife holidays based in the Scottish Highlands. Based in Glenloy Lodge with comfortable accommodation, good food and visiting pine martens.

  10. 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.

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