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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62 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Seascape Expeditions

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Ullapool

    Seascape offers an exciting experience with trips out of Ullapool to the Summer Isles and surrounding area, aboard a RIB (rigid hull inflatable boat).

  2. 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]

  3. Aigas Field Centre

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    Beauly

    Welcome to Aigas Field Centre - awarded 'Best Nature Based Experience' by Visit Scotland. Learning holidays at Aigas are a unique and unforgettable experience for anybody who wants to learn more about Scotland's superb natural history.

  4. 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.

  5. Highland Chauffeur Drive

    Type

    Chauffeur Tour

    Gradings

    Inverness

    Welcome to Highland Chauffeur Drive we provide airport/hotel transfers (distance no object) and exclusive small group private tours throughout Scotland. We have a range of Mercedes-Benz (sedan) saloons and (mini-van) people carriers available.

  6. Gradings

    Fort William

    Welcome to Caledonian Discovery Ltd

  7. Sporting Scotland Ltd

    Type

    Tour Operators

    Gradings

    Ballindalloch

    Welcome to Sporting Scotland Ltd

  8. Gradings

    Inverness

    Boating Holidays on Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.

  9. Speyside Tours

    Type

    Whisky Tour

    Gradings

    Dufftown

    Welcome to Speyside Tours

  10. 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.

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