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. Dolphin Space Programme

    Type

    Coach Tour

    Gradings

    Moray Firth

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

  2. TRIAN Tours

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Bonar Bridge

    Welcome to TRIAN Tours

  3. Gradings

    Dunvegan

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

  4. Ecoventures

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience

    Cromarty

    Experience the thrill aboard high speed, offshore RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) and share firsthand the unique scenery, wildlife and history of the Moray Firth.

  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. Loch Shiel Cruises

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 3 Tour
    3 Tour

    Glenfinnan

    Unique guided cruises on beautiful Loch Shiel with local Jim Michie who provides a live commentary on all aspects of the area, while keeping a keen eye out for the resident Golden & White-Tailed Eagles, Divers, Red Deer & other Rare Wildlife.

  7. Heatherlea - wildlife tour

    Type

    Wildlife & Nature walks

    Gradings

    Nethy Bridge

    Welcome to our wildlife tour

  8. Gradings

    Aviemore and the Cairngorms

    Wilderness Scotland is an award-winning adventure travel and ecotourism company specialising in wilderness holidays in the Highlands and Islands.

  9. Spindrift Boat Trips

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Skye & Lochalsh

    Come aboard Spindrift for a wildlife watching and island visit. Visit the beautiful Isle of Rona or the Isle of Raasay from Portree pier.

  10. Phoenix Boat Trips

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Inverness City Centre

    Observe the true beauty of the Moray Firth and its wildlife cruising on board "Seacruise". View the many different species of sea birds, seals and possibly a visit from the local bottlenose dolphins.

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