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. 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.

  2. Eda Frandsen Sailing

    Type

    Sailing Charter Companies

    Gradings

    Mallaig

    Eda Frandsen offers the finest traditional sailing in the Western Isles of Scotland.

  3. Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Kyle of Lochalsh

    Seaprobe Atlantis is Scotland's ONLY Semi-Submersible Glass Bottom Boat. Offering trips from Kyle of Lochalsh Easter - 31st October. Regular trips run daily to see all the local wildlife Above & Below the waves. All trips include the Seals

  4. 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.

  5. Isle of Skye Wildlife Tours

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    Portree

    Welcome to Isle of Skye Wildlife Tours

  6. Cruise Loch Ness

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Tour
    4 Tour

    Fort Augustus

    Cruise Loch Ness aboard the Royal Scot from Fort Augustus.

  7. 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.

  8. moraydolphins.co.uk

    Type

    Wildlife Tour

    Gradings

    Elgin

    Welcome to moraydolphins.co.uk (info for VS: an online guide produced by Strego Marketing)

  9. Northshots

    Type

    Photography Tour

    Gradings

    Kingussie

    Northshots Photo Tours and Hides

  10. 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.

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