Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice. You can now search our website to see what businesses are open and signed up to the Good to Go scheme. Find more advice on exploring Scotland during Covid-19 on our dedicated page.

White-tailed Eagle
Scotland © D. Brown

Scotland's Best of the West - Celtic Rainforest & Atlantic Islands, Rugged Natural History

Price on Request

Departure days

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S

May — June

Book now

Ancient mountains have been battered and eroded by a tumultuous Atlantic Ocean creating a rugged and gnarled landscape punctuated by sheltered sea lochs and draped in luxuriant Celtic Rainforest; this is Argyll.

Highlights
  • Explore some of Britains most spectacular scenery including the Argyll coast cloaked in temperate Atlantic (Celtic) rainforest, the Paps of Jura and the huge coastal cliffs of the Oa, Islay.
  • Voyage around some of the least explored islands in the Hebrides in search of cetaceans and seabirds.
  • Watch Golden & White-tailed Eagle, Minke Whale, Otter, Pine Marten, Hen Harrier, Chough, Corncrake, Marsh Fritillary, Red Squirrel and much more.
  • Discover the UK’s first Beaver reintroduction programme & find out about the flagship butterfly conservation efforts.
  • Learn about wetland conservation whilst listening to Corncrakes calling.

We will explore the heart of this fabulous area from lochs and glens complete with Golden & White-tailed Eagle, Red Deer and Divers to the lowland forests festooned in mosses and liverworts, bursting with bird song, spring flowers and butterflies. We will hear about (and hopefully see) the UKs first Beaver Reintroduction programme and with any luck will watch the elusive Pine Marten. Chartering our own vessel, we will witness the UKs largest whirlpool, spectacular seabird colonies and remote wave-washed coast.

Our expedition will then head to the islands of Islay and Jura, the former known as the Queen of the Hebrides. Here flower-rich dunes fill the air with fragrance, Corncrake call from the Iris beds and eagles patrol the ridge lines. There will be further chances to hear about active conservation projects on the islands.

Itinerary

Day 1:

Meet in Glasgow and travel west into the heart of Argyll tracing along the shores of the sea lochs and through huge sweeping valleys. Our journey will be broken by stops to search for eagles, Red Deer and divers before we arrive near Lochgilphead for three nights.

Days 2-3:

We will spend a full day exploring the rugged coastline and gnarled Celtic Rainforest in search of abundant birdlife such as Redstart and Wood Warbler as well as some of the insects that thrive in these biodiverse habitats including Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. We will also meet the Heart of Argyll Wildllife Organisation who will not only tell us about the UKs first Beaver reintroduction programme but also take us out in search of these elusive mammals.

We will voyage out to some of the least explored Hebridean islands in search of Basking Shark, Minke Whale, Common and Risso’s Dolphin and of course thousands of seabirds such as Guillemot, Razorbill, Manx Shearwater and Gannet. We may have the opportunity to land on the uninhabited islands of Scarba and Lunga and also sail close to the UKs largest whirlpool in the Gulf of Corryvreckan. 

Days 4-6:

We head south along the Kintyre Peninsula to board our ferry to Islay. On the two hour journey we will sail through rich seas where Black-throated and Great Northern Diver are still possible in their fine summer plumage. Grey and Common Seal, Otter and Harbour Porpoise are all also possible during this sailing. Arriving on Islay, the Queen of the Hebrides, we will make our way to our accommodation before exploring one of the local reserves.  

Islay packs a huge amount into a small area and we will fill our time visiting the diverse habitats. From the rich sand dune systems where Chough and breeding waders can be found, to lowland marshes and extensive peatlands where we will hopefully encounter Corncrake, Hen Harrier and scarce invertebrates such as Marsh Fritillary.

We will head to the rarely visited island of Jura lying just 5 minutes by ro-ro ferry to the north of Islay. Its character is totally different being dominated by three large mountains, the Paps of Jura. Moorland blankets the majority of the island and fringes of woodland hold many breeding birds. Along the coast Otter is widespread. 

Day 7:

Our final morning on Islay will be spent visiting the impressive cliffs and coastal heath of the Mull of Oa, home to Golden Eagle and a stunning coastal flora. We will then board the ferry to start our journey back to Glasgow arriving early evening. 

View the detailed itinerary here.

Visit our website for more details about his tour.

Why not recreate this experience with friends on dates that suit you? Build on our existing itinerary to customise your experience.

Contact details

Wild Discovery
272 Bath Street
Glasgow
Scotland
G2 4JR
Starting
Glasgow
Length
7
Days
Transport
Driver guide Minibus
Type
Bespoke Private Small Group (1-16)
Languages
English
Themes
Food and drink Landscapes Outdoor Activities Walking Walking/Hiking Wildlife

Attractions

Tour company information

Wild Discovery

A pioneering wildlife-watching tour company run by experts for wildlife enthusiasts. Conservation and sustainability are at its core; travel with purpose, tread lightly and experience more. Founded by husband and wife team Dan & Rachael Brown, they bring passion and expertise to every expedition. Driven by current biodiversity loss, the climate crisis and the need to reconnect people with nature, Dan and Rachael created a company that endeavours to address all these through sustainable conservation-orientated tourism. We offer set-departures or custom-made tours.

Opening times

Contact us through our website or e-mail us directly using the links on this page.

Social Channels

Cookie Policy

VisitScotland uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies. Please read our privacy and cookies statement for more information.