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Red Squirrel
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Scotland's Big Five in Autumn

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September — November

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The imposing landmass of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula is home to the UKs largest volcano and the BEST place to see “Scotland’s Big Five”: Golden Eagle, Otter, Red Squirrel, Common Seal and Red Deer.

4 days, Group size 3-10

10th - 13th September 2022

  • Scotland’s Big Five: Golden Eagle, Otter, Red Squirrel, Common Seal and Red Deer
  • White-tailed Eagles
  • Pine Marten and Badger
  • Chequered Skipper & Pearl-bordered Fritillary Butterflies
  • Vibrant Atlantic rainforest
  • Minke Whale, Common Dolphin, Basking Shark
  • Puffin, Kittiwake and other seabirds
  • Great chance to pick up identification and photographic tips
  • The professional leadership of husband & wife team, Dan & Rachael
  • Every one of our short tours donates to an exciting, local conservation project
  • To maintain social distancing, this will be a self-drive tour
  • BEST VALUE wildlife experiences on a budget that suits you


To a backdrop of stunning scenery, glens and rugged coast we will explore this area in search of these five species and many more. Atlantic rainforest clings to the lower reaches of the hills and hugs the glens and by September the woodlands should be starting to show various hues of brown and orange as well. Five species of deer occur on the Peninsula as well as Wild Goat, all of which are possible. Red Squirrels may also be found scampering along the boughs.

The shoreline is diverse and punctuated. Sheltered sealochs are home to Harbour Porpoise, Common Seal, Otter and White-tailed Eagles. From the exposed headlands we may see Minke Whale and Common Dolphin as well as Fulmar, Manx Shearwater and auks. The sublime sandy bays are great for Ringed Plover and Dunlin, possibly even more Otters and there should still be colour in the dune flora.

The rugged moor and hills, by now turning tan, orange and brown are home to Golden Eagle, Peregrine and Hen Harrier as well as herds of grazing Red Deer and potentially other species too. As dusk approaches we will look out for Pine Marten which occur in high numbers on Ardnamurchan as well as several species of bat.

We may well find all five in a day! An incredible 20 species of mammals are possible during our four days


Days 1-4:

We will base ourselves in Glenborrowdale, an attractive village on the south side of the peninsula, nestled in Atlantic forest and adjoining Loch Sunart. Each day will be spent exploring out from our base no more than 30 miles in any direction which is more than sufficient to experience a huge diversity of wildlife.

We will take time to enjoy the Celtic rainforest, a scarce habitat restricted to the western coasts of the UK and home to an exceptional diversity of species including Red Squirrel. The trees are festooned with bryophytes and epiphytes and flocks of tits, treecreepers and thrushes may also be found. We will look out for Roe, Sika and Fallow Deer as well as Wild Goat.

The shores of Loch Sunart are home to Otter and this will be our main target here as well as loafing Common Seal. Harbour Porpoise forage in the deeper water and we can expect to see our first eagles, most likely White-tailed Eagle, cruising along the coastline. 

From the sheltered waters of Loch Sunart the coast becomes progressively more dramatic as we head to the west. The rich Atlantic waters bring life to the area and we will be keeping our eyes peeled for Minke Whale, Common Dolphin and potentially even Basking Shark from the headland. Seacliffs and bluffs are home to Golden Eagle and Peregrine, Otters eke out a living on the exposed shores and Grey Seals can be found in the breaking waves. 

Along the north coast are a series of sheltered bays and sandy beaches, again a superb area for Otter as well as a stop off for migrating waders such as Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Sanderling. Small dune systems are rich in plants and even in September there should still be a number of species in flower. The UKs largest Volcano is also situated here and we will have to cross through the crater of this extinct giant to get to the coast though it is not quite as dramatic as at first thought having been extinct for about 60 million years.

On one day we will venture out to sea (weather permitting). The Sea of the Hebrides has recently been designated a Marine Protected Area as well as being part of the Argyll Hope Spot for its exceptional biodiversity. We hope to encounter a number of species of cetacean foraging in this area including Minke Whale, Common and Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and hopefully Basking Shark which cruise along slowly surface-skimming plankton.  At this time of year there should be many young seabirds around including Manx Shearwater, Guillemot, Razorbill and possibly even Puffin. 

Each day we will return to Glenborrowdale from where this tour will be based.

COVID-19 information

In recognition that this business has confirmed that they have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing.

This business has confirmed that they have implemented, and will ensure ongoing compliance with, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels protocols. The Safe Travels stamp is based on self-assessment and it is not a certification.

Contact details

Wild Discovery
272 Bath Street
G2 4JR
Ardnamurchan area
Self drive
Bespoke Private Small Group (1-16)
Outdoor Activities Photography Walking Walking/Hiking Wildlife

COVID-19 facilities

  • Advance booking essential
  • COVID-19 measures in place
  • COVID-19 refund and cancellation policy in place
  • COVID-19 risk assessment completed
  • Capacity limit

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, they created a company that endeavours to address all these through sustainable conservation-orientated tourism. We offer fully inclusive tours, short breaks or custom-made tours.

Opening times

Open all year.

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