Ailsa Craig © Argyll Cruising

Scottish Islands | Wildlife Cruise

From £1595 per adult

Departure days

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

April — October

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6-night wildlife cruise | explore a rich habitat which is home for a large variety of wildlife, including many rarities. An immense colony of Gannets, and increasingly, puffins and a good chance of spotting basking sharks and whales.

6-night | Arran & Ailsa Craig Wildlife Explorer Cruise
Day 1

Join Splendour at 1600 in the Holy Loch Marina. Cruise South from the Holy Loch to the scenic Kyles of Bute watching out for porpoises and seabirds from Splendour’s spacious decks. View the common seals and nesting ducks and gulls as we squeeze through the tight channel at the burnt Isles. Anchor overnight in beautiful Loch Riddon.

Day 2

After breakfast go ashore by tender to enjoy a walk from upper Caladh through oak and birch woods to the village of Tighnabruaich. There is a good chance of spotting roe deer, red squirrels and a variety of woodland songbirds including wood warblers and bullfinches. From Tighnabruaich we cruise south past Inchmarnock, hopefully enjoying the company of a common dolphin which has taken up residence at Ardlamont Point. We then head for Loch Fyne and a visit to the common seal colony at Black Harbour on route to our overnight anchorage at Castleton where wild goats and a variety of nesting seabirds can be viewed on the islands.

Day 3

We start with a short cruise to the Otter Spit, a huge bank of glacial moraine which extends out into Loch Fyne. Tidal conditions allowing you will be tendered ashore for a walk along the spit. This is an unusual beach walk and many types of wading birds, otter and porpoises may be encountered. After lunch cruise mid-Loch Fyne past the seabird nesting islands and go ashore to enjoy a walk in the wonderful woodlands of Crarae Gardens, where many woodland songbirds can be seen and heard.

Day 4

Arran is now in our sights as we cruise down Loch Fyne to the village of Loch Ranza in its awe-inspiring loch and mountain location. Here you can visit the Arran Distillery or simply walk the trails looking out for the very approachable wild red deer and the resident golden eagles. On return to the boat we weigh anchor and cruise down Arran’s east coast, passing impressive Glen Sanox en-route for Lamlash which is sheltered by Holy Isle. This is a wonderful natural harbour and is our overnight anchorage. This leg of our journey is an excellent stretch of water for spotting basking sharks in season.

Day 5

Ailsa Craig is a volcanic plug 18 miles south of Holy Isle and is the object of our desires for today. 40,000 pairs of Gannets thousands of Guillemots, thousands of razorbills hundreds of Kittiwakes, fulmars, puffins, shags, cormorants and the odd peregrine falcon and golden eagle call this rock home. After an unforgettable circumnavigation of this outpost, we will anchor for lunch and go ashore to do a ‘time team’ on the old curling stone workings and enjoy an invigorating walk to the summit, which at over 1100 feet gives panoramic views from Argyll through Ayrshire to the Antrim hills. Splendour then retraces her steps for an overnight stay at Lamlash.

Day 6

North to the Island of Great Cumbrae where porpoises fish in the ‘tan’, the stretch of water between great and little Cumbrae. Go ashore to Millport by tender after ‘elevenses’ getting a close encounter with the resident grey seals on the way. Cycle the level 10 mile circuit of the island where an abundance of seabirds, porpoises and the odd basking shark can be seen. After a well-deserved lunch, Splendour will continue her journey north up Loch Long and Loch Goil to her overnight anchorage off Carrick Castle.

Day 7

Homeward bound for the Holy Loch Marina with the last chance for seals, porpoises, eider ducks, gannets etc. At 1100, all too soon, it’s time for fond farewells and ‘haste ye backs’.

COVID-19 information

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

Argyll Cruising
Holy Loch Marina
PA23 8FE

Key facilities

Parking Parking
Bespoke Private Small Group (1-16)
Castles Family Food and drink Landscapes Outdoor Activities Photography Walking/Hiking Whisky Wildlife

Tour prices


  • £1595 Per Adult
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Prices are subject to change depending on season


Tour company information

Argyll Cruising

Cruise Scotland in style. With a maximum of 8 guests, we guarantee a personalised service. Offering 3, 6, 10 and 13-night cruise itineraries we explore Argyll, Mull, The Hebrides and beyond. Meals aboard Splendour are a highlight of all our cruises, using fresh local produce. Seafood from Loch Fyne, Gin from Campbelton even toiletries provided are from the Island of Arran. All within our cruising grounds. Your knowledgeable crew are local too, discover hidden gems not listed on the typical tourist trail. All cabins aboard Splendour boast private ensuite facilities.

Opening times

Office Opening Times | Monday to Sunday

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