Scottish Whale and Dolphin Cruise

Tour Summary

The perfect Scottish cruise to relax and watch the amazing wildlife of the Hebrides , and in particular its populations of whales, dolphins and porpoise, not to mention the thousands of seabirds at the Shiant Isles which you will visit, white tailed eagles and of course the amazing land and seascapes every day.

Highlights

  • A brilliant chance to watch whales and dolphins in Scottish waters

  • Our experienced guides will have you spotting wildlife very quickly

  • Local skipper who knows these waters intimately

  • Quiet and sheltered anchorages each night, often in remote locations

  • Enjoy shore excursions to wild places to explore and find more great wildlife

Tour Details

Welcome to the best whale and dolphin watching in Scotland! You can see them in plenty of other areas around Scotland and the UK in general, but the North Minch area is regarded as one of the best locations in the whole of Europe. There are cetaceans spotted year round, even in the middle of winter, but the summer months are when their numbers are swelled with new arrivals following the bait fish and warmer wateras it spreads north. We also get rarer species that sometimes visit from the open Atlantic ocean too so you never know what might appear.


Minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins and harbour porpoise are the main species, but white-beaked dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, fin and humpback whales and even the magnificent orca are all possibilities and seen each year in the area. Add to this to amazing amount of seabird species present, focused around the breeding colonies at the Shiant Isles and which include puffins, razorbills and guillemots, and you have the makings of a wildlife watching extravaganza! We also regularly see the Outer Hebrides' population of white-tailed eagels which are increasing, plus golden eagles too sometimes high over the mountains usually. 


You won't get bored when you have both the spectacular coastlines of the Outer Hebrides on one side and the West Coast of the Highlands on the other. We take full advantage of these and pull into secluded sea lochs to spend our overnights in sheltered and beautifully quiet anchorages, with just the cries of eagles, divers and deer for company, oh and usually the spashing of a seal or two as well. Keep your eyes on the shorelines as otters call these areas home too.


4 nights on board is a perfect length for taking it easy and getting used to sea life for a few days, but also gives you the chance to maybe spend a night or two on the Isle of Lewis or Harris before or afterwards to explore - you could even take our wildlife minibus tour if you still want to see more! Just ask for details.

Itinerary

Day 1

Depart Stornoway approximately 2.30pm and head north towards the cetacean shore-watching hotspot of Tiumpan Head at the tip of the Point Peninsula. From here we enter the area known as Broad Bay, a real magnet for whales and dolphins, including a number of rarer sightings each year. Apart from the resident minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins, and harbour porpoise, the bay  plays host every year to humpback whales, fin whales and even orca sometimes too - will we be lucky? 

We will anchor in Broad Bay overnight, enjoying our first meal on board and then watching the sun go down whilst watching for any last fins or whale spouts.


Day 2

Leaving Broad Bay in the morning after breakfast, we will have one last look around before heading south. These waters have recently been ratified as the North East Lewis Marine Protected Area, and play host to a well-studied Risso's dolphin population in particular. These lovely animals are often seen by our guests and if we do observe them we will take lots of photographs to help researchers identify individual animals and behaviours.


Our destination is the coastal village of Marvig for our second night. Located on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis, it is a lovely quiet area with chances to spot other coastal species perhaps like seals and otters along the shorelines perhaps. White tailed eagles are also always worth looking out for as there are several territories all along this eastern coastline, with the occasional golden eagle making an appearance also.


Day 3

Our third day sees us head further out into the Minch on a course for some higher areas of the seabed known as banks, where the currents become more confused and small fish tend to get concentrated making for good hunting grounds for the whales, dolphins, porpoises and the thousands of seabirds that will be breeding at the nearby Shiant Isles. We will spend time carefully searching these areas and may also spot pelagic seabirds such as shearwaters and petrels, before heading for the Shiant Isles themselves and the magnificent sights of the seabirds colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags and several others. We will be able to take a walk ashore and enjoy having a look around at these ancient islands before relaxing back on board and taking in the sights and sounds of the seabird activity all around for our third night spent at anchor here. 


Day 4

There will be time for more exploration of the Shiants in the morning, both on-shore and also perhaps taking our dinghy along the coastline and maybe even through the natural sea arch if the tide and conditions are suitable! Being close to the water gives you an even more incredible eye to eye view of the puffins and their friends paddling around you.


Back on the boat we will circumnavigate the islands to show you the other seacliffs with their breeding colonies of guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes, a superb spectacle. You will also be able to spot the tell-tale signs of the former occupants of the islands with ruined bothies and field systems visible in certain places.


From here we will head across the mythical stretch of water known as the 'Stream of the Blue Men' - worth Googling for some local history and background before you come. This can be a good feeding area once again for cetaceans and seabirds, with the turbulent currents concentrating and confusing fish like sandeels and herring and making them easy prey.


Our destination this time is Loch Shell (Sealg), a lovely dramatic sea loch where we can anchor in splendid isolation amongst the hills where eagles, seals and birds like black-throated divers are often seen. We have a favourite walk here to a beautiful waterfall which also gives great views back down the sea loch, past a ruined bothy to the MV Monadhliath at anchor awaiting your return. Watch out for wildflowers here also such as orchids which can be found along the path sometimes.


Day 5

Our last morning on-board and after another hearty breakfast we will start our journey back northwards along the Lewis coastline towards Stornoway. This is still a great area for minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins and harbour porpoise so we will be keeping our eyes open all the way.

We will arrive back around midday, passing Lews Castle as we reach the harbour and leaving plenty of time for those catching the afternoon ferry back to Ullapool. The terminal is only a short 5-10 minute through town.

PRICE

£

1180

DURATION

4 Nights

TOUR DATES

2022

Mon 1st Aug - Fri 5th Aug

BOOKINGS & ENQUIRIES

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GALLERY

Harbour porpoise
Harbour porpoise

You will get used to looking for the small triangular dorsal fin of the porpoise. Sometimes it is just a fleeting glimpse.

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Minke whale
Minke whale

The long back tipped by a small curved dorsal fin of a minke whale.

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Where eagles dare
Where eagles dare

White Tailed Eagles, AKA sea eagles, are making a comeback in the Outer Hebrides. We see them most every trip out now. which is great as they are magnificent birds, like this one.

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Harbour porpoise
Harbour porpoise

You will get used to looking for the small triangular dorsal fin of the porpoise. Sometimes it is just a fleeting glimpse.

press to zoom
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(Click photo above for full screen gallery)

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KIT LIST

**Please note that whilst we try to make these trips accessible to everyone, the boat is not suitable for anyone with mobility issues due to the compact spaces and steep stairs descending to the cabins.

**Under 14s must be accompanied by a responsible adult on our overnight expeditions.