The Big Hebridean Wildlife Cruise
A unique and very special birds, whales and dolphin-watching 6-night cruise from Mallaig to Stornoway (starting and ending in Inverness), that will visit the wonderful RSPB nature reserves located amongst the wild and remote Outer Hebrides including Balranald on North Uist. We are donating 15% of the proceeds to the RSPB.
Visit the Isles of Skye, the Small Isles, North Uist, the Shiants, Harris and Lewis.
Meet local RSPB wardens and experts for exclusive insights into the conservation work underway in these wild places.
Visit remote RSPB reserves and other areas that are home to wonderful species like corncrake, phalaropes, divers and both golden and white-tailed eagles.
Watch with your guide for the many species of cetaceans that live in this area, such as minke whales, common dolphins and harbour porpoise, whilst cruising between locations.
Other wildlife you may see could include otters, seals, puffins, gannets and so much more...
It will be the middle of peak seabird breeding season at the Shiant Isles when we visit - a true wildlife spectacle with thousands of puffins, razorbills and guillemots.
Shore excursions by minibus to see more of the islands.
This is a once-a-year only chance for a maximum of 8 people to enjoy this unique Scottish cruise adventure.
Hebridean Adventures will be making a 15% donation of the total ticket price to the RSPB to further the important local conservation work in the Outer Hebrides.
Please join us for a very unique and special Scottish cruise that will be any wildlife-lovers dream holiday, mixing the very best of the Hebridean Adventures whale and dolphin watching experience, with some truly amazing bird-watching opportunities as we visit several important RSPB nature reserves dotted around these wild and remote islands of the Outer Hebrides.
We have arranged some very special meet-ups along the way with RSPB experts and wardens who will tell us all about the work being carried in the local areas we visit, and how the various bird and other species are faring. Please see the itinerary below for full details of the visits and meets included.
During your trip you can help if you like with the sightings data and photo gathering we undertake on board for our cetacean conservation partners at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation UK, and the SeaWatch Foundation.
Our days will be spent cruising between locations and watching out for all sorts of marine and coastal life like whales, dolphins and seabirds, and then once we reach our destinations, we will spend time on-shore visiting the reserves and other wildlife-rich areas to see what we can find with our own guides and our local hosts.
In the evenings we will anchor in sheltered locations, cook dinner and enjoy catching up on the day's events and share your photographs if you like, displayed on our large-screen smart TV in the lounge. We will also have a couple of evening talks arranged from the local RSPB wardens on-board for something different to enjoy.
We fully expect the total species list seen on this cruise will be a particularly long and interesting one - apart from those mentioned, who knows what else we might find along the way?
Please come and join us - we'd be delighted to welcome you aboard.
Start date: Fri 3rd June 2022
Departure point: Inverness - 11am.
Friday - Day 1 - Minibus from Inverness via Loch Ness to Glenelg - trip on the last turntable ferry in Britain to Skye and on to the Kylerhea Hide - meeting Dr Alison MacLennan on site who will discuss conservation efforts on Skye.
Move on afterwards to Ardvasar (Armadale) by minibus to meet our boat, the Monadhliath. Cruise to the Isle of Rum for the first night for the sights and sounds of the Manx shearwaters in the evening. Alternative anchorage at Isle of Canna if necessary.
Saturday - Day 2 - Cruise up the west coast of the Isle of Skye heading to Stein in Loch Bay. Good for eagles with many local territories - depending on time available there is also the possibility of an excursion down to Carbost for a 4x4 forest visit with eagles and also otters nearby.
Sunday - Day 3 - Cruise across the Little Minch to Lochmaddy on North Uist. Afternoon or evening - RSPB Site Manager will provide a talk on-board the boat about RSPB Balranald and work on the Uists.
Monday - Day 4 - RSPB Site manager to meet at the boat in the morning. Travel to Griminish for the Uist’s best opportunities to see otters. Follow on to RPSB Balranald for a reserve tour.
In the afternoon we will depart Lochmaddy and cruise around the picturesque Sound of Harris islands spotting seabirds and other wildlife before heading to Rodel on the Isle of Harris for the night. In the evening welcome RSPB staff on-board for a talk on conversation, island biosecurity and the Shiants project.
Tuesday - Day 5 - Cruise to the Shiant Isles, watching out for cetaceans on the way and passing the photogenic Scalpay lighthouse at Eilean Glas. We will have the afternoon and evening at the Shiants for a shore excursion and taking our tender for a close look around the seabird colonies and maybe through the sea arch, both depending on tide and weather but should be fine in May. We will anchor at the Shiants for the night to the sights and sounds of thousands of puffins, razorbills and guillemots. We have an alternative sheltered anchorage in Loch Shell (Sealg) on the Isle of Lewis if the weather necessitates it.
Wednesday - Day 6 - Cruise the short distance across the mythical 'Stream of the Blue Men’ to Tarbert and meet the minibus there for the drive over the mountains to Stornoway, looking for raptors along the way. We will stop near Loch Seaforth at midday for a private RSPB guided walk searching the skies for eagles.
In the afternoon/evening continue the drive up to Ness for an informal catch up with an RSPB warden at Loch Stiapabhat discussing what the RSPB do for Corncrake, and maybe on to Loch na Muilne for a chance of seeing any early phalarope arrivals.
Evening hotel stay in Stornoway.
Thursday - Day 7 - Either have the morning free in town to explore and enjoy Stornoway or jump in the minibus for a quick drive up to Tiumpan Head to go shore-watching for cetaceans in one of Europe’s hotspots! Chances of Risso’s, common and white-beaked dolphins, minke and fin whales or even humpbacks and orca if really lucky.
2pm ferry back to Ullapool and then back to Inverness by minibus.
End Date: Thursday 9th June - back in Inverness by the early evening.
Fri 3rd Jun - Thurs 9th Jun
BOOKINGS & ENQUIRIES
A highlight of this cruise will be visiting this famous RSPB reserve.
We typically anchor in quiet and scenic locations for the night on our cruises.
This lovely stretch of pure white sand is to be found at the RSPB Balranald reserve.
A highlight of this cruise will be visiting this famous RSPB reserve.
(Click photo above for full screen gallery)
**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.