West Coast Wildlife Odyssey Cruise
Join us on a 4-night cruise either southbound or northbound between Mallaig to Ullapool, taking in some of the most dramatic and wild coastal scenery the Western Highlands of Scotland has to offer, not to mention the wealth of wildlife it offers from sea to shore, such as dolphins, porpoise, eagles, otters and basking sharks.
- 4-night guided wildlife cruise.
- Visit the majestic Western Highlands of Scotland.
- Pickup and dropoff from Inverness.
- A mix of wildlife spotting adventures on sea and land.
- Look out for whales, dolphins, seals, otters, pine martens, eagles and seabirds.
- See the Isle of Skye and visit a little-known otter hide.
- Help collect cetacean sightings data for the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust.
- View and visit some of the most scenic west coast locations in the Scottish Highlands.
- A truly memorable cruise you will never forget.
Our fully guided wildlife cruise will offer pickup and dropoff to Inverness via our own Hebridean Adventures 4x4 vehicle, giving you a central location to get to. We will then offer a choice of south and northbound cruises between Mallaig and Ullapool. If you'd like to meet/leave us in Mallaig or Ullapool to fit in with other travel plans just let us know.
On this cruise we will search for whales and dolphins from our dedicated viewing decks, travel with migrating seabirds, watch patiently for otters and pine martens and scan for golden and white-tailed eagles whilst learning about the ecology of the Scottish Highlands. This very special trip will be a catalogue of iconic Scottish wildlife species. We will also be utilising our own minibus to maximise our experience with shore excursions, and will visit locations on the west coast mainland as well as the famous Isle of Skye.
With a chance of seeing minke whales, up to 4 dolphin species and maybe even orca if we are very lucky during the week, we will be kept busy wildlife spotting and every day will take us somewhere very different, from the marine environment to the ancient Caledonian forest as well as the stunning mountains of the west coast of the Highlands.
During this week, as with all our cruises, we will be collecting cetacean data for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) via their Whale Track app. We will take the opportunity to teach everyone aboard how to use the app and take part in this very important citizen science data collection effort.
Our guides aboard MV Monadhliath are highly experienced in marine ecology, and both crew and guides are very familiar with the area we cruise, known as the Minch, and our land-based knowledge of the West Highlands is based upon decades of experience. This thrilling adventure will give us a chance to go ashore and explore islands and beaches and give you opportunities to get close up to some iconic wildlife and locations to be found in the Highlands, making for a truly memorable holiday.
Northbound - Mallaig to Ullapool
Meet in Inverness or Fort William where we will transfer you with our own 4x4 vehicle to the lovely west coast fishing port of Mallaig. Upon arriving, after our drive through some beautiful mountain scenery, you will be welcomed aboard the MV Monadhliath with a welcome drink and a brief talk on the trip ahead and a safety briefing. There will then be time to settle in before we head out on a short steam towards Loch Nevis for our first nights' anchorage and a chance to go ashore and visit The Forge, the UK’s most isolated pub located on the Knoydart peninsula. There will be a chance for a brief walk before supper and watching the sun set whilst watching out for the red deer, as this is in the middle of the mating season and the roar of the stags voice reverberates around the surrounding hills and glens.
After a hearty breakfast we will set off north up the Sound of Sleat past Sandaig Bay, immortalised as Camusfearna, the location for Gavin Maxwell’s book Ring of Bright Water. We will meet up with our 4x4 vehicle for a trip to the Isle of Skye, and on to a little-known hide we use for watching otters and a high chance of seeing both golden eagles and white-tailed sea eagles. There may also be a chance to visit the island of Eilean Ban and the museum dedicated to Gavin Maxwell, who once owned the island. In the afternoon we will head back to the Monadhliath for a late afternoon cruise up to Plockton, one of the most scenic villages you will find, with white-washed houses and palm trees. It was made famous as the location for filming the BBC comedy drama Hamish MacBeth! We will spend the night nearby enjoying the wonderful coastal scenery ready for the next morning's adventures.
This morning will focus on the land and a chance to feast on some of the best mountain and loch scenery on the UK mainland, Torridon and Loch Maree. We will visit the Caledonian pine forest of Beinn Eighe and take a moderate 2-hour walk through the forest where we will explain the work being undertaken to regenerate the forest to its former glory. We will look for golden and white-tailed eagles, and look for signs of pine marten on this rewarding day out. We will anchor either in Loch Torridon or at Gairloch, a little further north.
This day is dedicated to finding marine mammals and we will likely encounter minke whales, dolphins, porpoise, and maybe even orca if we are really lucky. We will head for the Summer Isles for the final night and a chance to head ashore for more short walks or sit and relax with camera with every chance of spotting an otter.
Our final chance to soak in the dramatic and beautiful coastal scenery before we reach our destination port of Ullapool, where our minibus will be waiting to transfer you back to Inverness.
1. - Inverness/Fort William (minibus)
2. - Mallaig (join boat)
3. - Loch Nevis (night 1)
4. - Sound of Sleat (cruising & minibus)
5. - Isle of Skye, otter hide - Plockton (night 2)
6. - Shieldaig & Beinn Eighe (minibus)
7. - The Minch (cruising)
8. - Inner Sound (cruising)
9. - Loch Torridon or Gairloch (night 3)
10. - The Minch (cruising)
11. -Summer Isles (night 4)
12. - Minch (cruising)
13. - Ullapool (leave boat)
15. - Inverness (minibus)
Southbound - Ullapool to Mallaig
Meet in Inverness for a 90-minute minibus trip across the highland mountains to UIllapool. Board our boat the MV Monadhliath and head for Loch Ewe for our first night anchored beside the Isle of Ewe where we can watch for wildlife in the air and along the shore.
After a hearty breakfast we will go ashore to visit the fabulous Inverewe gardens owned by the National Trust for Scotland, famous for being able to grow semi-topical plants thanks to the influence of the Gulf stream. This afternoon we sail out into the Minch with the rest of the day and evening dedicated to finding marine mammals and we will likely encounter minke whales, dolphins, porpoise, possibly basking sharks and maybe even orca if we are really lucky. We will head for Loch Torridon for the night and a chance to head ashore to the picturesque village of Shieldaig.
This morning will focus on the land and a chance to feast on some of the best mountain scenery on the UK mainland, Torridon! We will take a shore excursion in our minibus to visit the Caledonian pine forest of Beinn Eighe (National Nature Reserve) and take a moderate 2-hour walk through the forest and down to the shores of beautiful Loch Maree where we will explain the work being undertaken to regenerate the forest to its former glory. We will look for golden and white-tailed eagles, black-throated divers and look for signs of pine marten and red squirrels on this rewarding day out. In the afternoon we will head for Plockton, to meet back up with the Monadhliath, one of the most scenic villages you will find, with typical Highland white-washed houses and not so typical palm trees! It was made famous as the location for filming the BBC comedy drama Hamish MacBeth! We will spend the night nearby enjoying the wonderful coastal scenery ready for the next morning's adventures.
After a morning walk around the village, we will meet up with our 4x4 vehicle again for a trip to the Isle of Skye, via a quick look at the amazingly scenic Eilean Donan castle and on to a little-known hide we use for watching for otters. There may also be a chance to visit the island of Eilean Ban, once owned by Gavin Maxwell, author of Ring of Bright Water. We will then take the ten-minute crossing by ferry across the Sound of Sleat to Glenelg, where we will watch out for locally nesting white-tailed eagles. We will meet up again with the Monadhliath before heading for the dramatic fjordlike Loch Hourn for our final night.
Our final chance to soak in the dramatic and beautiful coastal scenery before we head for our destination port of Mallaig taking in yet more iconic vistas of Skye and the Small Isles, where our minibus will be waiting to transfer you to Fort William, or back to Inverness via the shores of Loch Ness. Make sure your camera or phone is fully charged!
1. - Inverness (minibus)
2. - Ullapool (join boat)
3. – Loch Ewe (night 1)
4. - The Minch (cruising)
5. - Loch Torridon (night 2)
6. - Shieldaig & Beinn Eighe (minibus)
7. - Plockton (night 3)
8. - Eilean Donan castle (minibus)
9. - Isle of Skye (minibus)
10. - Loch Hourn (night 4)
11. - Sound of Sleat (cruising)
12. - Mallaig (leave boat)
13. - Loch Ness (minibus)
14. - Inverness (minibus)
Mon 12 Oct - Fri 16 October
(Northbound - £990pp)
Sun 22nd Aug - Thu 26th Aug
(Southbound - £1,060 pp)
Sat 9th Oct - Wed 13th Oct
(Northbound - £1,060 pp)
Book securely online (+ booking fee 6%)
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(via our booking system)
**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.