All aboard our RSPB Hebridean Wildlife Adventure Cruise

Our trip report from our inaugural June 2022 fundraising cruise for the RSPB, visiting several of their locations around the Hebrides.


Guides - David Lambie (Isle of Lewis) & Chiara Giulia Bertulli (MV Monadhliath)

Photos - Chiara Giulia Bertulli, Robyn Palmer, Edward Braham, Steve Peppiatt & the RSPB

Our very first RSPB Hebridean Wildlife Adventure cruise was a great success and now they have returned from their adventures, our guide Chiara has written this nice trip report of the highlights of the trip. Thank you a wonderful group of guests and a special shout out to Edward and Steve for allowing us to share some of their photos here as well.

If you would like to join us in 2023 for this very special and unique Scottish bird and cetacean watching cruise around the Outer Hebrides, then you can find the links at the very end of this blog to secure your places now. Spaces are limited!

A bird and cetacean-watching bonanza!

Day 1 (June 3rd) This long-awaited cruise finally was upon us this month after having to be postponed from 2021 thanks to the Covid pandemic, and our guests were picked up from Inverness and were whisked on their way to Ullapool and on via the ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, our home port, for their first night of their Hebridean adventure.

Day 2 (June 4th) Meeting up with local Lewis & Harris RSPB corncrake warden Shona Morrison, our guests learned about work on the islands for this species and during the day were even treated to a rare sighting (thanks to Steve in particular for this image), as well as seeing the other local Lewis speciality of red-necked phalaropes.

After our short stay on Lewis we left Stornoway harbour in the afternoon bound for the Shiant Islands the next day via an overnight stay in Loch Bhrollum. Along the way a minke whale surfaced not far from a flock of feeding sea birds, then just to spoil us, shortly after that a large pod of common dolphins was seen fast surfacing and milling in the same area.

Day 3 (June 5th) A full day was spent bird-watching and visiting the Shiant Isles after a restoring night in Loch Bhrollum. The two scheduled landings included a morning one that brought passengers and crew by dinghy to an accessible nearby beach to see puffins, razorbills and guillemots (and many more bird species) nesting sites.

In the afternoon, another island was the setting for a wildlife walk which included a visit to great skua nesting sites on top of the cliffs (see main image) where six of them were observed for several hours. (Please note this was before the owners of the Shiants asked for a voluntary moratorium on visiting bird areas up close this week due to the Avian flu outbreak in Scotland which we will of course be observing on future visits now.)

Leaving the Shiants a pod of common dolphins approached our boat and interacted with us for a little while before heading off. Animals could be sighted bow-riding, passing by the vessel and followed us on the side, and it gave everyone a chance to see how magnificent this species really is.

Day 4 (June 6th) After a journey south from the Shiants to Lochmaddy on North Uist, it was time to meet up with local RSPB site manager Jamie Boyle for a guided trip around the famous Balranald reserve, set in the spectacular machair on the western seaboard.

A nice selection of species was spotted with his help including osprey, corncrake, otter and white-tailed eagle - you couldn't ask for a more Scottish selection of specialties than those really so our guest all left very happy with the day and the chance to visit this really beautiful reserve tucked away in this remote corner of the Outer Hebrides.

Day 5 (June 7th) On this, the day of one of our passenger’s birthdays, the sea was flat and lots of common dolphins were sighted throughout the day. These wonderful animals were sighted synchronously leaping out of the water and displaying much other aerial behaviour.

Day 6 (June 8th) Landing on the Isle of Rum was magical after paying a brief visit to nearby Canna. The weather was overcast and a bit wet but it did not take anything away from the beauty of the island. While visiting the local castle, a stag was sighted feeding in the front garden, while other ducks and geese were seen looking after their chicks along the coast. From there we popped across to the Isle of Skye and Loch Coruisk for a walk on shore before returning to the Monadhliath to reflect on a very peaceful, inspiring trip for passengers and crew before the ride home tomorrow.

Day 7 (June 9th) We had anchored at the lovely IsleOrnsay on Skye the previous evening, so after breakfast our minibus was on hand to pick-up our guests and transport them across to the mainland with one last little treat - a ride on the Kylerhea to Glenelg turntable ferry before heading back to Inverness to say our goodbyes, until next time we hope!

Please enjoy some of the other photographic highlights from the trip below...

Why not join us on board the MV Monadhliath in 2023?

We have two RSPB of the same fantastic fundraising cruises set for next year that are live and booking now! 

Please click the links below for full details and to book now! With only 8 spaces per cruise please book early so you don't miss out on this wildlife extravaganza, visiting some of the RSPB's most superb locations in the Scotland's Hebridean islands.


> RSPB Hebridean Wildlife Adventure Cruise - Southbound - June 2nd-8th 2023

> RSPB Hebridean Wildlife Adventure Cruise - Northbound - June 10th-16th 2023