United Kingdom·September 23 - 29 2024

Hebridean Wildlife Explorer Cruise

Wildlife cruise around some of the Inner Hebrides seeking encounters with basking sharks, whales, dolphins, eagles, deer, otters and more...

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Hebrides_Wildife_Explorer_route

Overview

Our plan is to head south to Crinan for a visit to the Knapdale beaver site before turning north via Mull/Iona to visit Coll & Tiree. From there we continue heading a little further north to explore the lovely Small Isles of Rum, Canna, Eigg and Muck. With the Isle of Skye just another short hop away, we will likely explore its coastline as well and possibly have the chance to explore further inland as well. You will be cruising through great waters for cetacean spotting as well as basking sharks at this time of year potentially. As well as the expert insights and wildlife spotting skills of Billy and James on board, they will spend a couple of evenings entertaining you with short talks about their experiences making wildlife films and TV. This cruise will be searching for white-tailed eagles, golden eagles, red deer, otters, seals, whales, dolphins and porpoise, not to mention a variety of seabirds and other land-based species too. A perfect trip for those interested in our beautiful wildlife and spectacular Hebridean islands. You can expect great food on board courtesy of our Chef, and certainly won't go hungry - that's for sure! This adventure cruise itinerary requires a level of flexibility to respond to conditions and local sightings news, but don't worry as we always have a backup plan. The central pickup point will be in Fort William with minibus transfers to and from the ship.

Highlights

Billy & James

Billy & James

Having Billy & James on board a similar themed cruise worked very well last year so we decided to repeat the experience. Please see their full bios below under the Hosts section.

Island Hopping Adventures

Island Hopping Adventures

Cruising around the many islands of the Inner Hebrides, you will see many of them and get to set foot on several as well. These could include Coll, Tiree, Canna, Rum, Eigg, Muck and Skye.

Wildlife Galore

Wildlife Galore

From the sea to the shore as our byline goes, you will get to see the best of Scotland's magnificent wildlife. From cetaceans, otters and seals, to eagles, sea and shore birds, and lots more. This will be a wildlife trip with experts to guide you through it all.

Hosts

Our two very special hosts for this cruise both work in the professional wildlife TV and film-making arena, one in front of the camera and one behind it. They both have lots of experience working with many of the species we hope to see, and look forward to sharing this with you along the way.

Billy Heaney

Billy Heaney

Billy is a zoologist, wildlife presenter, and filmmaker, who is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's Nature Table with Sue Perkins, and has over five years’ experience guiding on wildlife cruises out of Falmouth. He graduated from the University of Exeter with a BSc in Zoology and used remote cameras to study grey seal haul-outs along the Cornish coast for his Masters. He has also presented on BBC Countryfile, featured on BBC Breakfast and SpringWatch. Billy is passionate about wildlife and inspiring others to learn more about the natural world.

billy_heaney
James Stevens

James Stevens

James Stevens is a wildlife filmmaker and guide based in the Scottish Highlands. He has worked across Natural History TV for Netflix, Nat Geo, Channel 5 and had recent credits in the BBC's Wild Isles series. He is also a regular cameraman on Springwatch. His work takes him to wild locations throughout the UK and internationally. A lifelong naturalist with an infectious enthusiasm for finding bugs through to cetaceans.

james.stevens.photography

Schedule

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DAY 1

The Itinerary

The central pickup and drop-off point for this cruise will be at the West End long-stay car park in Fort William. Our minibus will transport you to Oban for departure, and back from Skye at the end of your cruise.

Please note that this is our intended itinerary but it is of course subject to the weather and tide conditions at the time. We always have a backup plan however so you will still get to see and experience the Hebrides and its wildlife and scenery each day no matter what happens.

Day 1

Meet in Fort William for transfer to Oban and depart on the MV Hjalmar Bjørge passing the Slate Islands and the Garvellachs for Crinan down the coast where we will overnight.

Day 2

Our minibus will meet us in the morning for a short drive to the Knapdale beaver site where we hope to spot signs of beaver activity, and if we are lucky, maybe the beavers themselves.

In the afternoon we will be cruising on the Hjalmar Bjørge out past the northern tip of Jura, possibly spotting the famous Corryvreckan whirlpools, before crossing the Sound of Mull heading towards tonight's anchorage along the Ross of Mull or Iona depending on conditions.

Day 3

Leaving Mull we will head towards the islands of Coll and Tiree, often good for cetaceans and basking sharks, we will be keeping our eyes open for sigsn of both plus taking in the coastal views before anchoring off Coll for the night.

Day 4

Leaving Coll behind we cruise north towards the beautiful and varied landscapes of the Small Isles, with the largest isle of Rum as our most likely destination. You will get to enjoy views of the distant and remote lighthouse at Ardnamurchan Point denoting mainland Britain's most westward point. Rum is a great destination for all sorts of wildlife but Manx shearwaters in particular could be a highlight with sights and sounds of them rafting on the sea hopefully. We will take time to explore the island.

Day 5

Leaving the Small Isles we will head for the Sound of Sleat at the southern end of the Isle of Skye - flanked by dramatic Highland and Island scenery on both sides. IsleOrnsay is a pretty little village with a small quayside where will be able to go ashore. It has a nice little art gallery and the bay can be good for wading birds, divers, and raptors too - a 2023 visit found a greenshank and a hen harrier both seen from the quayside.

Day 6

Take the dinghy to the shore in the morning to meet up with the minibus for a chance to explore the interior of Skye and look for more wildlife such as golden and white-tailed eagles, red deer, otters and seals - what we have called the "Skye Five". Heading back to the boat for lunch, the afternoon will see us sailing up the Sound of Sleat and through the Kylerhea Narrows before heading under the Skye Bridge and up the coast to spend our last night in Portree. Lots more chances for seabirds and even cetaceans along the east coast of Skye, plus eagles as well over the hills and cliffs.

Day 7

Saying our farewells to the crew, we will board the minibus for the transfer back to Fort William via the ferry from Armadale on Skye to Mallaig, and then along the famous and picturesque 'Road to the Isles', stopping for a quick look at the dramatic Glenfinnan viaduct and the famous monument to Bonny Prince Charlie.

What's Included

What's Included

Chef-prepared meals

Cabin accommodation

All linens and towels

Hot drinks

Guest guides on board

Front-row seats to spectacular Hebridean views and wildlife!

Alcohol and soft drinks from the bar

Tickets

Cabin 1 - Twin/Double Cabin

Cabin 1 - Twin/Double Cabin

A twin cabin with bunk beds, a single over a double. With sink.

FROM$2,668.73/pp

Cabin 2 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Cabin 2 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink. Available for same sex solo passengers to share.

FROM$2,668.73/pp

Cabin 3 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Cabin 3 - Solo Share/Twin Cabin

Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink. Available for same sex solo passengers to share.

FROM$2,668.73/pp

Cabin 4 - Single/Twin Cabin

Cabin 4 - Single/Twin Cabin

TAvailable for single supplement. Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink.

FROM$2,668.73/pp

Cabin 5 - Single/Twin Cabin

Cabin 5 - Single/Twin Cabin

Available for single supplement. Twin cabin with bunk beds one over the other. With sink.

FROM$2,668.73/pp

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

Cabin 6 - Forepeak Twin Cabin

Twin cabin at the Forepeak with one raised bunk on either side. With sink and skylight.

FROM$2,668.73/pp

Hebridean Wildlife Explorer Cruise

United Kingdom· September 23 - 29 2024· 6 nights

FROM$2668/pp