United Kingdom·June 10 - 16 2023

The Big Hebridean Wildlife Adventure Cruise

A unique wildlife cruise itinerary that mixes great birdwatching with spotting whales & dolphins plus a visit to St Kilda.  (MONADHLIATH)

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Overview

Join the MV Monadhliath and her crew as we take you on a fantastic Scottish wildlife adventure cruise around some of the RSPB’s remote Hebridean reserves + other bird & wildlife hotspots (such as the privately owned Shiant Isles) led by our experienced guide on-board. We also plan to head out across the Atlantic for a visit to the remote islands of St Kilda (National Trust for Scotland & dual UNESCO World Heritage Site ) as another very special bonus on this itinerary. These locations hold puffins, razorbills, guillemots, golden and white-tailed eagles, kittiwakes, corncrake, phalaropes, seals, otters, whale and dolphins and lots more - the very best of Scottish wildlife! To help with your travel arrangements, we offer a central pickup and drop-off in Inverness for this itinerary that includes your transfers to Stornoway and back.

Highlights

Enjoy Scotland's iconic wildlife up close.

Enjoy Scotland's iconic wildlife up close.

An experienced guide will help you to spot whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, eagles, otters, puffins and lots more brilliant birds on land and sea.

Great RSPB locations.

Great RSPB locations.

Visit some of the remotest reserves in the UK, including RSPB Balranald on North Uist plus others on Lewis.

Experience the Hebrides in a unique way.

Experience the Hebrides in a unique way.

See the Hebrides from the sea whilst cruising from Lewis and Harris to the Shiant Isles, North Uist, and St Kilda.

Take in the scenery of the Shiant Isles.

Take in the scenery of the Shiant Isles.

Walk ashore on the beautiful Shiant Isles whilst marvelling at the huge seabird colonies of puffins, guillemots and razorbills.

Limited to 8 guests only.

Limited to 8 guests only.

This small group trip will ensure that you are involved in every step of the journey and don't miss out on any wildlife spotting opportunities.

Responsible travel.

Responsible travel.

A relaxing and responsible slow travel option aboard our converted fishing boat (Silver Award - Green Tourism.)

Visit St Kilda

Visit St Kilda

If the conditions are right, we will head out to visit the remote St Kilda archipelago, the UK's only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Schedule

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DAY 1

Inverness - Stornoway - Shiant Isles

Meet in Inverness around 8am for minibus transfer to Ullapool for 10.30am ferry to Stornoway.

Keep your eyes open on the ferry for cetaceans and seabirds!

It’s a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal to our small shop above the harbour where you will be met before walking down to board the Monadhliath around 2pm.

Depart for the picturesque and privately owned Shiant Isles where storm petrels are being encouraged to return to breed there. Right now it will be the breeding puffins, razorbills and guillemots filling the skies that will take your breath away - an amazing sight to see and experience.

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DAY 2

Shiant Isles - Lochmaddy

It’s an earlier start today as we will cruise down the Minch to Lochmaddy on North Uist watching out for seabirds, whales, and dolphins on the way. In the afternoon after lunch, we will head to RSPB Balranald for a tour of this very special Hebridean reserve. Keep your ears open for the distinctive sounds of the corncake calling - a speciality here.

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DAY 3

Lochmaddy - St Kilda

If the weather and sea conditions look good then we will head out from Lochmaddy passing through the Sound of Harris and heading out approximately 4-5 hours sailing time across the Atlantic to the dual UNESCO World Heritage Site of St Kilda located 41 NM to the west of Benbecula. We will keep our eyes peeled for open ocean wanderers in terms of cetaceans and seabirds such as Risso’s and white-beaked dolphins and Leach’s Petrel. Arriving in the afternoon there will be time to go ashore for a wander around the historic settlement of Village Bay. Keep your eyes open for the St Kilda wren – often seen around the stone buildings. Overnight anchored at St Kilda.

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DAY 4

St Kilda - Tarbert

After breakfast we will take a last chance to take in the view of St Kilda and Village Bay from the boat before sailing back towards the Isle of Harris, passing the neighbouring Boreray and its impressive sea stacks of Stac an Armin (the highest in Britain at 191m) and Stac Lee (165m), with their vast gannet colonies – the largest in the world!

In the afternoon we will cruise around the picturesque Sound of Harris islands spotting seabirds and other wildlife before heading to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris for the night.

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DAY 5

Tarbert - Shiant Isles

Cruise to the enchanting 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 natural sea arch if the tide is right. We will anchor at the Shiants for the night with the sights and sounds of thousands of puffins, razorbills, and guillemots all around you – a truly amazing spectacle.

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DAY 6

Shiant Isles - Stornoway

Head for Stornoway through some great cetacean waters (Northeast Lewis MPA) to disembark after lunch on board.

After lunch, we say farewell to the boat and crew and book into our overnight hotel accommodation. In the early afternoon we will stop at Loch Seaforth for an eagle walk. After an early-evening meal, we will continue the drive up beyond Stornoway to the RSPB managed Loch na Muilne LNR, famous for its breeding red-necked phalaropes usually from the end of May, but home to many other gorgeous species like other wading birds and red-throated divers too. From there we will continue to the RSPB’s Loch Stiapabhat reserve at Ness for an informal catch up with an RSPB warden about what the RSPB do for corncrake, which may already be calling if we are lucky.

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DAY 7

Stornoway - Inverness

This morning you can either take a leisurely stroll in Stornoway to explore and enjoy the “Capital of the Hebrides” or join us in the minibus for a quick drive up to Tiumpan Head to go shore-watching for cetaceans in one of Europe’s hotspots! There are good chances of seeing Risso’s, common or white-beaked dolphins, plus minke and fin whales or even humpbacks and orca if we are lucky. You just never know!

At 2pm, we will catch the ferry back to Ullapool and then travel back to Inverness by minibus and say our farewells.

What's Included

What's Included

Cabin accommodation

Freshly prepared meals on board

Hot drinks

All bedding

Services of a wildlife guide

Drinks from the bar

Towels

Add Ons

HWDT Donation

HWDT Donation

PRICE$13.12/pp

Related Blog Posts

Report from our 2022 RSPB cruise.

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Hebridean Adventures
Hebridean Adventures ·

All aboard our RSPB Hebridean Wildlife Adventure Cruise

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The Big Hebridean Wildlife Adventure Cruise

United Kingdom· June 10 - 16 2023· 6 nights

FREE