United Kingdom·August - July
Cruise some of the best waters in Scotland and Europe for spotting whales, dolphins and porpoise on this 4-night expedition.VIEW DATES
The perfect Scottish cruise to relax on and watch the amazing wildlife of the Hebrides, and in particular its populations of whales, dolphins and porpoise. Then there are the beautiful and isolated Shiant Isles which you will visit, white tailed eagles, seals and of course the amazing land and seascapes on the horizon every day. You will anchor in quiet and remote sea lochs and bays, listening to the sounds of seals splashing and spotting red deer coming down from the hills in the evenings. During the day, sit on one of our two raised observation decks and our experienced guide will help you spot the wildlife that lives and visits this stunning part of the planet. You can even get involved with our citizen science efforts on board by logging detailed sightings of cetaceans and taking photographs to be used for ID purposes. The perfect slow travel experience with small group sizes of only up to 8 passengers on our converted fishing boat, the Monadhliath, it's a great way to make new friends or to enjoy this experience with your family or friends.
The best place to watch whales and dolphins in the UK, and recognised as one of the best in Europe.
Our experienced guides will help you find and identify the species you are seeing
One of our cruising locations is right outside Stornoway and was designated as a sanctuary for its rare inshore population of Risso's dolphins which we often see in the area.
We usually anchor overnight in some of the most beautiful and secluded sea lochs and bays around the Outer Hebrides each night.
Take a walk on the beach or along a quiet estate path deep in the hills to find secret waterfalls.
Depart Stornoway approximately 2.30pm and head north towards the cetacean shore-watching hotspot of Tiumpan Head at the tip of the Point Peninsula. From here we enter the area known as Broad Bay, a real magnet for whales and dolphins, including a number of rarer sightings each year. Apart from the resident minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins, and harbour porpoise, the bay plays host every year to humpback whales, fin whales and even orca sometimes too - will we be lucky?
We will anchor in Broad Bay overnight, enjoying our first meal on board and then watching the sun go down whilst watching for any last fins, distant spouts or listening for whale blows.
Leaving Broad Bay in the morning after breakfast, we will have one last look around before heading south. These waters have recently been ratified as the North East Lewis Marine Protected Area, and play host to a well-studied Risso's dolphin population in particular. These lovely animals are often seen by our guests and if we do observe them we will take lots of photographs to help researchers identify individual animals and behaviours.
Our destination is the coastal village of Marvig for our second night. Located on the east coast of the Isle of Lewis, it is a lovely quiet area with chances to spot other coastal species perhaps like seals and otters along the shorelines perhaps. White tailed eagles are also always worth looking out for as there are several territories all along this eastern coastline, with the occasional golden eagle making an appearance also.
Our third day sees us head further out into the Minch on a course for some higher areas of the seabed known as banks, where the currents become more confused and small fish tend to get concentrated making for good hunting grounds for the whales, dolphins, porpoises and the thousands of seabirds that will be breeding at the nearby Shiant Isles. We will spend time carefully searching these areas and may also spot pelagic seabirds such as shearwaters and petrels, before heading for the Shiant Isles themselves, home to the magnificent sights of the seabirds colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags and several others in the breeding season. We might see some stragglers still hanging around with young on the water. We will be able to take a walk ashore and enjoy having a look around at these ancient islands before relaxing back on board watching out for sea eagles, seals and other birds all around for our third night afloat to be spent at anchor here.
There will be time for more exploration of the Shiants in the morning, both on-shore and also perhaps taking our dinghy along the coastline and maybe even through the natural sea arch if the tide and conditions are suitable! Being close to the water gives you an even more incredible eye to eye view of the puffins and their friends paddling around you.
Back on the boat we will circumnavigate the islands to show you the other seacliffs which only a month or two ago were throbbing with their breeding colonies of guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes, a superb spectacle. You will also be able to spot the tell-tale signs of the former occupants of the islands with ruined bothies and field systems visible in certain places.
From here we will head across the stretch of water known as the 'Stream of the Blue Men' - worth Googling for some local history and background before you come. This can be a good feeding area once again for cetaceans and seabirds, with the turbulent currents concentrating and confusing fish like sandeels and herring and making them easy prey.
Our destination this time is Loch Shell (Sealg), a lovely dramatic sea loch where we can anchor in splendid isolation amongst the hills where eagles, seals and birds like black-throated divers are often seen. We have a favourite walk here to a beautiful waterfall which also gives great views back down the sea loch, past a ruined bothy to the MV Monadhliath at anchor awaiting your return. Watch out for wildflowers here also such as orchids which can be found along the path sometimes.
Our last morning on-board and after another hearty breakfast we will start our journey back northwards along the Lewis coastline towards Stornoway. This is still a great area for minke whales, common and Risso's dolphins and harbour porpoise so we will be keeping our eyes open all the way.
We will arrive back around midday, passing Lews Castle as we reach the harbour and leaving plenty of time for those catching the afternoon ferry back to Ullapool.