Wild About Scotland


Wild About Scotland

Wild About Scotland

Reconnect with nature and enjoy a wildlife break in Scotland, a country which boasts not only a diverse range of wildlife species but also awe-inspiring landscapes in which to go wild.

Written by Linda Jackson

Awe-stricken, overwhelmed, mesmerised, captivated… feelings usually experienced, I’ve discovered for myself, when exploring the varied topography of Scotland.

The Scottish countryside, coastline, mountains and lochs have never failed to impress –vast skies, far-reaching views, wide rugged panoramas, glistening mirror-like lochs, vast stretches of sandy beaches, and wild seas. All, quite simply, thanks to the gift of nature.

Hidden within this remarkable kaleidoscope of Scottish landscapes is a fascinating variety of wildlife. Thankfully Scotland has got its wildlife pretty well sussed, spotted, watched, recorded, reintroduced, and protected… from a breeding programme for the ancient and unique feline hunter - the Scottish wildcat, and the welcome return of the sea eagle, to the reintroduction trial of beavers into Scotland, the full legal protection of the agile and playful pine marten, and the on-going preservation of the cute red squirrel.

For the pleasure of an increasing number of naturalists, and to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the wildlife in Scotland, various organisations have dotted webcams around the country – such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, the RSPB, and the Scottish Seabird Centre to name but a few.


Such is the interest of wildlife in Scotland, especially during this Year of Natural Scotland, that there is a plethora of countryside activities to enjoy during a nature break in Scotland. The wide range of wildlife activities in Scotland vary from viewing birds in their natural habitat on famous Bass Rock via interactive live cameras in the Scottish Seabird Centre in East Lothian, to the spectacular annual red deer rut in the Scottish Highlands and islands which takes place around the end of September to mid-October.

Seabird Centre Cruise

Bass Rock is just the tip of the iceberg, or in this case the tip of a gigantic volcanic plug, as far as birdwatching in Scotland goes.

At the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick you can remotely control cameras that are located not only on Bass Rock, but also at Craigleith, Isle of May, Fidra and Dunbar Harbour.

Dolphins in the Firth of Forth

The waters in this area, the Firth of Forth, are rich in marine life too so sightings of a number of whale species and dolphins are not unusual and, subject to weather conditions, boat trips are available for a bit of spotting. Greywalls Hotel & Chez Roux would make a good base for wildlife breaks in East Lothian, as would any Edinburgh hotel such as the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa.

For keen bird watchers there are tailor-made day tours in the Highlands such as with www.birdingecosse.co.uk and fully-guided, full-inclusive, wildlife watching experiences (whales, birds, mammals) with www.speysidewildlife.co.uk which can organise day trips and dusk watches with professional guides.

Seafari Cruising

Marine wildlife boat tour specialists, www.seafari.co.uk, operate boat trips to the Forth wildlife hotspots from Edinburgh – to Inchcolm and Inchmickery RSPB Reserve- where you might see puffins, dolphins, seals, maybe whales. They also operate RIB boat tours from near Oban and boat trips from Mallaig and the Isle of Skye offering chances to see whales, dolphins, seals, porpoise, and eagles. Boat trips on the Moray Firth also offer great opportunities to spot dolphins and other sealife.


Enthusiastic photographers should consider exciting wildlife experiences options in Scotland, such as taking a photographic tour to explore the scenic Highland hills and ridges with a deer stalker who’ll get you close enough to get some great photographs, or spending a day with an award-winning photographer on the banks of Loch Awe, all equipment supplied too along with tips, advice and guidance on downloading, storing, printing and manipulating your images.

A range of wildlife photography experiences in Scotland are offered by award-winning nature and conservation photographer Peter Cairns, www.northshots.com, who rents out hides set in the stunning scenery of the Cairngorms National Park.

Here you can photograph crested tits as well as red squirrels, November to April being the best time to capture squirrels when they are dressed in their rich russet coats. The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa and Boath House are within easy reach of the Cairngorm Mountains and the coast is not far away marine life spotting.

To explore the Highlands there’s a great choice of luxury Scottish hotels to stay in… Inverlochy Castle, Rocpool Reserve Hotel, The Torridon and Pool House for example and - way up north – you’ll find Inver Lodge Hotel.


Wherever you roam in Scotland you’ll find wildlife to please and amuse… waddling orange-footed puffins in Argyll and the Firth of Forth, basking sharks in sheltered Scottish bays, red deer in Dumfries and Galloway and the Highlands and islands.

There are beavers in Argyll, otters in Shetland and Mull and golden eagles in Argyll, Bute and the Highlands, plus seal, dolphin, porpoise, Minke, pilot, fin, humpback and even killer whales off Scotland’s coasts. There are some very special coastal hotels In Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire too – Knockinaam Lodge, on the West coast The Airds Hotel.

Mainland from Skye

Scotland also boasts a whole load of National Nature Reserves which, stretching from the northern tip of Shetland to the Solway Firth shores, showcase and help protect the country’s wide variety of habitats and species – many of them are open to visitors to appreciate the wildlife within.

Autumn is now drawing near, always announced in Scotland by a stunning splash of colour. This is also when you’ll hear the roar of stags, particularly in the Highlands and islands where the majority of red deer reside, but the Perthshire Highlands and the Galloway Hills are also home to large numbers of deer. Autumn is also a great time to see grey seals, and barnacle geese on the Solway coast of Dumfries and Galloway. Wildcats are active in the Highlands during winter too, when mating is on their minds, and cubs are born to badgers during the winter. So life continues to be lively in the wild even during winter months.

If you’re thinking of taking a wildlife holiday in Scotland you’ll be interested to read that ‘Wild Scotland’ has put together a selection of self-drive wildlife itineraries, downloadable from the holiday ideas section on their website. These itineraries cover the wildlife of central Scotland, Mull, the Cairngorms National Park, the west coast, Inverness & the Moray Firth, Caithness & Northern Sutherland, and Dumfries & Galloway. 

This is the Year of Natural Scotland, celebrate it. The destination is perfect – it’s historic Scotland. The landscape is awe-inspiring.  The wildlife experiences are unique. Scottish hotels offer some of the best luxury accommodation you’ll find anywhere. The timing, it seems, is perfect – if you’ve got the time, we’ve got the place - so why not go wild and enjoy the best nature can offer… that’s Scotland, au naturel.

Some Scotland Wildlife Links


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