Isle of Skye Wildlife Tours


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Frequently Asked Questions


What wildlife will we see?

We have an excellent record of seeing two of Scotland's most iconic species, the Golden Eagle and the Otter. Skye has Scotland's biggest population of White-Tailed Sea Eagles, and we usually see these magnificent birds on our Tours. Although land based we still see plenty of aquatic life, the Summer being particularly good for Basking Sharks, Minke Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoise. We get frequent sightings of Red Deer, Seals, Hen Harriers, plus a whole host of other wildlife. Some sightings are common, such as Great Northern Divers, others rarer like a wandering Osprey. As all the wildlife is "wild", and we don't lure anything with food or visit sensitive breeding areas, then nothing can of course be guaranteed. That said every Tour has so far had a number of memorable highlights, and many have had moments that stay with you forever.

I'm a keen photographer, will I be able to photograph the wildlife?

The Tours are aimed at seeing wildlife, keeping a sensible distance with no disturbance at all. Cameras are welcome and if you look at our Facebook page and website you will see that photo opportunities do frequently arise, but obviously they can't be guaranteed. What you do get though is information of where, and how, to look. You may like to use this in your own time to sit quietly and patiently waiting to get that "shot", if you don't happen to get it out with us.

Will we do any walks?

The Tours are designed to see wildlife from the roadside without the need for long walks. We do though tailor each Tour to the abilities and interests of the group. So if someone has mobility problems then we don't have to leave the side of the minibus. But if everyone is up for a walk then we may well head off on a short stroll.

What if the weather is bad on the day?

We have run Tours in low cloud, heavy rain, and gale force winds, and still had great sightings - particularly of Otters. In reality it's rare to have a whole day of bad weather, and often we get spectacular sightings as the weather finally breaks and the wildlife comes out. We're happy going out whatever the weather and don't see poor conditions as a particular drawback - in fact it can be an advantage at times. That said you are on holiday and supposed to enjoy yourself, so if the weather is absolutely appalling on the day and we can move you to a tour on a different day we will if you so desire.

What about lunch?

A picnic lunch is provided, normally consisting of filled rolls, fruit, crisps, cake and a hot drink. We do try to cater for any special dietary requirements, but please bear in mind that specialist food is not easy to come by on the island. So if your diet is very specific it might be easier for you to bring your own lunch to ensure you are happy.

What should I bring with me?

Please come suitably dressed for the outdoors. Walking boots or stout shoes are preferable, even if we don't do a walk the ground is normally uneven everywhere we stop. A waterproof coat (even if the weather looks good). Bring binoculars if you have them. We do have drinks available at lunchtime but you may like to bring a bottle of water or something similar. Please note that there is limited storage space in the minibus, so please consider the size of any bags that you bring with you.

What about toilet stops?

Skye isn't blessed with many public toilets but we do aim to stop at any we pass (you won't have to ask!), and will certainly make at least one stop during the day.

You say the Tours aren't really suitable for young children but can I bring my child?

We're happy to have children along and have had 5 year olds who have come with us and enjoyed their day. Ultimately it's a day in a minibus looking at wildlife, if you think your children will enjoy that then they are more than welcome.

Dogs on Tours

As dog lovers and owners ourselves we understand that you may bring your dogs on holiday too. We will take well behaved dogs with prior agreement. Please note however that as there is limited room in the minibus any dog would need to stay on the floor. A £5 charge will apply.

What is the best time of year to see the wildlife?

All seasons offer great opportunities to see wildlife. Golden Eagles, Otters, Sea Eagles, Seals, Red Deer, Hen Harriers, are year round residents.

The Summer months bring animals such as Basking Sharks and Minke Whales to the coasts.

Spring and Autumn offer the chance of seeing migrants such as Arctic and Long-tailed Skuas, and Whimbrel. Winter visitors include Great Northern Divers, Barnacle Geese, and Slavonian Grebes.

In fact Winter can be a great time to visit. Both eagle species start displaying in the new year, and with fewer people about the often shy Otter can be more easily spotted.

Why do you ask for payment at time of booking?

We can only take a maximum of 8 people on a tour, so with numbers limited we take bookings on a first come first served basis. We have occasionally had group bookings that filled the minibus with one enquiry, so we felt the fairest way to deal with places was simply to guarantee them once payment was made. Of course there are times when you will find we have availability the next day, but equally some days are filled months in advance.

Why do I have to book in advance and can't just turn up on the day?

This is simply down to the practicalities of catering for lunches, so we need to know numbers in advance.

What's the itinerary for a tour?

Where we go is dictated by the weather, wind direction, tides, and time of year, on any given day, to give us the best chances of sightings. There is no set route, although we cover quite a bit of Skye in a day so see many of the sights. 


© Images and text copyright Andrew McLean and Wendy McLean 2018

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