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Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

East Sussex
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Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Hi there

We are a family of 4 and are hoping to visit Scotland this August for one possibly two weeks.

We are thinking West Coast but would consider any area/island that we could indulge in our love of nature.

Ambitions specifically for the birding part of our wishlist would be sightings of Golden Eagle, White tailed Sea Eagle, perhaps Puffin or Guillemot. It would be incredible to see Otters in the wild too.

But we are also looking for a easy access (within half hr drive) of a town/village where we can eat out sometimes, or get a takeaway perhaps, and hope to also find a railway journey or a castle or two in an hours drive or so?

We like the flexibility of Self catering and would be looking to hire a cottage.

Is any of this possible? I'd so appreciate your help if you can spare a little time.

Thanks in anticipation

Claire

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

I think these BBC wildlife programmes have a lot to answer for. :-)

Your best bet is probably Mull. There's been an upsurge in interest and activities around the sea eagles and whale- and dolphin-spotting cruises.

Mull also has a castle and a small railway.

But - if you took the view that any wildlife was a bonus, I would head for Torridon - pine martens, eagles, otters... although seeing them is another matter.

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Eagles, puffins, guillemots, otters, trains, castles, a restaurant and a Chinese takeaway - you don't want much do you ;-)

There are a few places which could tick most of those boxes, though maybe not all of them. And although I'm not an expert, I think the puffins will have gone by August :-(

One of the best places for otters, is Jura, and for sea eagles, Canna. But as peterscot says, these can also be found on Mull, which also has most of the other things you are looking for. This agency has cottages on Mull, and has been OK and reasonable when we have dealt with them: http://www.islandholidaycottages.com/ But there are plenty of others too.

I've also sent you a PM. Enjoy your trip to Paradise (al least, it is when the weather's fine and the midges are not around!)

Edited: 22 March 2010, 17:02
Languedoc-Roussillon...
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3. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Mull is lovely, and has a lot of what you have on your list. Also check out the area around Gairloch. We've stayed in the area many times, and have seen sea otters etc. There's a small company which does wildlife cruises; we've seen lots of dolphins and seals, plus a lot of birdlife but never managed to see whales yet - we live in hope!

There are many splendid beaches in the area, such as at Red Point, near where we saw sea otters. There are also otters in the Badachro river.

Walking in the area is excellent, with plenty of guidebooks on sale in local shops. We sometimes enjoy pottering about looking at craft shops, eating lots of home made cakes, and take to the hills at other times. There are some great drives with splendid scenery such as to Torridon and to Applecross (excellent pub there, and views of Skye or the rain falling there!). Another good visit is to NTS at Inverewe Gardens at Poolewe, free if you have a NT card with you, plus another good cafe at Poolewe.

There are plenty of good pubs, cafes and restaurants, and many good cottages etc to rent. There's a station at Achnasheen, not far away if you want to have a train ride. An alternative is to take the train to maybe Glasgow and hire a car from there, although that puts the price up quite a bit. But the train or flying to Glasgow would be a good idea if you're thinking of just one week - it's an awful long way! Two weeks would mean a more relaxed holiday for you all.

The roads have greatly improved over the years, although there are still many single track roads around. You'll also need to be ready for the midges, which can be dreadful; but forewarned..... as they say!

Wherever you go on the west coast is lovely; have a lovely trip! ;o)

Scotland
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4. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Another vote for Mull. Some links to explore:

For White Tailed Sea Eagles sighting: http://www.mullwildlife.co.uk/

For Guillemots and Puffins (if you're not too late in the year for Puffins): http://www.turusmara.com/. Their Treshnish Isles tour is amazing.

Otters you can get lucky and see at any time - one frequents Tobermory bay.

Town/village with eating out (and takeaway!) - http://www.tobermory.co.uk/

Castles: Duart castle is very impressive, Torosay castle is more of a stately home with grounds, and Moy castle is a ruin in a lovely setting.

Railway journey: http://www.mullrail.co.uk/

As far as self-catering accommodation goes, the link already provided by Dhmellor is definitely your best bet.

Glasgow
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5. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

The popular Tobermory otter (Elvis) is no more.

…bbc.co.uk/1/…8574462.stm

East Sussex
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6. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Oh fantastic....5 replies already, we really do appreicate your time. Peterscot...do I detect some sarcasm in your answer ;o)....I must admit my posting earlier did come across as rather amateur....especially asking for puffins in August!! (long night shift to blame), but i'd like to elaborate slightly if I may to prove our worthiness of asking for such specifics!! We have travelled far and wide for our birding, spent many a dawn and dusk in damp and rainy hillocks sitting waiting for a glimpse of a Peregrine, a nightjar, a woodcock. We've taken our family deep into the Florida Everglades to scope for Snail kites, Bald Eagles, Swallow Tailed Kites, driven 100's of miles to view magnificent frigate birds, ruby throated divers. Walked the Samaria Gorge of Western Crete to see the Endangered Lammergiers..Taken a boat on the Norfolk Broads and seen Marsh Harriers...though the Bittern of the Fens evades us still!.....you get the picture.....we are not quite anoraks....but we do like to visit places that have some gems of the feathered variety! Our eldest is soon to be studying for a Masters in Zoology such is his love for all creatures great and small.

Dhmellor...this is Scotland after all...if you can find it anywhere you'd find it there surely...thanks for your post...made me smile! We have visited once before, staying near Fort William...hence....railway and takeaways!! They boys were very small and though locally we did see Peregrines, Merlins, Buzzards, a Hobby and a some Crossbill....they were too young to drag up mountain and lochside to see those species who prefer isolation.

Gardengirlie and DDootsie thank you for the tips and links on the Isle of Mull. It is certainly on the top of the pile for now and I will start to narrow down my search to there I think for the time being. We aim to fly into Glasgow and to hire a car, the train journey idea stems from wonderful memories of the steam train journey from Fort William to Mallaig...I'd love to replicate that or something similar you see.

Next stop the Library and some guidebooks I think and I'll dip into the Mull forum.

Best wishes to all and thanks again

Claire

East Sussex
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7. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Sorry...forgot....Thanks so much for the pm Dhmellor....I'll have a look and get back to you.

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Hi Claire,

No sarcasm intended, although I admit I sometimes can't resist it occasionally.

And no need to explain your motives. It just seemed a big wishlist, that's all.

There used to be nightjars on Arran, but now just the wonderful cuckoos. You might want to get in touch with pandachris, who seems to be a birder....

I agree with a lot of the above advice, especially gardengirlie, although I probably wouldn't have been as informative as her. I want to go back for a pint at the Badachro Inn without hordes of otter hunters all over the place....

Enjoy.

:-)

Scunthorpe, United...
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9. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

Can I throw in another suggeston ?

Have you thought about the Outer Hebrides.

http://www.wildlifehebrides.com/index.php

We regularly see Golden eagles around Great Bernera and have also seen them on Harris. We've seen white tailed eagles on the west coast of the Uists. We also saw a snowy owl at Baranald RSPB Nature Reserve on North Uist (but that was May).

Corncrakes can be heard (and seen) here, but I must admit I'm not sure if they will still be around and vocal in August.

rspb.org.uk/reserves/…index.asp

www.wildlifehebrides.com/jewels/balranald/

Eider ducks were common along the west coast of the Uists and we often saw short eared owls driving home in the evening. We also watched otters from causeway to Grimsay......

Sorry no railway journey or castle unless Calanais standing stones and Dun Carloway broch on Lewis count.

Eleanor

Edited: 22 March 2010, 22:55
Scunthorpe, United...
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10. Re: Birding, Wildlife, Beaches, Scenery. Please help?

I should also mention that the west coast of HArris has some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK.

Luskentyre is one of my favourites.

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/harris/…index.html

The Undiscovered Scotland website will give you some idea of what to do and see in the area. Follow the red links for the text pages with information and pictures and then follow the green links.

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usmapindexes/west…

So as not to sound too biased - for information on Mull start here:

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/areamull/index.ht…

We always stay at Tigh na Mara on Lewis which is about 20min drive from Stornoway and use this as our base for Harris and Lewis. Everywhere can be done as day trips from there.

http://www.tighnamaraceos.co.uk/

On the Uists we use Rona View on Grimsay

http://www.kazian.btinternet.co.uk/

which again is a good base for reaching all of the Uists. Nowhere is a very long drive.

Eleanor