Bespoke Tour of Scotland

Bespoke Tour of Scotland - 25th September to 4th October 2023

This was a bespoke tour for three customers that had travelled with us to Scotland in the previous year, we had told them of all the other places we had visited and the sightings we had seen, this was enough for us to put an alternative tour together just for them.

It worked out perfectly as they all resided in the Scunthorpe area so a pickup was arranged so we could all travel together. Overnighting at Perth the following day saw us continue our journey up and across to Ullapool or so the plan was, but a call came in to say the sea was too rough on the west coast so our boat trip out of Ullapool would be cancelled.

A quick diversion onto the Black Isle took us into RSPB Udale bay where the usual avian masses were thronging as the tide reached its peak. A rather remarkable incident took place at this site as we met Laurie Campbell a wildlife photographer of some repute whose work has graced many a calendar, wildlife book or other publication. He was a true gent finding time to chat whilst assisting his guests on his photography day course.
The following morning it was out on the water with Shearwater cruises, rafts of Eider, a pair of White-Tailed Sea Eagles at close quarters, Seals, Black Guillemots and a few porpoises made the morning, but sadly no Dolphins 


"it also showed us just how the seasons change so quickly as we saw several Swallows, a few Red Admiral and Comma butterflies along with a couple of early arriving groups of Whooper Swans.."

A lunchtime seafood stop and a drive to the geopark at Coigach to marvel at the earth’s creation left us all spellbound. A day in the Gairloch, Gruniart area promised a lot but delivered little with reduced visibility the best sighting being a small group of Black Throated Divers just offshore.

Finally getting to the Grant Arms I gave a talk on Britain’s garden birds before settling down for the evening. Up and out the following morning with many Red Squirrels and Grouse being seen up at Lochindorb, onto a hillside walk to view the Reindeer we later settled into the evening hide for the Badgers and also saw a female Pine marten.

Another boat trip on the Avoch boat with Gwyn was a delight with Bottlenose dolphins and seals being seen. I must praise him as he was exemplary both in his knowledge and his attention to the welfare of the cetaceans unlike some other operators in the area. Heading for Strathdearn via the organic Black Isle Brewery we had great views of a range of raptors most notably a Golden Eagle being mobbed by Buzzards and Ravens. Getting back to the hotel, I felt more under the weather as the evening wore on.
The following morning not feeling well I arranged for my guests to go out with one of the local guides Richard Thaxton who used to be manager for RSPB Loch Garten, I don’t think they missed me at all.  


A tour of the Moray coast taking in the stretch from Spey Bay to Burghead gave a good selection of birds with Purple Sandpipers, Red Throated Divers, Long Tailed Ducks and Common Scoters being the highlights, a call at Loch Spynie never disappoints with a wide range of birds being added to our list. Returning to the hotel I presented a talk about travels in a truly unique country – Costa Rica.

They say lightening doesn’t strike twice but it certainly did on this trip, whilst checking out a viewpoint at Findhorn bay a car was parked on the banktop with a gent looking through his scope over the bay. His remark that he was looking for a late season Osprey in his soft dulcet Hampshire tones made me realise this was Roy Dennis a conservation champion and a pioneer of specie re-introduction. I considered it an honour to have met him and questioned why that knighthood had not found him yet, being a very unassuming man, I don’t think he would be bothered in the slightest.

Up early the next morning, breakfast and away down to Perthshire to Argaty rewilding project to see the Red Kites, with feeding time at 2pm albeit a minimal feed of offal it certainly brought the birds in with E7 a local bird of some 16 years of age being the star of the show. Odd crows and a couple of Buzzards joined the fray whilst Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers continued at the seed feeders nearby. A big shout out to Ollie who had only recently joined the Argaty team and was most helpful with our group, Thanks.

After a great overnight stay at the local Woodside Hotel in Doune we returned to Argaty for a morning in the Woodland Hide for a session photographing Red Squirrels, Nuthatches and various Tits and Finches. It really was a hive of activity and proved to be popular with our guests.
It was a great trip, being able to show our guests new locations and sharing those experiences with likeminded others, it also showed us just how the seasons change so quickly as we saw several Swallows, a few Red Admiral and Comma butterflies along with a couple of early arriving groups of Whooper Swans.
Our trip yielded 91 species of bird with a good variety of mammals with 8 different beers sampled and a wide selection of malt whiskies. 


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