- Meet your leader at Inverness Railway Station or Inverness Airport and transfer to the Aigas Field Centre, which lies roughly 20 kilometres west of Inverness, in the Eskadale Valley. Once everyone has arrived we will meet before dinner to discuss the forthcoming programme.
- Accommodation: Aigas Field Centre, 5-nights on full board basis.
- Early this morning we head out to a local RSPB reserve to look for black grouse on their lek. After breakfast back at the lodge we learn about the European beaver and familiarise ourselves with the Aigas estate and its nature trails. We spend the afternoon in nearby Glen Cannich, which boasts remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian pine forest, to look for golden eagle, dipper, as well as migrant birds that may be returning from the south.
- Today we head to the Black Isle, a rich mosaic of habitats where the red kite was reintroduced in 1989. Its mixed farmland, miles of varied coastal habitats, hidden valleys and unique geology offers rich pickings for any wildlife enthusiast. We’ll do our best to find the resident population of bottlenose dolphins, too, at Chanonry Point, near Fortrose.
- Today will be spent in a quest to observe the world’s fourth largest eagle and Britain’s rarest breeding raptor; the white-tailed sea eagle. During the day we may see red and black-throated divers, a variety of waders and, if we’re very lucky, sea otters exploiting the vast shoreline.
- On our last full day, depending on what we have already achieved over the course of our stay, we may head out early for a dawn run to search for otters or black grouse, or visit Aigas’ local peregrine and osprey breeding sites (in season). Alternatively – or possibly even in addition – we may have an evening session watching pine martens and/or badgers at the estate’s own hides.
- After breakfast we transfer to either Inverness airport or rail station for the journey home.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- Transfers between Inverness and Aigas
- Guided activities
Aigas Field Centre is based around a fine Victorian mansion built as a shooting lodge, fifteen miles southwest of Inverness.
During our stay we are hosted by the family owners and can enjoy the 'Highland house-party' atmosphere as we have exclusive use of their family home.
Twin rooms with private bathrooms. A very limited number of single rooms are available.
All meals are included. The food at Aigas is fabulous, and dinner each evening is served by candlelight in the baronial dining hall.
We visit at the end of the winter migrants – the geese and whooper swans – and in time for the full breeding plumage and display behaviour of the residents.
- Golden eagle
- Whooper swan
- Black grouse
Travel to/from Inverness is not included in the price, however transfers between Inverness and the accommodation are.
We can meet you at either Inverness railway station, or Inverness airport between 1530 and 1630 on Day 1. If you arrive outside these times you will need to make your own way to Aigas Field Centre.
The tour concludes after breakfast on Day 5 with transfers back to Inverness airport and Inverness railway station.
Some spectacular mammals can be seen around the grounds at Aigas, and a trip out to Chanonry Point allows us to see its resident dolphins.
- Red squirrel
- Pine marten
- European beaver
- Bottlenose dolphin