The Isle of Mull is, arguably, the most scenic and wildlife-rich of the Hebridean islands, and has an impressive 300 miles of coastline. Lying to the west are the islands of Coll, Staffa and Lunga, and on this new six-night cruise we will aim to drop anchor on three or more of these Western Isles, going in search of their special flora and fauna. Our home for the duration of the holiday is the Seahorse II, an 82-feet-long vessel, ideal for exploring the small islands of the Western Hebrides, being small enough to anchor in remote spots! Harbour porpoise, common and bottlenose dolphins and minke whales are regularly seen in these waters, while orca, basking shark and risso’s dolphin are possible too. Even sunfish have been known to drift this far north on the warm Gulf Stream!
After one night moored at Tobermory on Mull, we head for the low-lying island of Coll – the best place in the UK to see (and hear) corncrakes. Our skipper knows the island well, and we will drop anchor on the north-east side of Coll, from where we will go in search of the small population of breeding corncrakes as well as the island’s other special birdlife, machair habitat, and flora.
After landing by means of a pontoon, we then make our way uphill over lush spongy grass, perhaps accompanied by the island’s distinctive morph of black rabbits. Lunga is a delightful place, and the chance to sit amongst thrift and other wildflowers, and observe, hear (and smell!) the dense seabird colonies of puffin, guillemot and razorbills, is a fantastic spectacle. The highlight of the day, for most, will be the chance to see the island’s incredibly confiding puffins (there are 2,000+ breeding pairs on the island) as they come and go around their nesting burrows. We will also aim to spend a day on Lunga, largest of the Treshnish Isles, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest on account of its abundant plant life. As we approach the tiny island, we may find ourselves observed by seals, their heads popping out of the water like periscopes.
Eagles and otters will be firmly on our agenda as we approach, and land on, the Isle of Mull. With a wingspan of over two metres, they make for an impressive sight, and we’ll be hoping to watch one plunging down and snatching a fish from the sea. Golden eagles typically have a slightly shorter wingspan, and on Mull both species may be seen in the air in proximity to one another, making aerial comparisons possible. We will also walk along stretches of sea loch, looking for signs of otters – Mull is one of the best places in the British Isles to see this delightful mustelid, though sightings always require a degree of luck. June is a good time to see otters as they will be feeding their young and females are usually less wary of humans during this period.
The Western Isles represent some of the UK’s most remote outposts, and a cruise – enjoying the natural history, scenery, marine life and some world-class sunsets – at this special time of year is a truly memorable experience!
Join naturalist leader, Nick Acheson on our exclusive Isle of Mull Wildlife Cruise.
Contact us for more information.