Sanna bay is not just a stunning white sandy beach at the most westerly point of the British mainland, it is also great place to explore some coastal wildlife. In Spring and Summer, the dunes are a riot of colour, making this an excellent place for a botanical extravaganza. Scan the shoreline for coastal birds and check out the rock pools at low tide. Immerse yourself in the wildlife of this stunning beach with its extensive dune system, interesting rock pools and clear turquoise seas.
Wildlife Safaris - Ardnamurchan in a Nutshell
Ardnamurchan is a great place for a wildlife safari... Join one of the many organised trips, head out on your own for a wildlife spotting adventure or simply enjoy wildlife from your armchair whilst staying in some wildlife focussed self catering accommodation. From puffins and guillemots to eagles and ospreys, from pine martens and red squirrels to red deer and otters, from chequered skippers to fritillaries and orchids to lichens - The Ardnamurchan area has them all. We have selected some of the best guided experiences from the Wild About Lochaber website together with some suggestions for wildlife hotspots to visit on your own. Get ready to experience some of Scotland's most iconic wildlife.
Which ever adventure you choose, we're sure you will fall in love with Ardnamurchan leaving with memories to last a lifetime and a desire to return time after time...
Target Species: grayling, beautiful demoiselle, grass of parnassus
Ardnamurchan is a great place to embark on a Puffin Safari. Whilst puffins do not breed on the peninsula they do breed on several of the nearby Inner Hebridean Isles, such as the island of Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish Isles. Staffa Tours operate out of Mull and pick up in Kilchoan in West Ardnamurchan offering a day long excursion to see both the puffins on Lunga and visit Fingal's Cave on The Isle of Staffa. There are also good chances of seeing dolphins and white-tailed eagles, as well as a host of other seabirds. On Lunga, you will be amazed at how close you can get to the puffins affording great photo opportunities. A trip to the islands of Lunga and Staffa is a 'must do' during late Spring and Summer.
Target Species: puffin, black guillemot, kittiwake, razorbill, shag, bottlenose dolphin, white-tailed eagle, rabbit
Join the local RSPB warden on one of the weekly wildlife walks around the RSPB reserve at Glenborrodale on the shores of Loch Sunart. Look out for otters, eagles and red deer as you take a tour around the RSPB reserve. Learn about the tracks and field signs left by the local Highland wildlife and discover what lurks beneath the water in the bog pools along the walk. Discover more about how the RSPB are managing the Atlantic Oak woodland for biodiversity and get a local insight into wildlife conservation in Ardnamurchan and beyond. The RSPB reserve is also a great site to look for pearl-bordered fritillary and purple hairstreak butterflies in late spring and late summer.
Target Species: otter, golden eagle, palmate newt, wilson's filmy fern, pearl-bordered fritillary, purple hairstreak
Ardnamurchan Charters offer a number of wildlife cruises ranging from two hour cruises on Loch Sunart to full day whale watching trips to The Isle of Muck. The cruise to Tobermory during summer months takes a leisurely two hours looking for wildlife around the Isle of Carna and along Loch Sunart offering opportunities to spot common seal, grey seal, otter, white-tailed eagle, golden eagle and harbour porpoise, if you are lucky. This trip also gives you two hours ashore in Tobermory to explore the waterfront, visit the Tobermory distillery or head off along the path towards Aros Park before returning to Laga Bay on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. A great day out.
Target Species: harbour porpoise, common seal, grey seal, otter, shag, kestral
Seek out coastal wildlife amongst the rocky headlands and sheltered lochs of the Sound of Arisaig, on Loch Moidart, on Loch Sunart and beyond. There are several activity providers in the area offering slow adventures by canoe and kayak on sheltered coastal waters, sea lochs and freshwater lochs catering for a range of experience. A slow adventure on the water is a great way to get up close with otters, seals and other aquatic wildlife.
Target Species: common seal, otter, grey seal, white-tailed eagle, harbour porpoise
The MV Sileas cruises the length of Loch Shiel each Wednesday and Saturday over the summer months. You can either take a return trip from Glenfinnan or pick up the afternoon sailing from Acharacle and get the bus which awaits you in Glenfinnan to return. You have good chances of seeing white-tailed eagle and golden eagle, together with the possibility of seeing black-throated and red-throated divers. An interesting historical commentary will keep you entertained en route together with some great views of the Ben Resipole, Moidart and The Glenfinnan Viaduct. Shorter cruise options are also available from Glenfinnan on most other days.
Target Species: white-tailed eagle, golden eagle, osprey, black-throated diver, red-throated diver, red-breasted merganser, slavonian grebe
One of the best chances to see a pine marten is to stay in one of the local self catering properties. These endearing arboreal mammals are opportunist feeders and can often be attracted to self catering properties. Pine martens are active all year, so it's always a good time to see them Wild About Ardnamurchan. Check out the self catering webpages on Wild About Lochaber to find properties specialising in wildlife tourism.
Target Species: pine marten
The Gaelic Alphabet Trail is a great place for dragonfly stalking. Peat bog specialists such as northern emeralds can be seen on the wing in July and August. Highland darters bask in the summer sun on the wooden bridge by the lochan, as well as darting from selected perches to tackle any intruders in high Summer. Dragonfly stalking is a great way to spend a few hours, enjoying the acrobatics of these stunning insects. There is also a lovely short walk by the lochan which heads up a track to open heathland with lovely views of Ben Resipole and Loch Sunart. There is an information board in the car park which introduce the Gaelic alphabet whose eighteen letters are associated with a species of tree.
Target Species: northern emerald dragonfly, azure hawker, golden-ringed dragonfly, highland darter, pearl-bordered fritillary, small pearl-bordered fritillary
Whilst you may need a little bit of luck and be in the right place at the right time, your chances are good when it comes to otter spotting on Loch Sunart. The Garbh Eilean wildlife hide near Resipole is a great starting point. The hide can be reached by a five minute all ability walk from the nearby Forestry Commission carpark or a slightly longer wander through the woods and heath from the car park at Ardery. The comfortable hide has viewing windows to suit all heights, has information booklets, a wildlife sighting board and a spotting scope. Scan the Morvern hills for golden eagle, watch the seals basking on Garbh Eilean, look out for terns swirling above the loch, listen to the shrill and piping call of the oystercatcher, look through the scope to spot herons nesting on Eilean a Chuilinn and maybe, just maybe, spot the elusive otter.......
Target Species: otter, grey seal, common seal, harbour porpoise, heron, common tern, purple hairstreak
The Ariundle Oakwood National Nature Reserve, near Strontian, is great place to search for butterflies such as the beautiful and rare pearl-bordered and small pearl-bordered fritillaries and the West Highland speciality, the chequered skipper. Take the lovely walk through the ancient coastal oakwood, whose boughs are strewn with an exuberance of mosses, lichens and epiphytic ferns and carpets of bluebells in Spring. Look out for the ubiquitous speckled wood in the canopy, fritillaries in the woodland clearings and the chequered skipper in damp grassland by the car park. The chequered skipper is on the wing during late May and early June. Listen out for the sonorous calls of summer migrants as well as the resident birds. Although Ariundle Oakwood is a great place to visit at any time of year, it is at its best in late Spring and Summer.
Target Species: chequered skipper, pearl-bordered fritillary