Watching wildlife with Scottish Highlander
We have spoken a lot about the glories of self-indulgence when barging - the food, the wine, the pampering, the Jacuzzi. well, it's time to look at another facet of the cruise - the wonderful wildlife. What better example to cite than the Great Glen, along and around which lie abundant wildlife watching opportunities - both on and off our Scottish Highlander barge.
The pick-up point for all Scottish Highlander's cruises, Inverness, is located on the Moray Firth, an area offering beautiful coastline and abundant wildlife spotting opportunities. Bottlenose dolphins, seals, minke whales and porpoise inhabit these waters, whilst osprey and red kite soar above.
Between Inverness and Fort William, along the Great Glen fault-line, lies the Great Glen Forest, with waymarked trails from where sightings of pine martens, red deer, black grouse and red squirrel can be enjoyed. As Scottish Highlander makes her dignified passage along the calm waters of Loch Ness, golden eagles, osprey, black-throated divers, buzzards and otters might well be seen soaring, swooping, splashing, or shimmying!
Not far from Spean Bridge lie the magnificent ice-carved crags of Coire Ardair in the Creag Meagaidh reserve, which stretches from loch shore to mountain top. Here graze red, roe and sika deer among native woodland of birch, alder, willow, rowan and oak. Glen Roy's remarkable landforms are a stunning sight, created by glacial action. During the last ice age, advancing glaciers dammed a series of huge lakes in the glen, leaving behind a set of shorelines clearly visible on the hillsides today.
One hour west from Fort William, along the "road to the isles" lies Arisaig, from where the islands of Eigg, Rum and Muck, just south of the Isle of Skye, can be visited. Many trippers have enjoyed regular close sightings of whales, dolphins, seals, eagles and puffins.
Twenty-four miles south east of Inverness lies Aviemore, Scotland's famous winter ski-centre. Peregrine falcons regularly nest on the cliff here and can be spotted between April and July. A little magic sprinkles across the area in the spring time when woodland flowers begin to bloom and scenic trails through the birch woods provide fine views across to the Cairngorms. In the same area sits the Landmark Forest Theme Park, which is especially enjoyable for younger nature-watchers, with the possibility to watch red squirrels, crested tits, siskins, green finches and Scottish crossbills feeding.
This is just a glimpse into the wonderland of "wild Scotland" and Scottish Highlander is the perfect calm retreat from which to view it all.
BEN NEVIS - BRITAIN'S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN
At 4,406 ft above the town of Fort William, it's no wonder many have asked Scottish Highlander's Captain Dan about going to see the "Ben", the highest mountain on our island. In Gaelic the mountain's name Beinn Nibheis, means "terrible" but, despite this fear-provoking name, people flock from all over the world to take their fill from the glorious summit. How they get to the top is manifold. Some walk, some cycle, some might even paraglide or hang-glide! Others even need a "wee dram" of Ben Nevis Whisky before they have the Dutch Courage to set forth!
If you would rather ascend the heights without needing to don your walking boots, you can also ascend the Nevis range by cable-car which is open all year round and having arrived at the top, the "Snowgoose" restaurant will provide a hearty Scottish welcome.
The river Nevis tumbles down over crag and moss, eroding away the rock and leaving in its wake curious formations, rock pools and rare flora on its way down Ben Nevis. This wonderful place was the backdrop for the film "Braveheart" - no longer is Ben Nevis no place for the faint-hearted - now it's accessible for all.
back to top