Affric Highlands & the Wild West Coast
Min 5, max 7
Highlands of Scotland
Min 5, max 7
Highlands of Scotland
Day 1 Inverness and Loch Ness
Pick up at Inverness Train Station or Airport and transfer to our accommodation on the Loch Ness. Welcome orientation followed by a group dinner at the hotel.
Days 2-4 Exploring Glens Affric, Cannich and Moriston
Due to the unpredictable weather conditions and seasonal wildlife observation opportunities, the exact day-to-day itineraries in the Affric Highlands need to remain flexible. Our aim is to immerse you in the magnificent landscapes of the Affric Highlands and in the process explain how rewilding is contributing to nature recovery and the regeneration of the Caledonian Pine Forest. Community partnerships are at the core of the Affric Highlands initiative, and we’ll meet the people that are driving and supporting the rewilding process.
We’ll visit Trees for Life’s 10,000-acre Dundreggan Estate, the tree nursery and new Rewilding Centre where we’ll have time to learn about rewilding from the Affric Highlands team as we walk the Estate’s forest trails.
Over 3 days we’ll walk river and forest trails, observe local wildlife, enjoy the company of rangers, meet locals and immerse ourselves in Scotland’s most beautiful Glens.
We’ll drive through Glen Shiel to the west coast at Dornie where we’ll visit Eileen Donan Castle before turning north at Balmacara to the pretty harbour village of Plockton. Plockton, known as ‘The Jewel of the Highlands’ sits on a sheltered bay with stunning views overlooking Loch Carron. Plockton is a National Trust for Scotland Conservation Village that has carefully preserved its heritage. The community once thrived on herring fishing and crofting and became a popular tourist destination due to its road and rail links. We’ll stay in one of the village’s award winning inns and enjoy a dinner of fresh highland produce.
Day 6 Marine wildlife trip on the ‘Sula Bheag’
After breakfast, we’ll board the ‘Sula Bheag’ for a marine wildlife trip on the waters of Loch Caron. The main attraction is undoubtedly common harbour seals, dolphins and porpoises are regularly sighted with grey seals and otters spotted on occasions. The birding is excellent with chances to observe eider ducks, guillemot, shag, cormorant, oystercatcher and Sea eagle. The trip takes us past Duncraig Castle and Heron Island until the Applecross Mountains come into view. To the north are the Torridon Mountains and to the west the awe-inspiring Cuillin Range on the Isle of Skye. The afternoon is free to explore Plockton before meeting up with the group for dinner.
Day 7 The Lochalsch Peninsula and the Atlantic (Celtic) Rainforest of the Balmarcara Estate
Today we’ll explore the nearby Atlantic (Celtic) rainforest of the 200-hectare Balmarcara Estate on the Lochalsch Peninsula. The estate is cared for by the National Trust of Scotland and supports a wide variety of wildlife and plants native to the Scottish Highlands, including the ancient oak woodland of the Coille Mhòr. The Coille Mhòr is part of Scotland’s temperate rainforest and a wonderful mix of Atlantic oakwood and birch woods, with a wide array of lower plants like lichens, bryophytes and ferns. Balmacara is a core area in the Wester Ross Biosphere and the ancient woodland is a truly magical landscape. While at the Balmarcara Estate we’ll also learn about crofting which is a small-scale and low-intensity form of agriculture that once defined the social system of Highland communities. In the late afternoon, we’ll return to Plockton for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Transfer to Inverness for departure
After breakfast, we’ll depart Plockton for an approximate two-and-a-half-hour drive back to Inverness for connecting train and flight services.
April 22-29, 2023
October 7-14, 2023
- Tour leader and guide throughout.
- All activities and tours mentioned in the itinerary.
- 4 nights’ accommodation with en suite bathroom at Loch Ness.
- 3 nights’ accommodation with en suite bathroom in Plockton.
- 7 breakfasts and 6 lunches or packed lunches.
- Transfer Inverness railway station or airport to Loch Ness hotel.
- Group transfer Plockton to Inverness railway station or airport.
- Dinners (group tables are pre-booked to ensure seating space).
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Single Room Supplement
- Alcoholic beverages are paid for by each trip participant at each restaurant (cash or card).
- 4 nights in double/twin room with en suite bathroom at small hotel or inn around the shores of Loch Ness.
- 3 nights in a double/twin with en suite bathroom at a small hotel or inn in Plockton.
Special Dietary Requirements
Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free and other allergy free meal options are available on request. Please inform us of your dietary requirements in advance of travel.
What to bring
- Rain proof jacket and trousers.
- Long sleeved tops and trousers (wool or synthetic).
- Fleece or warm sweater and hat for cooler evenings.
- Hiking boots or hiking shoes with waterproof gaiters.
- Thermal underwear for cool evenings.
- Extra underwear and socks.
- Head lamp with extra batteries.
- Swimming trunks/suit and towel.
- Electricity adaptor for UK.
- Personal water bottle and any favourite snacks and personal medication.
- Camera, binoculars.