- White-tailed eagle
- Golden eagle
- Fingal’s Cave
Wildlife on Mull
Isle of Mull, Scotland
- No fly
- Small Group 12 or less
- Half board plus
See soaring eagles on the Isle of Mull
First inhabited by man approximately 8,000 years ago, today the Isle of Mull, on Scotland’s west coast, attracts visitors from far and wide to gaze up at the white-tailed eagle’s huge form, circling harrier hawks and majestic golden eagles. Its entire coastline is inhabited by otters, the scratches made by which are evident on the island’s shoreline, and Mull’s population of 6,000 red deer outnumber the permanent human residents almost two to one. Add to this selection puffins, ospreys, basking sharks, dolphins and seals, the Isle of Mull’s popularity with naturalists is perhaps no surprise.
Accompanied by your expert host, seek out Mull’s captivating wildlife and stay for six nights at the Tobermory Hotel (2Q), located within the island’s capital, Tobermory. With a focus on the island’s impressive wildlife, you will also take a trip to Iona, once an important centre of Christianity and traditionally the burial place for Scottish kings. Join us and immerse yourself in what makes this area of the Hebrides so unique.
6 breakfasts (B), 4 lunches (L) and 6 dinners (D)
Local expert guide
- Cancellation rights
- Expert host talks
- Hosted welcome drinks reception
- Free Wi-Fi
- Hotel porterage
Diarmid ‘Dee’ Doody
Your host for this special interest holiday, ‘Dee’ to his friends, is a passionate naturalist. Having provided his expertise to the reintroduction of the red kite to Scotland and monitored the species’ population in Wales, Dee has also worked as a television presenter and filmmaker for a selection of wildlife programmes shown on ITV.
Day 1 Oban
Meet at your locally rated three-star hotel in Oban and enjoy a welcome drink in the evening to get to know your fellow travellers and expert host. D
Day 2 Oban - Mull
This morning you will take the ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull, during which you have the opportunity to purchase lunch on board. Upon arrival, spend some time searching for divers, duck and even otters in the harbour of Tobermory, capital of the island and your base for the next five nights.
You will then head north-west across moorlands to Calgary. Along the way, your host will direct your attention skywards to look for a golden eagle, the sudden dash of a hen harrier or even a white-tailed eagle soaring on the thermals. Return along the coast, past Ulva and Loch Frisa, offering another opportunity to see otters. B, D
Stay five nights at the three-star Tobermory Hotel (2Q).
Day 3 Iona
A ten-minute ferry ride from Mull is Iona, your destination for today, offering an excellent opportunity to see some captivating bird life and immerse yourself in the area’s extensive history. You will drive the short distance from Tobermory to the village of Fionphort, where you will make the crossing on the foot ferry.
In AD 563, St Columba and 12 followers arrived on Iona, - albeit not via ferry - built a Celtic church and established a monastic community which remained important for several hundreds of years afterwards. It is believed that the Book of Kells, one of the most impressive pieces of medieval art, was created at the monastery. Today, a 13th-century abbey stands in place of St Columba’s church, dissolved during the Protestant Reformation of 1560 but still providing an eye-catching landmark.
After visiting the abbey and St Oran’s Chapel - the oldest standing building on Iona whose graveyard was the traditional burial place of the kings of Scotland - you are invited to take a stroll over to St Columbas Bay. On your walk to the bay, you will be searching hard for the rare and elusive corncrake. Guiding your eyes out to the water, you will perhaps glimpse the bobbing, blubbery head belonging to a grey or common seal and your host will perhaps highlight the ancient conical piles of stones and the many speculative reasons for their existence.
Return via the ferry to Tobermory. B, L, D
Day 4 Mull
Today, you go in search of nests belonging to white-tailed eagles, accompanied - for two hours - by a local Eaglewatch guide. The nesting sites move from year to year, but once a nest is located, you have an opportunity to watch the comings and goings of the parents as they bring back food for the fledglings and nesting materials to improve their home. It is a marvellous spectacle to see these birds flying about!
After this, you will search for otters and other wildlife on the south side of Loch Frisa before returning to Tobermory. B, L, D
Day 5 Boat tour
All aboard your boat for a full-day excursion towards the west of the island, stopping first at Fingal’s Cave where you will have an hour to explore. Fingal’s Cave was described by Sir Walter Scott as ‘one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld.’ Thousands of regimented basalt columns suggest manmade creation, however, responsibility belongs to the raw power of nature. Following further explanation of how the natural wonder came into being from your host, continue to the Treshnish Islands that are located to the west of Mull.
Disembarking, you will perhaps first notice the noisy calls of kittiwakes and guillemots as you approach. This is a paradise for seabirds. You will have two hours on the island to enjoy watching the puffins displaying and preparing their nest burrows, as well as razorbills and shags. The waters around the islands are also good for spotting common and bottle-nosed dolphins, minke whales and basking sharks. B, L, D
Day 6 South-East Mull
So far, it has been the north and west of Mull that have provided wonder and natural phenomena. It’s the south-east’s turn now. As you travel through its moorlands and bogs, a keen eye is required; short-eared owls are unusual because they can be seen out and about in the daytime, and hen harriers can often be spotted swooping with impressive dexterity onto their prey. The island is home to approximately 6,000 red dear (outnumbering the human population about two to one!), so a camera close at hand is advisable to capture these shy creatures.
Accompanied by your host, you will also search for golden plovers as they stand guard on heather tufts near their nests. The Loch Spelve and Croggan areas are two of the best places to obtain good views of otter females with their cubs and sea eagles drifting along the cliff tops. Afterwards, return to your hotel. B, L, D
Day 7 Tobermory - Oban
After checking out of your the Tobermory Hotel, take the ferry back to Oban, where you will make your own way home. Your special interest holiday comes to an end, perhaps with a newly found passion for ornithology, a camera filled with stunning photography or simply a soft spot for the Isle of Mull. B
The Tobermory Hotel 2Q
A warm highland welcome to this family-run, boutique hotel, created by combining old fisherman’s cottages and enjoying a prime location on Tobermory’s waterfront. Each room has been uniquely decorated, making use of traditional features and combining them with modern comfort and style, and includes free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer and bath robes and slippers. It is the ideal base for your Isle of Mull wildlife discovery.
Due to the personal transport of luggage on and off of ferries, suitcases with wheels are strongly recommended.
The wildlife seen during autumn will differ from that of spring. Therefore, the following changes will apply to the itinerary:
Day two: after dropping bags in Tobermory hotel, guests will take a trip to Loch na Keal to look for otters and sea eagles.
Day four: instead of searching for eagle nests - as they won’t be nesting at this time of year - guests will visit Duart Point to search for sea eagles and otters.