Skye & Lochalsh provides an incredibly diverse ecosystem, with lochs, mountains, glens, woodland, moorland and a vast length of intricate coastline (both fresh and salt water), which creates the perfect habitat for a large variety of wildlife both on land, in the air and in the water, so if you're after a wildlife experience you are definitely coming to the right place!
For otter spotting we are ideally located at the White Heather, with the Bright Water Visitor Centre just next door. They organise guided tours of Eilean Bàn (the island where Gavin Maxwell lived and the Skye Bridge now lands on before reaching Skye) which is an Otter Haven with several hides, while back at the Centre they have hands-on interactive displays and plenty of information on the wildlife in the area. The otters themselves often hang around the harbour and pier, hunting amongst the seaweed and kelp, although it often takes patience and good fortune to actually spot them! Just along the coastline at Kylerhea (30 mins drive, although only 4 miles as the crow flies!!) you will find Kylerhea Otter Haven, where there is parking and information boards at the start of a walking trail, which takes you past a wooden hide where you can sit and spot the wildlife - including not only otters, but also hopefully porpoise, seals and various birds!
Seals can be found all round the island, but some of the easiest locations are just across the Bridge at Plockton (either from the shoreline or on Calum's Seal Trips), on the Seaprobe Atlantis/Spirit of Adventure boat trips from Kyle, on one of the 3 boat trips into the famous Loch Coruisk, or from the shoreline around Loch Dunvegan and its nearby Coral Beaches or alternatively on one of the boat trips from Dunvegan Castle.
Bottle Nosed dolphins are spotted in many of the surrounding sea lochs - here in Loch Alsh and around in the mouth of Loch Carron. Common dolphins are more usually spotted on one of the more adventurous RIB boat trips, like AquaXplore from Elgol and SeaFari from Mallaig.
White Tailed Sea Eagles can be spotted all across the island (their hunting is not restricted to fish!), but the more reliable ways to spot them is with the help of one of the local boat trips out of Portree harbour: MV Stardust and Brigadoon are both very popular and can provide fantastic opportunities to get action shots of these beautiful birds of prey in action!
Golden Eagles can also be seen all across the island, but more easily in moorland type areas, where their hunting is easier. Keep an eye out while driving round the island as both Eagles and buzzards seem to enjoy sitting on fence posts by the road side! Just remember to bring binoculars and a camera with a zoom!!
For those guests who are young at heart and want the sweeter, more cuddly animal experience, then take a walk up to The Lump, in Portree, where I must confess I've never failed to see at least one bunny rabbit!! I'm sure there would be Golden Eagles & Sea Eagles lining up to take advantage of this, if it weren't for the number of trees up there providing much needed protection for our furry favourites!! From this great vantage point you can look across to the Cuillins in the distance, but closer to hand you have great views across to Ben Tianavaig and the Isle of Raasay.
For dedicated Twitchers, the island has some great shoreline for waders and sea birds, with none better than Broadford Bay, just 10 mins drive from us. The shoreline is extensive and reaches round the coast line to Waterloo and onwards to Breakish, where beautiful hidden beaches provide ideal locations for a perfect summer picnic - just remember to be mindful that these places are untamed, so no toilets and no bins, so please take everything back with you to the car!! Anywhere with traditional woodland and moorland provides perfect habitat for smaller birds, so walks down the Sleat Peninsula are often very rewarding, as are walks down Strathaird towards Elgol and around the Lochalsh area where there is plenty of woodland (Plockton, Balmacara/Reraig, Glenelg, Kintail).