A hidden gem of the West Highlands – Lochaber Wildlife

The Fort William and Lochaber district is well established as the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Known for both adventure sports and it’s spectacular scenery. However, for the wildlife enthusiast, this is one of Scotland’s hidden gems. On the edge of Europe’s last true wilderness.

Lochaber a growing wildlife destination.

Lochaber has remained in the shadow of, until now, better known neighbours, Mull and Speyside. All the wildlife for which these areas are known, with the exception of the Capercaille, can be found right here. Scotland’s “Big Five” of Golden Eagle, Red Deer, Otter, Harbour Seal and Red Squirrel can be found in Lochaber. With the help of a knowledgeable local guide you may well see them all in a single day.

For the avid birdwatcher there is an endless variety of species, including some of the UK’s rarest birds. Black and Red Throated Divers nest on a number of local lochs. A healthy breeding population of Common Scoter can be found in the Great Glen. The Scottish Crossbill, the UK’s only endemic species can be found in the pine forests. Ospreys and Sea Eagles are now sighted regularly and numbers are increasing. Few of our remote glens are without a pair of our most iconic birds, the Golden Eagle.

For lepidopterists, the Chequered Skipper butterfly is found within 30 miles of Fort William and nowhere else in the UK. Pearl Bordered fritillaries can be found at a number of locations throughout the region.

Around the coast dolphins, Porpoise and Minke Whale are regularly sighted. As summer warms the water plankton blooms spread north and Basking Sharks follow this feeding bonanza. A pod of Orca are seen occasionally around the small isles.

Lochaber is also home to a population of Scottish Wildcat, a species of feline more seriously endangered than the Siberian Tiger. And whilst nationally a very rare mammal, Pine Marten populations locally are very healthy. The garden of Torlundy House is a regular run for this elusive nocturnal species. Add to this some of the wildest, spectacular scenery to be found in Europe and you have the perfect recipe for the wildlife holiday of a lifetime.

At Torlundy House, we have teamed up with local wildlife guide Ian MacLeod of Wild Life Safaris. Ian has over 25 years of experience working in the area. Also a professional photographer, he will help bring you the very best of Wild Lochaber. Ian offers a selection of scheduled wildlife safaris, normally with pick up from Torlundy House. Or, for those with more specialised needs, a bespoke service to tailor your experience perfectly to your needs.

You can visit Ian’s website, Wild Life Safaris, to contact him for further details, and the Torlundy House availability checker on the right to co-ordinate your wildlife break.