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Speyside Birding and Scottish Highlands Tour - 7 Days

Speyside Birding and Scottish Highlands Tour

Speyside Birdwatching in Scottish Highlands

This 5-day Speyside Birding Tour is a relaxed-paced trip available as a set-departure tour where you can expect to see around 110 species of bird and approximately 10 mammal species. During this Speyside birdwatching tour, we will be looking for charismatic birds and exciting mammals in the very best birdwatching and wildlife watching areas on this exciting birdwatching holiday in the dramatic Scottish Highlands.

On our guided Speyside Birding Tour of the stunning Scottish Highlands, we will visit some of the most renowned birdwatching and wildlife-watching sites in Britain. We will look for the elusive Capercaillie in the ancient Caledonian pine forests where iconic Crested Tits are also resident and red squirrels are regularly encountered. We visit beautiful and majestic valleys to look for charismatic Golden Eagles, where we may also see large numbers of red deer. We will visit Cairngorm Mountain where we admire the spectacular views, clouds permitting, and may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic Ptarmigan.

We may be able to include an evening in a wildlife hide where badgers regularly come in to feed and with luck perhaps a pine martin will put in an appearance too. We may also visit a nearby estuary where bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen very close inshore as they chase the fish in the shallow waters. There is so much wildlife to enjoy each day on our Speyside birdwatching tour.

We know you will love the area of Speyside with its rugged scenery and spectacular wildlife. We will be staying in a lovely, traditional hotel which we use regularly on our guided birding holidays in the Scottish Highlands. It has very comfortable rooms and offers excellent breakfasts and evening meals focusing on local produce. And as we know first-hand, the bar also has a wonderful selection of single malt whiskies from around Speyside and beyond, so we may enjoy a wee dram or two in the evening as we catch up on our checklist of Speyside birds!

Speyside Birding and Scottish Highlands Tour Highlights inlcude:

  • Looking for Crested Tits in the ancient Caledonian Pine Forests
  • Visiting the impressive Cairngorm Mountain where we look for its iconic wildlife
  • Spending time in a beautiful Scottish Glen, home of the majestic Golden Eagle
  • Close encounters with badgers and with luck a pine marten at a wildlife viewing hide
  • Sampling the finest single malt Scotch Whiskies in the bar at our comfortable hotel

For more exciting birdwatching and mammal watching please take a look at our Isle of Mull Bird Watching and Mammals Tour, Scotland which we also offer.

Alternative Tour Name: The Best of the Scottish Highlands Guided Birdwatching Trip
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrive in Speyside - Late Afternoon Birdwatching

The tour starts in Speyside at Grantown-on-Spey which is our lovely base for the trip. However, we will start early morning as we drive up to Scotland from our base in North Wales. Guests are welcome to join us in North Wales or we can collect our guests from agreed pick-up points along the way. This is mainly a driving day, though we will break our journey for comfort stops and maybe some birding on the way. We should arrive with time for a walk in the beautiful woods around Grantown-on-Spey to get our bird- and wildlife-list off to a good start. Overnight in Grantown-on-Spey

Day 2
Days 2 to 4 - Birdwatching in Speyside

Our exact itinerary on each day will be governed by the weather and the latest bird news. During our time in the area, we will explore the best birding sites and respond to bird news as it comes in. We will of course also be keeping our eyes peeled for our target bird species as well as special mammal residents including red deer, red squirrels, badgers and pine martin. We will visit various sites including RSPB Loch Garten, the Findhorn Valley, Cairngorm Mountain and areas of ancient Caledonian pine forest, the Black Isle, Burghead, Findhorn Bay and more. Overnight in Grantown-on-Spey.

Day 5
Day 5 - Departure from Speyside

After some early morning birdwatching we say goodby to Grantown-on-Spey where our tour ends. We start our journey south and may incude agreed drop-off points late afternoon.

During our Speyside birding tour we will be looking for species including:

Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Common Eider, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan, Slavonian Grebe, European Golden Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Black Guillemot, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Northern Gannet, European Shag, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Hooded Crow, Common Raven, Crested Tit, White-throated Dipper, Redwing, Fieldfare, European Stonechat, Grey Wagtail, Snow Bunting, and any other scarcities or rarities that may be in the area.

Mammals are also important on this trip and we will keep our eyes open for iconic species including:

red squirrels, red deer, roe deer, badger, pine marten, mountain hare, brown hare, Atlantic grey seal, bottlenose dolphin.

What is included?

  • Guiding by professional guides Alan and Ruth throughout the trip
  • Four nights’ ensuite accommodation in a very comfortable traditional Scottish hotel, no single room supplement
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and evening meal) from evening meal on day one to breakfast on day five with a soft drink
  • Snacks to keep you going between the lovely meals
  • Use of our top-of-the-range telescopes to help you enjoy the best views of the birds
  • Use of our field guides to help with identification
  • Free loan of binoculars on the trip if requested in advance
  • A checklist of the birds we encounter
  • All entrance fees to reserves we visit
  • All activities as specified in the itinerary

What is not included?

  • Travel to Grantown-on-Spey
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Additional drinks or snacks
  • Travel/medical insurance
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Tips
  • Additional nights’ accommodation, activities and meals/drinks not specified in the itinerary

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Why should I book with Birdwatching Trips?

Alan Davies and Ruth Miller have been running their popular relaxed-pace birding tours in North Wales, Scotland and England as Birdwatching Trips for over ten years. We know just what it takes to provide the perfect birdwatching holiday - the best possible views of lots of great birds during the day, a comfortable ensuite room in a lovely hotel or B&B at the end of the day to relax, and delicious food along the way to feed the inner birder. Add in small exclusive groups of a maximum of six guests so everyone has lots of personal attention, and plenty of laughs along the way with a friendly group, and you have the recipe for a perfect birding trip. No wonder so many guests return many times for more Birdwatching Trips! We make a donation to the Scottish Ornithological Society for every guest joining our tours so by booking with Birdwatching Trips, you know that you are also supporting the conservation of the very birds you are enjoying.

What sort of accommodation do you offer?

We stay in an extremely comfortable traditional Scottish hotel in Grantown-on-Spey where you can be sure of a very warm welcome. All rooms are ensuite. The hotel offers an extremelhy well-stocked bar (do take a look at their special whisky and gin menues!) and offers delicious meals based on the very best local Scottish produce. Special dietary requirements are catered for, please just let us know in advance

What are your group sizes?

We only take a maximum of six guests on our tours to ensure everyone has the best possible experience on our trip. We always take our time to enjoy every bird we encounter and allow time for taking photographs too. Our Birdwatching Trips are perfect for everyone, whether you have just discovered the joy of birdwatching or have been birdwatching for many years. Sorry but we are not able to take guests under the age of 16 on our tours.

Do you arrange airport pick up/drop off?

Our tour starts and ends at our hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, but we are happy to help with airport transfer arrangements from Inverness International Airport. We may also be able to arrange a pick-up on route from Glasgow Airport. The nearest railway station is at Aviemore.

Do you offer a single supplement option?

We are happy to confirm that there is NO SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT on this tour.

Do you need a minimum fitness level to join this tour?

This tour is graded as Easy. Walks are on trails and footpaths which may have an uneven surface. You should be able to walk unaided at least a mile on rough or uneven surfaces. Please contact us if you have any concerns over your participation.

How do you support local communities during this tour?

We make a donation to the Scottish Ornithological Society for every guest joining us on the tour so you know that you are supporting the conservation of the very birds you are enjoying. We also make a point of visiting local cafes for lunch during our tour to support the local community

Can you book accommodation for us prior to the start of the tour?

We are happy to reserve additional nights’ accommodation at the hotel before and/or after the Birding tour.

How do I pay, and what are the terms of the tour?

We ask for a 25% deposit upon booking with the balance of payment due by 60 days before travel. Please ask if you would like us to send you our Terms and Conditions.

What should I pack for this tour?

We send all our guests our Travel Tips and Packing Suggestions upon booking on the tour to help them prepare and pack for the tour.

Can you cater for special dietary requirements?

Please let us know of any special dietary requirements on your booking form; our hotel is very experienced in meeting specific requirements.

Should we bring credit cards and/or cash?

This tour is fully inclusive. However, you will need to pay for any extras at the hotel or during the tour. The hotel takes most credit/debit cards but a small amount of cash may be useful for some of the smaller places we may visit.

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour Dates Tour Availability From Price Spaces Left
16/03/2023 - 22/03/2023 available GBP 1,795
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7 Days

Price & Availability

GBP1,695 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement GBP 100
This tour is operated by: Birdwatching Trips
4.98 based on 10 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.98 Based on 10 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Scotland
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 3 - 6 guests
  • 5 days
  • 18+ years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • Contact us for best recommendation
  • Contact us for best recommendation