Trip report- north Scotland

13th June 2012
Dates: 7th to 12th June 2012

Destination: north Scotland

Purpose of trip:

The purpose of my trip was my regular annual visit to the region to see bird and mammal species that are not found on a regular basis in Essex or East Anglia.

In addition, weather permitting, I hoped to be able to take some photos of northern landscapes.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for wildlife watching and/or landscape photography were:

Fife: Lindores Loch, Golden Loch, Black Loch

Perthshire: Glen Quaich and Loch of the Lowes SWT reserve

Speyside: Loch Insh, Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie RSPB reserve, Loch Vaa, Dulnain Bridge

Grantown-on-Spey area: Lochindorb

Inverness area: Loch Ruthven RSPB reserve

Sutherland and Wester Ross: north and west coast

Getting there and getting around:

I travelled up to Edinburgh by East Coast trains on 7th June 2012 and returned on 12th June 2012 having obtained an extremely good value advance return ticket for £47.70. I booked my return ticket via and by using Tesco clubcard vouchers on this website, my ticket cost me nothing .... a bargain!

In Edinburgh, I hired a car from the afternoon of 7th June 2012 to the afternoon of 11th June 2012 from Hertz for £60.91 reduced by 6% Quidco cashback to £57.25.

On the nights of 7th and 11th June 2012, I stayed at Travelodges in Edinburgh.

On the nights of 8th and 10th June 2012, I stayed at Coire Choille bed and breakfast in Nethy Bridge.

On the night of 9th June 2012, I stayed at Hillside bed and breakfast in Durness.

Both bed and breakfasts are highly recommended for their location, facilities and hospitality!

This is a summary of my itinerary and route:

8th June 2012: Edinburgh – Fife lochs – Glen Quaich – Loch Insh – Lochindorb – Dulnain Bridge – Loch Vaa – Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie – Nethy Bridge

9th June 2012: Nethy Bridge – Inverness – Lairg – Loch Stack – Loch Laxford – Scourie – Tarbet and Sound of Handa – Kyle of Durness – Balnakeil Bay – Durness

10th June 2012: Durness – Loch Stack – Loch Laxford – Kylesku – Drumbeg – Stoer Point – Lochinver – Dundonnell and Little Loch Broom – Loch Ruthven – Loch Garten – Nethy Bridge

11th June 2012: Nethy Bridge – Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie – Loch of the Lowes - Edinburgh


The weather during my trip was typically Scottish .... a mixture of sun, cloud, drizzle and rain.


During my short trip, I was able to record 104 bird species (a reasonable total for such a short trip) and 8 mammal species.

Trip list - north Scotland

With regard to the birds, I was able to add 19 species to my 2012 list plus 1 new species to my Scotland life list (Reed Warbler).

The major disappointment was failing to see a Golden Eagle for the first time since my 1993 trip despite some patient waiting and watching at a number of locations where I usually see these birds each year.

The most unusual sighting was that of a Stoat running around the rocks and seaweed at Balnakeil Bay.

The following summarises the notable wildlife species seen on my trip, many of the birds being first records for 2012.

Glen Quaich: Black Grouse, Common Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Curlew, Lapwing, Common Redshank, Oystercatcher, Kestrel, Wheatear, Brown Hare

Amulree – Aberfeldy: Cuckoo

Drumguish near Insh: Roe Deer

Insh: Red Deer

Loch Insh: Osprey, Goldeneye, Common Sandpiper, Great Spotted Woodpecker

Inverdruie near Aviemore: Bullfinch

Aviemore: Common Buzzard

Lochindorb: Red Grouse, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing

Dulnain Bridge: Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Common Buzzard

Loch Vaa: Slavonian Grebe, Goldeneye, Red Squirrel

Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie: Crested Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Goldeneye, Common Sandpiper, Red Deer, Roe Deer

Nethy Bridge: Siskin, Coal Tit, Red Squirrel

Boat of Garten: Common Buzzard

Evanton - Ardross: Red Kite

Lairg - Laxford Bridge: Common Buzzard, Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, Wheatear, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Siskin, Common Sandpiper, Red Deer

Loch Laxford: Black-throated Diver, Greylag Goose, Wheatear, Lesser Redpoll

Scourie: Common and Arctic Terns, Eider, Shag, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Little Grebe, Common Buzzard, Atlantic Grey Seal

Tarbet and Sound of Handa: Red-throated Diver, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Gullemot, Razorbill, Shag, Fulmar, Common Sandpiper, Twite, Wheatear, Atlantic Grey Seal

Kyle of Durness: Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Sandwich Tern, Dunlin, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Hooded Crow

Balnakeil Bay: Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, Fulmar, Gannet, Sandwich Tern, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Stoat

Durness: Rock Dove, Wheatear

Rhiconich: Common Buzzard

Clashnessie: Wheatear

Stoer: Wheatear

Stoer Point: Great Skua, Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, Shag, Fulmar, Rock Pipit, Wheatear

Clachtoll – Lochinver: Cuckoo, Wheatear, Common Buzzard

Dundonnell: Grey Wagtail, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Hooded Crow, Red Deer, Mountain Goat

Little Loch Broom: Goosander, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Common Buzzard

Loch Glascarnoch: Red Kite

Loch Ruthven: Slavonian Grebe, Red-throated Diver

Tomatin: Red Kite

Dunkeld: Common Buzzard

Loch of the Lowes: Osprey, Reed Warbler

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