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Wild West - wildlife safari trips

9 MacKay Crescent, Caol, Fort William, PH33 7JB

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Wild West - wildlife safari trips

Wild West - Wildlife safaris in Scotland's wild places
Wild West offer a selection of wildlife experiences based in the Lochaber area. See Scotland's " Big Five", Photograph red deer, join a searchlight safari to look for the elusive pine marten or a dawn safari to see lekking black grouse, or book your own bespoke safari and we will tailor it to your requirements.  The following is a selection of safaris available with Wild West.   

The Big Five
Scotland’s big five of golden eagle, red deer, red squirrel, otter and harbour seal can all be found within 25 miles of Fort William and on this safari it’s possible to see them all on the same day. 
The Wednesday trip includes a 2 hour cruise on Loch Shiel, taking you into the heart of some of Scotland’s wildest country. Cruises/boat trips can be included in full day safaris on other days, by request.

  • Wednesday trip with cruise.  Adults £80.00, Child £48.00           
  • Other days, no cruise           Adults £65.00  Child £40.00
Photo safaris
Wild West guide Ian MacLeod is an experienced semi professional photographer. Red deer photo safaris are a speciality with groups of deer gathering close to the roads in quiet glens over the winter, with spectacular backdrops. Safaris to photograph other species, or landscapes can also be arranges.  All photo safaris are offered on a private basis.

Cost: £40.00 per hour, minimum of four hours 
Below are a selection of photography safaris available from Wild West: 
Red deer
In winter the huge herds of red deer in the highlands descend from the high tops to the glens to seek shelter from the severe weather at high altitude. Many of the estates provide supplementary feeding for the animals, ensuring their survival and maintaining strong populations. This attracts the deer to return regularly to given locations. Your guide Ian MacLeod knows all the best spots not only to find and photograph the deer but also to ensure the best backdrops and light for given locations.
Otter populations around the west coast of Scotland are healthy, however otters remain elusive. Whilst essentially a nocturnal species, coastal otter movements are dictated more by the tide. Whilst no guarantees can be given, your chances of finding and photographing otters will be greatly increased by going out with a guide who knows the most likely spots to find and photograph them. Not only will we be looking to find, get close to and photograph otters but the lessons learned will be invaluable in photographing otters and other species in the future.
Other species.
Wild West do not have feeding stations or fixed hides set up for wildlife photography, however guide Ian MacLeod does have an in depth knowledge of the most likely spots to find and photograph the more elusive species. Black throated diver, common scoter, crossbills, the rare chequered skipper butterfly and a variety of seabirds can be found and photographed locally and temporary hides set up to photograph them. Wild West are also happy to quote for meeting you in other parts of Scotland to look for species such as puffins, gannets, osprey or dolphins. Please contact me to discuss your preferences. 
Photographing insects and wild flowers requires a sound understanding of both the subject and the camera. Macro workshops are designed to help you get the best from your macro photography. Subjects will vary depending on time of year but the techniques learned can be applied to other subjects. Dragonflies are a speciality.
For the landscape photographer the highlands of Scotland can compare with anywhere in the world and the quality of light can be magical. From wild landscapes and romantic castles to cliff girt lighthouses we can advise on and get you to the best locations, dawn until dusk.

Shorter safaris
For those just looking for a taster in wildlife watching close to their base Wild West offer a selection of half day trips to various destinations around Fort William and Lochaber. We’ll recommend the best 1/2day trip for you and your party based on season, recent wildlife activity and where you are staying to give you the best experience for your short trip. Trips last 3.5 - 4 hours

Cost: Adult £35.00, under 16 £21.00
Below is a selection of short safaris available with Wild West:

Deer rut
From late September until the end of October one of the highlights of the wildlife calendar, the red deer rut takes place. During this period the stags compete to mate with groups of hinds in a testosterone charged spectacle. Rut safaris are available daily throughout this period with the option of a dawn trip to catch the best of the action.
Deer safari.
Red deer can be found on the mountains of Scotland throughout the year and on these trips we’ll be looking for the UK’s largest land mammal. In the summer months they are high up in the mountains however it is a rare trip that we can’t find a few animals in the high corries. 
Arkaig Approached from the world famous command memorial, Loch Arkaig is a truly wild place that stretches to the edge of the Knoydart peninsula, recognised as Europe's last true wilderness. Red deer, black throated diver, goosander, golden eagle,  and the rare chequered skipper butterfly are amongst possible sightings dependant on time of year. Five pairs of osprey are now known to nest around the loch as well as a pair of sea eagles.
The longest dead end road in the UK is one of the best places in Scotland to find red deer, with the magnificent back drops of Loch Quoich surrounded by it’s five munros. Common scoter and Black throated diver can be found on Loch Garry and osprey, sea eagles and golden eagle can be found here
Loch Eil and Loch Linnhe 
Starting and finishing in Fort William this circular tour looks for red squirrel, otters, seals and various seabirds. We will cross Corran ferry to Ardgour where we will get spectacular views of Ben Nevis along Loch Eil. Sea eagles and osprey are occasionally seen fishing at the head of Loch Eil and porpoises can be found in Loch Linnhe
Red squirrel and otters are the target species on this trip where we’ll also visit the internationally famous Glencoe, scene of a terrible massacre in 1692. We’ll also discuss the geology of the glen, the result of shaping over millions of years by the action of volcanoes and Ice. 

Whether you want to pursue species on a target list, celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary, photograph a specific species or location or simply benefit from a lower rate for a group, a Wild West bespoke trip is for you. Any of the trips listed on the site can be booked as a Bespoke trip, or you can tailor your own. Bespoke trips normally include collection from local accommodation. Supplementary charge may apply if collection from further afield is required.

Cost: £40.00 per hour, minimum of four hours

Searchlight safari
As the sun goes down the creatures of the night awake to hunt and forage in the darkness. The main target of this trip is that most elusive of Scottish mammals the pine marten. We’ll also go looking for bats, red and roe deer as well as owls. Before the sun disappears, otters may be active at the river mouth and at certain times of year we can expect to find black grouse lekking in the evening.

Cost: Adult £35.00, under 16 £21.00

For more information or to make a booking, please send a message via the enquiry form.

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  •   Watch the sea eagles soar
  •   See the red deer rut
  •   Red deer photo safaris
  •   look for Scotland's "Big Five"
  •   Learn about the local flora and fauna
Medium large otter 2 1
  • Thumbnail otter 2 1
  • Thumbnail the red deer  one of scotland s big five is the uk s largest land mammal
  • Thumbnail black throated diver  one of our rarest birds
  • Thumbnail the chequered skipper is found within 30 miles of fort william and nowhere else in the uk
  • Thumbnail sea eagle numbers are increasing and the birds are regularly sighted
  • Thumbnail black throated divers on loch eilde

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