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Sutherland and Speyside

This two centre holiday starts at a delightful hotel in Speyside, before heading to the top of Scotland and a small hotel in Sutherland. We look for some of the Cairngorms National Park’s best birds, including Crested Tit, crossbill, Ptarmigan and Slavonian Grebe, before heading north for eagles, auks and skuas on Handa Island and divers galore. Walking generally easy, with minibus transport throughout and short ferry crossing to Handa.

"Watching two W.T.Eagles over hills behind Gruinard Bay; Seeing a pair of Black-throated Divers with chick on a lochan in the middle of Sutherland moorland; Glimpsing a Golden Eagle between trees whilst being driven over the Farr Road; Eventually locating a Crested Tit in woods near Loch Garten (thanks to Kate's expertise!); Enjoying the amazing spectacle of an Otter feasting on his salmon supper by the side of the river outside our bedroom window (for over 15 mins!)....fantastic!" Eileen Knight, 2021

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LeadersSally Nowell and Kate Mennie

Day 1Arrive in the Cairngorms.
5 nights at the Garth Hotel, Grantown-on-Spey
Days 2-5Wildlife and birdwatching exploration throughout Speyside including Abernethy Forest, Dava Moor, the Moray Firth coast and the Cairngorms.
Day 6Travel north-west to Sutherland, via Gruinard Bay.
4 nights at The Rhiconich Hotel.
Days 7-9Exploration of the north-west corner of Scotland including Handa.
Days 10-11Travel back to the Cairngorms.
1 night at the Garth Hotel, Grantown-on-Spey

WeatherMixture of sun and showers (10°-25°C) although it can be cooler in the mountains and on the boat crossing.
WalkingMost walks are 1-2 miles on wide, sandy tracks, although there is the possibility of a forest walk of up to 4 miles
We may take a steep uneven walk into the Cairngorms. Sturdy boots and walking poles are essential. Low-level unguided alternatives are available.
Our day on the remote Island of Handa has limited toilet facilities and will include a 3.5km walk round the island on boardwalk.
BoatsOur boat trip to Handa Island is over sheltered waters and lasts 15 mins.
MealsAll included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 11.
InsectsBiting insects may be encountered, so bring repellant.
AccomDouble, twin and single rooms all ensuite.