If you are super lucky, you will be able to see whales, dolphins, porpoise, basking sharks or White Tailed Eagles on your trip. The rest of the year the puffins are out at sea resting on the waves when they aren’t ducking and diving for food. When planning my trip to Scotland (read my itinerary here) I stumbled over the island of Staffa. To get there you take the ferry from Oban to Craignure and then catch a bus to Tobermory. We went at the end of May and at one point while eating our sandwiches were surrounded by at least 20 Puffins no more than a meter away. On the adjacent island of Cairn na Burgh Mòr, there was even a small castle. If you’re in the Westfjords why not take the opportunity to sail out to Vigur Island and … We stayed in THIS AirBnB. Muckle Flugga, at the northern tip of the UK is in the distance.. Aug 17, 2014 - A Puffin admiring the view. Puffins were flying hither and thither, the males cleaning out last year’s burrows for the partners to the lay the eggs in, with the beautiful landscape all around me utterly overwhelming me. The first stop was Lunga to see the puffins! It was…. Located in South-West England, off the coast of England this little island is the only place in the South of England that has a puffin colony. as a matter of fact I did bring all my rain gear…only I never needed it. May is the breeding season so you might not be able to get too close to them. Hope you enjoyed it. It was also walking distance to Oban Distillery which is a must-do! I “only” saw porpoise, but then again I was more than lucky with the weather, so I shall not complain. Wow, this looks amazing! Puffins on the cliffs at the Brough of Birsay. Apparently it’s quite common because humans scare off the predators so they feel safe when a tour drops in. That too might be a matter of time, for as of now the international crowds gather on Iceland for their Puffin experience. This is one of the reasons Lunga is now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Puffins on the Isle of Lunga. I did say, right in the first paragraph, that Scotland is rich with (unexpected) wildlife. Pilot Wife. When I was researching activities to do in Scotland, I came across a tour to the Treshnish Isles to see the Puffins in one of the largest breeding grounds in the world. ), Book in advance, but not too far in advance, Tennis shoes/hiking shoes are definitely required. Enter Oban. Sally Coffey Staffa Toursruns trips to Staffa and the nearby Tresh… There can be up to 3000 puffins on the island in addition to other seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots and fulmars. Yet, there is more to the country of Alba than rolling green hills, high cliffs, whiskey and quite a bit of rain. I saw some amazing bird colonies at Rubha Hunish, though. Be prepared to wake up early and come home late, though. They are not afraid of humans and you can get fairly close. But I also took my time enjoying the moment. Lunga is one of the Treshnish Isles which the tour is named after. These days the Hebridean Trust owns Lunga and the Treshnish Isles. Read more about Sharvedda B&B Puffins – or more specifically the Atlantic Puffin – are a breed of seabird found in Ireland, Scotland, and other regions of Northern Europe. You have entered an incorrect email address! Authentic pictures and insider information are its hallmark. Island of Staffa is good for puffins. Coincidence? It has an area of 69 acres (0.28 km 2). Luckily the sun was shining oh so prettily, bathing the island in a luminescent green. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the “normal” side of Scotland either. Aside from the puffins, we have red deer, roe deer, pine martin, beavers, eagles, buzzard, kites, ospreys, seals, otters, basking sharks, dolphins, red squirrel, lynx, scottish wildcat, adder, stoats, and of course the infamous scottish midge! There are two main tour operators: Staffa Tours and Turus Mara. Should I cancel my trip to Egypt? Let’s take a look at some of Scotland’s most popular island puffin-spotting locations. Vigur Island. A couple hundred yards into the hike, we were not prepared for the sight we saw. Années de Pèlerinage is a travel blog that focuses on luxury hotels and unforgettable cultural experiences. The Puffin Tour is actually out of Tobermory on the Island of Mull, another quaint fishing village even smaller than Oban. Somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 puffins nest on the islands of St Kilda, which is around a quarter of the total number for the UK. Puffins live in burrows in the short grass at the top of cliffs and feed on fish, such as sandeels, which they catch at sea by diving beneath the surface and using their wings to swim in pursuit. Húsavík is located in northern Iceland and is about a 30 to 40 minute detour from the Ring Road. This tidal island off the west coast of the Orkney mainland is a fantastic place to visit. If you want to see the Puffins, October is a bad time. It was like a scene out of a horror movie. In the winter, they leave the island and spend the rest of the year at sea. Winter weather wouldn’t allow a visit in the rough seas anyhow. Depending on your tour, you will have plenty of time to see Staffa and Iona as well. Hi 34,663 posts. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. You can usually find puffins on the cliffs around the island, particularly close to the lighthouse on the west side. This tour was wayyyy more athletic than I thought it was. But seeing them breeding in their thousands was no less impressive. Home to Puffins, rare Bonxies, stunning views of the Assynt mountains and one of Scotland’s best beaches, here’s how to visit the paradise of Handa. Put on the rain gear and enjoy it! I am quite ashamed to admit (being the control freak I am) that I was thus utterly unprepared for the spectacular wildlife waiting for me on this unique island. I'm off to Shetland in a couple of weeks with my main goal being, puffin-spotting. Not that i’d complain. There was never a strong population since the small island and its meager meadows wouldn’t support more. Quite accidentally the tour I decided to take had a stop on Lunga, some 10ish kilometers farther north. And another one when I cursed myself for not bringing a proper telephoto lens. Thousands of birds. I promise you, the views are worth the misery you experience hiking up. Everywhere. So they live on land, sea, and air - Visiting the Puffin colony on Lunga, Scotland, wildlife experiences I had on the Galapagos Islands, The best time to visit the Isle of Skye, Scotland, The 15 best things to do in Salzburg, Austria, https://www.annees-de-pelerinage.com/perfect-scotland-road-trip/. At the time I didn’t know, sadly, about this island! All in all, Lunga is quite small. At the end of May, it was close to the breeding season and every one of them was busily flying about. I’m planning to visit Lunga in June 2020 and I try to understand if we come with a tour from Oben, there is a tour with 2 hours on the island and another one with 4 hours. Some tours leave from Oban on the mainland, but these usually involve taking the Ferry to Craignure and then a coach ride to a port on Mull. But that might just be a matter of time. Muckle Flugga, at the northern tip of the UK is in the distance.. London, United... Level Contributor . The purchase was completed in April 2000. Then and there I noticed the many beautiful flowers covering the islands.  Keep an eye on the weather and be flexible with the day you go if you can! These birds breed on land from April to August, which is why I was able to see them in their prime during my visit in July. Puffins, Seals, Guillemots, Razorbills – there was barely a single empty nesting spot among the high cliffs of the tiny islands. it truly was amazing..beyond amazing in fact. I've seen puffins on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth. The island is officially called Lunga, part of the Treshnish Isles, and a number of companies do day trips there and to neighbouring Staffa Island. You won’t regret it. On top of Oban being the cutest little Scottish coastal town, it was also a perfect place to stay that was close enough to the big city, but accessible to the Treshnish Isles! Most of their life they spent out on the sea. You cannot imagine the noise they made. Getting to Lunga is a bit more complicated. Didn’t have any clue about it either before my visit. We only had two precious hours on the island before the boat departed again. Lunga on the Treshnish Isles in Scotland is one of those rare places. Once this island has been inhabited. Adults have a distinctive rainbow coloured deep bill as well as white cheeks and a conspicuous, clown-like black stripe down over each red-ringed eye. Get out and live life and see these amazing animals! Once ruled by the Vikings, the islands have many ancient remains of forts and the Viking heritage is still reflected in the names of the islands. Oban was the cutest little fishing town. I had to go check out one of the best places to see Puffins in Scotland. There were birds EVERYWHERE. By then I was ready to adopt one or two, maybe even the whole islands. We wanted to maximize the days around the Open, and wanted variety from the cities (Edinburgh and Glasgow) we were also visiting. Also, be aware that be Puffins will be there only from Mid-May to July. For my full Scotland itinerary check out Epic Scotland Roadtrip Part 1 & Epic Scotland Road Trip Part 2 Awesome! There was a little path winding up the high cliffs. Not this particular morning, though. We continued the hike up the hill where we eventually reached the top. There are few places left on earth, where you can experience unspoiled nature and abundant wildlife. But to be fair it was not just Puffins. And don’t forget to pin this to your pinterest board! I’ll be back in whatever weather. Aug 17, 2014 - A Puffin admiring the view. 105 helpful votes. Boat trips from South Queensferry during the summer. A puffin’s beak (or bill) changes colour during the year. I will say, that the Scottish people are very fit. Look to the sky. We were in Scotland for the British Open, so we didn’t want to stray too far from Angus, where the Open was being held. The Puffin Cove in Caithness, Scotland, also known as Puffin Island, is just off the north coast between Melvich and Reay at the border between the historical counties of Caithness and Sutherland. We took a day trip to Lunga, the largest island to see the puffins and also to the Isle of Staffa to see the legendary Fingal’s Cave. I'm staying in Lerwick and will be car-less but prepared to walk a lot and I've been checking bus schedules. I’m heading out here late July! Walking down the length of the short island, Lunga presented me with yet more Puffins. Puffins in Scotland Puffins spend the majority of their time out at sea, only heading to shore to breed during the months of April to mid August so this is the time you want to be here in Scotland. For most of the year puffins are out at sea, returning to land to breed. The humorous birds spend the rest of the year at sea. Hi. The island is very easy to reach from the city of Edinburgh by car or by train to North Berwick where you can walk to the harbour rendezvous point. There are numerous burrows where the puffins nest, and later in the season you can watch the hatched pufflings (baby puffins) poke their head out for a look. You could also stay on the Isle of Mull! Although there are Puffins on both the islands of Staffa and Lunga, the main attraction on Staffa is Fingal’s Cave. The exposed rock on the island I showed you earlier is called Dun Cruit and home to over 6,000 guillemots. ___________ Aug 6, 2014 - Explore Daniel Bickhart's board "Scottish Animals - Puffins", followed by 599 people on Pinterest. This is a test to see if he even reads this. I pray with all my heart that they will be able to conserve this unique place for further generations. Yet I decided to explore the island a bit more. One of the best spots to see them is on Staffa, a small uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. Not that hiking around the island was particular exhausting (though the cliffs fall off quite steep, so nothing for the faint-hearted). CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. If you are staying on the Outer Hebrides, there might be some tours as well, though I am not aware of them. It was such a sublime moment. I hope to go back to Scotland one day, this time I will try to go and see this place, it looks absolutely magical! Hugging the cliffs where thousands (quite literally!!) I am actually quite amazed that more or less unregistered tourism is still possible on Lunga. Puffins, Razorbills, Gullimots and others. Alternatively, you can grab some food or stroll down the main street and pop into a variety of different shops. I went to Scotland last year, but haven’t seen any puffins. The next stop is Staffa for more birds, hiking, and most importantly, Fingal’s Cave! Norths sagas tell us of King Hakon of Norway assigning the property to Ewan MacDougall in 1249. Peterscot. I want to see Scotland; but don’t want drizzle :-). I probably shot a thousand pictures or more. Now I stand corrected and am already planning my return, lol :), Yes; this is now on my bucketlist called “Places to visit on short notice if weather is good” :-) Starting out from Oban, as I did, takes a whole day. There are a number of places on the island where plenty of Atlantic puffins can be seen. Also for anyone visiting Mull for a while I would like to give a shout out to Mull Charters. 6. Cheese Fry Enthusiast. The best place to see Puffins in Scotland. Coincidentally, there is another magnificent whiskey distillery in Tobermory, Tobermory Disillery. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. I am thinking of going the beginning of October and was wondering if there would still be an abundance of wildlife? This is the island that most boat tours will circle when you go searching for puffins. Fingal’s Cave is a natural geological formation of basalt columns within a Paleocene lava flow, similar in structure to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. However, in spite of their large quantities, St Kilda's puffins are not easy to see. They have a wingspan of roughly 47cm-63cm and can reach about 20cm in height. To see Scotland without rain is not to see Scotland. If this sounds too complicated, Staffa tours will book this all as one package for you and give you easy to follow instructions! However, further away is Flatey Island which is also home to nesting puffins in the summer. of Puffins, standing over their freshly dug burrows. I went in May. We just wanted to be closer to the city and didn’t want to venture onto ferries with cars and such. The puffins can be spotted when they breed between late May and early August. While the castles passed on to different clans a couple of times throughout history, it was nevertheless occupied until the late 18th century. Take a walk further along the cliff path and you will be rewarded with literally thousands of Guillemots and Razorbills nesting. Puffins in Scotland are only there from Mid-May to July (August at the latest). Since the landscape of Lunga was already presenting itself in picture-perfect greens, disappointment was out of the question anyway. After a calm ride north, we arrived on Lunga, the first island on our tour to see puffins in Scotland. Got any question? At the time of the RSPB’s last census, 2,000 puffin pairs were recorded in the Inner Hebrides. Travel Destinations. They like to sneak hikes into everything without letting us know. Now, it may not be the Serengeti or the Amazon jungle, but it’s amazing in its own way :). Your legs burn. | Webmasters WordPress Nanny, Visiting the Florida Gators on a Myakka Airboat Ride, Anna Maria Island: A Unique Bachelorette Party Destination, 10 Reasons the French Polynesia Should Be on Your Bucket List, We Bought a 1978 VW Bus! With that many birds flitting about, I was otherwise preoccupied, as you can imagine. On a calm day, it is possible to spot dolphins and even humpback and minke whales en route to the island. What odd, but beautiful creatures. If at all, they seemed to come closer, taking an avid interest in the stranger intruding into their domain. Amongst the rocks, I also saw a couple of Razorbills. Travel. The main island that puffins nest on in the bay is called Lundey, or Puffin Island. During the summer months the island is home to a big puffin colony. Puffins are always to be found close to or on the sea. Lunga on the Treshnish Isles in Scotland is one of those rare places. Wild orchids, primroses, sea pinks, and yellow flags – it really felt like paradise. This is an excellent time to take a whiskey tour at Tobermory Distillery. The day is long, but so fun. In 1857 Donald Campbell and his family left the islands, the last to have permanently lived there. Getting to the isles is a little complicated. So when I discovered that Puffin Island in Scotland was not only a real place but also pretty accessible from the Isle of Mull, I simply had to go. Puffins, small winged seabirds that come ashore to breed @shutterstock By then the MacLeans were in charge on the Treshnish Isles. Following are the spots which enjoy 100% sighting rates in summer. Being the wildlife fan I am, I almost suffered a heart attack. They are the cutest little birds and SO curious. It’s probably better to book our tour not too much in advance. I have some fabulous pictures of Scottish skies and they are sure not all blue! I thought we’d see a couple of Puffins and that’s it. Actually, at the far end of Lunga, there was one particular rock covered, so it seemed, with nothing but Guillemots and guano. crazy…beyond overwhelming, and I don’t say this lightly (check out the otherworldly wildlife experiences I had on the Galapagos Islands to get an idea). After much research, I personally thought it was easier to leave out of Oban. Reykjavík. Jess has wanted to see puffins for a very long time, so when the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, Scotland, offered us a trip on one of their bird watching tours at the start of puffin season, naturally we leapt at the opportunity. But my brain was suffering from some sort of sensual overload. I don’t know why but these pictures of puffins just put a smile on my face. From Mull, there are boats departing from Ulva Ferry, Ardnamurchan, Tobermory, and Fionnphort, as far as I know. It is so nice to experience a different side of Scotland and I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anything else but a flock of Puffins (just kidding Pilot Husband. Pin now – Best Place to see Puffins in Scotland. They will come right up to you! Now, it is a paradise of birds (with puffins and guillemots being the main residents) and seals. Rains and storms are common. There are few places left on earth, where you can experience unspoiled nature and abundant wildlife. The chick remai… The population was not as strong as in other places among the Scottish Islands, but here you were able to come very close. Attorney. Muckle Flugga, at the northern tip of the UK is in the distance.. Aug 17, 2014 - A Puffin admiring the view. thank you so much for your invaluable input. Thank you :), Hey Mike, © Henk Bogaard/Getty It has been suggested that we adore puffins, or ‘sea parrots’ as they are traditionally known in northern Scotland, because their rotund features and comical gait on land remind us of human babies. But as soon as I climbed the cliff, I entered a moss-covered plateau and things got out of hand. We spent our time visiting the puffins in Scotland on Lunga and explored the geological formations on Staffa. We were closer and the town of Oban has things to do as well as the islands tours. The first cliff was no unique spot, though. They bear their offspring underground but live on the water when not raising babies. Puffins on the island of Staffa, accessible by boat trips from Mull. It was really a wildlife photographer (and much as I wanted to be, I don’t style myself one) dream come true. It is best that way. So, this was my little blog about visiting the Puffin colony on Lunga. © 2017 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Adventure of A Pilot Wife. Asia Destinations. It really is a magical place and I can’t recommend it enough. And believe it or not, none of them in the least shy. Staffa’s name comes from the old Norse for ‘pillar’ – a reference to the strange hexagonal basalt columns found on the island (similar to those found across the water at the Giant’s Causeway) most notably in Fingal’s Cave, famed for its natural acoustics. Check out my YouTube Video of our experience! (Also leaves from Ulva). No, really. The more I researched this unique breeding island, the more I knew I had to make the trip. So if you stay in Oban, the easiest thing to do is take the tour out of Tobermory. I just had to see it! I wouldn’t say we have little in the way of wildlife experiences here! The island of puffins, hundreds maybe thousands of them hop about. This is where I found myself a little rock to rest. Puffins in the UK are mostly found in a few sites in the north of England, Angelsey in Wales and Scotland. i agree. Our apartment was at the base of the walk to McCaig’s Tower. Approaching the nests they made loud noises, almost sounding like an angry pig. In winter, the beak has a dull grey colour, … I highly recommend mentally preparing yourself for physical activity and bring your hiking boots! As we are slow walkers and we like to wander around which one to choose. We sure had our laughs but obviously respected their privacy. ;-). 86 reviews. On the way back, we had some time in Tobermory before the bus came to take us back to the ferry. I will admit that Scotland isn’t readily associated with wildlife experiences. (Click HERE for $20 off your first AirBnB stay!). hehe). And then you see the view from the top and completely forget about how exhausted you are. From the Isle of Mull, we took a boat to the islands of Staffa and Lunga where we got what the locals call “Puffin Therapy”. haha! You’re sweating, but its chilly so you have layers on. Skye is called “The Misty Isle”. Two small, uninhabited islands -named Akurey and Lundey or the ‘Puffin Islands - are home to a large puffin colony. And hopefully I have convinced you to go see puffins in Scotland! No matter which tour company you pick a visit to Lunga to see the puffins is a must while in Scotland. You can also go out of Ardnamurchan, Fionnphort, Mulle, Iona and others. Lunga is verdant for outstanding wildlife experiences. Thanks! They make the transfer with the ferry and bus so easy by booking everything for you. And while you’re on your travels you’ll see highland cattle – not wild but beautiful! With their blackheads and beaks, they were certainly not as charming as their cousins. My wife and I went to Lunga during a week long stay on Mull back in 2014, I can only re enforce the comments. He told me that roughly 4,500 Puffins are now breeding on Lunga – one of the biggest colonies on earth (I could not verify these numbers, but there were certainly a LOT of Puffins). In medieval times, the Treshnish Isles had been a bit more popular. I was super lucky with the weather, but the Isles are not exactly known for their aridity. Puffins! ;-) but then again..if everything is wet, the green will shine just so beautifully! Ask them in the comments below. Atlantic puffin landing on Farne Islands. Oban is basically the most south west city you can stay in and get away with this day trip. Answer 1 of 21: Hi guys! But much to my amazement, the Puffins didn’t mind my coming at all. Here’s the details for our day trip to the Treshnish Isles to visit the Puffins in Scotland. Visiting the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth to find Puffins, was one of the highlights of my scottish adventures. Nijo Castle Explore . drizzle would be uncomfortable! Just off the remote north-west coast of Scotland lies Handa, one of Scotland’s most beautiful islands and a nationally important wildlife reserve. Puffin Watching on Papey Island Just off the shore of East Iceland is another enormous puffin colony that can be reached by boat. Everyone should see a puffin in its natural habitat at least once in their life and there is nowhere no more beautiful to do it than here in the North of Scotland. During the breeding season, displays of bill-knocking and ritualised walking will result in mating pairs producing one egg, which is laid at the end of the burrow. I think not. But the island of Lunga is, much as the other Treshnish Isles, home to quite a lot rare plants as well. 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