WILDLIFE ABOVE AND BE­LOW THE WAVES

Dis­cover un­for­get­table wildlife from the com­fort of the St Hilda on a cruise around Scot­land’s un­spoiled coast­lines

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild May -

WHEN IT COMES to en­joy­ing the UK’s most spec­tac­u­lar wildlife, the shores of Scot­land of­fer an em­bar­rass­ment of riches – and the crew on the St Hilda have been help­ing guests spot rare birds and stun­ning marine life here for 10 years.

Ex­perts aboard the tra­di­tional wooden ex-tall ship take up to six guests at a time on a pri­vate cruise spe­cially de­signed to en­counter a wealth of wildlife in the area, mean­ing a hol­i­day on the St Hilda can show­case ev­ery­thing from Minke whales to moun­tain goats.

Sight­ings of more than 24 species of birds – in­clud­ing Manx shear­wa­ters, guille­mots and sea ea­gles – have been recorded in just one day on the St Hilda, while roe deer and ot­ters can be viewed when the boat is an­chored near the shore. There’s also plenty to ex­plore be­low the waves, with on­board mi­cro­scopes avail­able to ex­am­ine the fas­ci­nat­ing world of plank­ton and lob­ster pots on hand for guests to fish for their din­ner.

Por­poises and dol­phins are reg­u­lar vis­i­tors and are only out­shone by the oc­ca­sional orca or bask­ing shark com­ing into view. And for those want­ing to get up close and per­sonal, the ten­der can be used to care­fully ap­proach colonies of seals bask­ing in the sun.

With new St Hilda cruises ex­plor­ing the In­ner and Outer He­brides, in­clud­ing world fa­mous is­lands such as St Kilda, Isle of Skye, Staffa and Iona, there’s never been a bet­ter time to dis­cover Scot­tish wildlife.

Guests on the St Hilda can ex­pect to see a huge va­ri­ety of spec­tac­u­lar birds, such as these puffins fish­ing for a spot of lunch

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