We were up early and farewelled Tim. It felt like we were leaving a friend. That’s how welcomed we had felt with Tim in his home. We will definitely stay here when we come back to the Isle of Skye – with hopefully better weather. Tim was trying to convince us that the best days are in winter – no chance for me to visit in winter!
We were off. The first stop was a photo stop of the Eileen Donan Castle. It looked so beautiful – but again the weather was misty and not at its best. Oh well – we’ve had such great weather elsewhere, we can’t complain. We then went to see about seeing the castle. It was pricey given that we weren’t that interested and we needed to be at Fort William for our 1:30 tour. We ended up having a hot chocolate / coffee there. Phil and I took some photos while Mum browsed in the gift shop.
We kept driving in the car. There was a short detour which I wasn’t keen on due to the misty weather – however Phil insisted on going up to the Ratagan Pass. We couldn’t see anything, but of course the scenery outside the windows was, as usual, gorgeous. As we got below the mist we could see how amazing it could be on a clear day.
We headed into Fort William and got to Torlundy House early. We went searching for something to eat close by and found a Marks and Spencer food hall. Mum and I had some soup and Phil had a sandwich.
We got back to Torlundy House just after 1:30. Ian was waiting for us and we changed cars and took off. He had a mini bus that we piled into. Phil had the telephoto lens on the camera so he sat in the front. Mum was itching to see some deer.
The first place that Ian from Wild West – Wildlife Safaris took us to was a red squirrel feeding station. We waited for about 10 minutes, but they weren’t hungry – sadly! Ian was explaining that the grey squirrels weren’t as prelavent up here in this area of Scotland as the pinemartins are able to catch them far easier than the red squirrels. He was explaining that the grey squirrels are bigger – which of course helps them in terms of fighting the red squirrels for food and living areas. However it hinders them in terms of getting away from the pinemartins as the red squirrels can move far quicker as they are lighter, hence they are easier for the pinemartins to catch.
After this lesson we headed over to catch the Corran ferry to the Morven Peninsula. This is an area that is less populated so we are more likely to catch sight of wild animals. We saw some highland sheep – they have black faces and black feet. Mum was asking Ian about the heather and wildflowers that were growing along the side of the road. He pulled over and explained / showed us the different heather. This was something Mum had been curious about for a while.
We drove on and started our search for sea otter, which are often sighted on the coast here. We were all searching – to no avail – unfortunately. Ian was explaining the difference between otters and beavers. Otters don’t make dams and have different teeth structure. We were driving along the coast and Ian pointed out a heron in the water. Phil was able to get some pretty good shots. We were keeping our eyes peeled for those sea otters. Ian was explaining the different bird life we were seeing. They were too far out to photograph with our current lens (yep we are thinking of getting a more powerful zoom – when we are back home).
We were about to turn around when up on the hill we spot some red deer. How exciting. Ian got the telescope out so that we could have a closer look. Phil got out the zoom lens. They were stags with massive ’10 point’ antlers. It was really cool seeing them. We took some photos and headed back, still watching for sea otters.
As we rounded a bend, there was a young deer in a field near the side of the road. We were stoked. Phil managed to get a couple of photos although the sound of the camera startled it. This was super special.
As we were heading back to the ferry (without seeing any otter) Ian was showing us some of the photos that he took of puffins on a local island (with a much stronger zoom). He graciously shared them with me and gave me permission to put them on my blog. If you would like more information about this – please contact Ian at Wild West Wildlife Safaris.
He also showed us some iphone video footage that he had taken whilst walking along the boardwalk in Fort William of some sea otters. He dropped us back to Torlundy House and we checked in. The rooms are lovely. We had already organised a restaurant booking months ago at The Moorings. We opted to go to the bistro. Don’t do it. The food was okay but the service was the worst we had in Scotland. I could understand why it would be popular on a nice sunny day as it was by the Neptune staircase – part of the Caledonian Canal – however the weather was rainy and not nice at all. It was so windy my umbrella from Venice blew inside out. It was only 5 Euros so it’s cheap.
We didn’t hang around and headed back to the B and B pretty quickly. We did some work on the blog (as we are getting further and further behind) and then headed to bed.