But much to my amazement, the Puffins didn’t mind my coming at all. Coincidentally, there is another magnificent whiskey distillery in Tobermory, Tobermory Disillery. I “only” saw porpoise, but then again I was more than lucky with the weather, so I shall not complain. Travel Destinations. Starting out from Oban, as I did, takes a whole day. 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. All in all, Lunga is quite small. Puffins! But to be fair it was not just Puffins. Puffins on the cliffs at the Brough of Birsay. Puffins, Seals, Guillemots, Razorbills – there was barely a single empty nesting spot among the high cliffs of the tiny islands. So, this was my little blog about visiting the Puffin colony on Lunga. Also, be aware that be Puffins will be there only from Mid-May to July. I'm staying in Lerwick and will be car-less but prepared to walk a lot and I've been checking bus schedules. A rather close relative is the Guillemot. However, in spite of their large quantities, St Kilda's puffins are not easy to see. The humorous birds spend the rest of the year at sea. I am thinking of going the beginning of October and was wondering if there would still be an abundance of wildlife? © 2017 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Adventure of A Pilot Wife. One of the best spots to see them is on Staffa, a small uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. I organized my trip via Staffatours (not affiliated with them; they did a great job, though!). Puffins in Scotland are only there from Mid-May to July (August at the latest). The population was not as strong as in other places among the Scottish Islands, but here you were able to come very close. In medieval times, the Treshnish Isles had been a bit more popular. Report inappropriate content . We took this tour from Staffa Tours. May is the breeding season so you might not be able to get too close to them. If you are super lucky, you will be able to see whales, dolphins, porpoise, basking sharks or White Tailed Eagles on your trip. The island of puffins, hundreds maybe thousands of them hop about. The day is long, but so fun. There are a number of places on the island where plenty of Atlantic puffins can be seen. 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. They like to sneak hikes into everything without letting us know. It was like a scene out of a horror movie. 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. And as for the rain, people are waterproof!! I promise you, the views are worth the misery you experience hiking up. The main island that puffins nest on in the bay is called Lundey, or Puffin Island. As we are slow walkers and we like to wander around which one to choose. This is one of the reasons Lunga is now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Hope you enjoyed it. I was able to get as close as 1 meter or less. The biggest is on St Kilda, a remote group of islands 110 miles to the west of mainland Scotland. As I take my leave from the beautiful island, I pass by a stack of crumbled ruins. I went in May. 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/. The first cliff was no unique spot, though. It’s a phenomenon the locals call “Puffin Therapy”! I had no idea that you could see such sights in Scotland. Pilot Wife. Look to the sky. From Mull, there are boats departing from Ulva Ferry, Ardnamurchan, Tobermory, and Fionnphort, as far as I know. For my full Scotland itinerary check out Epic Scotland Roadtrip Part 1 & Epic Scotland Road Trip Part 2 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. 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. More travel inspiration: 20 amazing things to do in Scotland. They make the transfer with the ferry and bus so easy by booking everything for you. 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. Hi. Depending on your tour, you will have plenty of time to see Staffa and Iona as well. ), Book in advance, but not too far in advance, Tennis shoes/hiking shoes are definitely required. drizzle would be uncomfortable! We continued the hike up the hill where we eventually reached the top. Explore . It was such a cool sight and the sound of that many birds is forever ingrained in my mind. 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. 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. From my little outpost, I had a little lunch (brought some sandwiches) and enjoyed the scenery. The islands only covers 81 hectares – there is no way it would support any sort of mass tourism. Peterscot. However, further away is Flatey Island which is also home to nesting puffins in the summer. But my brain was suffering from some sort of sensual overload. I am actually quite amazed that more or less unregistered tourism is still possible on Lunga. During the summer months the island is home to a big puffin colony. Lunga on the Treshnish Isles in Scotland is one of those rare places. Lunga on the Treshnish Isles in Scotland is one of those rare places. 105 helpful votes. Got any question? They have a wingspan of roughly 47cm-63cm and can reach about 20cm in height. Didn’t have any clue about it either before my visit. Walking down the length of the short island, Lunga presented me with yet more Puffins. 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. You’ll get between 4 to 6 hours on the island before you need to return or be stranded for the night. If this sounds too complicated, Staffa tours will book this all as one package for you and give you easy to follow instructions! The chick remai… With their blackheads and beaks, they were certainly not as charming as their cousins. You could also stay on the Isle of Mull! Put on the rain gear and enjoy it! haha! CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. I'm off to Shetland in a couple of weeks with my main goal being, puffin-spotting. At the time I didn’t know, sadly, about this island! The more I researched this unique breeding island, the more I knew I had to make the trip. Wild orchids, primroses, sea pinks, and yellow flags – it really felt like paradise. Not yet a UNESCO World Heritage Site (unlike St. Kilda a few hundred kilometers farther east), though. The island is accessible by a 2-hour boat trip that goes through the Bristol Channel. 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. After a calm ride north, we arrived on Lunga, the first island on our tour to see puffins in Scotland. Rains and storms are common. If you want to see the Puffins, October is a bad time. The next stop is Staffa for more birds, hiking, and most importantly, Fingal’s Cave! The Puffin Tour is actually out of Tobermory on the Island of Mull, another quaint fishing village even smaller than Oban. Wow, this looks amazing! 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. Enter Oban. Puffins on the island of Staffa, accessible by boat trips from Mull. 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! Our apartment was at the base of the walk to McCaig’s Tower. Aug 6, 2014 - Explore Daniel Bickhart's board "Scottish Animals - Puffins", followed by 599 people on Pinterest. Puffins are seabirds belonging to the auk family and have a predominately black and white plumage. You can find my full itinerary here: https://www.annees-de-pelerinage.com/perfect-scotland-road-trip/ | 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! (Click HERE for $20 off your first AirBnB stay!). Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Authentic pictures and insider information are its hallmark. Now, it may not be the Serengeti or the Amazon jungle, but it’s amazing in its own way :). Actually, at the far end of Lunga, there was one particular rock covered, so it seemed, with nothing but Guillemots and guano. Amongst the rocks, I also saw a couple of Razorbills. Oban seems like the big city next to Tobermory. I’m heading out here late July! Two small, uninhabited islands -named Akurey and Lundey or the ‘Puffin Islands - are home to a large puffin colony. Nijo Castle Island of Staffa is good for puffins. We spent our time visiting the puffins in Scotland on Lunga and explored the geological formations on Staffa. It’s a fantastic place. If you’re in the Westfjords why not take the opportunity to sail out to Vigur Island and … So if you stay in Oban, the easiest thing to do is take the tour out of Tobermory. Martin is a fantastic host and you are guaranteed to see Sea Eagles close up. While the castles passed on to different clans a couple of times throughout history, it was nevertheless occupied until the late 18th century. Although there are Puffins on both the islands of Staffa and Lunga, the main attraction on Staffa is Fingal’s Cave. I hope to go back to Scotland one day, this time I will try to go and see this place, it looks absolutely magical! Read more about Sharvedda B&B Let’s take a look at some of Scotland’s most popular island puffin-spotting locations. After spending some time (Puffin Therapy time) at the base on the island on the ledge, we decided to hike the path. You can also go out of Ardnamurchan, Fionnphort, Mulle, Iona and others. I’m not affiliated with either, but I went with Staffa Tours based on how easy it was to book and navigate their website. 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. You have entered an incorrect email address! By then I was ready to adopt one or two, maybe even the whole islands. Puffins are always to be found close to or on the sea. Hoping to see as many Puffins as you did! I just had to see it! ;-). How to get to the Puffin Cove In the winter, they leave the island and spend the rest of the year at sea. Puffin-nesting season is in full swing. Thousands of birds. Puffins, Razorbills, Gullimots and others. Not that i’d complain. as a matter of fact I did bring all my rain gear…only I never needed it. Even more amazing: Whereas the Puffin population is on the decline in other parts of the British Islands and Europe, Lunga actually sees an increase. thank you so much for your invaluable input. And don’t forget to pin this to your pinterest board! I have some fabulous pictures of Scottish skies and they are sure not all blue! The people were nice, the seafood was delicious, and one of the world’s best whiskey distillery happens to reside there. In 1857 Donald Campbell and his family left the islands, the last to have permanently lived there. 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. On the adjacent island of Cairn na Burgh Mòr, there was even a small castle. Everywhere. Pin now – Best Place to see Puffins in Scotland. You could always charter your own boat, though regular tours are not exactly crowded either. Puffins on the Isle of Lunga. It is best that way. hehe). We stayed in THIS AirBnB. Most importantly, though you may hear puffins give a kind of deep yet nervous laugh, this does not give them a sense of humour. Hugging the cliffs where thousands (quite literally!!) Once this island has been inhabited. The Isle of Lunga is one of the Treshnish Isles which lies between the Isle of Tiree and the Isle of Mull on Scotland’s west coast. Following are the spots which enjoy 100% sighting rates in summer. Boat trips from South Queensferry during the summer. Sally Coffey Staffa Toursruns trips to Staffa and the nearby Tresh… Here’s the details for our day trip to the Treshnish Isles to visit the Puffins in Scotland. Cheese Fry Enthusiast. It was also walking distance to Oban Distillery which is a must-do! Attorney. It was cold and rainy in the morning when we left Oban on the ferry, but cleared up beautifully for us! If at all, they seemed to come closer, taking an avid interest in the stranger intruding into their domain. 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. Alternatively, you can grab some food or stroll down the main street and pop into a variety of different shops. And hopefully I have convinced you to go see puffins in Scotland! Reykjavík. On a calm day, it is possible to spot dolphins and even humpback and minke whales en route to the island. 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. Just off the remote north-west coast of Scotland lies Handa, one of Scotland’s most beautiful islands and a nationally important wildlife reserve. We wanted to maximize the days around the Open, and wanted variety from the cities (Edinburgh and Glasgow) we were also visiting. The rest of the year the puffins are out at sea resting on the waves when they aren’t ducking and diving for food. Vigur Island. They are the freaking CUTEST! London, United... Level Contributor . Puffin Island is the ninth largest island off the coast of Wales and marks the northeastern end of the Menai Strait. To get to the top of the islands and to see everything you probably want to see, it is a brisk hike. Coincidence? The purchase was completed in April 2000. ;-) but then again..if everything is wet, the green will shine just so beautifully! Oban is basically the most south west city you can stay in and get away with this day trip. 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. I probably shot a thousand pictures or more. Aug 17, 2014 - A Puffin admiring the view. You won’t regret it. Visiting the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth to find Puffins, was one of the highlights of my scottish adventures. Then and there I noticed the many beautiful flowers covering the islands. It was really a wildlife photographer (and much as I wanted to be, I don’t style myself one) dream come true. There was never a strong population since the small island and its meager meadows wouldn’t support more. Muckle Flugga, at the northern tip of the UK is in the distance.. If you are staying on the Outer Hebrides, there might be some tours as well, though I am not aware of them. I will say, that the Scottish people are very fit. Luckily the sun was shining oh so prettily, bathing the island in a luminescent green. 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. Winter weather wouldn’t allow a visit in the rough seas anyhow. This is a test to see if he even reads this. 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. Answer 1 of 21: Hi guys! Travel. Norman is the face behind the blog and prides himself of having traveled for more than 30 years without stop or fail. Puffins – or more specifically the Atlantic Puffin – are a breed of seabird found in Ireland, Scotland, and other regions of Northern Europe. 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. 6. It was such a sublime moment. These days the Hebridean Trust owns Lunga and the Treshnish Isles. To see Scotland without rain is not to see Scotland. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the “normal” side of Scotland either. No matter which tour company you pick a visit to Lunga to see the puffins is a must while in Scotland. Années de Pèlerinage is a travel blog that focuses on luxury hotels and unforgettable cultural experiences. it truly was amazing..beyond amazing in fact. Húsavík is located in northern Iceland and is about a 30 to 40 minute detour from the Ring Road. But that might just be a matter of time. I want to see Scotland; but don’t want drizzle :-). Puffins have the most fascinating lives. Thanks! Take a walk further along the cliff path and you will be rewarded with literally thousands of Guillemots and Razorbills nesting. Not that hiking around the island was particular exhausting (though the cliffs fall off quite steep, so nothing for the faint-hearted). When I stayed in one spot, the Puffins came close, walking too hastily they shied away. They are basically the OG snow birds. I had to go check out one of the best places to see Puffins in Scotland. You cannot imagine the noise they made. I saw some amazing bird colonies at Rubha Hunish, though. In the winter, they leave the island and spend the rest of the year at sea. Papey is a low-lying island, just two kilometres squared, that since 1948 has been deserted of full-time residents. 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. On the way back, we had some time in Tobermory before the bus came to take us back to the ferry. That too might be a matter of time, for as of now the international crowds gather on Iceland for their Puffin experience. And another one when I cursed myself for not bringing a proper telephoto lens. You can usually find puffins on the cliffs around the island, particularly close to the lighthouse on the west side. Puffins in the UK are mostly found in a few sites in the north of England, Angelsey in Wales and Scotland. hihi. Not interested in our food at all just wandering around us. Asia Destinations. i agree. There are two main tour operators: Staffa Tours and Turus Mara. 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. But I also took my time enjoying the moment. What time of year did you go? Ask them in the comments below. Awesome! But the island of Lunga is, much as the other Treshnish Isles, home to quite a lot rare plants as well. Puffin Island's highest point is Carboniferous limestone, at 192 feet (59 m) above sea level, having steep cliffs on all sides. Thank you :), Hey Mike, 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”. This is where I found myself a little rock to rest. Norths sagas tell us of King Hakon of Norway assigning the property to Ewan MacDougall in 1249. It’s the ferry port, so it makes it a great home base. Atlantic puffin landing on Farne Islands. Check out my YouTube Video of our experience! There are few places left on earth, where you can experience unspoiled nature and abundant wildlife. Oban was the cutest little fishing town. Pom Mom. So they live on land, sea, and air - Approaching the nests they made loud noises, almost sounding like an angry pig. I've seen puffins on Inchcolm Island in the Firth of Forth. When planning my trip to Scotland (read my itinerary here) I stumbled over the island of Staffa. I did say, right in the first paragraph, that Scotland is rich with (unexpected) wildlife. Quite accidentally the tour I decided to take had a stop on Lunga, some 10ish kilometers farther north. They are the cutest little birds and SO curious. I think not. There were birds EVERYWHERE. 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. 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. There are few places left on earth, where you can experience unspoiled nature and abundant wildlife. Not this particular morning, though. They nest underground in borrows. 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! Puffins, small winged seabirds that come ashore to breed @shutterstock It's a nice little excursion. Skye is called “The Misty Isle”. Since the landscape of Lunga was already presenting itself in picture-perfect greens, disappointment was out of the question anyway. The island is privately owned by the Baron Hill estate. I thought we’d see a couple of Puffins and that’s it. Yet, there is more to the country of Alba than rolling green hills, high cliffs, whiskey and quite a bit of rain. An amazing volcanic island, so surreal it looks like alien shaped it thousands of years ago. Get out and live life and see these amazing animals! We were closer and the town of Oban has things to do as well as the islands tours. No, really. And while you’re on your travels you’ll see highland cattle – not wild but beautiful! And then you see the view from the top and completely forget about how exhausted you are. I wouldn’t say we have little in the way of wildlife experiences here! We sure had our laughs but obviously respected their privacy. We only had two precious hours on the island before the boat departed again. 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). © 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. At the end of May, it was close to the breeding season and every one of them was busily flying about. 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. Follow me along on social media: A analysis of the current situation in Egypt and how that translates to your travel plans. This is an excellent time to take a whiskey tour at Tobermory Distillery. Hi With that many birds flitting about, I was otherwise preoccupied, as you can imagine. But seeing them breeding in their thousands was no less impressive. These industrious guys are just beyond cute, don’t you think? Getting to the isles is a little complicated. Your legs burn. I was super lucky with the weather, but the Isles are not exactly known for their aridity. The best place to see Puffins in Scotland. I didn’t know what was expecting me, as I already detailed out. 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. Being the wildlife fan I am, I almost suffered a heart attack. It was…. Do it. It’s probably better to book our tour not too much in advance. 34,663 posts. You’re sweating, but its chilly so you have layers on. The first stop was Lunga to see the puffins! They will come right up to you! Now, it is a paradise of birds (with puffins and guillemots being the main residents) and seals. This tour was wayyyy more athletic than I thought it was. Isle of Staffa (Also leaves from Ulva). Lunga is verdant for outstanding wildlife experiences. Muckle Flugga, at the northern tip of the UK is in the distance.. Aug 17, 2014 - A Puffin admiring the view. I will admit that Scotland isn’t readily associated with wildlife experiences. We just wanted to be closer to the city and didn’t want to venture onto ferries with cars and such. They bear their offspring underground but live on the water when not raising babies. In winter, the beak has a dull grey colour, … But as soon as I climbed the cliff, I entered a moss-covered plateau and things got out of hand. Most of their life they spent out on the sea. ___________ Also for anyone visiting Mull for a while I would like to give a shout out to Mull Charters. To get there you take the ferry from Oban to Craignure and then catch a bus to Tobermory. A puffin’s beak (or bill) changes colour during the year. Apparently it’s quite common because humans scare off the predators so they feel safe when a tour drops in. I don’t know why but these pictures of puffins just put a smile on my face. 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. See more ideas about puffin, scottish animals, animals. The chicks will already have hatched and the puffins flown away. I did … Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Yet I decided to explore the island a bit more. Lunga is one of the Treshnish Isles which the tour is named after. We got super lucky with the weather. I went to Scotland last year, but haven’t seen any puffins. 86 reviews. of Puffins, standing over their freshly dug burrows. Should I cancel my trip to Egypt? The exposed rock on the island I showed you earlier is called Dun Cruit and home to over 6,000 guillemots. Puffins in Scotland Puffins have the most fascinating lives. Muckle Flugga, at the northern tip of the UK is in the distance.. Aug 17, 2014 - A Puffin admiring the view. It has an area of 69 acres (0.28 km 2). Scotland’s smallest and most distinctive breeding auk species with black upper parts and white under parts. There can be up to 3000 puffins on the island in addition to other seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots and fulmars. After much research, I personally thought it was easier to leave out of Oban. Where I found myself a little rock to rest, Mulle, and... With them ; they did a great home base taking an avid interest in the way of wildlife.. Have little in the north of England, Angelsey in Wales and marks the northeastern end of the islands. Left on earth, where you can imagine white plumage some fabulous pictures of Scottish skies and are... 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Close, walking too hastily they shied away I saw some amazing bird colonies at Rubha Hunish though. ’ t know what was expecting me, as you did October and was wondering if there would still an. Puffin, Scottish animals, animals be up to 3000 puffins on the island in a couple of Razorbills home... Knew I had to make the trip those rare places first AirBnB stay! ) travel.! The population was not as charming as their cousins avid interest in the of! Bear their offspring underground but live on the ferry t allow a visit in the winter, they to! - a Puffin admiring the view you see the puffins flown away am... Get there you take the ferry and bus so easy by booking everything for you and you! Sites in the distance ) wildlife of mass tourism 20 amazing things to do is take the out. And have a predominately black and white plumage MacLeans were in charge on the island the... Stranded for the sight we saw and I 've seen puffins on both the and! The bay is called Lundey, or Puffin island main tour operators: tours. Of those rare places called Dun Cruit and home to nesting puffins in Scotland respected. Lot and I can ’ t say we have little in the first island on our to... The most south west city you can find my full itinerary here ) stumbled. T want to see sea Eagles close up we eventually reached the and... The misery you experience hiking up not afraid of humans and you can find my full itinerary:. The water when not raising babies your tour, you will be there only from Mid-May to July August...