Hebridean Whale Trail

Hebridean Whale Trail

Inverness, United Kingdom

Ah bonny Scotland. She’s a wee dram of rugged cliffs, enchanting waterfalls, and proud Gaelic culture…

Also killer whales.

The Hebridean Whale Trail brings together all the best bits. The idea is simple. You pick one of the six routes and they’ll tell you the best places to spot wildlife along the way. It’s low-impact whale-watching from the land...

With the odd basking shark and bottlenose dolphin chucked in too.

Where will I go?

Don’t let the talcum powder sand and turquoise water fool you. Lewis and Harris might look like the Caribbean, but running stark naked into the water will freeze ya nads off. This is the largest island in Scotland.

Go for the beaut beaches and Gaelic history.

Folklore and mountains reaching up into the sky - the North West Highlands are more mystic than Meg. Legend has it that the Blue Men would capture mariners and test how good they were at poetry...

You’ll want to brush up on your Shakespeare.

Feels like you’re at the edge of the world. Uist and Barra are rugged outposts where feral sheep roam and bagpipes count as modern music.

Go for wild beauty and miles of beach all to yourself.

Skye looks so much like a magical Scottish kingdom it would not be surprising to see a pixie napping in one of the waterfalls...

Think adorable fishing villages and fairytale castles. Also, the coastline stretches into infinity. Count. Us. In.

The Inner Hebrides are for living your best Captain Haddock life. The Maritime vibes are strong with this one.

Go for bobbing fishing boats and quaint lighthouses.

Remote, lonely, peaceful... Southern Hebrides and Clyde are a big travel mood. Find yourself, lose yourself, detox, retox. You can do it all on these islands, because you’re all on your tod.

Walk in the footsteps of vikings as you swig locally brewed whiskey on the beach and ignore your ex’s calls. The only holiday we want to be on.

Whales for days

In Lewis head for Tiumpan Head Lighthouse. This spot has views out over the Minch. The waters just below the lighthouse are a hideout for some of the shyer whales and dolphins.

This is considered one of the best whale-watching spots in the UK. For seals and porpoises head to Huisinis beach on Harris.

Yeah, you might get dive bombed by an arctic tern (it’s a bird), but it’s worth it for the chance to see a minke. Sounds filthy, but it’s actually a type of whale. Keep your peepers on the shoreline of Balranald for harbour porpoises and look out for feeding seabirds, this could mean minke whales are close.

Next stop? Barra Airport. We shit you not - the plane lands on the actual beach. The greeting party is a bunch of friendly seals.

Cape Wrath? Nah, you’re alright. Cliffs fall away into the sea and waves batter the shore. This patch of land is a proper drama queen. But brave the elements and you might be rewarded with a pod of dolphins.

The name alone is good enough reason to visit the Isle of Rum. But it’s also packing basking sharks, red deer, wild goats, and Rum ponies (like normal ponies, but shitfaced).

Kilt Rock is another beaut spot where you could be (un)lucky enough to see killer whales.

Oban is your gateway to the Isles. Go for seafood restaurants (The Fisherman’s Kitchen is our fave) and little otters scrambling in the bay.

Glengorm is also worth a stop, sure the whales are nice and all, but get a load of the shaggy highland cows too.

Port Askaig is a lazy whale-watcher’s dream. Surrounding the port are distilleries which have put this little pocket paradise on the map.

Have a wee dram at Bunnahabhain then head out (with someone else steering) to The Sound of Islay for basking sharks.

A trail for change

Keep your Marbs fridge magnet...

We’d rather have the smug satisfaction of seeing majestic animals without shitting on the planet.

The Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust are the brains behind the trail. These guys are all about conservation and healthy seas. But an added bonus to the route is that it boosts local economies along the Scottish coast. Want more good news? Greedy. It also promotes sustainable eco-tourism.

Suck on that Seaworld.

When to go

Spring is best for wild flowers and strolls along the sandy meadow beaches. When summer rolls around the sun barely sets and whales and dolphins chill in the waves, feeding and playing.

Autumn is a great time to see grey seal pups. As the winter chill sets in, harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, and killer whales can be seen.