30th Mar -
6th Apr 2025

Scotland – Highlands & Coasts

A week-long tour to Scotland, staying in the Highlands and with visits to the coasts.


We are booked into our guest house in Carrbridge for 5 nights, arriving on 31st March and leaving on 5th April, which gives us four full days in the Highlands. We will spend time exploring Speyside, looking for all the usual Scottish specialities like Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Black & Red Grouse, Crested Tits, Crossbills, Dipper, etc (please note, we do not actively go looking for Capercaillie any more, and there are restrictions on entering the forests early in the morning, although there is still an outside chance we may run into one). If the weather allows, we will attempt to get high enough to see Ptarmigan too. On a couple of the days we normally head to the coast to look for divers and seaduck. At this time of year, there may be White-billed Divers arriving to moult offshore, so we will see if we can find one from land.

There will be plenty of options as to where to join us and when. People are welcome to travel up from Norfolk or meet us in Darlington on the evening of 30th. On the morning of 31st , we will make our journey north, making birding stops on the way – depending on what is around, we may go looking for seaduck east of Edinburgh, particularly if the regular returning White-winged Scoter is there again this winter. In 2023, we went via Redcar to see a King Eider there. The aim is to arrive in Carrbridge in time for dinner that day. Other people may choose to meet us there, and the guesthouse can help to arrange collection from Inverness airport if required.

On the 5th, we will make our journey slowly back south. We may spend the last morning on Speyside, if there are things we have missed. In 2023, we decided to travel down to Loch of the Lowes in the morning to catch up with their Ospreys (we were a few days earlier and this was the only pair which had returned by that stage), and then stopped on the way to see some Alpine Swifts at Dunbar and the Black Scoter in Northumberland, before arriving back in Darlington in time for dinner. The plan is to break the journey again in Darlington on the night of 5th, before returning to Norfolk probably early afternoon on 6th.

Most of the walking is relatively easy, and we do a lot of short walks and spend time scanning for things like raptors from close to the minibus. It might be possible to see Ptarmigan from the top of the funicular railway on Cairngorm again, if it is running, although they have not seen there with any regularity recently. Otherwise, we might have to take one of the paths which ascend high enough – there are various options on places to try. Last year the weather was mostly unsuitable on the tops, but we did ascend part way up the Northern Corries path on Cairngorm. Those who didn’t want to join that walk stayed down at Base Station, watching the Snow Buntings and other birds around the buildings there and enjoying a hot drink in the sunshine.

Gift Vouchers

If you would like to give a gift to someone who is interested in birds then a gift voucher from The Bird ID Company is an ideal present.

The vouchers can be flexible, and used against any tour or tours over the following 12 months, or can be bought for a specific tour.