Tour At A Glance

Cost:

1200.00

Deposit:

250.00

Single Room Supplement:

150.00

Tour Code:

Leisurely with average of 3 miles walking per day

Group Size:

Seven plus Leader

White-tailed Eagle Atlantic Puffin Northern Marsh Orchid Slender Scotch Burnet Sunset over Loch Scridain Grey Wagtail

Mull & Iona - Midsummer Magic

Date: 24th - 30th June 2019 [SPACES]
Leaders: Ashley Saunders

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE    
Meet in Oban in the late afternoon before we catch the early evening ferry from Oban to Mull and then make the short drive to the Pennyghael Hotel on the shore of Loch Scridain, which will be the base for our stay on the island. We should encounter common seabirds on the forty minute crossing such as Common and Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Black-legged Kittiwake and sometimes even our first White-tailed Eagles! Overnight Pennyghael Hotel.

DAY TWO
Today we will explore the Sea Lochs of the southern end of the island looking for Red-throated Diver, Black Guillemot, Goosander, Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Rock Pipit, the majestic White-tailed Eagle and Otter amongst these quiet backwaters. Wild flowers include Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Heath Spotted Orchid and Fragrant Orchid. Grasspoint is a great place to look for White-tailed Eagle, with Whinchat and Grasshopper Warbleroften present and Tree Pipit and Spotted Flycatcher in the woodlands. Driving slowly along the shore of Loch Spelve, Common Sandpipers call from seemingly every rock, Northern Wheatears are feeding young at every turn and on the water, Common Eider and Red-breasted Merganser can be seen. On Lochbuie, we might chance an Otter or a group of Bottle-nosed Dolphin, while this is also a good place to look for divers including occasional Great Northern. If the sun is shining, we will visit a roadside spot where we could find Dark Green, Small Pearl-bordered and Marsh Fritillary, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Highland Darter, Common Hawker, Northern Emerald and Beautiful Demoiselle, as well as an excellent display of orchids. Overnight Pennyghael Hotel.
 
DAY THREE    
We shall concentrate our day around the centre of Mull in search of Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl with Merlin, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Peregrine also possible. Mull is probably the best place in Scotland to see Golden & White-tailed Eagles and on past visits we have seen both species every day! Watching these majestic birds soar over stunning mountain scenery is sure to be a highlight. A boat trip of three hours duration this morning with Mull Charters, will take us along the beautiful shores of the island of Ulva. Here Otters and Common Seals can be found, and the mighty White-tailed Eagle can be seen plunging into the sea loch right beside the boat, allowing amazing photographic opportunities. Back on dry land, we head along to Eas Fors, a spectacular waterfall which plunges over the cliffs dircetly into the sea. Grey Wagtail and Dipper could be feeding young here, a perfect spot for lunch. Driving north, we cross rugged moorland where Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles hunt, before passing the beauitufl white sand bay at Calgary and head on up to Caliach Point. Views to the north from here take in Coll, Rhum and Ardnamurchan, and Great Skuas are sometimes to be found on the headland. Overnight Pennyghael Hotel.

DAY FOUR        
Weather permitting, we hope to visit the uninhabited Treshnish Islands; home to thousands of sea birds. Northern Fulmar, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin and Black Guillemot should all be present and there is the possibility of Great and Arctic Skua. The day will also include a visit to Staffa and the massive basaltic columns that form the entrance to the world famous Fingal’s Cave.  Extremely close views of the puffins will be possible as well as passerines such as Rock Pipit and Twite and maybe flocks of Manx Shearwater from the boat – we have even seen European Storm-Petrel on occasion.
 
*Please note the disembarkation from the boat on Lunga is directly onto rocks and is physically challenging. A steep climb up the clifftop path to view the seabird colonies is also necessary. For those unable to manage there is an option to stay on the boat for the two hour duration*.
 
Back on land, we head up the Ross of Mull peninsula and spend the remainder of our afternoon looking for Otters around the shores of Loch Beg. This beautiful spot is also good for Common Greenshank and hunting Short-eared Owl, and as always on Mull, a White-tailed Eagle can appear at any moment! It will be possible, should interest dictate, to look for the extremely rare and endemic day flying moth, the Slender Scotch Burnet. It is only found on one or two south facing slopes in central and north-west Mull and Ulva and its habitat is at severe risk by encroachment from Rhodedendron. This stunning little creature is one of the islands unknown treasures, and a great species to see. Overnight Pennyghael Hotel.

DAY FIVE
Today we explore the north of the island, giving us the opportunity to visit Tobermory the largest “town” on Mull. White-tailed Eagles feature highly in this area and we can expect several sightings. We shall also be looking for further sightings of Golden Eagle and Otter among the secluded bays and glens. Otters are often easy to see on Mull and with patience and care can be surprisingly approachable around the loch shore as they feed on the seaweed covered rocks. Salen bay is a great spot to look for them, and here in the Oak woodlands we will also look for Wood Warbler. Dipper can be found on the Aros river nearby, another great spot for Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Beautiful Demoiselle and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Dervaig is another tranquil spot where a sheltered bay offers a good spot to find waders and wildfowl, often inlcuding Goosander. Whinchat, Sedge Warbler, Hen Harrier and Peregrine are also possible in this area. Loch Ba, one of the largest freshwater bodies on the island, is a great place to find Common Redstart, Tree Pipit, Common Redpoll and Common Crossbill, while the crags above offer further chances for excellent Golden Eagle viewing. Overnight Pennyghael Hotel.

DAY SIX
Today we visit Iona to look for Corncrake, as up to 25 calling males are present on the island each year even though it is rare on neighbouring Mull. We have a good track record with seeing these often difficult birds, and in addition we'll take a stroll around the island visiting a secluded bay where we have seen dolphins, Twite and Hen Harrier. After lunch back on dry land we will head back up to Pennyghael and spend time birding along the Carsaig Road where we sometimes find Common Crossbill, Wood Warbler, Hen Harrier and more opportunties to look for flowers and insects. Glen More is a dramatic spot to end the tour, maybe watching Golden Eagles tend a chick in a nest, food-passing Hen Harriers, quartering Short-eared Owl or just to drink in the amazing scenery. Overnight Pennyghael Hotel.

DAY SEVEN
Following breakfast and check out, we make the return crossing to Oban where the tour will conclude.

The tour will begin and end in Oban and it is the responsibility of participants to ensure that they arrive in plenty of time for the ferry crossing. Wherever possible and by prior arrangement only, we will do our best to assist your journey by making pick up stops along our route [A17/A1/A66/M6/M74].

 

 

Additional Information

 

ACCOMMODATION
The Pennyghael Hotel *** The Pennyghael Hotel sits by Loch Scridain on the Ross of Mull which is the long peninsula that runs down to Fionnphort and then across the sea to Iona. From the hotel one looks northwards to Ben More while Iona can be seen to the west. Many guide books refer to the marvellous sunsets visible from Pennyghael.. The hotel, part of which dates from the early seventeenth century, was for many years a typical west highland farmhouse with a characteristic low roof. Now adapted as a small country house hotel, the owners are doing all they can to ensure the building retains its age old charm whilst ensuring that the facilities and accommodation available are all that guests would expect in the 21st century. Most of the bedrooms have a loch view and are furnished to a very high standard. There are two bedrooms on the first floor and the remaining are on the ground floor. The rooms have recently been refurbished to a very comfortable standard and all are en suite. Each room has a digital television, hairdryer, radio, selection of books and hospitality tray. In the tradition of highland hospitality a complimentary dram of Mull Whisky will await us in our room on arrival! The dining room, bar area and residents sitting area are all comfortably furnished with sofas in the bar area to relax after a day exploring the island. A huge selection of books is available. All the food is home cooked and as far as possible produce is sourced locally on Mull. The shellfish, mussels and flat white fish all comes from waters around the island. The hotel operates a non-smoking policy in all bedrooms.
 

WHATS INCLUDED
Six nights en suite accommodation, all meals from dinner on day one to breakfast on day seven, return ferry crossing to Mull, excursion to Iona, ground transport in Scotland and services of guide.

 

NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/from Oban and any overnight stay and meals that might be required, excursion to Treshnish Isles [allow approximately £60.00 per person], Sea Eagle boat trip with Mull Charters [allow approximately £40 per person], travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.
 
PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Oban, Penrith or Doncaster.

 

 

Tour Reports

 

20072008 2009  2010  2011  2012  2013   2014   2016   2017    2018

 

2016 Flickr Album

 

Testimonials

 

" Small group experience is essential for enjoyment - Ashley is able to spend time ensuring that everyone can see the focus of the day. Also, Ashley catered for the range of experienceand expertise of the group. All questions answered with knowledge and good humour. Key features of bird and their behaviour explained - I always learn a lot! Thankyou for another wonderful birding experience!" C.H, Harwich
 
"Thank you for another amazing trip, with unforgettable experiences. Ashley always knows the best places to go, and if a bird is there, he will find it!" S.A, Harwich
 
“ I thoroughly enjoyed the Mull trip Ashley led it with skill, patience and aplomb. The hotel was ideally situated with great views over the loch” D .T. Brighton
 
" Fantastic birds in a singularly beautiful location. Wonderful leader and loved the small group size. Pre-tour informatiuon very thorough and helpful. You combined the very best holiday without the pompousness of some of the big companies and delivered on every level" DC California
 
"A thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable birding holiday. The guide was full of enthusiasm about all aspects of the tour and had a friendly and easy going attitude. The accommodation was well above the level that I expected” A. S. Stoke
 
" I really enjoyed the wonderful wildlife and scenery of Mull; another fabulous holiday and I'm already looking forward to the next!! Compared to other companies Oriole Birding seems to be good value too"  A T Liverpool
 
" A very well thought out trip with a brilliant leader. We really enjoyed the variety of wildlife on offer" V & B O'R Hertfordshire
 
" It as a fantastic tour from the scenery to eating lunch with Puffins, boat trips, weather and the excellent guide and post trip report " D G Watford
 
" The holiday was excellent value for money. I really enjoyed the unrushed pace, the variety of habitats and wondeful scenery, as wel as the spectacular wildlife including eagles, corncaks, butterflies and otters. The boat trips were superb. The room was very comfortable and the guide was excellent. Altogether a great trip!! " J H Watford.
 
" All round this was an excellent package" M & FS Leicester
 
"Ashley is the best guide I've travelled with - capable and wonderfully skilled" J T Vermont

 

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