Some of our members locate their hostels in Scotland's wildest and most beautiful places. They are happy to pass on their local knowledge and this means an excellent opportunity to get close to wildife while enjoying magnificent scenery and the great outdoors. Have a look at some of the amazing opportunities to find out how to enjoy Scotland's wonderful wildlife from our Hostels. Puffins, Eagles, Ospreys, Seals, Otters, Red Squirrels, Dolphins, Basking Sharks and much more can be seen on a hostelling holiday in Scotland.
Ardnamurchan Bunkhouse has a remarkable location, providing the perfect base for an outdoor adventure with wildlife in and around the gardens, with regulars including pine marten feeding on the patio, red and roe deer and owls. The stylish Bunkhouse has a superb social space and offers very comfortable sleeping quarters for up to 16 guests in 8 separate en-suite rooms, together with shared cooking, eating and lounge facilities. Find out more.
Highlighted as a basking shark hotspot, the waters surrounding the Isle of Coll are rich in wildlife. Basking sharks are regularly sighted during the summer months, with groups of more than 50 seen over recent summers. The first festival of basking sharks "Coll of the Sharks" took place in August 2013. Aside from basking sharks, otters, seals, dolphins, whales and an abundance of birdlife are regularly seen. Visit Coll Bunkhouse website.
Glenshee is within a unique mountain environment found nowhere else in Britain. For those interested in rare mountain species, this is the place to be, especially for arctic birds and plants. Stay at Gulabin Lodge, the nearest accommodation for Glenshee to find out the hot spot for seeing the king of birds, the Golden Eagle, wheeling overhead. Find out more.
Go to the far north eastern tip of mainland Scotland to really experience what rugged really means. The cliffs of Caithness on the Edge of the North Sea have a drama all of their own and are great vantage points for nesting Puffins and sightings of Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and Seals. Pods of Killer Whales (also known as Orcas) are seen throughout the year, with the Puffins starting nesting in May. Sandra's Backpackers is a highly regarded, long standing hostel where a warm welcome is guaranteed after a day on the coast. Find out more.
Sail Mhor Croft Hostel sits at the foot of the An Teallach Mountain Range on the shores of Little Loch Broom. From the Hostel guests can see Golden (and less frequently Sea) Eagles and a multitude of sea birds on the loch side; Deer and Wild Goats come up to the garden. Nearby there are Red Squirrels and Pine Martens and, on the shoreline, Otters. Out in the loch, Porpoises, Dolphins and Grey Seals are frequent visitors with the occasional Minke Whale, with locals known to swim with the two "resident" Dolphins. A few miles along the coast there is well-known spot to watch Basking Sharks from the roadside. Don't expect to see all of this in one day but it's a pretty impressive list. Find out more.
The re-introduction of white-tailed eagles has been a major success and the Isle of Mull is still the best place to see these amazing birds. Stay at Craignure Bunkhouse and Dervaig Hostel on Mull and also take a trip over to Iona Hostel where you have a good chance of hearing the elusive corncrake too.
Here you can visit acres of fabulous Caledonian Pine Forest and get very close to rare species including the elusive Capercaillie, pretty Crested Tits and visit the Loch Garten Osprey Hide. Red squirrels are abundant and there is no better way to get an inside track on nature than a walk with the local ranger (booking essential). There is a great variety of excellent affordable hostel accommodation nearby including Abernethy Bunkhouses (groups only), The Lazy Duck Hostel and Fraoch Lodge.
Head for the far east corner of Scotland and Findhorn Bay which is ideal for bird and mammal spotting and watching; the Moray Firth has resident populations of dolphin which can often be seen cavorting and breaching in the waters giving an extraordinary display. Occasionally Basking Sharks are seen in the Firth along with Minke Whale and Orca Killer Whales. The point at Findhorn is home to up to 300 seals and these can be seen swimming in the bay. Stay at Findhorn Village Hostel and be part of the local community. Read more on our blog pages.
Meanwhile, deep inland in the middle of the fabulous Cairngorm National Park, one of our members has constructed the most delightful elevated mini-hostel within his farmland which just happens to be perfect for swallows and house martins too. Read more on our blog pages.
Just down the road a bit in Perthshire, Ospreys have been nesting near Comrie Croft for 10 years. The purpose built hide, accessible to all, is equipped with high powered telescopes and binoculars which allow close up view of the Ospreys’ nest, as well as Red Kites feeding. There are information displays and the friendly resident expert, David Watson is usually on hand to help, advise and tell a few stories. Nothing quite beats the feeling of watching these birds in the wild. Comrie Croft is surrounded by a rich natural environment, stay a while and fall asleep with only the sounds of the deer and the owls in the woods!
The Ospreys and the Loch of the Lowes Reserve are can be watched via a WebCam. Stay at Jessie Mac's Hostel, affordable luxury, perfect for couples and families, and visit the nest site - just a few miles away.
Who doesn't love puffins and baby seals? Visit the tiny Island of Sanday in the Orkney Islands and get a front door seat to seeing both species. Puffins are on the cliffs at Sanday from May until July, whereas the best time to see seal pups is late Autumn. Visit Ayres Rock Hostel where Wifi is set up in the hostel so people can log on to watch seals and their pups or you could choose to look out of the Hostel window to see the pups feeding. The Grey Seal Breeding Watch will run in November 2014 with the Ranger, Roderick Thorne also available to provide guided walks to visit the cam watch site. If you prefer a summer break there is lots of wildlife about and you can watch the local otter family from the webcam or the shore. Find out more about Ayres Rock Hostel here. The whole of Orkney is a wildlife paradise. Read top tips on exploring the Orkney Isles with top tips from our 13 Orkney Hostel members.
We have seven hostel members located on the Isle of Skye so you can take your pick while you explore the Island! Skye is a safe haven to a vast array of wildlife - but top of the animal hit parade is the Otter which is very much at home around the coastline. The best time to watch for them is as the tide is rising, Look out for the characteristic 'v' shaped wave as they cruise along with their nose just out of the water and the flick of a tell-tale slim tail as they dive down to search for prey. An excellent place for viewing otters, seals, sea birds and other wildlife is at the Kylerhea Otter Haven. To find availability for Skye hostels simply click on our Accommodation Search and choose Skye.