Wild Scotland - Birds and Kayaking
Wild Scotland - Birds and Kayaking 11 days aboard Polar Pioneer
From the Hebrides in the west, to inhospitable windswept specks of land like St Kilda and Foula, and to the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north, we'll explore the intriguing diversity of these wild islands. We plan to take in Neolithic sites scarcely changed in 5000 years, and ponder the mystery of huge monoliths that marked seasonal change. We'll visit remote crofting communities, picturesque villages and castles that were once strongholds of Scottish clans. We hope to see some of the world's largest seabird colonies, raucous places filled with gannets, fulmars, arctic terns and delightful puffins. Or sit quietly in Zodiacs as seals play nearby in waters patrolled by whales and dolphins.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
- Visit World-heritage-listed St Kilda & explore historic villages in the Orkney Islands
- See basking sharks, dolphins & seals in the Hebrides as well as puffin, guillemots, eagles and fulmars
- Kayak through sea caves and mirror-like lochs
- Visit an Iron Age broch with knowledgeable guides & historians
- Accommodation onboard Polar Pioneer with all meals, snacks, tea and coffee included
- All shore excursions and Zodiac (inflatable boat) cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from an expert team
- Complimentary custom-designed polar expedition jacket
- Loan of gumboots during the voyage
- Daily cabin service
- Professionally-produced hard back voyage log
- Port taxes and charges & entry fees to historic landings sites
ITINERARY10 Nights 11 Days
- Day 1 | Oban
- Days 2 - 3 | Western Isles & Highlands
- Days 4 - 6 | Northwest Islands
- Days 7 - 8 | Shetland Islands
- Days 9 - 10 | Orkney Islands
- Day 11 | Aberdeen
Embark and sail.
Western Isles & Highlands
From golden beaches to jagged peaks, bleakmoors to heather clad hills and abandonedsettlements to picturesque villages, our daysin the Hebrides will be packed with variety.Kayakers will be introduced to their craft andwill be briefed for their adventures, beforepicking up paddles to circumnavigate tiny isletsor paddle deep into narrow waterways thatintersect this rugged terrain, while hikers mayopt for panoramic views from summits andridges. We may have the chance to samplesingle malt whisky at a distillery, or marvel atFingal's Cave, where the melodious sound ofwaves crashing against towering basalt pillarsinspired Mendelssohnn's Hebridean Overture.The rugged island of Skye, named after theNorse word for 'cloud', is a hikers' paradise.
We aim to visit tiny specks of land that bear the brunt of ferocious Atlantic storms.If weather and seas permit, we hope to land at St Kilda, a World Heritage Site, where derelict crofts bear testament to the fortitude of hardy islanders that once dried seabirds for winter food. Exposed to the full ferocity of Atlantic gales, the inhospitable volcanic stacks of St Kilda boast Britain's highest sea cliff(430 metres tall). On Lewis, we may visit Carloway Broch, and stroll among a mini stonehenge at Callanais. Home to breeding seals and vast seabird colonies, Flannan, North Rona and Foula boast spectacular cliffs, fantastic rockstacks, hidden beaches and luxuriant heaths where sheep once grazed. In favourable sea conditions it's possible to land on Hirta, the largest island (2 miles by 1 mile), to visit derelict crofts and the ancient chapel. The region is one of Europe's most significant seabird breeding colonies, with over 200,000 breeding pairs of all species and is home to Britain's largest colonies of gannets, fulmars and puffins.
Shetland Britain's most northerlyislands lie almost 100 miles north of the Scottishmainland, at a similar latitude to the southerntip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Keptrelatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland's100 islands experience almost 24 hours ofdaylight in summer. They abound with naturereserves and archaeological sites offering ataste of traditional island life. We plan to visitsome of Shetland's best preserved and mostcomplex archaeological broch sites (fortifiedIron Age towers) along some of the world'slargest sea bird colonies.
Mid waybetween Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle housesa major European ornithological researchstation, and is also famous for knitwear andhistoric shipwrecks. About 3 miles by 2 miles,it is surrounded by impressive cliffs. The 70or so islanders mostly live in traditional croftson the more fertile low-lying southern part ofthe island. A bird watchers' paradise, Fair Isleattracts common species and eastern raritiessuch as the lanceolated warbler. In summer,the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars,kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags andpuffins - an excellent place to view seabirdsat close range. The island also has over 250species of flowering plants, including wetlandflowers, rare orchids, alpine species andcommon wildflowers. We'll be welcomed by thehospitable villagers and may take a hike or visitthe museum. We follow the passage of time- from 5000 year old World Heritage neolithicsites, past relics from wandering Vikings andreminders of World War II occupation, topresent day crofting communities. Imposingsea cliffs teem with seabirds and cliff toppaths and bleak moors beckon the keenhikers among us, while our kayakers usepaddle-power to explore sections of Orkney'sfascinating coastline.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
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