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Do you ever take two week holidays? In 17 years of marriage my wife and I have only ever taken two. All the other years it just hasn’t felt feasible to take a full fortnight off. Our first 2 week holiday was 5 years ago. We spent 1 week on the Isle of Skye and 1 week on the Isle of Mull. Our second 2 week holiday finished this Sunday gone. Again we went up to Scotland. This time we went to near Inverness and near Perth.

The motivation for picking here was to see wildlife. For some time I have wanted to see the dolphins up by the Black Isle. There’s a point just north of Inverness where they come right up to the beach. The best place to see them is Chanory Point, which is at the mouth of the Moray Firth. The tide times weren’t in our favour, with low tide (1 hour after low tide is the best time to see them) being in the late afternoon, moving through to the evening as the week progressed. On the first Sunday we arrived by the beach late afternoon and sat near the beach for about an hour watching a seal bobbing around. Then the dolphins arrived. I was the first to spot one, then another 2 and then finally a 4th. We were game on! We got off the benches headed down the beach to the shoreline in anticipation of some fish feeding frenzy, or perhaps some water leaping action. Instead they swam off out to sea! I didn’t get a single photograph. OK it was nice to see them, but was such a brief view of a few dorsal fins, and an anticlimax after what we were expecting. Ah well, they are wild creatures after-all.

Although we missed out on great photos of dolphins, we did manage to see some other fantastic wildlife. Such as badgers:

A very close-up badger

A very close-up badger

Three badgers climbing a tree

Three badgers climbing a tree

and pine martens:

A very shy female pine marten.

A very shy female pine marten.

These were seen from a hide operated by Speyside Wildlife. The hide can take up to 12 people, but fortunately there were only 4 of us, so we had plenty of space to walk around to both sides of the hide and always get access to a window.

We also got to see some other wildlife in Scotland, such as Polar Bears,

pb2

Snow Leopard,

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

Great Grey Owl,

who are you calling twit?

who are you calling twit?

Wolverine,

Don't mess with me. I may look cute, but I can kill a polar bear given a chance

Don’t mess with me. I may look cute, but I can kill a polar bear given a chance

and Snow Monkeys.snow monkey

OK these were actually at the Highland Wildlife Park just outside Aviemore.

Back to the natives, we did manage to see loads of red squirrels and not just at feeding stations. We actually saw some wild ones in the woods. We saw loads of buzzards and absolutely no gold eagles  😦 We saw lots of red dear, and some little birds on the moors which turned out to be Ring Ouzels.

We ended up seeing quite a few waterfalls. Some very high, some wide. Plodda falls is very high and has a cool cantilevered platform jutting out above it so you can look vertically down the whole drop.

Plodda Falls as seen from the bottom

Plodda Falls as seen from the bottom

At the Rogie Falls not far outside Inverness we managed to see salmon leaping, which was a real treat.

This was one of many unsuccessful attempts.

This was one of many unsuccessful attempts.

Every time one leapt up the small crowd of onlookers cheered them on their way. Sometimes they made it, most times they fell back down to try again. If only the realized it there was a salmon ‘ladder’ put in place to bypass the waterfall, but we didn’t see any evidence of any fish using it instead.

So all in all we had a fantastic time. The fact that we didn’t get any photos of golden eagles or dolphins just gives us a perfect excuse to go back up again…..

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