There is plenty to see in Scotland’s cities, but for me, the real heart of Alba can be found in the woods and glens, out in the wild. Scotland has some of Britain’s (and indeed Europe’s) most unspoiled natural beauty, and the opportunity to view the country’s abundant wildlife should be a part of any Scotland trip.
Some of the rare species of wildlife that can be found in Scotland include:
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- Golden Eagles: There is a higher density of breeding golden eagles here in Scotland than almost anywhere in the world, and the sight of an eagle soaring above the highlands is an essentially Scottish travel memory.
- Scottish Crossbills: Birders visiting Scotland can rejoice in adding the only bird species found nowhere in the world except Britain to their life lists.
- Red Deer: This relative of the North American elk is one of the largest deer species, and males can reach over 500 lbs.
- Killer Whale: Orcas can be spotted from many of Scotland’s coastlines, and are top predators in the North and Irish Seas. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a calf following its mother.
Some of the best spots for watching wildlife in Scotland are:
- Cairngorms National Park: The largest national park anywhere in Britain, Cairngorms is home to 25% of the UK’s threatened plant and animal species.
- Moray Firth: A short distance from both Aberdeen and Inverness, this is the best place in Scotland to watch seals and dolphins, and there are several tours that get you right up close.
- Orkney Islands: The furthest you can get from Edinburgh and still be in Scotland, the Orkneys are prime viewing areas for whales, seabirds and other marine life. (more about the Orkneys)