When people think about wildlife watching destinations, they often think of the places where they might see the large, attention-grabbing species, such as elephants or tigers. Do people think of Scotland? I suspect not, but we’re trying to change that!
In Scotland we may not have lions or polar bears, however thousands of people come wildlife watching in Scotland each year. In fact we reckon that have some of the best wildlife-watching experiences in Europe.
Some of the Best Wildlife Watching in Europe? OK, convince me…
There can’t be many places that have such as varied range of wildlife watching activities on offer, here are some suggestions of what you might see:
- from the iconic, such as our ‘Famous Grouse’ and majestic red deer, to the charismatic, our puffin colonies never fail to keep people entertained;
- from the numerous, over 6 million seabird nest on our coast each year, to the rare and endangered, there may be fewer than 400 Scottish wildcats left in the wild;
- and from our giants of the sea, such as the minke whales and basking sharks that visit our waters each summer, to our smallest (or ‘wee’ as we say in Scotland) creatures, such as the Orkney vole, Canna mouse or the tiny goldcrest.
This wildlife can be enjoyed on foot, from a boat, on a bicycle, by sea-kayak or from the comfort of a 4×4 or minibus. Across our membership we can cater for all interests, ages and abilities. If you’re interested in nature, then Scotland is a great destination whatever the time of year, and we have great outdoor activities, food and hospitality as well. What more do you need..?
What About Wild Scotland? What do we do?
Wild Scotland is a not-for-profit membership organisation that works to support, develop and encourage nature tourism businesses in Scotland. We are a business association and focus on the many businesses that deliver the best wildlife-watching experiences in Scotland. The association’s vision is for Scotland to be Europe’s No.1 wildlife-watching destination and the achievement of this vision steers our activities. Currently comprising 80 members, we encourage Scottish wildlife tourism whilst also safeguarding Scotland’s wildlife and natural environment.
Wild Scotland encourages and supports the development and promotion of nature tourism in ways that are sustainable, environmentally, socially and economically. We are the first association of its kind in the UK and were formed in 2003 by concerned wildlife tourism operators who, noticing the rise in interest in wildlife tourism, were keen to ensure that wildlife watching was encouraged but within sustainable boundaries.
Wild Scotland members come from across the country and activities include whale-watching, bird-watching, safaris, horse-riding, sea-kayaking, trekking and cycling. They understand the importance of providing high standards of customer care, quality of service and visitor safety, and are committed to sustainable and responsible attitudes to wildlife and the environment in Scotland. These basic principles are laid out in the Wild Scotland Best Practice Wildlife Watching Guidelines, which all Wild Scotland members agree to follow. The guidelines were recognised at the first World Responsible Tourism Day which was held at the World Travel Market in London in 2008.
The group shares ideas, expertise and resources in order to provide visitors with enjoyable, rewarding and responsible experiences, and we hope that by working with ATTA we can further develop those ideas through discussion with a wider group of adventure travel providers. We look forward to working with you all.
For more info, visit our website: www.wild-scotland.org.uk