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Five days of adventure touring the waters and islands of the Hebrides, in the West of Scotland, to get closer to the basking shark, bathe with the curious grey seals and discover caves only accessible by sea.

A trip for everyone.

DURATION: 5 days
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Fixed minimum and maximum number of participants: 8 people
DATES: September 3-7
MEALS: Restaurants – Packed lunch
DIFFICULTY: Easy – Expert wildlife guide – Expert local guide
INFORMATION: SKUA headquarters: – +39 0141 918349

VISAS AND VACCINATIONS: In accordance with the applicable health regulations:

In the northwest of remote Scotland, right on the edge of Europe and nestled between Gaelic culture and paradisiacal beaches, lies the mystical enclave of the Hebrides. This archipelago of more than a hundred small islands is the preferred place for the basking shark to spend the summer.

The world’s second largest shark has in recent years begun to leave the waters of southern England and populate those further north, a migration that is due to the arrival of plankton driven by warm water currents. At the end of August, the main activity of the plankton on which these basking sharks feed ends, and between September and October their migration towards the south begins. Therefore, August and September are the best times to stay on Coll Island and take a short boat expedition to swim with basking sharks in the crystal-clear waters of Scotland.

Do not miss the chance to sign up for the future number one nature reserve in Europe, swim among seals and dolphins, and discover what’s hidden in the North Sea while snorkeling.

PARTICIPATION FEE: 1.775€ (from Glasgow)

  • On-site transportation and excursions
  • Driver and expert guide in photography, wildlife, and wildlife watching
  • Accommodation for 4 days
  • Material for experiences/activities
  • Books and binoculars
  • Boat trips for 3 days
  • Meals for the guid
  • Travel insurance
  • Round-trip flights
  • Single room supplement
  • Meals of the participants
  • Photographic equipment
  • Tips
  • group life
  • adventure
  • snorkeling
  • basking shark
  • expert instructor
  • expert guides

L’itinerario può subire modifiche a seconda delle condizioni meteorologiche e di illuminazione dei luoghi che visiteremo.

Itinerary in brief

Italy – Glasgow – Oban – Coll – Tiree/Small Isles/Colonsay Area – Fingal’s Cave – Isle of Kerrera – Coll – Oban – Glasgow – Italy

Day 1
Italy – Glasgow – Oban

We land at Glasgow airport early in the morning, where we are picked up by our guide after breakfast to head north to Oban.

As we leave Glasgow, it is possible that we will see the peregrine falcon. So be on the lookout for swooping flights of the world’s fastest bird or figures perched on churches.

On our way to Oban, we will cross Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, a natural area with incredible scenery and an abundance of wonderful wildlife that inspired the makers of the Disney movie Brave. We will stop for lunch at a scenic spot on this winding road and take a short hike through the woods in search of ospreys and golden eagles.

Since we are traveling in early September, at the beginning of the rutting season, it is possible that we will see groups of deer and elk along our route.

When we arrive in the Oban area, we can enjoy green landscapes with many castles to photograph. After arriving in the village, we will climb the tower of McCaig to enjoy the panoramic view of Oban at sunset, a typical Scottish town, picturesque and maritime, where we will spend the night. It is considered the gateway to the Hebrides – the islands we will visit – and the capital of fish, which we will taste for dinner.

Day 02
Oban – Coll – Tiree/Small Isles/Colonsay – Coll

We start our adventure very early and board a ferry to the Isle of Coll, where we will spend the next two days. We will leave our luggage in the rooms and go to the harbo, where the boat will pick us up to explore different places, depending on the weather conditions. This day we will experience our first contact with the sea and explore kelp forests in crystal-clear waters. After the first snorkeling exercises in the Scottish waters, we will devote ourselves exclusively to the search for sharks, but also seals, whales and dolphins, as well as ornithological observation of water birds that may interest us. We will follow the instructions of the marine guides at all times so that we know when to dive into the sea to explore its inhabitants with our snorkeling gear.

We will visit different areas that our guides have already explored and checked during the summer. Along the way we will be on the lookout for any movement in the sea that might indicate a possible sighting. We will have lunch on the boat and if we see sharks, we will swim with them in the still warm water that offers us a wonderful variety of marine wildlife. We will also visit the lagoon where sharks rest and where we might surprise gray seals. We will take a walk around the Isle of Coll and discover the 15th century Breachacha Castle. We will have dinner in the harbor and return to our accommodation to sleep and prepare for the next day’s adventures.

Day 03
Coll – Fingal’s Cave – Coll

We will get up early to visit areas of the island where sea otters can be spotted. We will spend the sunrise with these friendly mammals, then have breakfast and return to the boat.

We will devote this day exclusively to swimming with gray seals and discovering how curious they are, especially at this time of year. We will swim in Fingal’s Cave, known for its beautiful rock formations, and later head to our favorite seal colony to snorkel with the pups. The guides will explain us how to behave when interacting with the seals and may even allow us to make contact with them thanks to some games with our fins.

After snorkeling, we return to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon we navigate along the south coast of Mull through the Sound of Iona and explore its waters before returning home via Tobermory and the Sound of Mull. During these tours we will once again have the opportunity to see basking sharks, dolphins, and whales.

We return to the island to watch the sunset from the beach and have a delicious and well-deserved meal at the island’s tourist center.

Day 04
Coll – Isle of Kerrera – Coll – Oban

On our last day of searching for the basking shark, we will travel along the coast of Oban. We will take a boat tour around the Isle of Kerrera and admire the landscapes of Oban from our boat and see sharks, whales and dolphins up close.

We will discover some hidden spots and corners where we can observe wildlife such as white-tailed eagles and other seabirds. Around noon we will pack and take the last ferry to Oban in the afternoon.

We will have dinner on the boat. Once in Oban, we can take a last night walk around the harbor before heading to our accommodation.

Day 05
Oban – Glasgow

We will be back in Glasgow very soon to drop off our rental car and head home. We will say goodbye at the airport and look forward to seeing each other again on our next adventure.

Basking shark
The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second largest fish in the world after the whale shark, growing up to 10 meters long and weighing four tons. Although its silhouette resembles that of a hunter shark with its hydrodynamic shape and sharp snout, it feeds by filtering the water. It swims with its mouth open until it becomes round, filtering the water through huge gills while maintaining a very slow gait. Migratory sharks are often spotted near the coast and are a frequent target of ecotourists, as they are often seen at the surface and tolerate the presence of humans very well.

These sharks are easy prey because they have a habit of swimming near the surface, devouring plankton and small fish. Due to the black-market trade in shark fins, they are hunted worldwide, especially in the Far East. For this reason, they are under strict protection during their migration period in Scotland and the United Kingdom, where they spend the summer.

Basking sharks migrate from the subtropics to the Hebrides (Scotland) in conjunction with plankton blooms. In summer, especially in July and August, the number of sharks is the highest, and in September and October begins the migration to the south.

Basking shark, gray seal, harbor seal, common minke whale, bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise, sea otter, golden eagle, deer, roe deer

  • Photo lenses: For those interested in landscape photography, a wide-angle lens is recommended. For wildlife photography from the boat, lenses between 100mm and 500mm are recommended. For underwater photography, go pros, disposable underwater cameras or waterproof housings for SLR cameras with short lenses are sufficient.
  • Binoculars for wildlife observation.
  • You do not need to bring a wetsuit, fins, mask, snorkel or other equipment to dive in Scottish waters. All equipment is included in the trip.
  • Appropriate clothing for outdoor activities. On the sea, the wind can become strong and lower the temperature, so it is advisable to choose clothes that ensure comfort and safety.

Boat trips, swim with marine wildlife, search for sea otters on foot, birdwatching, visit to the Isle of Coll, visit to the town of Oban, driving route through Loch Lomond National Park and the Trossachs.

  • Check possible documents required due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • We strongly recommend booking flights that allow for refunds in case of cancellation or change.