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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold Award

Cairngorms Wildlife

Explore unique Highland landscapes with your very own private wildlife guide.

This special holiday combines two unforgettable Scottish wildlife experiences in the spectacularly beautiful Cairngorms National Park.  Covering around 10% of Scotland, this is the largest National Park in the UK and is home to a quarter of Scotland’s native woodland.  Habitats vary from wild tundra on the high mountain tops  to ancient woods of Caledonian Pine, heather-covered moorland to majestic glens.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Feb - Nov. Let us know which wildlife most interests you.

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Day with a private wildlife guide

What better way to experience Scotland’s wildlife than in the company of a highly experienced and knowledgeable guide?  Even better when the guide is yours on a private basis for the day, so your programme will be tailored to suit, with your guide using unbeatable local knowledge to track down the species you most want to see.

Choose from the following themes:

Highland Glens – for golden eagles, red deer, red-throated divers, red kites, ring ouzels

Pine Forest – with such species as capercallie, black grouse, crested tits or Scottish crossbills, and the chance of red squirrels.

Moorland & Moray Firth – begin the day exploring moorland for red grouse, black throated divers and mountain hares then on to the Moray Firth for osprey, seaduck and reans, with a good chance of bottlenose dolphins and otters.

Evening wildlife watching

This unique experience includes up to three hours at a comfortable purpose-built hide in the Cairngorms National Park where pine martens and badgers, as well as other wild mammals, are regularly seen.  (Bill Oddie and the BBC have visited here regularly to film.)  Throughout your visit to the baited hide – which is fitted with outside spotlights – you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will keep you informed about everything you see; you’ll be in a small group of no more than 12.

Your Accommodation

Your accommodation in the Cairngorms is a recently constructed, oak-framed ‘eco-house’, with a wealth of intriguing detail throughout, formed by the owners from the shell of a Victorian-era steading. With just three bedrooms, an impressive guest lounge featuring large picture windows affording fabulous views across Cairngorm, and the very warmest of welcomes from your gregarious hosts, we’re sure you’ll find this place difficult to leave.

What else to see and do

This is a perfect base to explore the National Park and the surrounding highland landscape of majestic mountains, rivers and lochs.  You can enjoy a short trip on the wonderful Strathspey Steam Railway from the village itself, or “climb” Cairngorm on the nearby funicular railway. The hotel is a mine of information on local walks and excursions, several beginning in and around the village itself.  The town of Aviemore is within easy reach, as are the glorious sandy beaches of the Moray coast and the myriad castles and distilleries of Speyside.


Map cairngorms wildlife

This short break is based in the midst of the Cairngorms National Park.


£395 per person for February, March & November, £419 for April & October, £459 per person for May to September.

All prices based on two people sharing a double room ensuite for three nights on a bed & breakfast basis, including a day with a private wildlife guide exploring the highlights of Cairngorms wildlife, and an evening visit to a wildlife hide to view badgers and pine martens. A packed lunch is included for the wildlife day trip.

Note for wildlife trips: We cannot of course  guarantee that you will see any of the wildlife described – these are wild animals and as such cannot be called to order, and no refund will be made if you are unlucky enough not to see any of the animals described, despite the very best efforts of the guides.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday. All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.


The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.


Check availability for Cairngorms Wildlife

This holiday is available from mid February to early November.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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