The Priory Hotel

Scotlands Wildlife


It's no secret that the wildlife in Scotland is pretty impressive and a staycation in the Scottish Highlands is the perfect way to enjoy Scotland's Big Five. Scotland's Big Five includes, Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Harbour Seals, Golden Eagles and Otters and they can all be found throughout the Highlands of Scotland.

Red Deer in the Scottish Highlands

Red Deer

The most common of the big five and the largest land mammal in the British Isles and one you can enjoy in many locations across the Highlands.  Seeing one of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a glorious experience and one you will never forget.  The best time to spot them on lower ground is during colder months when they come down from the mountains to escape the harsh freeze of high altitude in search of food and shelter.  If you take the A835 to Ullapool from Beauly you are likely to spot them, possibly even down at the roadside, so do be careful.  You will need to look very carefully as their coats offer great camouflage in the local countryside.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel
One of the more difficult ones to spot on the list is Scotland's Big Five is the quirky Red Squirrel, a large proportion of these adorable little mammals can be found in the forests of the Cairngorm's National Park. The Cairngorm National Park is a refuge for these little creatures and a great way to catch a glimpse of these marvelous little creatures in their own habitat. They are easily recognisable with their rustic red fur and tufty little ears.

Common Seal resting on the shore
Harbour Seal / Common Seal

The Harbour or Common Seal can often be found around sheltered shores and estuaries, where they hang out on sandbanks and beaches catching the sun's rays. The best time to snap these beautiful marine mammals are in the mid-Summer months. Of the 30% of Europe's Common Seals which are found in UK waters, 80% of them live in Scotland, living up to 30 years and can weigh in at a whopping 100kg!

The best place locally to grab a quick snapshot of them is the coastline just north of the Cromarty Bridge. This is where they come out of the water onto the banks to bask in the sun. If you are looking for somewhere closer to Inverness you could always try the North Kessock Dolphin and Seal Tours which runs from June to September.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
The rarest out of the list so most likely the hardest to spot is the majestic golden eagle. Soaring over the mountain tops with a wingspan of 2.2 meters if you are lucky enough to see one you certainly won't t miss it, so if you are an avid hill walker be sure to keep an eye out for this apex predator of the skies. The best place to see these wonderful birds is again, in the Cairngorm National Park with its high mountains and vast open space for the eagle to hunt down its prey however, that's not to say you couldn't see one flying around on the lower ground, just keep your eyes peeled and you never know.

The last one on our list is most likely the shyest out of the big five, being the largest of the mustelid family, Scottish otters live and fish in the lochs, rivers and coastlines throughout the mainland. To catch a glimpse of these secretive little creatures you are probably best seeking out a day guide to take you to their favourite hiding spots however, you can chance your luck by visiting some nearby lochs’ and rivers to see if you can pry one out of hiding. Our advice would be to try this either very early in the morning just before sunrise or just before sunset as this seems to be when they are most active and make sure to have your camera at the ready because you may not get the chance again, patience is key!


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    Website Privacy Statement

    This privacy policy sets out how The Priory Hotel uses and protects any information that you give The Priory Hotel when you use this website.

    The Priory Hotel is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

    The Priory Hotel may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from June 1st, 2019.

    What we collect

    We may collect the following information:

    • name and job title
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    Website Accessibility

    We have tried to make this website as accessible as possible and easy to use for everyone, regardless of circumstance or ability.

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    We try to publish all our text content as accessible HTML rather than in other formats such as PDF. Where we do publish PDFs or other formats our policy is to make them as accessible as we can.

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