Spot Puffins on Boat Trips from Loch Ness Shores

Spot Puffins on Boat Trips from Loch Ness Shores

Seeking Tuxedo-Clad Treasure on the Shores of Loch Ness

After I decided to go to Scotland for my second visit, the next logical step was to figure out where I wanted to explore. Since I had already ticked off a few of the major highlights on my previous trip, I was determined to venture a little further off the beaten path this time. My three main goals? Loch Ness, Outlander filming locations, and – wait for it – puffins! Yes, you heard me right, puffins! These adorable tuxedo-clad seabirds actually call Scotland home, and I was determined to spot them with my own eyes.

My research led me to the Isle of Mull, a stunning island off the west coast, where I discovered that I could join a boat tour to see the puffins on the nearby island of Staffa. Not only that, but this same tour would also take me to the iconic Fingal’s Cave. It was like the travel gods had aligned the stars just for me! Without further ado, I booked my spot on the “Early Bird Three Isles” tour, eager to set sail and see what wonders awaited.

Encountering Feathered Friends on Staffa Island

As the boat pulled up to the rugged shores of Staffa Island, I could hardly contain my excitement. These puffins, they were real, and they were right in front of me! I bounded off the boat, ready to get up close and personal with my tuxedo-clad targets. The hike to the puffin colony wasn’t too strenuous, though I did have to watch my step to avoid any puddles along the way. But the views of the island’s unique basalt columns made the journey an absolute delight.

As the guide had warned, the puffins were remarkably unafraid of human presence, likely because they’ve grown accustomed to visitors flocking to see them. I found the perfect spot to sit and wait, hoping to capture the perfect photo of these captivating creatures. And boy, did they deliver! I watched in awe as the puffins darted back and forth, their beaks stuffed to the brim with small fish called sand eels. It was like a natural version of the “How Many Marshmallows Can You Fit in Your Mouth?” challenge, and I was enthralled.

Exploring the Mysterious Fingal’s Cave

Of course, the puffins weren’t the only attraction on Staffa Island. As I reluctantly tore myself away from the seabird colony, I made my way to the famous Fingal’s Cave, a geological wonder formed by hexagonal basalt columns. The cave’s eerie, cathedral-like interior is a sight to behold, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the mysteries that lay within. Though I didn’t have a guide for this particular portion of the tour, the audio tour provided just the right amount of context as I explored the cave at my own pace.

With my curiosity about Fingal’s Cave satisfied, I turned my attention back to the puffins, spending the remainder of my time on Staffa simply watching these charismatic birds going about their daily lives. I couldn’t believe how close I was able to get to them, and I soaked in every second, hoping to etch the memories into my mind forever.

Traversing the Isles of Mull and Iona

As the boat whisked me away from Staffa, the next stop on my itinerary was the Isle of Mull. While I had been so focused on the puffins, I realized I hadn’t done much research on Mull itself. But as the ferry approached the shore, I was struck by the shimmering, almost Caribbean-like hue of the water – a far cry from the murky depths of Loch Ness!

Once on Mull, a bus transported me to the next leg of the journey: the Isle of Iona. Wandering the grounds of the ancient Iona Abbey, I was captivated by the serene cloisters and the soothing audio tour that allowed me to explore at my own pace. And who could forget the resident coo, the perfect pint-sized ambassador for the island?

Refueling for the Journey Ahead

Throughout the day, I was grateful for the various ferry and bus transfers, which gave me a chance to catch my breath and refuel. While the smaller ferry boats didn’t have any amenities, the larger ferries between the mainland and the islands were well-equipped with cafeterias and other essentials. I made sure to pack some of my own snacks as well, just to be on the safe side. After all, I didn’t want to be caught hungry on my puffin-seeking adventure!

As I settled back onto the boat for the return journey, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and gratitude. Not only had I managed to see the puffins up close, but I had also been treated to the stunning landscapes of Staffa and the historical wonders of Iona. It was truly a day to remember, and I knew that my time in the Scottish Highlands was just getting started.

Answering the Call of Loch Ness

With my puffin-filled escapade behind me, I was eager to continue exploring the wonders of the Scottish Highlands. And of course, no visit to this region would be complete without a stop at the iconic Loch Ness. As I made my way towards the shores of Loch Ness, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation. Would I catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie? While the Loch Ness Monster may be more myth than reality, the breathtaking scenery surrounding the loch is undeniably real.

As I wandered the Loch Ness Shores, I was struck by the serene beauty of the landscape. The mirror-like surface of the loch, the towering mountains in the distance, and the quaint villages dotting the shoreline – it was a sight that captured my heart and my imagination. And who knows, perhaps Nessie was lurking somewhere in those mysterious depths, waiting to be discovered.

Embracing the Spirit of Adventure

As I reflect on my unforgettable experience exploring the Scottish Highlands, I can’t help but feel a sense of wonder and gratitude. From the tuxedo-clad puffins of Staffa to the enigmatic Loch Ness, this region of Scotland has a way of capturing the adventurous spirit like no other. And with so much more to discover, I know that I’ll be back – puffins and all – to continue my exploration of this enchanting corner of the world.

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