Holidays in Glenlivet

Visitor Guide

Wildlife and other Animals


Wildlife and other Animals

 in Glenlivet and the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Grampian,

Moray, Nairn and Inverness-shire


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We have included links to many other websites.  We shall eventually get round to informing all of these about our links, but if we haven't yet been in touch and you would prefer us to remove the link to your site, then please let us know.

Most of the following attractions guarantee animal sightings of some kind or at least have extensive and informative exhibits about them.   A leaflet entitled “Wildlife Scotland” is available from


If you want to see dolphins, one of the best places to view is at Chanonry Point, near  Fortrose in the Black Isle.  This is the narrowest point of the Moray Firth, and the best time to view is from about half an hour after low tide.  The following websites will give you information about Chanonry Point, tides and recent sightings.

Birdwatchers might be interested in the following website which gives a brief introduction to what can be seen in Moray.  Feel free to let us know about any other useful websites.

Also check out the Ranger Services in the Walking Section - some of these have Centres illustrating local wildlife, and guided walks are sometimes focussed on viewing wildlife.

The section on Boat Trips and Guided Tours gives further options.



Cairngorm Reindeer Herd

(two sites – one on the Glenlivet Estate, the other near Aviemore)

The main herd is kept near Aviemore on the way to the ski slope where they

are either roaming free or in paddocks.  There are daily hill visits which involve a

walk of about 30 minutes to reach the herd.  A second herd is kept near

Tomintoul along with other species of deer, Soay sheep and wild boar.

Contact 01479 861228 to confirm tour times and charges

Aviemore - daily hill visits at 11 am (weather permitting in winter) - also at

2.30 from May-Sept

Tomintoul – July-Aug: Wed and Thurs at 10am



Loch Garten Nature Reserve  (Near Nethy Bridge)

RSPB nature reserve focussing on Ospreys and Capercaillies

Ospreys - open daily 10 am-6 pm from April to the end of August. Last entry

to the reserve is at 5 pm. Capercaillies - open daily 5.30 am to 8 am during parts

of April and May – check website



Nethy Bridge Sheepdog Trials

Up to 60 dogs run during the day which starts at 8am.

Usually held on third or fourth Wednesday in August



Cairngorm Sleddog Centre (near Aviemore)

Around thirty sleddogs from all over the world.  Kennel and museum trips

available all year round.  Sled trips also offered.

Contact 07767 270526 – pre-booking essential



Highland Wildlife Park (near Kincraig)

The Park was opened in 1972 and is now run by the Royal Zoological Society

of Scotland.  Collections of Scottish wildlife as well as internationally endangered animals of mountains and tundra.  Drive around the Main Reserve in your own

car and then investigate the walk-round area by foot.

It's quite a while since I've been, but some friends visited the Park in October 2008 and thought it well worth the visit, spending four hours looking at tigers, red pandas, bison, wolves, etc.

Contact 01540 651270 – telephone to check open on days with deep snow

and ice!

Opening times

April to October 10 am to 5 pm (last entry 4 pm) 

November to March 10 am to 4 pm (last entry 3 pm)




Sheep Dogs  (10 minutes south of Aviemore)

See sheep dogs at work - also duck herding demonstration and Border Collie

pups.  Get dog training tips from an expert.  Demonstrations last about 45


Contact 01540 651310 to check demonstration times

Demonstrations are held from Sunday to Friday From April to October at

12 noon and 4pm.

Demonstrations are also held at 10am and 2pm during July and August



Black Isle Wildlife Park   (just north of Inverness)

Variety of wild and domesticated animals – tea room - shop.

For reviews by visitors to the park, see

Open March-Nov 10-6 daily but check up on opening times

Contact 01463 731656 or e-mail



WDCS Dolphin and Seal Centre  (just north of Inverness)

Learn about the Moray Firth dolphins from the experts. There is a large viewing window looking across the Kessock channel, where the dolphins are often seen.

Contact 01463 731866

Call to confirm opening times – probably April-Sep daily from 9.30 to 4.30, but

please check.


Loch Ruthven Nature Reserve  (to the east of Loch Ness)

The most important site in the UK for breeding Slavonian grebes (mid-March

through to autumn) and a chance to see ospreys and red-throated and

black-throated divers.

Viewing hide.

The moorland area to the east of Loch Ness is well off the beaten track and

rarely visited, but fascinating to drive through – even if you don’t see any grebes.  The east side of Loch Ness is much quieter than the west side, and its worth doing

a circular trip of the loch if you want to spend a day going down as far as Fort Augustus – much more chance of stopping on this side if you do happen to spot

the monster!  The following websites give some information about Fort Augustus

and the village of Foyers about half way down the loch.



Spey Bay

There’s a chance of viewing feeding osprey in the summer along with many

other birds, but if the skies are clear there’s always the Wildlife Centre at Tugnet/Spey Bay on the right bank of the river mouth.  Run by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, it also has very good displays about whales and dolphins and the work of the Society along with information about all the other

wildlife that inhabits the area.  The Centre was converted from a former salmon fishing station that has existed on the site since 1768.  The neighbouring Tugnet

Ice House, the largest remaining industrial ice house in Scotland, is also worth a

visit.  Tea room and shop.

Contact 01343 820339

Opening times 10.30 to 5pm

February 1st - March 31st: weekends only

April 1st to October 31st: Seven days a week

November 1st to December 18th: weekends only

December 19th - January 31st: closed


There’s an excellent view of the estuary from the School Brae Walk that runs between Garmouth and Kingston on the other side of the river.  The following websites give information about all three villages.



Troup Head Nature Reserve (between Banff and Fraserburgh)

The cliffs of Troup Head now host a major colony of gannets – one of the few mainland colonies in the UK.  Along with the usual complement of fulmars,

shags, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and some puffins, there are over

150,000 breeding seabirds here during the summer months.  Check the website to see when the different species are likely to be in residence.

The views from the clifftops are quite dramatic and you get a good close-up

views of the gannets, but be careful – there are no barriers to stop you falling

off the edge!  If you want an easier view, there’s a webcam link to the Macduff Marine Aquarium.




Peregrine Wild Watch Centre  (near Huntly)

There’s an interpretive cabin with three monitors offering live pictures and

sound from the quarry where the birds nest.  Experts are on hand to give

advice on the birds and other local wildlife, as well as how to protect them.

You can also visit a hide at the quarry and view the birds with telescope and binoculars.

Contact 01466 760790

Open daily from 9.30 to 5.30 from April to August



North East Falconry Centre (near Huntly)

Visitor centre and flying demonstrations – café – shop

Contact 01466 760328

Open daily from Easter to October from 10.30 to 5.30

Flying demonstrations at 11, 12.45, 2.30 and 4.15


Cullerlie Farm Park  (12 miles west of Abedeen)

Farm park and heritage centre. Feed the Ducks, Geese, Hens, Bantams,

Chickens, Rabbits, Guinea Fowl, Pea Fowl and Lambs. Rare breeds of Sheep,

Pigs and Goats plus Shelties and Clydesdales. Farming museum. Tearoom.

Open: Apr-Oct, daily, 10am-5pm (or by appointment).

Contact  01330 860 549 or e-mail

The prehistoric Cullerie Stone Circle lies nearby






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