Get your new year list off to a flying start with a highland fling!
This exciting trip has been organised in conjunction with Heatherlea, one of the premier Scottish tour operators, and the only one in the highlands awarded a Five Star Wildlife Experience, by the Scottish Tourist Board. Their experienced guides have a detailed local knowledge of the area and know where best to look for the specialities of the wonderful Caledonian pine forest; Crested Tit, Scottish Parrot Crossbill and the elusive Capercaillie. At this time of year dawn is at a civilised hour and so we won’t even need early starts to look for these magnificent birds! A little further afield, we can also expect to see Golden Eagle, Black and Red Grouse, and Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare, both of which will be pure white, in tune with the dramatic scenery of the mountain tops. We will also visit the Black Isle and the bird rich Moray coast, where we can hope to see all three Divers, Slavonian Grebe, Pink-footed Geese, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine and possibly White-tailed Eagle, plus Short-eared Owl, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Twite, Snow Bunting, waders galore, and large concentrations of sea duck including Red-breasted Merganser, Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Scaup and Common, Velvet and maybe even Surf Scoters. We shall also listen out for news of possible northern rarities such as Snow Goose, King Eider and Great Grey Shrike. By the end of this rewarding trip we should have seen at least 85 bird species, as well as some exciting mammals, and all amid superb scenery.

 Ptarmigan – N McIntyre, Heatherlea

We leave the Nottingham area by people carrier, and drive north through some lovely scenery to Nethy Bridge, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, in time for dinner at The Mountview Hotel. This Edwardian Country House in two acres of wooded grounds with panoramic mountain views, is now a three star hotel with en-suite rooms, a kitchen staff serving up an award winning traditional ‘taste of Scotland’, and outdoor feeders attracting Red Squirrels, Siskins and even Crested Tits! The hotel was highly rated by my previous groups of clients who stayed there with me, and it is the perfect base for exploring this wild corner of Scotland. During the trip, we shall be taken ‘on safari’ by minibus, visiting Capercaillie ‘hotspots’ on a private estate, plus a local glen for Golden Eagles and the Black Isle and Moray coast for thousands of wintering birds. Back at the hotel we can relax in the large lounge warmed by a real open fire and on New Year’s Eve there will be a gala dinner, usually followed by mulled wine, a firework display and optional outing to the celebrations in nearby Grantown-on-Spey. Where else could you possibly see Capercaillie, Crested Tit and Golden Eagle all on New Year’s day?

Crested Tit – N McIntyre, Heatherlea

Cost £1295
As the hotel is very popular, particularly at this time of year, it is advisable to book promptly to secure your place.

What the price includes:
Return road transport from the Nottingham area to Nethy Bridge, seven nights’ full board en-suite accommodation, all excursions in Scotland, bird checklist and the services of your guides.

Deposit: £200
No single supplement!

Mountain Hare – N McIntyre, Heatherlea