The Wildlife of Lochaber in the West Highlands

All Wildlife lovers are welcome to Come and See Lochaber Wildlife, because the Scottish Highlands abound with Wildlife from deer to butterflies and flora on land, seals, whales and porpoises in the sea.

As a result there are several highly specialised small businesses offering tours to help you find them. Above all, access to estates where much of the “timid” wildlife retreats to in the summer months is important. Getting to remote areas on foot can take a lot of time therefore these specialised businesses will usually have access to estate roads the public cannot use to get you closer, faster.

Consequently, here we provide you with the names and website links to the main businesses offering this.

We have worked with one for many years. Ian MacLeod of Wild West provides guests with brilliant days, from spotting the “Big Five” to helping you get great photo opportunities.

Wild West owned and operated by Ian MacLeod

Offers wildlife safaris and scenic tours to discover the wildlife, landscape and legends of the West Highlands. Above all, Scotland’s Big Five of red deer, red squirrel, harbour seal, otter and golden eagle can all be found in Lochaber. Internationally famous landmarks, for example, Glencoe, Glenfinnan and Ben Nevis can be visited, along with hidden beaches, lost valleys, and a silence that many people have never experienced. Therefore you will learn about the flora, history and geology of the area. In addition your guide Ian is an experienced photographer who can help you get the best from your camera.

Living in the Fort William area for over 30 years – Ian spends much of his spare time walking, cycling and kayaking, as well as observing and photographing the wildlife of the region.

The Lochaber region in the West Highlands of Scotland, with the towering mountains of Ben Nevis and Glencoe close by, and the deeply indented coastline formed by glaciers, is a paradise for the avid wildlife watcher. The hills abound with red deer, the majestic golden eagle soars above dramatic crags, seals bask on skerries and for the persistent observer otters, whilst never abundant, thrive in the sea lochs.

Importantly, tours offered by Wild West are on a private basis, resulting in more protection to your group in the current pandemic, consequently allowing the tour to be focussed on your interests and adjusted to provide the best opportunity to meet your objectives. Travel is by comfortable Mercedes minibus, which can take up to 6 passengers currently.

Contacting Wild West

Visit Ian’s website for more information and booking Wild West Wildlife Tours and Come and See Lochaber Wildlife.

Please note: the following pictures are copyright of Wild West and this website.

Other tour operators for seeing Wildlife

Crannog Cruises – cruise Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil on the Souters Lass to see the seals, porpoise, dolphins and bird life, not forgetting the mountain scenery. Website at: Crannog Cruises

Fort William Sea Tours – private charter and public tours in a 9 seat RIB see wildlife and scenery, chase the Jacobite Steam Train along Loch Eil. Website at Fort William Sea Tours

Up & Doon Guided Walks  – for a more leisurely approach to seeing the scenery and wildlife that won’t run away!  Website at Up & Doon Guided Walks

The Highland Wildlife Park – part of the Edinburgh Zoo. Animals from around the world as well as the Highlands. Possible your best chance of seeing a Highland Wild Cat. We, as locals, have only seen them a few times and usually fleetingly. Well worth a visit if you are venturing over to the Cairngorms and Aveimore. Website at Highland Wildlife Park

Loch Shiel Cruises – wonderful loch cruise with a chance to see golden and white tailed eagles among other wildlife. Website at Loch Shiel Highland Cruises

Main Wildlife to spot

The Big 5

All the Big 5 are to be found in Lochaber

Red Deer

Red Squirrel

Harbour Seal


Golden Eagle


Other Flora and Fauna

Natures reserves in the area have rare butterflies and orchids as well loads of other plant and insect life.

Wild OrchidWild Flower Loch Treig

The more domesticated wildlife!

The ever popular Highland Cows! You will see them in many places including the Ben Nevis Distillery.

Highland Cow

They are cute as calves, but beware those horns. Adults are usually peaceful and placid, but never trust them completely.

And Finally

The most fantastic scenery and setting to go and see it all.

You want to find the Wildlife?

You have found your accommodation!