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The remote and beautiful InnerHebridean islands of Islay and Jura jut out like fingers from the west coast of Scotland and, differing so much in landscape and character, both islands in combination offer a perfect getawaydestination far from the rush of everydaylife. Indeed they offer an intoxicating blend of superb wildlife-watching, stunning scenery and fresh Atlantic air, a truly unspoiled setting for some of thebest and most iconic wildlife spectacles in the British Isles.We will spend three nights on each island,enjoying their contrasting scenery andwildlife, heading first for Islay, described bythe late Sir Peter Scott as 'the mostimportant place in the British Isles for wildgeese, and one of the most important inEurope.' The most southerly of the InnerHebrides, Islay boasts a very variedlandscape of mountains, moorland, woodsand farmland, and has been described asthe 'Queen of the Hebrides' - a fertile landteeming with breeding birds during thesummer, and geese in the winter. It is duringOctober when the geese start to arrive fromtheir breeding grounds in the Arctic and, bylate October, Islay is heaving with wildfowl,among which the most numerous is thehandsomely marked Barnacle Goose, whichhas been known to number up to 40,000here. The next most numerous is theGreenland White-fronted Goose, and Islayholds the largest wintering population ofthis species anywhere in the world, with up to 10,000 birds being present! A dawn ordusk vigil at one of the goose roosts on theisland is a humbling experience never to beforgotten, and among the vast flocks thereis always the chance of finding somethingrarer, maybe a Snow Goose or 'genuine'Canada Goose from North America.Other wildfowl also occur, and on the mainsea lochs up to 1,000 Greater Scaup maybe found. But it's not only the wildfowlwhich are special here; other waterbirds weare likely to see include Great Northern andBlack-throated Divers, Slavonian Grebe,Purple Sandpiper and Black Guillemot.Away from the water we will make a specialeffort to seek out Red-billed Chough, asmall flock of Snow Bunting, and perhaps aroost of over 200 Ravens. Last but not leastis the island's remarkable variety of raptors,perhaps not surprising given theabundance of prey. During suitable flyingweather, Golden Eagles are almostguaranteed and views can be nothing shortof spectacular. Hen Harrier, Merlin andPeregrine are also regularly seen, whilethere is an outside chance of a wanderingWhite-tailed Eagle. Indeed, our chance ofseeing these birds of prey is equally asgood on the Isle of Jura where we'll spendthe second part of the holiday.Jura offers a sharp and rugged contrast to the rolling fields and moors of northernIslay. Its southern part is dominated by thePaps - three dramatic, rounded hills risingclose to the sea to a height of 300 metres.The island's west coast is sculpted by manycliffs, caves and sweeping stretches ofraised beach, formed by the land lifting up after the great weight of the ice sheets retreated. Further classic examples of the effects of glaciation can be seen within the lochs, hills and glens, and Jura also has the thirdstrongest whirlpool in the world -Corryvreckan. Beautiful beaches are quietand little visited, and exotic plants such asfuschias and palm trees grow here sincethe climate is warmed by the Gulf Stream.This unspoiled and remote setting is perfectfor the enjoyment of natural history. Even more so than Islay, Jura is aparticularly good location for watchingmammals. Indeed its name is said to come from Viking times, when it was knownas 'Dy Oer' meaning Deer Island, and eventoday there are far more deer than peopleon Jura - in fact, about 5,000 Red Deer to250 people! Feral goats can be found alongthe west coast, as well as Common andGrey Seals, while Otters, we hope, will beamong the highlights of this holiday; thereare said to be a pair for every three miles of coastline, and views of Otters eating fish, or a mother with well-grown cubseating crab at close quarters, areunforgettable moments! The superb single malt whiskies, whichsome argue are the finest in the world, arean added pleasure offered by these smallHebridean islands. Alongside the superbscenery, truly spectacular wildfowlgatherings and a host of other wildlife, it's easy to see why Islay and Jura are two of our favourite British destinations, and we're sure you'll share our enjoyment of this winter wildlife feast!Islay & Jura A 7-day tour in search of the birds and mammals off Scotland's ruggedly scenic westcoast, plus the chance to try some of Scotland's finest single malt whiskies!Thursday 25th October - Wednesday 31st October 2012 Cost: £895Thursday 24th October - Wednesday 30th October 2013 Cost: £995Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationJURAPORT ELLENJURAISLAYOutline itineraryDay 1Arrive Islay.Day 2/3Islay.Day 4/6Jura.Day 7Depart Jura.AccommodationComfortable hotels with en suitefacilities.FoodAll included in the price, except forlunches.GradingA. Gentle wildlife walks. Any moredemanding walks will be optional.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderPeter Clement.Single room supplement£150.Web quick search: GBR10117Barnacle Geese, IslayGreenland White-fronted GeeseOtter

The beautiful Inner Hebridean islands ofIslay and Mull complement each otherperfectly. On Islay, a varied landscapeof mountains, open moorland, pastures,windswept lochans, and more gentle woodsand farmland is home to a wealth ofbreeding birds, but even more winteringwildfowl, both sustaining a large numberand variety of birds of prey. The mountainsand moorlands of Mull, by contrast, arewild, rugged and unforgiving; the island'svast western sea-lochs are beloved ofOtters, divers, grebes and sea-duck. Thereis no more dramatic time to visit than inearly November . when glorious autumncolours are at their best, the Red Deer arerutting, and vast numbers of wildfowl andwinter storms move in, enhancing skies andlandscapes. For birds of prey - theirnumbers enhanced by summer youngsters- and other predators, the hunt begins inearnest! We begin with a 4-night stay on Islay, aremarkable haven for birds that is invadedeach October by vast numbers of wildfowlwhich arrive from their Arctic breedinggrounds to pass the winter amongst theselush grazing grounds. Among the mostnumerous of species are some 40,000Barnacle Goose and 10,000 'Greenland'White-fronted Geese (the largest winteringpopulation of this species anywhere in theworld!). A dawn or dusk vigil at one of thegoose roosts on the island is a humblingexperience never to be forgotten, andamongst the vast flocks there is always thechance of finding something rarer, perhapsa Snow Goose or genuine Canada Goosefrom North America. Other wildfowl alsooccur, among them large numbers ofWhooper Swans, Greylag Geese and ducks.Plenty of Great Northern Divers (often 50 ormore) may be seen on each of the ferrycrossings from/to the mainland, plus Black-throated and Red-throated Diver, SlavonianGrebe and many seabirds, including BlackGuillemot. Ravens, Red-billed Chough,Snow Bunting and Twite may be among theland-based highlights, but the stars of theshow are most likely to be the island'sremarkable variety of raptors - amongstthem Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Merlin,Peregrine and perhaps even a wanderingWhite-tailed Eagle. As well as exploring Islay, we may alsospend time on the neighbouring island ofJura - its dramatic moors and summits(the Paps of Jura) in sharp and ruggedcontrast to the rolling fields and moors ofnorthern Islay. Even more so than Islay, Jurais a particularly good location for watchingmammals. Indeed its name is said to comefrom Viking times, when it was known as'Dy Oer' (Deer Island), and even today thereare far more deer than people on Jura - infact, about 5,000 Red Deer to 250 people!Feral goats can be found along the westcoast, along with Common and Grey Seals,whilst Otters are generally far easier to seehere than on Islay. There are said to be apair for every three miles of coastline, andviews of Otters eating fish, or a mother withwell grown cubs eating crab at closequarters, are unforgettable moments! The superb single malt whiskies, whichsome argue are the finest in the world, arean added pleasure of a visit to these twosmall Hebridean islands. And alongsidethe superb scenery, truly spectacularwildfowl gatherings and a host ofother wildlife it's easy to see whyIslay and Jura are two of our favourite UKdestinations.Mull, the third largest of the Hebrideanislands, is perhaps the most spectacular.We reach it during a scenic day thatincludes travel by ferry, road and then ferryagain. It is rugged, dramatic and blessedwith extensive forests and moorlands, highcraggy summits and a glorious coastline.Here the population of White-tailed SeaEagles is as dense as anywhere else inScotland, although there are even morepairs of the majestic Golden Eagle toprovide unique aerial comparisons. Manyother birds of prey inhabit the island,including good numbers of Hen Harriersand Short-eared Owls. All three diverspecies as well as Slavonian Grebes can beseen on the sea-lochs that are the favouritehome of Otters; indeed Mull must be one ofthe best places in Britain to observe thesecaptivating creatures, and it is quitepossible to see half a dozen or more in aday! The island is also well known for itsRed Deer, which are numerous throughout,but there are also a few small herds ofFallow Deer, remnants from pastintroductions. As on Islay, at many placesaround the scenic coastline, both Grey andCommon Seals can be seen from the shore,often accompanied by Black Guillemots.Mull is certainly a magical island and,weather permitting, we'll savour it in manymoods from our luxury base in the south-west corner!Islay & Mull ... In Style! A 7-day holiday to enjoy the wintering birds, resident mammals, spectacular scenery and richautumn colours of two of the Inner Hebrides' most beautiful and rewarding islands, Islay and Mull - gems of Scotland's rugged and scenic west coast. Thursday 1st November - Wednesday 7th November 2012 Cost: £1,195Thursday 31st October - Wednesday 6th November 2013 Cost: £1,295Outline itineraryDay 1Arrive Islay.Day 2/3Islay (and Jura).Day 4/6Mull.Day 7Depart Mull.AccommodationFor this tour we use the very besthotel on each island, all rooms withen suite facilities.FoodAll included.GradingGrade A. Gentle wildlife walks. Anymore demanding walks will beoptional.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderDavid Pierce.Single room supplement£255.Web quick search: GBR31118Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryFEOLINKENNACRAIGFROMGLASGOWCRAIGNUREPORT ELLENPORTASKAIGBOWMOREJURAISLE OFMULLISLAYOBANTOGLASGOWThe delightful Tiroran House Hotel, Isle of MullWhite-tailed EagleOttersBarnacle Geese