You can find an amazing variety of wildlife in the immediate surroundings of Reiff Steading; including seals, otters, dolphins, orcas and whales. Stoats can be glimpsed trying to catch out the wary rabbit population that live in the sandy banks above the high-water mark on Reiff beach. In the air and on the water, almost countless species of birdlife thrive; including gannets, skuas, geese, black guillemots, eider duck and divers.
Slightly further afield, The Scottish Wildlife Trust operate a number of reserves in Ross-shire and Sutherland and the Trust’s largest reserve, covering over 5,000 hectares, is almost on the doorstep of Reiff Steading!
Ben Mor Coigach Reserve
Ben Mor Coigach Reserve dominates the landscape around Achiltibuie and combines a mixture of high peaks and spectacular coastline with crofted and wild land.
The reserve is a great place for some excellent hill walking and lower level walks including the spectacular six-mile Postie’s Path coastal walk from Blughasary, hugging the steep coastline to Achduart. Both golden eagles and white tailed sea eagles, as well as seals and otters can be spotted if you are lucky.
Hand Island is a very pleasant drive of about 1 ½ hours northwards along the A835 into Sutherland and just past the village of Scourie, a ferry to the Island of Handa can be taken from Tarbert. Each summer, nearly 100,000 seabirds breed on, or close to the magnificent Torridonian sandstone sea cliffs that rise from the Atlantic on the north west coast of the island. The birdlife include fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, arctic and great skuas, and from late May to July, puffins nest in burrows on the cliff tops. After a days exploring the island, why not book a table at the perfectly located Shorehouse Restaurant, just beside the ferry slipway.
Loch Fleet in Easter Ross is a large tidal basin with sand dunes, mudflats, coastal heath and pinewoods. The pinewoods support Scottish crossbills, crested tits and pine martens, as well as woodland plants, such as one-flowered wintergreens. The reserve is great for a combination of both coastal and woodland walks with a huge variety of woodland plants to be seen in spring and summer and wading birds in winter.
Tollie Red Kites
Tollie Red Kites, operated by RSPB Scotland, in partnership with Brahan Estate is located just off the A835, fifteen miles north of Inverness. You are able to get close-up views of graceful birds of prey, with a backdrop of Easter Ross to Ben Wyvis. Time your visit well and you can see volunteers feed the birds every day from a specially-converted farmstead building.