Matt Ovenden, Borrow A Boat’s on-the-water expert shares a guide to Britain’s most spectacular wildlife experiences…
From the truly wild to the more domesticated, there are so many ways we can experience wildlife here in the UK, and when it comes to creatures in or on our waters, the possibilities are endless.
Feel that little bit closer to nature as you watch otters in their natural habitat, go kayaking with seals or whales spotting in Scotland – or why not search in your local area for great days out at scenic rivers and coastlines?
Here, Borrow A Boat’s on-the-water expert, Matt Ovenden, shares his guide to the most spectacular and thrilling wildlife that can be spotted in and around Britain.
“Boasting one of the longest coastlines in Europe, with nobody living more the 80km from the shoreline, no matter where you are in the UK there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy the abundant aquatic life.
Whether on a boat, in a canoe, completely immersed in the water or just strolling along a riverbank, there is so much wildlife to be enjoyed here in the UK.
Marvel at the wonder of our natural world with Matt’s suggestions…
Go whale watching in Scotland
You may think you need to travel to far flung countries to tick whale watching off your bucket list, but it’s actually something you can enjoy right here in the UK.
One of the best locations to catch a glimpse of these giants of the ocean is in Scotland, where spectacular scenery meets sparkling water. The Minches, between the mainland and the islands of Tiree, Coll and Mull, is known to be a minke whale spotting hotspot, with dolphins and porpoises often seen in the area too.
As you set sail through Scottish waters, you may also get to see the jaw-dropping humpback whale passing through the northwest coast of Scotland, around the Hebrides. It’s not the most common of sights, but it’s thought that humpbacks are starting to make a comeback in Scottish waters as they pass through on their way down to the African tropics from October to March.
Kayak with seals in Pembrokeshire
Home to one of the largest breeding Atlantic seal colonies in the world, the Pembrokeshire coast is the perfect place to hop on a boat and catch a glimpse of seals and their pups in their natural habitat.
The seals will be totally laidback in your presence, in fact they are known for their curiosity and often swim alongside kayakers for miles. Tour operators are so confident you’ll encounter the inquisitive creatures that they even offer a guarantee during certain months of the year.
Spy golden eagles in the Isle of Mull
Aboard a chartered boat on the waters surrounding the Isle of Mull, spectators will find themselves at the perfect vantage point to watch white-tailed and golden eagles glide across their Highland habitat. Watch them soar over the island of Mull’s lochs and rocky inlets as you meander your way through the waterways on a chartered boat trip.
While golden eagles are majestic, the white-tailed eagle is often the real star of the show. Weighing up to 15lb and with an impressive eight-foot wingspan, it’s the UK’s largest bird of prey and the fourth largest eagle in the world.
Get on the water with otters on the Norfolk Broads
Otters prefer the backwaters of the Norfolk Broads, meaning the best way to spot them is often by kayak or canoe. Paddle out in the early evening as these cute and often comical creatures start to wake up.
With the help of a local guide you should be able to spot these silken creatures diving in and out of the water, but be prepared to be patient; otters can hold their breath for around eight minutes at a time! Keep watching to see them break the surface.
Spot dolphins in Cardigan Bay
A 60-mile stretch of beautiful Welsh coastline offers Brits their best chance of spotting stunning bottlenose dolphins.
Known as “dolphin central”, New Quay is a hive of dolphin activity – especially during the summer months, where you’ll likely see the pod playing along the shoreline.
Increase your chances even more by taking one of the daily charters from the harbour out on to the water. If you’re really lucky, the odd humpback whale or orca might just swim by, too!
For more information on Borrow A Boat, or if you’re interested in heading out on to the water yourself visit www.borrowaboat.com.