As well as the Loch Ness Monster, there are many other animals to see near Balachladaich Bed and Breakfast. Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels, badgers, and roe deer. Although harder to spot, you may also be lucky enough to see an otter or a pine marten.
MORAY FIRTH DOLPHINS
The Moray Firth has a growing reputation for dolphin and seal watching, and is home to a pod of around 130 bottlenose dolphins. Chanonry Point (30 minutes from Balachladaich) is a great destination for seal-watching, and there is also a chance to spot bottlenose dolphins from the shore. You can also stop on your way to Chanonry Point to visit the WDCS Dolphin And Seal Centre, which lies just north of the main bridge from Inverness on the A9 (open between 1st June and 30th September). A great spot for looking out over the Firth, there are also videos, displays and underwater microphones.
If you are on a tight schedule during your time at
Loch Ness, why not kill two birds with one stone? Directly opposite Chanonry
Point is the large 18th Century Fortress, Fort George. Enjoy a walk
around this impressive fortress, which is still a working army garrison, and
watch the dolphins from the ramparts.
Only 15 minutes from Balachladaich Bed &
Breakfast, Loch Ruthven is the most important breeding site in the UK
for the very rare, Slavonian Grebe. A sartorial show-off, the bird has a
very colourful breeding plumage and spectacular courtship display. Loch
Ruthven is also a good place to see osprey's catching fish as well as
red throated divers , red breasted merganser, teal, goldeneye, and the
more common heron, oystercatcher, common sandpiper and cuckoo.
RSPB site is the Fairy Glen, about 25 minutes away, near Rosemarkie.
Fairy Glen is an area of broadleaved woodland set in an attractive
steep-sided valley, containing two waterfalls. The glen is heavily
wooded with birches, geans and rowans and is a haven for plants and
wildlife. Depending on the time of year you are likely to see primroses,
bluebells, water avens, wood sorrel and red campion. You might spot
willow warblers, buzzards, treecreepers, wrens, sparrowhawks, dippers
and grey wagtails.
About 40 minutes away is Loch Garten. When
ospreys returned to breed in Scotland, this ancient Caledonian
pineforest is where they chose to come. The Loch Garten Osprey Centre
provides fantastic views of these magnificent birds on the nest, as well
as close up views thanks to non-invasive CCTV camera. ??The reserve
also has some excellent walks, with the chance to see red squirrels,
dragonflies and crested tits. The Osprey Centre is open daily, 10 am-6
pm from April to the end of August. Last entry to the centre is at 5pm.
During spring, the centre is also open daily for Caper-watch (to see
capercaillies) from 5.30 am to 8 am. Whilst the Osprey Centre is closed
out of season, the wider reserve is open all year round.
TREES AND FLOWERS
The Fairy Glen, near Rosemarkie is an area of
broadleaved woodland set in an attractive steep-sided valley, containing two
waterfalls. The glen is heavily wooded with birches, geans and rowans and is a
haven for plants and wildlife. Depending on the time of year you are likely to
see primroses, bluebells, water avens, wood sorrel and red campion.
Glen Affric is a magical mix of native pine woods,
glistening lochs and haunting moorland. It features over 30 miles of ancient
pinewoods and is one of the largest ancient Caledonian pine woods in Scotland.
You can wander amongst the pine trees accompanied by the chirpy calls of
woodland birds. Elsewhere you might encounter ospreys, secretive otters or red-
and black-throated divers. Come in autumn and you'll be inspired by the mosaic
of colour and the echoing roar of red stags.