By Roz Skinner
Have you ever missed a ferry to Raasay, fancied getting up close to sea eagles or thought about having your wedding on the open water?
Peter Urquhart, owner of Portree's 'Brigadoon Sea Eagle and Wildlife Boat Trips' has assisted people in all of those situations.
Brigadoon Boat Trips have been a familiar sight at Portree Harbour since 1996. Peter says: “We were the first boat trip to introduce sea eagle feeding as part of the experience. We work closely with the RSPB to make the birds' welfare a priority.” Over the years, the boat trip experience evolved to incorporate fishing trips, photography trips, small functions and private charters.
The Brigadoon has also been on a number of rescue missions, Peter reveals. “Last year, I made nearly 24 trips to Raasay to rescue people who had missed ferries. I can often be in the middle of my dinner and then get a phone call to say that someone needs picked up!”
By Roz Skinner
What are your favourite holiday memories? Swimming in crystal clear waters or pony trekking across moorlands? Or a day spent mountaineering or skiing?
Matt Harrison, founder of A.C.E. Target Sports, believes the best holiday memories are made through fun activities together. He says: "When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to be taken on adventurous holidays with my family.
“I don't remember the hotel or the meals we ate, but I do remember the experiences we had. When families come to me and experience the various target sports, they go home with amazing memories of the quality time they spent together on their Skye holiday."
A.C.E. Target Sports enables people of all ages to safely learn archery, axe throwing, air rifle and clay shooting and paintball. Based on Struan Road in Portree, Matt's purpose-built space is open for business all year round and in all weathers!
When wildlife photographer, Stewart Dawber, was 16, something happened that changed the course of his life (writes Roz Skinner).
He explains: “I saw a kingfisher on the river near to where I lived and that was me hooked on wildlife.”
Stewart was keen to photograph the bird. His father gave him a camera for his birthday and that gift ignited in Stewart a passion for wildlife photography.
That enthusiasm led Stewart to earn a HND in photography and a BA(Hons) in wildlife photography. His love of kingfishers has remained!
Stewart now lives and works in the Isle of Skye, running his company, Skye High Wildlife. As well as being a professional wildlife photographer, Stewart assists people who would like to see the diverse and beautiful range of wildlife on and around Skye.
Cruising in the waters off Skye and the West Highlands…but on your own terms. That's what experienced worldwide sailors Scott Atkinson and Mary Waller are offering with their new venture Red Moon Cruises.
Most visitors to Skye and adjoining Highlands miss out on the chance to see the unique views of the landscape which are available from the sea unless they join throngs of others on day trips, or arrive as part of longer cruises based elsewhere.
Now families or groups of up to four people can book to stay on the motor-sailing boat Red Moon - and travel around local waters to their own itinerary.
Scott and Mary are operating from the pontoons at Kyle of Lochalsh - easily accessible by both car and train from Inverness or beyond - but also easily available from anywhere on Skye or the local coast. Trips can vary as preferred by customers - maybe a crossing of the Highlands via the Caledonian Canal or a stop-wherever-you-want trip to the Small isles.
Out of the 108 reviews on travel website TripAdvisor, 93 rate Portree’s Brigadoon Sea Eagle and Wildlife Boat Trips as ‘Excellent’, with a further 10 rating as ‘Very Good’ – a superb endorsement from those who have enjoyed the daily trips aboard the Brigadoon.
Run by Peter Urquhart, owner of the Urquhart Caledonian Hotel in Wentworth Street, who was born and brought up in Skye, and skippered by Peter Elford, a passionate wildlife enthusiast, and George Burns, a retired police officer and keen angler, the Brigadoon and crew have been operating out of Portree since 1996.
The first tour company to bring sea eagle feeding to the public, last year visitors aboard the Brigadoon were treated to the sight of Britain’s largest bird of prey on 99% of trips – alongside a host of other bird and sea life.