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!”
The boat trips proved to be an excellent sideline for Peter and his sisters' main business – the Caledonian Hotel in Portree. The siblings' grandparents bought the hotel as a burned-out shell and restored it, with the help of local builders, to a warm and welcoming hotel. The family went on to purchase the hunting lodge that became the Cuillin Hills Hotel. Peter explains: “We have had over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry and have decided to take a back seat. We are leasing out the Caledonian Hotel to a local couple, Dennis and Clara.”
For Peter, the leasing of the hotel will mean a chance to focus on the Brigadoon, work that he is clearly passionate about. Skippered by Peter Elford and George Burns, the Brigadoon crew pride themselves on offering an enthusiastic and personal service to every client.
Talented angler George is passionate about giving customers an exciting and memorable fishing experience.
In peak season, the Brigadoon makes four outings a day, including an early morning photography trip. However, visitors in the winter can also expect to see plenty of Skye's natural wonders. Peter states: “The eagles come closer to the boat, sometimes within 20 feet. We also see humpback whales. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers are amazed at how close we can get to the creatures.”
Whether you want to see majestic sea eagles at close range, visit the islands of Rona or Raasay, go on an angling trip or simply soak in Skye's amazing coastal scenery, the Brigadoon is waiting to take you on an adventure!