Thursday, 25 January 2018

A Winter's Tale

A Winter's Tale



January has given us everything we love about a Highland Winter. For 2 weeks the Dawn chorus was framed by crystal clear skies and the rolling Perthshire Mountains were standing proud in all their snow laden beauty.

In these conditions our Safaris are exceptional.

Our Kilted Safari Rangers are all highly trained to cope with the winter conditions and teamed up with a Land rover they can traverse the mountainous terrain so you can see for yourself the magic that winter brings to the wild lands surrounding Highland Safaris. Of course the adventure would not be complete without relaxing in one of our Mountain Bothies. Stepping into these havens of warmth and comfort, you will be transported to another time where people lived in the most remote reaches of Scotland. Our Rangers will regale you with tales of the area whilst you enjoy a warm cup of tea, a slice of shortbread and a wee dram of local Dewars Whisky, the perfect winter warmer!

Of course, you don't have to travel in a Landrover to see the delights of Highland Perthsire. Highland Safaris is nestled within the heart of this glorious land and we are always delighted to welcome visitors into our cafe and shop. Venture out to the Red Deer Centre and feed our herd of majestic Red Deer, walk round the discovery trail to take in the views or simply nestle next to our peat fire and indulge in our home baked cakes.

For all the information you need you can visit our website - www.highlandsafaris.net or get in contact by sending an email to info@highlandsafaris.net or calling 0187 820071.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Summer Safari


Summer is a special season at Highland Safaris. We love the atmosphere summer brings with happy people gathering in our grounds to go on Safari, enjoy lunch in the sun or to visit our Red Deer Centre; there is a real buzz!
But what is the best way to experience summer in Highland Perthshire? We have selected 3 exceptional experiences for you, so no matter what you are after –
stunning scenery, relaxing on
holiday or a bit of adrenaline – you will not be disappointed!
The Sundowner Safari
Our flagship seasonal safari will leave you speechless..
Nothing can prepare you for the beauty, peace and tranquillity of our hills and glens on our Highland Perthshire Estates at dusk; the fading light offering amazing photo opportunities. Seeing the evening light from a remote spot 3000' up is the highlight of our very special Sundowner Safari. In the company of an experienced Safari Ranger, this mountain environment offers a chance to witness amazing highland wildlife.
The serenity and sheer magnificence of this vista will become an everlasting memory.


Loch Tay Safaris
This year we launched Loch Tay Safaris, a unique and exceptional cruise on Loch Tay that combines the history and heritage of the area with the natural beauty of Highland Perthshire.
Our brand new boat, Iolaire, is a great way to see Perthshire from another perspective, our live commentary will thrill you as you pass by ancient settlements, forested shores and some of the largest mountains in the UK. Iolaire is a fast and comfortable cabin RIB making her warm and dry to travel in no matter what the weather brings!




Biking at Highland Safaris
Highland Perthshire has exceptional cycling to offer, with routes to suite everybody’s ability. It is a fantastic way to get around the countryside and you can often end up in special places that nobody else goes, making relaxation and connecting to nature effortless!
For those of you who would like the rush of adrenaline on your holidays we also have our Biketrax skills loop which is perfect for all ages. You can also take out one of our excellent hire bikes and explore the local area at your leisure. For the more adventurous biker you can go on one of our Biking Safaris - get transported to the high tops in one of our landrovers and get “dropped at the top”!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Spring Watch - The Dawn Patrol Safari

Spring suddenly feels like it has sprung here in Highland Perthshire. The trees are turning lush green, the Red Squirrels are darting about and the skies are beginning to fill with Swallows.

Every Safari up the mountains seems to reveal something new, a couple of weeks ago the stags cast their antlers, the week after that purple saxifrage broke through the tundra and last week we were amazed by meadows awash with bluebells. Spring really is a time for freshness and new things and we at Highland Safaris love sharing these amazing discoveries with everybody who comes and visits us.




The best way to experience Spring in all its glory is out on one of our amazing Dawn Patrol Safaris. An early departure in a Land Rover ensures you witness the magic and drama of a Dawn Chorus, catching Highland Perthshire’s nature as it wakes up and comes to life for the day. Soak up the beautiful vistas offered up by the mountains and relax as your Safari Ranger guides you on this unforgettable experience. 






After your Safari what better way to round off the morning than a fresh homemade breakfast and coffee back at Highland Safaris? Unwind in our warm and cosy cafe and regale us with stories of you early morning adventure.



We look forwards to seeing you soon!


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

What do pine martens look like?

By Donald Riddell, Director, Highland Safaris

In response to several requests for information about pine martens, here is our expert opinion on the agile, tree-climbing mammal that is once again becoming more widespread in Scotland. 

What do pine martens look like?

Belonging to the mustelid family, which includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine and weasel, the European pine marten (Martes martes) is native to northern Europe. With plush, silky fur – which grows longer and silkier during the winter months - ranging in colour from light to chocolate brown, they sport a creamy yellow throat ‘bib’. Their small, rounded ears are highly sensitive and they are the only member of the weasel family to have semi-retractable claws, which enable them to climb and cling to tree branches. The male is slightly larger than the female, on average weighing around 1.5kg (the equivalent of three bags of sugar) to 2kg. A pine marten’s body is around 50cm long, with a bushy tail stretching a further 25cm. An adult pine marten can be bigger than most domestic cats.  

Where to look for pine martens

As a result of widespread decline in the 19th century – due to the clearance of native woodlands, trapping for fur, and gamekeepers controlling numbers – by 1915 pine martens existed only in remote pockets in the north-west Highlands. However, they have since spread into Sutherland and Caithness, and can also be found in Moray, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Tayside and Stirlingshire, as well as the Kintyre and Cowal peninsulas. They are occasionally spotted on Highland Safaris land, although more often than not we find their droppings, which are quite distinctive and often have berries in them.

When and what to look for

You can see pine martens year round, but as with much wildlife, you are more likely to see signs of a pine marten than the animal itself. They are crepuscular creatures, which means they are mainly active at dusk and night. Naturally shy, the pine marten tends to be scattered in small numbers, making them tricky to spot. Territorial animals – with territories of 5-15 square kilometres for females and as much as double that for males - they mark their ground by leaving droppings in particular locations.


What habitat do pine martens prefer?

The elusive pine marten prefers native woodlands with plenty of cover, although it can also survive in conifer plantations and on rocky hillsides. They feed on small rodents, birds, eggs, insects and fruit, and can be problematic for red squirrels as they are particularly agile in trees and much more ferocious. They can also be a problem for any farmer with hen houses.

During the mating season, pine martens make shrill, cat-like calls. In the spring, they have litters of 3-5 young, which are ready to go it alone by the time summer comes round and can live up to ten years.

Although they are occasionally preyed upon by golden eagles and foxes, humans are the greatest threat to pine martens. In the UK, pine martens and their dens are offered full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and the Environmental Protection Act.





Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Secret Pancake Recipe

Yvonne’s Secret Pancake Recipe

Yvonne in the Highland Safaris Café is a legend in the area for her delicious Scotch Pancakes. Today is her day in the limelight, where folks from all over Perthshire come to satisfy their sweet tooth with a pot of hot tea or an expertly brewed Glen Lyon coffee. Yvonne has agreed to share her recipe with us…

Makes Six Pancakes
200g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon * Secret ingredient*
1 large egg
300 ml milk
Method
Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl
Beat egg and milk into the mixture
Heat frying pan to medium and add oil
Add a ladleful of batter to the pan and wait till the mixture begins to bubble then turn till golden on both sides

Highland Safaris Kilted Rangers Top Toppings
Donald: Lemon and sugar
Ross: Nutella, ice cream and banana
Andy: Strawberries and whipped cream with dark chocolate shavings
Colin: Maple syrup and crispy bacon

Tony: Butter and raspberry jam

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Perfect Place to Propose…


It’s the moment that you have dreamed of, playing ideas out in your head since the day you decided it was forever. You’ve picked the ring and you know what you want to say – but have you found the perfect location to ask the biggest question of your life?

Make that magical moment even more memorable by popping the question in the breathtaking surroundings of Highland Safaris.

Based in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, and set amongst thousands of acres of sprawling Scottish Highlands, you and your loved one will feel like the only two people in the world at Highland Safaris. Experience a private tour, enchanting sunsets, the perfect backdrop to the biggest moment of your lives to date, or just take in the captivating natural scenery surrounding you both. And whether you choose the cosy and romantic Hilltop Bothy, hidden away off the beaten track and only reached by Land Rover, or out in the heart of the rugged landscape, it will be a moment neither of you ever forget.

However you choose to pop the question this Valentine’s Day, Highland Safaris has a location that will capture your partner’s heart. It is also home to unique marquee and bothy locations for the big day itself, so you can revisit the place you created some of your most precious memories for years to come.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The red fox - top tips to spot wild foxes in Scotland


By Donald Riddell, Director, Highland Safaris

Now that we are into February the days are getting noticeably longer and lighter, which offers more opportunity to spend in the great Scottish outdoors. Wildlife watching is always hugely popular with visitors to Highland Safaris, whether they are out on bikes, on a Land Rover trip or simply walking one of our many trails. And one of the most popular creatures to look out for is the red fox, so here are our wildlife rangers’ expert tips on the wily red.

I want to see a red fox, but where do I start?
The red fox (whose scientific name is Vulpes vulpes) is the UK’s only wild member of the dog family. Hardy and resourceful, it has a reputation for intelligence and cunning. Slightly smaller than a medium-sized domestic dog, the adult measures around 75cm from head to tail and weighs around 5kg (it stands about knee-height to a 6ft-tall man). You may catch a glimpse of an orange-red creature, so check to see if it has a flattened skull, upright triangular ears with black tips, a pointed snout and a long, bushy tail, which is known as a brush. When on the trail of the fox look out for droppings, which are often grey-tinged with small mammal bones in them, on tracks. And if you spot tracks in the snow, check to see if they are in a straight line as foxes put each paw into the same track.


When is the best time to see red foxes?
Foxes are out and about all year, and can be active by day. Red foxes mate during winter, with vixens making noisy, yipping calls at night to attract a mate. A pair will stay together to act as parents to newborn ‘kits’ or ‘cubs’, which are born blind and resemble a puppy, with a short nose and ears, and brown fur. The young stay in the den for several weeks and after three months are left to fend for themselves.

Where are the best places to look for red foxes?
Foxes are able to survive in diverse habitats ranging from forests and grasslands to mountains, but also adapt well to human environments, such as farms and suburban settings. They can be spotted anywhere from the shores of lowland lochs, to woodlands and mountains.


How long do foxes live?
Wild foxes can live around 7-10 years, while in captivity that can extend to around 15 years, similar to pet dogs.

What do foxes eat?
Perhaps surprisingly, foxes are omnivorous, enjoying everything from small mammals, rodents, birds and carrion, to berries and fruit. Urban-dwelling foxes will scavenge food from bins. Excellent hunters, they are extremely quick off the mark, and can turn and jump with ease.


If you do happen to spot a red fox, remember to let us know with the hashtag #fantasticmrfox. And if you are lucky enough to get a picture, please share it on any of our social media channels via #HighlandSafaris