If you are booking an Otter Watching Day for more than 2 months ahead, we can only take a provisional booking at this stage, with a deposit. Your Day will be confirmed with you 2 months before the date and at that stage the balance payment will be taken. Should you wish to cancel a booking please let us know by phone as soon as possible and then confirm in writing either by letter or email. Similarly, if we need to cancel a booking you will be notified by phone as soon as possible and this will be confirmed in writing either by post or email. If a change in the booking has to be made by either party when there is insufficient time to confirm in writing (e.g. because of the weather or other unforeseen event), then a phone call or email will be acceptable to both parties.
Please contact us if you have any queries about this.
Some questions you may have about your otter-watching day
Can you guarantee we will see an otter? These are wild animals and so there is never any guarantee. But saying that, here in the Hebrides our otters are not nocturnal and with patience and good conditions they can be seen at any time of the day.
How much walking is there? This varies but will probably be up to 5 miles on rough tracks or along the shoreline. A certain amount of fitness is necessary but trips can be adapted for special conditions – just let us know when you book. If you are in doubt just ask.
Information regarding Ticks while in the field
Please be aware that ticks are present in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Lyme Disease may result from tick bites. Therefore, we recommend for your own wellbeing, that you take time to view the following NHS information online here
Who will be our guides? Your guides all have over 25 years experience of watching otters in the wild and otter surveying. Grace and Paul Yoxon established the Skye Environmental Centre in 1984 and founded the International Otter Survival Fund in 1993. For his PhD, Paul carried out detailed studies into the use of the coastal habitat by otters and he therefore has considerable experience in field techniques and otter survey work. Grace is largely responsible for the wild animal hospital care as well as education. Their work has been featured on television programmes such as Blue Peter, BBC Wildlife on One, Countryfile and Animal Hospital Roadshow. Helen has worked with IOSF since 2002.
What does the price include? The price includes full transport for the day and the guide/s.
What do I need to bring? We will be out all day so you will need to bring a packed lunch and drink. You will also need warm and waterproof clothing and stout footwear – waterproof boots or preferably wellington boots, as we may need to venture over wet coastal areas. In the summer you will also want midge repellent. You will also find binoculars useful and maybe a camera to record your day – but we cannot guarantee that the otters will perform well enough for you to get BBC Wildlife-type photos! If you do not have binoculars please let us know at the time of booking – we do have a couple of pairs we can lend you.
Are children welcome? Yes of course, provided they are willing to sit quietly for a while. Over the years, our youngest guest has been six months and the oldest 84 years so we are sure you and your family fit in somewhere!
What about insurance? This is not included and we would recommend that you arrange for full cancellation cover and personal insurance which includes personal injury/illness or loss/damage to your property. We can accept no responsibility for loss or damage to guests’ personal belongings.
How do I book? You can book on-line through our web shop (http://www.ottershop.co.uk), by telephone or post. It is important that the availability of your chosen date is confirmed, so please contact us about this first of all.
What happens if I have to cancel? We do hope this won’t happen but if necessary you should telephone immediately and confirm in writing. Unfortunately we do have to impose cancellation charges. The deposit is non-returnable and the cancellation charges are in addition to the loss of deposit:
Period before the otter watching day:
6-4 weeks – 20% of balance cancellation charge
4-2 weeks – 40% of balance cancellation charge
2-1 week – 60% of balance cancellation charge
less than 7 days – no refund available
We reserve the right to change or cancel an otter watching day due to unexpected circumstances and a full refund OF THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID TO US will be given without any further liability whatsoever to Skye Environmental Centre Ltd.
What do you mean when you say my money goes into conservation? It is true – all profits from the holidays and otter watching days DO go into supporting the work of IOSF:
ANIMAL RESCUE: On Skye we run a wild animal hospital which treats seals, hedgehogs, foxes, seabirds, owls, raptors and many more. However we specialise in otters and also help and advise people working with otters worldwide.
EDUCATION: We work with local and visiting schools, Adult Education, special needs groups and other voluntary groups, and run our own wildlife club in Broadford for children from 5-11. We also produce educational material for various age groups.
INTERNATIONAL OTTER SURVIVAL FUND: In 1993, Skye Environmental Centre set up IOSF, which is dedicated to the conservation of the 13 species of otters worldwide and supports research projects as well as otter rehabilitation facilities for orphaned, sick or injured otters. Please ask for further information about the work of IOSF.