The Outer Hebrides environment is recognised internationally as being of global importance and for good reason – it is one of the last great wildernesses in Europe, right here on our doorstep. The islands have an amazing 53 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, three National Scenic Areas and four National Nature Reserves, full of rare and iconic species.
Quiet autumn mornings are a great time to chance upon a family of otters feeding where the tide meets freshwater streams arriving on the shore. The common seal are also plentiful in the Outer Hebrides. The best time to see adults and fur-coated pups is during the autumn months where they can be seen lazing in shallow waters around the coasts and hauled up on rocks.
During the winter months there is still an abundance of wildlife to see such as Long-tailed duck, Surf and Common Scooters and Slovenian Grebes. Whooper Swans, Barnacle Geese, White-fronted Geese, Pink Footed Geese and Greylag Geese can also be seen at the beginning of the winter months. On leisurely walks along the coast you are likely to come across large concentrations of waders including Sanderling, Purple Sandpipers, Curlew, Shearwater and Greenshank.
Winter can be relatively mild with minimum snow fall. Although the pace of life is never very fast on Harris, in the winter it becomes a little more sedate. Cafès and shops have limited opening times. Walks on the beach in the winter are every bit as spectacular as during the spring and summer months. Gaze in wonder at the spectacular night sky with occasional displays of the ‘northern lights’, watch the ever changing colours and moods of the Atlantic Ocean from the large panoramic windows in the cottage.