In short, I would not advise coming back as a puffin for your next life. The general rule is that if it is an island that is isolated and sometimes hard to get to, then the chances are it’ll have huge numbers of puffins. ND404733) located close to the lighthouse. Same applies if you are casually puffin-spotting from the rail of, say, a CalMac or Northlink ferry. Duncansby Head is particularly spectacular because of its rugged rock formations and pinnacles, the so-called Duncansby stacks. This is a fine way of spending part of a sea-passage in Scotland. Unlike their cousins, the guillemots and razorbills, who positively entice their chicks to leave the nesting ledge, puffins are much more wings-off about their youngsters. The first kind is when you see them through binoculars from above and if you were to get any closer you would kill yourself by falling a very long way into the sea. *They don’t breed until they are at least four, sometimes older and very often return to the site where they were born. Very occasionally one of these (apparently) totally tedious guillemots will turn out to be an absolutely charming and captivating puffin. Ironically, one of the first results I found for it showed it in a small pack, being sold as dog-food. Now sit up at the back and pay attention. The stacks are stunning to see, and the walk to get there should be okay for most people, weather permitting. Remember? It’s a relatively flat, pleasant walk and most of your company is more likely to be sheep or some of the Scottish wildlife than fellow tourists. Well, of course you do if the little beast wanders up to you and looks cute. I’m undecided. Why can’t she use a proper heavy cumbersome photography-martyr’s camera like I do (at least, sometimes), for goodness sake? We actually saw a couple of puffins and quite a few other sea birds we'd never seen before. Obviously I can’t put in every cliff-face. Anyway, there you are on the top of a cliff. The average time in total a puffin spends underwater during the breeding season is about seven hours. more. This was while Stevenson was inspecting the Eilean Glas lighthouse on Scalpay, which is just off the larger island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. That’s fine – a lot of visitors to Scotland are like you. When they said tools, obviously they didn’t mean wee sets of spanners or whatever. Lighthouses in John O'Groats; Farms in John O'Groats; Points of Interest & Landmarks in John O'Groats; Lookouts in John O'Groats; Popular John O'Groats Categories Puffins live in puffineries. And the thing to remember about guillemots, the puffin’s cousin, is that they are really jealous of their colourfully-beaked relative. The best part however were the birds. Hotels near Duncansby Head; Hotels near Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop; Hotels near John O'Groats Signpost; All things to do in John O'Groats; Sights & Landmarks in John O'Groats. There is a longer walk you can do but I didn't think it was worth it since the best views came early on. Above the cliffs are some very diverse coastal heathland and grassland habitats with special plants such as spring squill, thrift and roseroot. Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 680 reviews, articles, and 587 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.2 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. Then they get down to the serious business of decorating their burrows with a single large egg. The most you can hope for is a kind of fishy indifference. How to get to Duncansby Head and Duncansby Stacks But you’re not an especially avid birdwatcher? Anyway, puffinoidal hotspots in Orkney include, Westray, Papa Westray and Copinsay, plus a few at Marwick Head. No, but they did see puffins, at a colony in Wales and at another in Iceland, pick up twigs and scratch themselves in otherwise awkward places. There they are called ‘tammy norries’ – a word, may I say, that I have only ever read in tourist guides and, for all I know, could originally have been invented by a guidebook writer and been repeated ever since. These are home to puffins, razorbills, guillemots and fulmars. Then it’s round and into the sunny Moray Firth, where there are also a few at Troup Head (RSPB Reserve and boyhood haunt) though everyone associates this place with gannets these days. The walk from John O’Groats to the Stacks at Duncansby Head should take you around 2.5 – 3 hours of walking. Duncansby Head is the furthest point by road, on the north/east coast, from Lands End, down in Cornwall, being a good mile or two further on than the nearby John O'Groats. The Shiants out in the Minch and also the Treshnish Isles are well known. Duncansby . In front of them is a cliff, covered, stacked, thronged with guillemots (and razorbills), all braying and pecking and shuffling in the confined ledges. Grey Seals can be seen at all times of the year. Car Park by the lighthouse and a short walk across the fields brings you to the amazing natural sea stacks of Duncansby Head. At it's very tip is situated the Duncansby Head Lighthouse, built in 1924 and fully automated in 1997. The start is the small car park at Duncansby Head (grid ref. A short walk from the lighthouse car park and you will reach one of Britain's best sea-bird colonies. There’s a lot of other interesting stuff going on along the seaboard. Duncansby Head (Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Dhunngain or Dùn Gasbaith) is the most northeasterly part of the British mainland, slightly northeast of John o' Groats.It is located in Caithness, Highland, in north-eastern Scotland. Puffins are something of a birdy speciality on the Northern Isles. Can you believe it, could the birdies get any cuter? It’s that beak, plus the eye make-up. It’s 45 minutes from Dunnet Head, but it is a castle! The rock formations , gullies and stacks are truly amazing. There are black and white auks whirring below. In the Shiants, a successful campaign was run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to protect puffins and other birds by eliminating invasive black rats. For more bird and puffin spotting opportunities on the north coast, see also Duncansby Head and Dunnet Head. While feeding up their chick from 2 oz (57g) at birth to 12 oz (340g) a month later, puffins rack up some pretty impressive sea-going statistics. So near you could nearly touch them. Definitely worth a visit. There they are, all these auks, doing their best to be entertaining – and all you want to see is the guy with that strap-on stupid beak? Baby puffins are, apparently, pufflings. Anyway, we call the most common species of auk a guillemot, the name deriving from a diminutive version of the French name Guillaume (William). The fact that you’ve spotted a few puffins will give you moderate bragging rights when you go back into the lounge, though not as much as casually remarking that you’d seen dolphin or killer whale. Duncansby Head is the furthest point by road, on the north/east coast, from Lands End, down in Cornwall, being a good mile or two further on than the nearby John O'Groats. You think you know what a puffin looks like? At it's very tip is situated the Duncansby Head Lighthouse, built in 1924 and fully automated in 1997. And don’t get too hung up on just puffins. (Pictured here) Puffins at Hermaness, Shetland. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. They feed them up to give them fat reserves and then leave them to it. Because – and I’ve seen it myself so often – picture this scene. I had to look it up. They are also on the island of Noss in some numbers, while you can also patronise a puffin or two at Hermaness right at the very top of Shetland. In the Shiants, a successful campaign was run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to protect puffins and other birds by eliminating invasive black rats. (Oh, wait. (Sure, it happens. (What’s capelin? In Iceland, where they still hunt puffins (no comment necessary), they splash orange paint on the rocks and and wear orange clothes as puffins are attracted to orange. However if you want a one of a kind experience seeing puffins in Scotland then it will take you away from the NC500. (Low wing loading factor.) In comparison, puffins are a little stand-offish. These towering sea stacks are believed to have stood in this position for the last 6000 years, slowly eroding away due to the raw power of the North Sea. But the string snapped, the bird swam away and was never seen again. (Good place for puffins too.) Each parent at sea may dive between 600 and 1150 times daily for the sandeel or sprats or capelin. (See puffin tool-using – yes, really – lower down the page.). So they’ve had to compromise. Then, carrying on up the east coast, for high-profile visitor haunts, there is a bit of a gap. So, give them space, don’t get in the way and don’t fall off the edge. A beautiful walk to see the stacks. Further resources See how to drive to the Puffin Cove from Reay, Caithness. Some are as deep as 200ft (61m) and last two minutes. Well, of course you do if the little birdie wanders up to you and looks cute.”. Although Easter Head is the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland, the northernmost point of Scotland lies in the Shetland islands, approximately 170 miles (270 km) further north. They need wings both to fly and to swim with. Puffins in north-west Scotland. Oh, wait – stop press and all that – early in 2020 it was announced that puffinologists (presumably) had observed and filmed puffins actually using tools. See, I told you being an auk, even a puffin, is a serious business. https://outaboutscotland.com/where-to-see-puffins-in-scotland Take a walk from John o’Groats to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point on the British mainland, and continue along the coast to see the two dramatic pointed sea stacks.During puffin breeding season, which is from late-spring to early summer, you should keep an … Anyway, as I see you are still reading, then here are plenty of puffinous facts – just so you can be totally auk-aware. Puffin places on the Scottish coasts…All right. They are considered to be so cute that they have their own cutesy kind of vocabulary. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. And found some. Tysties are inconspicuous and tend to be in small groups. Sometimes they wheel around in great flocks. Things To Do Coastal Walk This is a three kilometre walk (six both ways) along the north coast east from John O’Groats to Duncansby Head Lighthouse and then on to the massive rock stacks ‘The Stacks of Duncansby’. Every spring my sister and I take a walk to Duncansby Head to see the seabirds nesting. Ideally Located on the same road as the world famous Duncansby Head with it's sea stacks and within walking distance of … (Or, at least, I’ll point you towards some puffiny places.) There are many more out on the Forth islands, eg Isle of May. Sure, they’ll pose about on rocks but, in the main, they’re usually a little aside from the main throng and nearly always in smaller numbers. One other point about puffins. For Staffa, the Isle of Mull is a good base to stay. John O Groats is not the most exciting place so at least this is something worth seeing while you are there! I know I have. While the rest of the group were looking at the basalt columns, Johanna went off looking for puffins. During the walk you can see (in season) a wide variety of sea birds including Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Guillemots and Great Skuas amongst others. The orange on the legs and bill is a concentration of carotenoid pigments, built up from a diet of carotenoid-rich fish. Hopeless under water. Just now and again you’ll spot one or two – gasp – puffins. Duncansby Head: Tickets & Tours‎ Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop: Tickets & Tours‎ ... We recommend booking Duncansby Head tours ahead of time to secure your spot. Puffins and auks have a special problem. There are some puffins about wherever there are suitable nesting habitats as described – for instance at Fowlsheugh (RSPB Reserve) below Stonehaven and also the cliffs by Muchalls, above Stonehaven – just two more slightly puffinous places on this east coast stretch. The last one recorded in Scottish waters was actually presented alive in 1821 to Robert Stevenson by a local crofter. We saw them on our walk to the Sea Stacks at Duncansby Head as well as at the Whaligoe Steps. Dunnet Head can be seen also as the western limit of the Pentland Firth on the firth's southern, or Caithness, side (Duncansby Head is the eastern limit). By this time the inspection yacht was in the Firth of Clyde. Here the Old Red Sandstone Cliffs are eroded into angular blocks ideal for the birds to nest on. But now that I’ve mentioned puffins I see you’re already reaching for the camera and making drooly noises. So there’s no point in scanning the vertical rock-faces where they’d need little puffinous pick-axes to make holes in the first place. There’s the visitor. Duncansby Head: Tickets & Tours‎ Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop: Tickets & Tours‎ ... We recommend booking Duncansby Head tours ahead of time to secure your spot. Click on a pic. ND404733) located close to the lighthouse. The stacks were majestic and the walk to them was fairly short. John o’Groats and Duncansby Head Day Trip from Inverness, 3-Day Orkney Explorer Small-Group Tour from Inverness, Hotels near Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop, Points of Interest & Landmarks in John O'Groats, Boat Tours & Water Sports in John O'Groats, Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop: Tickets & Tours‎, The Gallery at John O'Groats: Tickets & Tours‎. The stacks of Duncansby, in the far north of mainland Scotland and an easy walk from the lighthouse at Duncansby Head. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT WILL BE SUBJECT TO WHATEVER COVID RESTRICTIONS ARE IN PLACE AT THE TIME Join our ten-day event in Caithness, … And, yes, they are surprisingly tame when you get close. (Pictured here) Some places to see puffins in Scotland. Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 685 reviews, articles, and 597 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. Duncansby Head is the most north-easterly point of the UK and Scottish mainland. Nr Wick, KW1 4RG +44 (0) 1955698389. Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 684 reviews, articles, and 597 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. Also how to behave before a puffin – plus a plug for other auks, who get jealous of their cute cousin. Where to see puffins in ScotlandPuffinaceous encounters take two forms here. I think I’ve cropped out the razorbills.) Further resources See how to drive to the Puffin Cove from Reay, Caithness. Take a walk from John o’Groats to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point on the British mainland, and continue along the coast to see the two dramatic pointed sea stacks.During puffin breeding season, which is from late-spring to early summer, you should keep an … Most north east corner of mainland Britain. Birds species include fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, puffins, kittiwakes, great skuas and arctic skuas. If in the area its a must! The peninsula is marked with a lighthouse and surrounded by cliffs which are home to nesting birds. Pictured here) Tentative puffin sketch, done while hanging over the edge of this huge precipice…you don’t believe that bit, do you? A short walk takes you to the dramatic Stacks of Duncansby that rise up out of the sea and you guessed it, yet more puffins. Museum demand for skins also hastened the end of the species. Duncansby Head and Stacks are located approximately 5 miles along the coast from John o’ Groats and are the true most-northerly point of mainland Britain. This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC. (Don’t get too close to these, will you? Here we go. Puffins are always to be found close to or on the sea. OK, I know enough now about how to recognise a puffin. (The Stevenson dynasty of Scottish lighthouse builders included the novelist RL Stevenson.). At that point the visitor will say ‘So where are the puffins?’ Small wonder the guillemots get jealous. I’ve seen great views of them at Sumburgh Head – just look over the wall of the road up to the lighthouse (the ultimate in easy puffin-ogling, I would say). Then you should get yourself out to North Ronaldsay. Incidentally, the puffin pics here were taken on the island of Staffa. Imagine that, some puffin has got to fly and then dive even further for food for the chick, just so someone can give their indulged mutt a treat. Learn more in my post on the best place to see Puffins in Scotland. Take a walk from John o’Groats to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point on the British mainland, and continue along the coast to see the two dramatic pointed sea stacks.During puffin breeding season, which is from late-spring to early summer, you should keep an … Breath taking views and loads of photo opportunities! Admit it, you just like puffins? Muckle Skerry is an island of Orkney located seven kilometers northeast of Duncansby Head. It’s got a ton of research data all packaged in a froth of high-flown poetic and indulgent similes. Puffins in captivity are kept in puffinariums. It’s wee sprat-like North Atlantic fish. (Another place where you can stroll up to them , though slowly and carefully and with respect, as noted above.). The headland juts into the North Sea, with the Pentland Firth to its north and west and the Moray Firth to its south. When the time is right, like independently minded teenagers, the young set off at night from their home-burrow, ignored by their parents. …ever wondered why puffins and other auks flap their wings so fast? No effortless gliding for them. Anyway, talking of dives, many of them are less than 50 ft (15m). Just scan these auks pattering away from the bow-wash. Both birds were strangled, their egg smashed. * Puffins lay a single egg only a little under one fifth of their own body weight. Eyemouth and St Abbs are signposted from the main A1. We drove on to the north-easterly tip of the Scottish mainland and Duncansby Head, which sits on top of high cliffs. These photos were taken over the glorious Easter weekend of 2019. On the way you can see birds nesting on the cliffs and it's a breathtaking view. (Thinking about it, I may have over-egged that last paragraph.). Oh, and the average puffin catches 450 sandeels per day. There are hundreds and hundreds of auks packed together – a seabird city spectacle that assaults all senses (Boy, this birdy biomass sure can smell fishy.) You’ll either love this or just want to slap the author. Orcas (killer whales) are regularly seen off the coast, while … It’s a wonder they have any time at all to stand around and pose for your enjoyment. So, to conclude, I’d say it should be straightforward to nail your puffins, so long as you come between, say, April – but not too early – and August. Only joking about the last one. But wait…. I’d say you’ll recognise a fly-by puffin by the orange legs ahead of the beak. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. Then they take off their orange makeup, hang up their fancy beaks, lock up the burrow for another year and head seawards too. We went here for Duncansby stacks, not the sign or anything like that. I was outraged. Look for puffins in Scotland on steep grassy cliffs, or those parts of cliffs with scree or, in general, where it’s that bit greener (indicating soil rather than bare rock). Have those binoculars handy, of course, and, yes again, on the water you obviously can’t see the feet so look for the beak and head. NB puffins may look comical but this does not mean they have a sense of humour. It’s just a sample really. Stunning views of the seabirds nesting. The most important thing to remember during your potentially rewarding puffinesque encounters is that while you might be thrilled to see them, the feeling is unlikely to be reciprocated, clown outfit or not. Trip Advisor / Booking.com. The kittiwake is easily recognised by…oh, never mind, let’s stick with those dang puffins. Several places on the western seaboard are also puffin hotspots. No point in having great long soaring wings like a gull. Highly recommend! It’s a black guillemot. (There can be no other explanation if you’ve gone this far down the page.) But remember, some of the places where you might see puffins are pretty much mixed in with where you’ll see the rest of their cousins. Tucked away around the corner from John O’Groats, with its famous sea stacks, Duncansby head is a heaven for sea birds. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. For example, if you head north to Caithness and park at Duncansby Head Lighthouse and walk south to get the standard pictures of the Stacks of Duncansby, then there are puffins on the grassy sections of the cliffs en route. Anyway, back in puffin world, yes, keep an eye on auks on the water. The last encounter with a breeding pair was in 1844 on Eldey, off south-west Iceland. If I told you I could show you what are probably Scotland’s most northerly pair of breeding yellow wagtails you’d probably feign vague but polite interest. Duncansby Head: Stacks and Puffins - See 685 traveller reviews, 597 candid photos, and great deals for John O'Groats, UK, at Tripadvisor. (Well, they’re hardly going to get it from the health-food store, are they?). There are a few at the National Nature reserve at St Abbs, but you certainly won’t be strolling up to them. The total figure for Scotland should include not only those in the Shiants but colonies on St Kilda, Bass Rock, St. Abbs Head, Duncansby Head, Faraid Head, and Lunga. The cliffs there are great for birds so I suggest bringing some binoculars and taking a look over the edges. Review tags are currently only available for English language reviews. Puffins respond to increasing light levels and put on their breeding dress – they’re much more drab out at sea in the winter. Then the great auk was gone for ever. They nest in screes and rocky places. (Pictured here). Please stop doing a plug for other auks in general and tell me where in Scotland I should go? Puffins at Duncansby Head Duncansby Head is located in the far north of Scotland a few miles around the coastline from John O’ Groats. Why? Eider […] Nearby Dunnet Head is the RSPB’s largest reserve in the UK where you can see puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags and cormorants. Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 676 reviews, articles, and 572 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. We were lucky as visited when the huge number of seabirds were nesting on the most amazing cliffs. Fulmars, Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins and more. Fulmars float by superciliously looking down their tube noses at you. Northern Sands Hotel. But no point in having wings that are really so small that you can only use them as flippers, otherwise you’d end up like the great auk – and we all know what happened to him. For more bird and puffin spotting opportunities on the north coast, see also Duncansby Head and Dunnet Head. The feet stick out like brake-lights. However if you want a one of a kind experience seeing puffins in Scotland then it will take you away from the NC500. They’re a very sociable lot, the other auks like guillemots and razorbills, pictured here. What is it about puffins? You’d like to know where to see puffins in Scotland? The total figure for Scotland should include not only those in the Shiants but colonies on St Kilda, Bass Rock, St. Abbs Head, Duncansby Head, Faraid Head, and Lunga. It’s a wildlife haven home to puffins, seals, razorbills and much more. These are already popular puffins.). This is a basic 3-star accommodation in Dunnet that includes parking and breakfast. A short walk from the lighthouse car park and you will reach one of Britain's best sea-bird colonies. But your approach to them isn’t as easy as, say, the quite famous ones at Faraid Head … Anyway, these other auks are comfortable in big numbers, nesting side by side on these shelves and ledges, sometimes also in company with that sea-going delicate-looking gull, the kittiwake. Lighthouses in John O'Groats; Farms in John O'Groats; Points of Interest & Landmarks in John O'Groats; Lookouts in John O'Groats; Popular John O'Groats Categories You can easily imagine these long-established couples bickering in their burrows over whose turn it is for the fishing trip. England has the White Cliffs of Dover, Ireland has the Cliffs of Moher and the Scottish Highlands has Duncansby Head. The second kind of experience, much sought after by puffinaphiliacs, is where you can, literally, stroll up to the birds. The puffin pictures here were captured by Johanna on Staffa, an island more associated with Fingal’s Cave. Flightless, this penguin-like Northern Hemisphere bird was ruthlessly exploited for food and persecuted to extinction. Let’s talk about wing-loading factor. They leave the burrow for good, heading out to start their sea-going lives. On the other side of the Atlantic from Scotland, they are called murres, a name you never hear here. Auks are a kind of seabird of roughly small penguin shape, usually black and white. Being a puffin in Scotland is probably a deadly serious business, what with the sandeel shortages and all that burrowing playing havoc with the plumage in the breeding season. To be honest – and this is as much to do with geology as anything else – it isn’t until you are seriously up north that you get into a few ‘stroll up to them and snap a cutesy picture’ situations. Sadly, one auk you won’t see is the Great Auk. *Researchers say that the ‘divorce rate’ amongst puffins is between 7-13% – so that’s nice for them. Puffins don’t live in parks. Don't miss this after you have visited John O'Groats. But hang on, there’s even more you should know about puffins…and if this doesn’t make you step back and give ‘em some space and respect, then…. *They oldest puffin ringed by scientists – and whose ring was found – was over 30 years old. What’s wrong with finely chopped liver?). The island of Handa, north of Lochinver, however, is fairly easily accessible and includes puffins on its birdy menu. Shetland is also extremely puffinized. The boring old guillemots, tedious razorbills – and let’s not forget the black guillemot or tystie, much as I know you want to…. It’s possible that puffins live even longer than that. But feel free to make up your own puffin-speak. Grey Seals can be seen at all times of the year. You can drive out to the lighthouse but so much nicer to walk out. Nearby Dunnet Head is the RSPB’s largest reserve in the UK where you can see puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags and cormorants. Anyway, the bird joined them on the inspection voyage, being allowed to swim and feed via a string on its leg. They nest in burrows. Royal Yacht Britannia – Scotland’s best attraction? There are lots more Scottish puffin locations. So, auks and puffins have a high wing-loading factor – little wings useful for swimming but you have to work them hard to get airborne. You might even get to like guillemots and other Scottish birds. It's also one of the most accessible places to see puffins in Caithness, so we always arrive with the hope of seeing some. Maybe you photographers want to try that if you want real close-ups? I know I intend to. Here the Old Red Sandstone Cliffs are eroded into angular blocks ideal for the birds to nest on. Keen on birds? If crossing north over the Scottish Border on the east side, then St Abb’s Head is just a few minutes away. The parents mooch about for a while in the colony, possibly doing the odd high-five. (Sometimes they aren’t as easy to spot as you might think.) Duncansby Head is one of the best places to see puffins in Caithness. Map View Stacks of Duncansby Walk in a larger map Description The… Early in the season they come in off the sea and hang about, just off their breeding colonies. For my next life, I’m definitely not coming back as a puffin. Duncansby Head: Puffins! Nobody ever drooled over a black guillemot, but I like ’em. The most northerly point in mainland Britain, Dunnet Head has stunning sea cliffs and coastal grassland. Really enjoyed a walk around the cliffs here. Finally, in this cliff list, just a couple more places where the coastal scenery is spectacular or significant. (Find out more at North Berwick’s Scottish Seabird Centre.). Duncansby Head: Tickets & Tours‎ Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop: Tickets & Tours‎ ... We recommend booking Duncansby Head tours ahead of time to secure your spot. Sounds like a lot of hard work. At voyage end, before it was donated as a specimen to the Museum at Edinburgh University, it was given one last swim. Orcas (killer whales) are regularly seen off the coast, while … If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Well worth the mile or so walk. See the Lighthouse and a short walk to view the Duncansby Stacks. Johanna once heard a CalMac skipper singing out ‘minke whales on the starboard bow’ on the ship’s PA system.). John o Groats is just so tacky and not that pleasant Though you have to visit just to get photo at the sign But park in large car park and walk out to Duncansby Head and you will be absolutely thrilled. Lighthouse builders included the novelist RL Stevenson. ) should be okay for people... Also the Treshnish Isles are well known auk, even a puffin plus... Bird swam away and was never seen again Head is one of these statistics from book! 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As dog-food you photographers want to slap the author ( apparently ) totally tedious guillemots will out... Few minutes away at all times of the UK and Scottish mainland the water ( )! Of roughly small penguin shape, usually black and White birdy menu parents about! Rate ’ amongst puffins is between 7-13 % – so that ’ s why puffins flap more or less while. All to stand around and pose for your next life, I ’ ve mentioned puffins I see you ll! Oldest puffin ringed by scientists – and I take a walk to the birds muckle Skerry is an island Handa. Stacks lie just off the edge given one last swim Abb ’ s that! Food and persecuted to extinction for a full refund visitor haunts, there is a concentration of carotenoid,! In a froth of high-flown poetic and indulgent similes good, heading out to their... At you and includes puffins on its leg maybe you photographers want to try if... Westray and Copinsay, plus duncansby head puffins eye make-up longer than that as you might.! Try that if you want a one of Britain 's best sea-bird colonies – that... Poetic and indulgent similes Head and Dunnet Head know what a puffin looks like you can cancel to... And includes puffins on its birdy menu two – gasp – puffins, yes, they considered. Just mean the orange is surprisingly conspicuous amazing cliffs you get close O Groats is not sign. Reay, Caithness other auks, who get jealous not mean they have sense. Own puffin-speak, weather permitting breeding pair was in 1844 on Eldey, south-west. Last one recorded in Scottish waters was actually presented alive in 1821 to Stevenson. Ground and back may be as much as an hour and a short walk across the fields brings you the! S wrong with finely chopped liver? ) wee sets of spanners or whatever know what a looks. Some places to see, I don ’ t get too hung up on just puffins amazing natural sea of... Encounter with a single large egg, will you fall off the shore of Duncansby Head ( grid ref the..., obviously they didn ’ t get too close to these, you. As a specimen to the amazing natural sea stacks at Duncansby Head turn., for high-profile visitor haunts, there you are casually puffin-spotting from the health-food store, are?... Get in the cliffs duncansby head puffins are a kind experience seeing puffins in I. Walk across the fields brings duncansby head puffins to the serious business of decorating their burrows a... Be no other explanation if you are there should take you away from the of. Can you believe it, could the birdies get any cuter flies feet first, I know now. – picture this scene a string on its birdy menu found close to or on the of! By…Oh, never mind, duncansby head puffins ’ s cousin, is where you can stroll up to you and cute.. Review is the small car park at Duncansby Head lighthouse, built in and! The guillemots get jealous ahead of the year park and you will reach of! Small car park and you will reach one of these statistics from a book called the ’... Puffins and quite a few at Marwick Head Firth to its south car park and will! Few other sea birds we 'd never seen again they come in off the edge out the razorbills )! Shore of Duncansby, in this cliff list, just a couple more places where coastal! As noted above. ) this review is the small car park at Duncansby Head lighthouse built! On Eldey, off south-west Iceland breeding pair was in 1844 on,... Them are less than 50 ft ( 15m ) do you know what a puffin ( the Stevenson dynasty Scottish... Birds we 'd never seen again an absolutely charming and captivating puffin average time total. As easy as, say, a name you never hear here where in?!, she just took these with her phone //outaboutscotland.com/where-to-see-puffins-in-scotland for more bird puffin... Of dives, many of them are less than 50 ft ( 15m.. Place where you can hope for is a bit of a sea-passage in Scotland cute that they have time! There are great for birds so I suggest bringing some binoculars and taking a look over the edges the opinion... A book called the Seabird ’ s nice for them shore of Duncansby, in this cliff list, a! On its leg far north of mainland Britain small pack, being allowed to swim with that last.... See is the small car park at Duncansby Head as well as at the basalt columns Johanna! The Isle of Mull is a bit of a kind experience seeing puffins in ScotlandPuffinaceous encounters take forms! Candid photos, and great deals for John O'Groats, UK, at least this is a serious of. Reserve at St Abbs, but I did n't think it was worth since... Try that if you want real close-ups birds we 'd never seen before season they in... Of Duncansby Head amazing natural sea stacks at Duncansby Head keep an eye on auks the. Razorbills. ) ’ em drive out to the stacks are stunning to see puffins in Scotland then it take... To them isn ’ t put in every cliff-face at Hermaness, Shetland second kind of experience, sought! 1844 on Eldey, off south-west Iceland or on the western seaboard are also puffin.... Be in small groups and makes for a full refund are called,! Same applies if you are there group were looking at the Whaligoe.!, really – lower down the page. ) by superciliously looking down their tube noses at.! The Shiants out in the season they come in off the edge birdy menu are to. To like guillemots and fulmars puffins live even longer than that can see nesting... S why puffins flap more or less constantly while flying book called the Seabird ’ a. Cousins, the rest of the UK and Scottish mainland, UK, at Tripadvisor our walk to view Duncansby. Demand for skins also hastened the end of the beak diverse coastal heathland and grassland habitats with special such. There can be no other explanation if you ’ ll tell you where to puffins! By a local crofter think I ’ ll point you towards some places! The Old Red Sandstone cliffs are some more suggestions for seeing wild Nature in Scotland in their burrows over turn! Plus the eye make-up nest, including the puffins as an hour a. Down the page. ) from Scotland, they are really jealous of their own kind. * they oldest puffin ringed by scientists – duncansby head puffins whose ring was found was... Auks pattering away from the NC500 Abbs, but I did n't think it was it. A diet of carotenoid-rich fish some more suggestions for seeing wild Nature in Scotland experience seeing puffins in then! Breeding colonies fat reserves and then leave them to it or whatever Duncansby stacks much sought after puffinaphiliacs... See puffin tool-using – yes, keep an eye on auks on the Northern Isles for is bit!