Categories > Guides and Tips

Best Boating Companies to Hire for Gairloch Boat Trips

Best Boating Companies to Hire for Gairloch Boat Trips

Walking along the coastline is honestly fantastic in itself. The only downside is, your viewing is limited. 

That’s why we highly recommend boat cruising while you’re here in Gairloch! Not only can you soak in the views, but you can also go to other islands and do other activities.

If you’re feeling clueless on how to go about booking a trip, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite boating companies to call. Read on to learn more!

What makes a great boat trip?

We kept in mind these factors when recommending these companies to you:

  • Price – We selected companies that offer reasonable rates. Fair warning, through, boating trips are relatively pricey to begin with.
  • Package Inclusions – We considered the duration and itinerary of their packages.
  • Service – Without good service, an affordable trip and well-packed inclusions are just good for nothing. 

The Best Boating Companies for Gairloch Boat Trips

1. Shellfish Safari

Shellfish Safari's Homepage
Photo from Shellfish Safari 
AddressDry Island, Badachro, Gairloch IV21 2AB, United Kingdom
Contact Details01445741263 or 07730871367 / [email protected] 
Opening Hours10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM (7 days a week)
Rates– £20 (Adult)
– £15 (Under 16)
– Free (Under 2)
Package Inclusions90-minute boat ride with interactive activities, wildlife trail sightseeing

We’re recommending Shelfish Safari for sheer expertise! Owner Ian McWhinney has a family with hundreds of years of experience on the Dry Island, so he really knows his stuff. 

There are lots of fun activities you’ll experience when you join Shellfish Safari, including holding a starfish or octopus, seeing a scorpion and catching your own lobsters!

During our trip, we spotted several porpoises, otters, dolphins and sea eagles. Though there are days they don’t show up, the gorgeous views make up for it.

This is also one of the most affordable packages we know of. Even kids under 2 are free of charge, so you can take advantage of that and bring your child along with you!

This 90-minute boat trip has been featured on several TV channels like Channel 5, BBC2 and Discovery Channel. Even magazines such as The Sunday Mail and The Independent highlighted Shellfish Safari in their volumes. 

You’ll also learn about the history of Badachro and Gairloch since our fellow locals will guide you on this trip.

You can book your trip through their phone number, email or by filling out the booking enquiry form on their website. 

2. Gairloch Glass Bottomed Boat Cruises

Gairloch Glass Bottomed Boat Cruises' Homepage
Photo from Glass Bottomed Boat
AddressPier Road, Gairloch IV21 2BQ
Contact Details01445 712647 / [email protected] 
Opening Hours9:30 AM to 4 PM
Rates– £25 (Adult)
– £20 (Children under 12)
Package Inclusions90-minute ride, boat cruise to T’sabhail, Shieldaig and Eilean Fraoch

Gairloch Glass Bottomed Boat Cruises starts from £20 (if you’re a child), but if you’re an adult, then the ticket costs £25 – still reasonable for a 90-minute trip to three islands. 

As mentioned above, you’ll cruise T’sabhail, Shieldaig and Eilean Fraoch. You can also see a variety of wildlife, too! 

We saw lots of birds during our trip, so this is a perfect activity for birdwatchers. Among the many we witnessed are greylag, oystercatcher, turnstone and redshank. 

The staff are very friendly and have so much insight on Gairloch, so there’s great value for money here.

We also had the chance to steer the boat, which added to the thrilling experience on the water! 

The best part about this company is that they welcome pets!

3. Gairloch Marine Life Centre & Cruises

Gairloch Marine Life Centre & Cruises' Homepage
Photo from gairlochmarinewildlife Instagram
AddressGairloch Marine Life Centre & Cruises Charleston Harbour Pier Road Gairloch Ross-shire IV21 2BQ 
Contact Details+44(0)1445 712636 / +44(0)7751 992666/ [email protected] / 
Rates– 2-hour Wildlife Survey Cruise ( £35 for Adult, £35 for Children)
– 4-hour Wildlife Survey Cruise ( £75 for Adult, £60 for Children)
Package Inclusions2 or 4-hour ride, wildlife watching, Loch Gairloch, Glas Eilean and Longa, Little Minch

Marine Life Centre & Cruises is exclusively captained by a marine biologist, so that’s a plus point for expertise.

On our trip, we saw dolphins such as seals, otters and waders on the waters, which was super satisfying! 

Just take note that the best way to book them is via text, Whatsapp, Facebook and email.

If you’re travelling in a pack and want a special moment with your family, friends or loved ones, you can also book them for a private cruise.

4. Hebridean Whale Cruises

Hebridean Whale Cruises' Homepage
Photo from tripadvisor
AddressHebridean Whale Cruises Pier Road – Gairloch IV21 2BQ – Scotland
Contact Details01445 712458 / [email protected] 
Package Inclusions2.5- to 4-hour ride, wildlife and whale watching

With Hebridean Whale Cruises, you can expect a lot of wildlife and whale watching. We saw lots – and by lots, we mean 12-15 dolphins and Finn and Minke whales – in just a single cruise!

A young Minke whale even rounded our boat so it was a special moment.

Mark, our tour guide, had a lot of interesting stuff to share about the different kinds of wildlife we might see, particularly in Shiant Islands – like guillemots, razorbills and puffins.

We highly recommend you book through their online system since this particular boat trip is becoming more popular nowadays.

Here are their rates:

CruiseAdult RatesChild Rates
Whales & Wildlife (2.5 hours)£65£50
Shiant Islands (3 hours, start of season only)£75£60
Flexible Minch (3 hours, autumn only)£75£60
Ultimate ‘Orca 1’ (4 hours)£100£80

5. Glendale Boat Hire & Trips

Glendale Boat Hire & Trips' Homepage
Photo from Glendale Boat Hire & Trips
AddressPier Road, Gairloch, Wester Ross IV21 2BQ
Contact Details+44 1445 712228 / [email protected]  
Opening Hours8 AM to 7 PM (7 days a week)
Rates– £70 / hour (up to 4 people per boat)
Package InclusionsSelf-driving boats, Shieldaig Bay, Strath on ‘Vision’, and Badachro Bay

At £70 per hour, this particular cruise might break the bank a wee bit. But, Glendale Boat Hire & Trips is still one of our highly recommended boating companies to hire in Gairloch! 

What’s unique about them is that they offer self-driving boats. Meaning, you can freely enjoy everything and see the marine life at your own pace and leisure!

But, if you prefer to let someone drive for you, you can join the trip which cruises around Shieldaig Bay, Strath on ‘Vision’, and Badachro Bay for only £25.00.

We went for the later and still caught sight of plenty of seabirds like seals, otters, cormorants and shags. 

They also provided life vests, first aid kits, flares and radios in case of emergency. So, if you’re a bit worried about cruising the loch, this should add to your peace of mind.

According to our friends who tried the self-driving boats, Glendale even gave them a walkie-talkie in case they got lost while cruising the loch – a brilliant personal touch!

FAQs about Gairloch

Related topics