Deer & Stag Spotting

Deer & Stag Spotting
Many people come to South Loch Ness hoping at some point to see deer. There are a great many in the area, but untrained eyes often fail to spot them even from close quarters. The information below is to help you find and recognise the three species we have in abundance, and points out some routes you should travel in order to improve the chances of spotting deer. Take your camera and take your time - some of the routes will, if you are lucky and very observant, reveal many more of our wildlife species like mountain hare, red grouse and eagles.
October is the rutting season and the best time of the year for spotting red deer, when the stags on traditional breeding stances, roar their challenge to the hills, jealously guarding their harem of hinds against all comers.


Route One:Take the B851 to Farr, and turn onto the unclassified Garbole road which crosses high moorland south to the Findhorn river. At the highest point on the road, midway to Garbole, stop, listen and scan the slopes and ridges on the right hand side.

Proceed to Garbole junction and turn right, upriver towards Coignafearn (5 ? 6 miles on public road). Red deer, sika deer and wild goats are readily seen on this route from 3 miles onward.

Optional return route: Proceed downriver to Tomatin. Join the A9 and turn left to return via Inverness or Strathnairn.

Route Two: Travel west of Gorthleck and Whitebridge on the B851 and B862. Half a mile beyond the Whitebridge Hotel turn left to Killin (6 miles). At the highest point in the Birch woods, where the road curves sharply at double bridges (3 miles) look for deer below ridges on right hand side, also scan the skyline across river on the left.

Proceed to far end of loch to gate at end of public road. Stop and listen! Scan hillsides to the right and all skylines. You may proceed on foot two miles beyond gate. Deer will be on the slopes across river especially on the left side of the small glen. By the last hour of daylight deer will be seen and heard on the river flats.

Return to the main road (B862) and turn left to the Suidhe viewpoint (3 miles). Stop, listen and enjoy the views. Proceed 1 mile, stop before descending to Loch Tarff and look left to the green flats. Deer should be heard, and will be seen most evenings. Returning to Whitebridge through wooded ?straight mile?. Sika and Roe deer will be seen here mornings and evenings.

When spotting deer always search sheltered hollows and banks, especially if winds are brisk and cold. Animals on skylines can easily be spotted at long distances.

CODE OF CONDUCT:  to ensure a welcome back!
  • Seek co-operation of local estates where necessary, although there are many viewpoints on secondary roads using binoculars or telescopes.
  • Do not disturb deer by attempting to get close.
  • Seek local advice before setting out on unguided tours.
  • Close gates as found. Do not block roads or entrances.
  • Never leave litter.
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