Wild adventures in Ayrshire

Ayrshire and Arran’s seas, skies and shores are home to a huge range of incredible wildlife – and, when all this is over, the Salt Lodge Hotel at Troon Yacht Haven is the perfect base for an unforgettable wild adventure!

We’ve picked out just a few of our amazing animals – along with where and when to see them – to help you explore our wild places and discover the wild things that call them home when all this is over.

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Basking Sharks

When to see them: Summer

Head for Ayrshire’s coasts between May and September and you might just find yourself sharing its waters with the second biggest fish on the planet – the mighty basking shark. Don’t worry – these gentle giants only feed on plankton, but seeing them glide through the water, mouths agape, is a humbling, epic experience.

Basking shark and diver

Bottlenose dolphins

When to see them: Spring/summer

One of the best places in Europe to see dolphins, Scotland is home to a large number of these playful creatures. Seeing them frolic in the Firth of Clyde is a magical experience.

A dolphin breaches from the water

Common seals

When to see them: Year-round

While you can see these beautiful creatures sunning themselves on the coasts or gliding through the water year-round, undertake an adventure between late September and late November and you might just catch a glimpse of a pup! When it comes to cuteness, these beauties take the prize for Ayrshire wildlife!

A seal pup looks at the camera

Golden eagles

When to see them: Year-round

One of the UK’s largest bird of prey, these giants of the sky have a wingspan of more than two metres! Watching one of these majestic birds soaring through the sky before diving and snatching prey from the sea is a breathtaking experience.

A profile image of a Golden Eagle

Orca

When to see them: Summer

Catching a glimpse of the “whale of the kingdom of the dead” as it scythes through the sea is something you won’t easily forget. These massive mammals – the largest member of the dolphin family, despite their name – are rare but can be spotted off the shores of Ayrshire in summer. Ayrshire wildlife doesn’t get much wilder!

A pod of orca scythe through the sea

Red deer

When to see them: Autumn

The red deer stag – majestic, noble and powerful – is one of the undeniable symbols of Scotland. Explore Ayrshire’s forests in the autumn for the chance to see in an incredible (and violent) spectacle as the stags battle for dominance and the right to mate with the females – but be sure to keep your distance!

A red deer stag is caught in the morning light

Red squirrel

When to see them: Year-round

Home to 75% of the UK’s population, there’s no better place than Scotland to see these pretty wee animals. Much smaller (and fluffier!) than their grey counterparts, you can spot them dashing around the forests of Ayrshire year-round. Taking a trip to seek them out? Bring hazelnuts – these wee beauties love them!

A red squirrel nibbles on a hazelnut

Other adventures

Looking for adventures to undertake in Ayrshire & Arran when all this is over? Check out our guides to the incredible walking and cycling routes and fantastic food and drink on the doorstep of the Salt Lodge Hotel at Troon Yacht Haven!