Winners spot wildlife Big Five

The winners of a People’s Postcode Lottery competition were lucky enough to see the “Big Five” of Scottish wildlife when they visited the Loch Arkaig area for a West Highland Safari earlier this year – otter, golden eagle, red deer, red squirrel and seal.

Bernie and Chris Ellison from Eastbourne were the lucky winners of the West Highland safari competition, promoted in partnership with People’s Postcode Lottery as a thank you to all of its players for their ongoing support of the Woodland Trust’s work. Bernie plays their lottery and was delighted to win.

The prize was a three night, two day West Highland safari with Glenloy Wildlife.

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Jon shows the way to Chris and Bernie as they spot the best of Scottish Wildlife (Photo: WTML)
Jon shows the way to Chris and Bernie as they spot the best of Scottish Wildlife (Photo: WTML)

Bernie and Chris' Loch Arkaig adventure

“We had no idea what to expect, maybe just to drive around with our hosts Jon and Angela to spot a bit of wildlife along with the beautiful scenery if we were lucky,” said Bernie.

“We didn't even have to leave the lodge to have our first encounter with the local wildlife as the pine martens came right up to the front to feed on the nibbles Jon puts out every evening.”

“We were keen to set off on our first full day to look for wildlife which proved to be extremely lucky as we managed to see all of Scotland's 'Big Five'. It was fun trying to spot the otters, Angela thought she saw one as we drove alongside the loch and sure enough she was right. It had caught a very large fish so had to come onto the bank in front of us to feed, a beautiful sight to behold. We'd never seen them in the flesh, only on TV."

An otter made a spectacular early appearance on the couple's wildlife trip (Photo: WTML)
An otter made a spectacular early appearance on the couple's wildlife trip (Photo: WTML)

"Our day just got better and better as we were soon watching red squirrels running up and down the trees and popping their little faces out of the feeding boxes nibbling on the nuts. They were such cute little creatures and much smaller than we expected compared to the grey ones we have down south.”

“While driving back to the lodge at the end of our first day we were eagerly looking to the skies in the hope of spotting a golden eagle. It was Chris who saw a very large bird of prey which Jon confirmed was a sea eagle, he then also spotted a golden eagle which really made our day. We were lucky enough to spot red deer on the north shore of the loch too. Jon and Angela couldn't believe that we'd been so lucky to spot all of Scotland’s big five plus the bonus sea eagle sighting.”

We will never forget the wildlife and beautiful scenery we witnessed.

An extra bonus for the couple was seeing the resident osprey pair at their nest. Bernie and Chris had been keeping up to date with the nest through Facebook but here were the ospreys in the flesh.

The safari was around the area of our Loch Arkaig pine forest where players of People’s Postcode Lottery are the lead funders of our restoration work.

Help us support great Scottish wildlife.

Donate to the Loch Arkaig appeal