Congratulations to multi-award winning Mull Eagle Watch!

Mull Eagle Watch is a community-based partnership offering visitors the chance to enjoy guided trips to see the reintroduced white-tailed eagles without disturbing them.

Starting in 2000 at Loch Frisa, the project has grown to become one of the UK’s best-known and loved wildlife tourism attractions, bringing in five million pounds to the island every year in tourism revenue. The project is run as a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Mull & Iona Community Trust, Police Scotland and SNH.

Already in receipt of a prestigious five star rating from VisitScotland and a gold rating from the Green Tourism Business Scheme, this month they’ve added two more top awards to their collection.

Earlier this month they won the Innovation in Tourism Award at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (see here) and on Thursday evening they scooped first prize in the Nature Tourism category at the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Awards, hosted by Chris Packham (see here).

Here they are collecting their award from Chris (photo nicked off Twitter!)


As Chris said on Thursday evening, at a time when the persistent and widespread killing of raptors causes many to view Scotland (and the rest of the UK) as an international embarrassment, this enlightened project is a shining example of how birds of prey can bring environmental, social and economic benefits to rural communities. More of this, please.

Many congratulations and thanks to all involved.

10 Responses to “Congratulations to multi-award winning Mull Eagle Watch!”

  1. 1 Les Wallace
    November 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Bloody well done – I recently watched a RSPB DVD about sea eagles returning to Scotland and the Mull initiative featured prominently. Has anyone ever seen a recognition by SLE of the economic and community benefits (having dramatic wildlife and lots of nice tourists spending money to see it rather than a few quid for driving grouse every now and again if you’re lucky) of birds of prey – sea eagles, red kites, osprey? Me neither.

  2. 2 Benjamin Ford
    November 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Congratulations Mull Eagle Watch. Wonderful work and well deserved reward. If the distribution of the £5 million among the population was compared against the distribution of the income from driven grouse shooting I suspect the former would benefit rather more people and be spread more widely. Has any research been done in this topic?

  3. 3 JW4926
    November 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Bloomin’ well done Mull Eagle Watch!! So very pleased that a project such as this is spot-lighted (?spot-lit) with so many prestigious awards. You must feel very proud of yourselves to have brought these magnificent birds and your work to national and international recognition.

  4. 4 Alister J Clunas
    November 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Well done to all concerned. It is time the Scottish Government and the Cairngorms National Park Authority realised that the way forward for the rural economy is nature based tourism not devastating large swathes of countryside through the illegal killing of raptors so that a few people can slaughter large numbers of red grouse.

  5. November 27, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Exactly how it should be done. The rest of the UK now need to use Mull’s wildlife friendliness as the benchmark to aspire to. Well done Mull.

  6. 7 Tony Warburton MBE
    November 28, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Well said everybody and very many much deserved congratulations to the team. We at the World Owl Trust (not the HOT please note!!!) thank you for showing the ‘blind’ the importance of wildlife tourism to the economy – to the benefit of the communities and Councils who have their eyes wide open and understand this. I say this with some feeling, having been one of those ‘tourists’ who benefitted and hugely enjoyed seeing not only my first ever Sea Eagles, but Golden Eagles, Merlins and Short-eared Owls too on Mull The Fragrant Orchids ‘en-masse’ were a brilliant bonus too! And it didn’t rain!

    • 8 hector
      November 29, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Are you sure it was Mull you were on with no rain. The eagle hide at this end of the island is now in a woodland owned by the community after an overwhelming vote in a local ballot to go for the community buyout. As the area is harvested and replanted if it follows the pattern of similar woodlands harriers should move in to the replant areas until the canopy closes . I am sure mistakes will be made as the project takes shape but at least they are our mistakes rather than those of an absentee owner who only wants the woods as an area to shoot a few deer. The £5 million that is often quoted as down to the sea eagles is a bit of a red herring as the visitors would still come for the other wildlife mentioned above along with the scenery etc.

      • November 29, 2016 at 11:41 am


        The £5 million attributable to sea eagle tourism is no red herring. Try reading the report:

        Click to access wildlifeatwork_tcm9-282134.pdf

        Annual tourism spend on Mull was calculated as £58 million. The £5 million is a proportion of that annual spend, based on the reasons tourists gave for visiting the island. The report also suggests that this attributable £5 million is probably an underestimate.

        • 10 hector
          November 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

          I did read the report and remain unconvinced as a lot depends on the wording of the questions put to the tourists but it is of no great importance. The fact is the eagles do contribute to the mix of ticks for green tourists with the boat tour feeding them very popular. Talking to a lot of tourists throughout the year the sea eagle becoming so common and easy to see is a given and a lot want to see the otters and the goldie more as they are harder to get a good look at. Whatever we are lucky to have the mix we have and a community trust that is forward looking and supporting the quest for the green pound. My proposal to give the sea eagles to the Greeks as they have loads of islands and at £5 million an island it would help them out fell on deaf ears.

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