Puffin Cove - Best Place To See Puffins On The NC500

Puffin Cove really is a stand-out attraction on the North Coast 500 route through the Scottish highlands. Due to its relatively unknown status it means you can get the whole place to your self and see loads of puffins up close, giving a better view than the tourist boat trips would!

Puffin Cove offers a tranquil nature experience with beautiful scenery, however, it is not the most well known spot on the NC500 and could easily be missed, so this complete guide will help you find where Puffin Cove is and how you can see these amazing puffins.

Where is Puffin Cove?

So puffin Cove isn’t listed on any maps and there are no sign posts so it can be a little challenging to find, but it is located right on the border between two villages, Caithness and Sutherland. There is a very small layby that you can pull into which will only fit 3-4 cars or maybe 1-2 campervans depending on how people park.

The main way to find it is as you’re coming out of either village look for the goodbye sign and directly after that you will see the small layby.

Puffin Cove

How to get to Puffin Cove?

To Find the cove you will then need to take a small but slightly challenging walk to the puffin cove. This can take about 5-10 minutes but is a little steep and over some boggy ground and involves scrambling over some rocks, so we would recommend wearing walking boots, especially is the weather isn’t very good.

You just walk directly over the grass from the car park towards the coast, you will then see it slightly dip down until a small valley, this is where it can get slightly challenging so be careful.

The route wouldn’t really be suitable for pushchairs, so be prepared for this.

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When can I see puffins at Puffin Cove?

Between the months of April and August is the best time to visit Puffin Cove if you want to be sure to see puffins, as this is when they come to breed. We saw literally hundreds of them nestled in the cliff side when we visited in June, it was so amazing to see.

They are however small birds and quite far away, so it’s worth bringing some binoculars to be able to see them properly, or like us, use a good zoom on your camera to get some fantastic shots of them.

What is it like at Puffin Cove?

You may be wondering what Puffin Cove is actually like, and as well as seeing the puffins, the place itself is a rather beautiful little spot. We have included some images below so that you can see for yourself.

As mentioned before, it is a short walk to Puffin Cove from the parking spot, but a slightly difficult walk on uneven terrain, and if the weather has been bad it can be boggy, muddy and slippy, so good walking shoes or boots are recommended.

Puffin Cove - Best Place To See Puffins On The NC500
Puffin Cove - Best Place To See Puffins On The NC500

Some facts about puffins before you go and see them

The puffin is a small bird with black and white feathers, orange bill and feet, large orange-red beak with a black tip, bright white cheeks surrounding its eyes which give it an adorable look! It also has large red webbed feet used to swim underwater as well as help them walk on land with ease.

Puffin Cove - Best Place To See Puffins On The NC500
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Are puffins friendly?

Puffins are very friendly birds. They are the most common seabirds found on the Scottish island of St Kilda and can be found in other areas including Iceland and Newfoundland.

Puffin Cove - Best Place To See Puffins On The NC500

What do puffins eat

The diet of a puffin consists of fish, which they swallow whole and often prey on smaller fish, some crustaceans like crabs and shrimp, as well as sea urchins.

Puffins Breeding

Their breeding behaviour is typically monogamous with one male breeding with one female for a period of time ranging from a year to many years but only around three months when laying eggs.

They build nests out of grass or feathers from their own wings usually near the top of cliffs or tall rocks. Puffin chicks take about 45 days to hatch after which time both parents feed them for at least six weeks before they are fully independent enough to fly away from the nest

What do you call a baby puffin?

A baby puffin is called a puffling. Pufflings are born with black and white feathers, but the white turns to brown after they leave the nest.

Can a puffin fly?

Puffins can fly, they can reach speeds of up to 55mph. Puffins can actually fly in the air and underwater! Puffins have short wings so they have to flap their wings hundreds of times per minute to achieve flight.

Puffin Cove - Best Place To See Puffins On The NC500

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