A little ‘nacht’ vision

A deer seen through the thermal imaging cameras.
A deer seen through the thermal imaging cameras.

A Scottish company that offers the only nocturnal wildlife tours in the Northern Hemisphere is focusing its night-vision cameras on Germany.

Based in Castle Douglas, Nocturnal Wildlife Tours is one of six tourism firms heading to Germany this week as part of VisitScotland’s latest business development mission to one of Scotland’s biggest international markets.

Set up last summer, Nocturnal Wildlife Tours takes guests to wildlife areas in a Land Rover kitted out with a state-of-the-art, externally mounted thermal camera and internal viewing screens.

Those on the tour are then able to get out and enjoy unique views of everything from field mice and hedgehogs to roe deer and even bats through thermal imaging cameras.

Following the tour, which is conducted by wildlife ranger and photographer Keith Kirk, customers are sent a specially edited video to commemorate their experience.

VisitScotland’s two-day business development mission to Hamburg and Frankfurt (15-16 November) will give businesses the chance to hold face-to-face meetings with key tour operators in Scotland’s second biggest international market.

Cowan Scott, owner of Nocturnal Wildlife Tours, says that joining VisitScotland’s mission to a market worth £175 million to the Scottish economy and which welcomes 323,000 visitors a year was important to the growth of his business.

He said: “This is the most effective way of channeling German visitors towards our tours. People don’t automatically think they can watch wildlife at night so we are breaking down barriers and showing visitors that their day doesn’t have to end at 5pm. It’s something you can do all-year round and the reaction from those on the tours has been fantastic.”

According to the 2015 VisitScotland International Conversion Study, outdoor activities ranked highly among German visitors, with 78 per cent enjoying the scenery, 42 per cent taking walks of over two miles, 34 per cent enjoying hillwalking and nearly a fifth (17 per cent) watching wildlife.