Highlands & Islands

Scotland gets new wildlife-spotting Hebridean Whale Trail

Image caption Orca are among the marine mammals that can be seen from Scotland's coast

The UK's first whale and dolphin trail has been launched.

It features more than 30 sites on Scotland's west coast considered to offer good opportunities for spotting marine mammals.

Developed by the Mull-based Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, the network ranges from the Clyde to Cape Wrath in the north and west to St Kilda.

A map and website have also been created for the new Hebridean Whale Trail.

Whale-spotting sites on the network include lighthouses at the Butt of Lewis in the Isle of Lewis, Eilean Glas on the Isle of Scalpay and the UK mainland's most westerly point at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.

Beaches at Clachtoll in the Highlands and Huisnis in the Isle of Harris have also been suggested as well as harbours at Tobermory in Mull and Ullapool.

Image copyright Kerry Froud
Image caption The trail map suggests places to spot marine wildlife from land

Trail manager Karl Stevens said: "Scotland's west coast is one of Europe's best places to catch sight of whales, dolphins and porpoises from land - including bottlenose and common dolphins, harbour porpoise, minke whales and killer whales.

"We want people from all walks of life to visit the Hebridean Whale Trail to enjoy exploring the region's unique nature, culture and history, and to be inspired to support marine conservation."

Tourism body VisitScotland has welcomed the launch of the trial.

Image copyright HWDT
Image caption Harbour porpoises are among Scotland's marine mammals

The Coastal Communities Fund provided a grant of almost £200,000 for the initiative.

Scotland's west coast has a small community of orcas, whose number includes a bull nicknamed John Coe.

In 2017, 12 sperm whales were spotted resting in the sea near Tiumpan on Lewis.

The animals were logging, a term used to describe sleeping whales and dolphins.

Image copyright Dawn Westwood
Image caption Dolphins can potentially be seen from many locations on Scotland's coast

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