Images: Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust
A spectacular new trail – launched today by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust – is to showcase Scotland’s west coast as a world-class destination for spotting marine wildlife and champion the conservation of the Hebrides’ globally important environment and marine animals.
The Hebridean Whale Trail, the first of its kind in the UK, is a unique initiative offering opportunities for land-based sightings of whales, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, seals and other wildlife. The Trail also showcases important whale heritage sites and there will be opportunities for visitors and residents to get involved in marine conservation activities.
Sites include a lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis on the Isle of Lewis, Huisinis beach on the Isle of Harris, and Barra Airport, owned and operated by HIAL. On-site interpretation will explain which species might be seen.
“Scotland’s west coast is one of Europe’s best places to catch sight of whales, dolphins and porpoises from land – and you may see bottlenose and common dolphins, harbour porpoise, minke whales and killer whales,” said Karl Stevens, Hebridean Whale Trail Manager.
More than a quarter of the world’s whale and dolphin species have been recorded in the region – including many national and international conservation priority species.
David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “It’s particularly pleasing that the trail is a conservation-based tourism product, as a key focus of 2020’s themed Year of Coasts and Waters will be celebrating and protecting Scotland’s beautiful natural environment.”
Michael Galbraith, Barra Airport Manager, commented, “We’re thrilled to be a location on this fantastic trail – we often see dolphins and basking sharks in the vicinity of the airport. Visitors can be off the plane and on the beach, animal spotting, in just five minutes.”
The trail’s website www.whaletrail.org includes routes, transport options and site details.
Key sites near to our Airports
Lewis and Harris
* Butt of Lewis, Isle of Lewis
* Tiumpan Head, Isle of Lewis
* Gallan Head, Isle of Lewis
* Huisinis, Isle of Harris
* Eilean Glas, Isle of Scalpay
Uist and Barra
* Barra Airport, Isle of Barra
* Rubha Ardvule, South Uist
* Balranald, North Uist
* Lochmaddy, North Uist
* Hynish, Isle of Tiree
Southern Hebrides and Clyde
* The Oa, Isle of Islay
* Port Askaig, Isle of Islay