Highland Dolphins and Marine Life

Scotland’s coastline is famous for marine life. Taking centre stage here in the Highlands, we have the best, close-up’ dolphin viewing in Europe, plus excellent opportunities to view porpoises and grey seals too. Our Bottlenose dolphins are the largest in the world, as they carry a lot of blubber for insulation, being one of the northern-most pods.

At certain times, the dolphins can predictably be seen very close to land at Chanonry Point, where they feed on salmon that are returning towards the two main rivers (the Ness and Beauly) which feed into the Moray Firth. As you can see below, the dolphins can put on some amazing acrobatic shows, with full breaches and lots of tail slapping. They can often be seen throwing salmon about as they sometimes struggle to swallow the largest ones.

The salmon themselves can be seen at certain inland locations, leaping up weirs and waterfalls as they make their way to their spawning grounds. The best time to see them is a few hours after heavy rain, which makes the falls more navigable for them. In some parts of the world, Salmon can travel for hundreds of miles to reach their spawning ground (exhausted). Salmon have been recorded jumping as high as 3.65 metres (12 ft). The salmon tend to ‘run’ from  May to November, with September to October being the best opportunity to see them.

Further afield along various Highland coasts, there are dolphin and whale watching boat tours to be enjoyed.

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