11 July 2015

Moray Firth Dolphins

There are many legends in Scotland that are unbelievable, such as that of the Loch Ness Monster, but some stories are absolutely true. You may find it hard to believe, but the largest population of bottle-nosed dolphins in Europe are found near Inverness, Scotland. 

The dolphins are said to come into the Moray Firth with the tide, but many locals will tell you that they can be seen at just about any time of the day. They are best viewed at the narrowest part of the Firth, Chanonry Point. 

It was my last day in Scotland, Frances and I only had a few morning hours before we had to catch our train back to Edinburgh. Thus we decided to go hunting for dolphins. (To shoot photos with our cameras - nothing more!). We took the local bus over to the town of Fortrose, about 30 minutes from Inverness. Once in Fortrose, we briskly walked about 30 minutes out of town to the Point.

We arrived at the point, on the rocky beach. Our luck with the weather had been holding and we’d experienced very little rain. It began to spit as we arrived, but that let up after a few minutes. The Firth, like most of the water I’d seen in the Inverness area, was a dark color due to high quantities of peat in the soil. We walked out on the rocky beach, taking care to avoid slipping on seaweed, and commenced watching for dolphins. After about 10 minutes, I saw a head poke out of the water. I had not imagined this, Frances saw it as well. However neither of us could confirm what animal it was. In addition to dolphins, many seals are in the area. 

We watched this creature move across the water until it got close enough to identify. While we never saw more than just it’s nose and eyes, it was definitely a seal. Unfortunately our time at the point was short, and we had to return to Inverness for our train. We didn’t see any dolphins, but the point was well worth the visit. 

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