Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve



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Whether you have a passion for plants, a fascination for birds or wildflowers, or you want to spot seals and otters, you’ll find them all at the Loch Fleet NNR. On the edge of the tidal basin at low tide you can watch feeding wading birds like the curlew and oystercatcher. Walk out onto the sand, and you can enjoy the carpet of wildflowers which thrives on the dunes. Or you can wander through the plantation woodlands of Ferry Wood and Balblair Wood, which are home to an unusual trio of rare wildflowers – creeping ladies-tresses, a British orchid almost entirely exclusive to Scotland; the delicate twinflower; and, rarest of all, the one-flowered wintergreen. Some birds on the reserve move with the seasons, but others are there all year round. Elegant curlews probe the mud for cockles, shelduck sieve the water for tiny snails, while wigeon nibble eel-grass and other plants.

Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover Highland

Apart from the Orkneys and the Shetlands, Highland is Scotland’s northernmost county. Probably its most famous feature is the mysterious and evocative Loch Ness, allegedly home to an ancient monster that has embedded itself in the world’s modern mythology, and the region’s tourist industry. Monster or no, Loch Ness is beautiful and it contains more water than all the lakes and reservoirs in England and Wales put together. The loch is 24 miles long, one mile wide and 750 feet deep, making it one of the largest bodies of fresh water in Europe. 

At the very tip of the Highlands is John o’ Groats, said to be named after a Dutchman, Jan de Groot, who lived here in the early 16th century and operated a ferry service across the stormy Pentland Firth to Orkney. In fact, the real northernmost point of the British mainland is Dunnet Head, whose great cliffs rise imposingly above the Pentland Firth some two miles further north than John o’ Groats.

The Isle of Skye is the largest and best known of the Inner Hebrides. Its name is Norse, meaning ‘isle of clouds’, and the southwestern part of the island has some of the heaviest rainfall on the whole of the British coast. Despite this, it’s the most visited of all the islands of the Inner Hebrides. It’s dominated from every view by the high peaks of the Cuillins, which were only conquered towards the end of the 19th century. 

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