WESTER ROSS, Live the Highlands
The underwater wildlife of Wester Ross, with photographs and information on what to see


All the writer can reliably tell you is that (a) It's very wet  and (b) It's full of things that might be very interesting and colourful, but which are armed to the teeth with stingers / claws / sharp pointy things., and many other fierce looking attachments.

So we have asked somebody who knows more than we do to supply the text - Thanks to Gairloch's "Glass Bottom Boat" for their help with text and photographs! And we do not all have underwater cameras, of course, so we would like to acknowledge Dr Mark Woombs of W.A Marine, for his fantastic underwater photographs.

Wester Ross is already famous for its amazing wildlife and birdlife, what is little known is the fantastic array of marine life hidden within the depths of the open sea lochs such as Loch Gairloch. It’s fascinating to think that 80% of life is beneath the waves; we are fortunate to have a varied range of undersea habitats here which are home to a rich and diverse array of marine life.


           Dog Fish                               Blue Anenome                          Octopus

Eelgrass or seagrass found in large beds near Longa Sound provide the perfect nursery area for small fish, it is also home to our native Pipefish and Seahorses! Found in and amongst the grass are colourful seaslugs and burrowing bi-valves. Maerl Beds, found around Port Henderson and Carr Point are a result of calcified seaweed, commonly mistaken as coral because of its fine red twig like appearance.

Even the Harbour areas are rich in life, sand eels, large starfish and Plumose anemones can be found around the pontoons. Sandy beds are the perfect location for our famous ‘food‘ scallops. The Loch has the perfect environment for a diverse range of starfish; cushion, purple and common and crabs; spider, velvet and hermit; plus fish such as Gobi, Cuckoo Wrasse, Pollack and the famous mackerel. Sea urchins often found as empty shells on the beach are found in abundance perching on rocks or hidden away amongst the Kelp forests. Small sharks known more commonly as Dogfish hatch out of egg sacs called Mermaids purses!


     Crab (Eating)                                Wrasse                             Pink Anemone

 Common Whelk


Having so many differing types of underwater habitats; from kelp forests; rocks; sandy beds; maerl beds and eel grass, the rich abundance and variety of marine life living here is quite stunning. Why not visit us and have a look?


Celtic Fringe Tourism Association, C/O Douglas Gibson, 13 Strath, Gairloch, Wester Ross IV21 2BX