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New whale trail to connect more than 30 island destinations

The Hebridean Whale Trail, which suggests places to spot whales, dolphins and porpoises, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

A bottlenose dolphin in Tobermory harbour (HWDT/Karen Denoon/PA)
A bottlenose dolphin in Tobermory harbour (HWDT/Karen Denoon/PA)

A whale trail described as the first of its kind in the UK has launched along the west coast of Scotland.

The Hebridean Whale Trail is connecting more than 30 destinations giving more opportunities to spot whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Basking sharks, seals and other wildlife may also be seen from the trail, which includes 33 sites from the Clyde to Cape Wrath and as far west as St Kilda.

The trail ranges from easily accessible attractions such as the Hebridean Whale Trail Centre in Tobermory to more remote destinations such as the Oa on Islay.

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Hebridean Whale Trail destinations (HWDT/PA)

Karl Stevens, Hebridean Whale Trail manager, said: “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.

“We want people from all walks of life to visit the Hebridean Whale Trail to enjoy exploring the region’s unique nature, culture and history, and to be inspired to support marine conservation.”

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, based on the Isle of Mull, has spent a year working on developing the trail after a near-£200,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund.

It estimates more than a quarter of the world’s whale and dolphin species have been recorded in the region.

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A Minke whale pictured in 2016 (HWDT/PA)

Alison Lomax, trust director, said: “The trail encourages accessible, low-impact whale-watching from land, which for many is a completely new way of thinking about viewing marine wildlife.

“Scotland’s west coast is dotted with stunning places where you can quietly watch whales, dolphins, and other wildlife going about their business from a clifftop or harbour.

“Ultimately we want people to experience the thrill of watching a fin breaking the surface in the distance, and the challenge of identifying which type of whale they’ve seen, sharing that experience with others, and learning about the threats these animals face in our seas.”

PA

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