Some of us are natural-born investigators, burrowing our noses in between crevices, heading into the unknown, and searching the length and breadth of the land and sea for something extraordinary.
There is no question that Scotland is made up of fascinating places, from its ancient natural features to its wild and unspoilt habitats. We think it’s time to head down under! And no, we don’t mean to Australia.
Here are some ideas to ignite your inquisitive spirit in Scotland, where discoveries can be made underneath the surface. After all, what better time is there to channel your inner explorer than this summer?
Under a rock
Scotland’s varied and diverse coastlines, with their rocky formations and golden sands, will delight beach-combers and geology fans alike.
When you are searching beneath rocks and inside rock pools, look out for heart-shaped cockles, crabs, sea anemones and many more fascinating creatures and critters, as well as pretty shells and stones carved and sculpted by the tidal movements.
Sango Bay is a beautifully formed cove located just outside Durness in the northern tip of the Highlands and offers visitors pleasant saunters through its beautiful mixed landscape, with its cliffs, rocks and sand dunes.
The nearby Smoo Cave is a beguiling and mystical limestone sea cave, home to one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in Britain with height of 50 ft and a spectacular cascading waterfall in wet weather.Feeling inspired? Check more of Scotland’s famous geosites.
Revealing remnants of Scotland’s past have been uncovered from the ground for decades, making Scotland one of the world’s most interesting archaeological sites. In Shetland, the sheer variety of sites always keeps the experts on their toes. Discover the relics left at Jarlshof in the South Mainland and witness treasures which span thousands of years, including a Norse settlement, medieval farmstead, Iron Age broch and Pictish wheelhouses. Learn more about Shetland’s archaeology.
Or, why not discover Edinburgh’s underground city, with haunting tours of Mary King’s Close? Underneath the Royal Mile lies a network of streets and chambers, which were once bustling with 17th century traders and merchants.
Under a bridge
Scotland boasts many impressive bridges, some of which are world-famous feats of engineering. Besides trolls, there is plenty to discover, and several ways to get up close to many of the land’s brooding bridges.
At Belhaven Bay, swim under the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, a popular beach for outdoor swimmers as well as surfers and picnic goers. Keen photographers will relish the chance to capture the bridge at high tide, so be sure to check tide times before your beach break.
Take in the incredible sight of the 125-year old Forth Rail Bridge. For the adventurous, you can abseil down the side of this landmark for charity. Or, you can gently float under it and marvel at the bridge from the safety of an educational boat tour.
Under the sea
Although water temperatures are a little lower than tropical dive spots around the world, Scotland is still an utterly mesmerising location for scuba-diving. Strap on a tank and ogle at everything from tiny creatures living upon sea leaves to larger mammals that glide gracefully through the water.
Our seas provide a safe habitat for all types of wildlife, including common and grey seals, moray eels, minke whales, basking sharks, rays, shellfish and even sea slugs. Be careful not to disturb the environment by touching the wildlife or by kicking up the seabed whilst scuba-diving, and don’t forget to check out our diving page for all the information you’ll need.
If you’ve dived in Scotland before, you will likely be asked: ‘Have you done Scapa?’ Scapa Flow in Orkney is a 140-square mile expanse of deep water, containing some very fascinating wartime relics. One of the world’s most intriguing dive sites, there are eight remaining wrecks of the scuttled WWI German High Seas Fleet hidden in the depths.
On the west coast, a whole range of wrecks await experienced divers, some of which date back hundreds of years. The Sound of Mull is home to several centuries-old wreckages, including the HMS Dartmouth, submerged since 1690.
What is the most surprising discovery you’ve made on your travels around Scotland? Do you have a penchant for exploring curious new places? Share your photos with us on our social media channels or tell us about your adventures in the comments below.