Known as the ‘Dolphin Coast’, Banffshire and the Moray coast are a mecca for anyone wanting to see bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment. These cheeky and charming creatures have primarily claimed the north east coast of the country as their home.
Not only is the resident population of bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth the most northern colony on earth, these dolphins are also some of the largest in the world, measuring a whopping average of almost 4 m (13 ft) in length while specimens in other parts of the world are roughly 2.5 m (8.2 ft).
They are also a camera-pleasingly playful bunch. You can often spot them bouncily frolicking in the water from the cliffs and beaches.
Chanonry Point near Fortrose is one of the best coastal vantage points in Europe to spot the wildlife of the Moray Firth. Look out across the firth just as the tide starts to rise, and you are highly likely to spot dolphins as they swim in-land to feed. Or head to Fort George, just across the water, for an entirely unique perspective from 18th century fortress. The dolphins heading to Chanonry Point must travel past Fort George, so it’s a great viewing point if you want to see these magnificent creatures in action.
The Moray coast is not only famous for bottlenose dolphins, but also harbour porpoises and even whales, especially the Minke whale.
A slightly surer option is to take a boat trip. There are many boat charters, wildlife cruises and local skippers right around the coast of Scotland, that will take you on a truly thrilling and memorable adventure through the waters, sharing all there is to know about the country’s scenery and wildlife.