The “Wild Side” of Inverness and Loch Ness

Meet our fantastic wildlife!

Many of you may be visiting our area for one of its main attractions – unspoilt countryside, beautiful forests, lochs and rivers and abundant wildlife.

Highland wildlife and our environment has been on TV a lot recently with Aviemore’s own TV series “The Mountain” and Winterwatch and Countryfile visiting Highland locations – so what’s so special here apart from more snow than most places in the UK in the winter?

The environment around Loch Ness has got so much to offer – if you are interested in wildlife, you are in for a treat! A wide variety of animals and birds can be spotted in the area: majestic red deer, black grouse, golden eagles, osprey, ptarmigan, capercaillie, pine martens, squirrels (red ones, of course!) and otters, to name but a few. After moving from the city to a small Highland village recently I still can’t believe it to find a deer jumping through the garden, a Pine Marten balancing on the garden fence eating rasberries or a woodpecker sitting on the birdfeeder!

Another famous resident – and not quite as elusive as Nessie! – is the Bottlenose Dolphin. You can frequently see these fascinating creatures from Chanonry Point near Fortrose on the Black Isle it is the only place in mainland Britain that you can get really close to them from the shore as they regularly come through the narrows in the Moray Firth close to the shore on the incoming tide. They do this because for them its a good time to hunt for Salmon that also have to swim through the narrows. You can also see them from the opposite side of the Firth at Fort George but it is not as predictable as from Channonry Point though if you are visiting Fort George it could be an added bonus to get a chance sighting of the dolphins.

Dolphin jumping from Moray Firth Waters at Dolphin Bay Suites

If you want to see the Moray Firth Dolphins make sure you are in place at Channonry Point at least an hour before high tide and preferably 2 hours  or from Ardersier or Fort George.
Tide times can be found at local information centres or on various websites for example –

We also have some more unusual wildlife that you may not expect to find – did you know that there are wild goats and mountain hares in the mountains around Tomatin? With so many creatures great and small to spot in our hills and glens, there is no need to wait around for the famous monster to make an appearance!

Have a look at our events calendar to find out more about the many events throughout our area that allow you to get a closer look at Highland flora and wildlife!