Now get even closer to the riches hidden beneath the waves with the launch of the North West Highlands Snorkel Trail - the first of its kind in Scotland.

Scotland’s North West coast is home to a diverse array of marine habitats and species. Visitors and locals are being encouraged and inspired to “Dive into Scotland’s Living Seas!”

Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) has created a self-led Snorkel Trail as part of their Living Seas Programme. Nine fantastic snorkelling sites are highlighted where both beginner and advanced snorkelers can experience the impressive variety of Scotland’s marine life. From sea squirts to snakelock anemones, sunstars to butterfish and carpets of maerl to forests of kelp there is a fascinating world to explore.

Noel Hawkins, living seas communities officer with SWT, said: “The coast of Wester Ross and Sutherland features some fantastic sheltered headlands and beaches that are great places for snorkelling. Scotland needs healthy living seas that can adapt to climate change.

“The snorkel trail will encourage more people to explore the fragile habitats below the waves and the marine life they support, while also helping to raise awareness of the need to protect them.”

"Dive In" - Noel Hawkins, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Lizzie Bird, Instructor Trainer, British Sub Aqua Club said: “Lots of people might think it’s too cold to snorkel in Scotland but the colours and life under the surface in places like the north west coast are up there with the coral reefs you can find abroad”

Anenome - Noel Hawkins, Scottish Wildlife Trust

SWT reminds us to “Remember the three Ts: No touching, taking or teasing of marine animals, plants or shells. Before you go snorkelling, read their Snorkel Safety information on the tab below so that you know how to be a safe and responsible snorkeller.

To download the North West Highlands Snorkel Trail leaflet, click here. Or pick up a copy from Ullapool Youth Hostel. Youth hostels along the route include Gairloch Sands, Ullapool and Achmelvich Beach.

Achmelvich Beach - Noel Hawkins, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Check out for further information on responsible snorkelling and safety.

Don’t fancy getting your feet wet? There are some great boat trips available from Gairloch and Ullapool Youth Hostels where guests can enjoy the views, birdlife and cetacean watching. Ask youth hostel staff for more information or check out:

Or join us at a beach clean event to help protect the marine environment and care for our coastline on the following dates

Enjoy exploring Scotland’s Living Seas! 

- Debbie, Ullapool Youth Hostel Manager.

Biography for Hostelling Scotland

Scotland's best known network of youth hostels in stunning city & rural locations. As a not-for-profit organisation, we encourage guests to join Hostelling Scotland. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in over 90 countries worldwide. Membership and guest overnight income supports our charitable youth programmes.

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