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Whale trail charity with sites at Gairloch, Ullapool and Clachtoll celebrates success at Nature of Scotland awards

By Hector MacKenzie

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Picture: HWDT
Picture: HWDT

A CONSERVATION charity which launched a first-of-its-kind whale and dolphin trail taking in sites in Wester Ross is celebrating success at the end of a tough year.

Mull-based conservation charity the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust saw its Hebridean Whale Trail named winner of the RSPB Nature of Scotland Coasts and Waters Award.

The trail includes Gairloch, Ullapool, Clachtoll and Cape Wrath.

Winners of the Nature of Scotland awards were announced at a Covid-friendly virtual ceremony.

The Hebridean Whale Trail is the first of its kind in the UK, connecting 33 top places across the Hebridean archipelago and Scotland’s west coast that offer opportunities for land-based sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises, or showcase the region’s marine heritage.

Alison Lomax looks for whales
Alison Lomax looks for whales

The director of the trust, Alison Lomax, said: “We’re thrilled to have won this prestigious award, and hope this success will further promote the Hebridean Whale Trail, which has really caught people’s imagination since its launch last year. By promoting low-impact marine wildlife watching from land, the trail is championing the importance of protecting the Hebrides’ wonderful and globally important marine wildlife. Collaboration was key in forging the trail, and its success is testament to the people and communities who have come together to create this exciting initiative.”

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust is based on the Isle of Mull and has been taking action for the conservation of cetaceans off western Scotland for over 25 years. The Hebridean Whale Trail was established thanks to a grant from the Coastal Communities Fund.

The Nature of Scotland awards, led by RSPB Scotland and co-sponsored by national agency NatureScot, are the country’s most prestigious annual environmental awards. Held online for the first time this year the award ceremony was and was hosted by BAFTA-winning naturalist Steve Backshall, and Euan McIlwraith who is a presenter on BBC’s Landward.

The Coasts and Waters Award was sponsored by Scottish Water.

Related: Sighting of critically endangered monster of the deep sparks excitement

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