Welcome to Wild Lochaber. Lochaber in the West Highlands of Scotland, is one of the most geological and biological diverse regions in Scotland, supporting a rich fauna and flora, with many species and habitats of national and international importance. The region, over 5000 square kilometres, contains 35 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), 13 Sites of Conservation Importance and seven Special Protection Areas within the area. Lochaber also has three Marine Protected Areas.
A complex geology , with sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks dating from the Pre-Cambrian, major geological faults and upheavals, volcanic activity (including major granite intrusions, sills, and surface eruptions), inundation and major glaciations events with prolonged periods of weathering, erosion and deposition by ice and water have resulted in a stunningly beautiful, dramatic, wild landscape characterised by ancient mountain ranges, plateaus, hills, steep-sided ravines, wooded glens, fast flowing river, inland ‘ribbon’ and coastal lochs, and an extensive coastline encompassing sheltered sandy beaches and exposed rocky shores. Such a diversity of landscape, sculptured by fire, ice and water, supports a range of habitat types including heather moorland, montane, blanket bog, alluvial forest, Caledonian pine forest, Atlantic oak woodland, birch woods, ash and hazel woods, grassland, salt marsh, machair, sand dune and coastal shingle. There is also a myriad of habitats associated with the freshwater and saltwater lochs, rivers and streams, tidal channels, seabed, as well as the open sea.
Lochaber is renowned for the diversity of its wildlife and includes slow worm, red squirrel, pine marten, wild cat, red deer, mountain hare, pipstrelle bat (common and soprano), brown long-eared bat, Daubenton’s bat, water vole, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle raven, ptarmigan, black grouse, corncrake, crested tit, hen harrier and peregrine falcon on land; otter, common and grey seals, osprey, divers (red-throated, black throated and great northern), common scoter Atlantic salmon, brown and sea trout, Arctic char, freshwater pearl mussels, associated with freshwater rivers and lochs; and bottlenose dolphin, Risso’ dolphin common dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise, basking shark, hump-backed whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale and orca in the seas. The coast and surrounding islands support large breeding colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, gannets and Manx shearwaters.
Lochaber Biodiversity Group, 2004. Living Lochaber: The Lochaber Biodiversity Action Plan.
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