Seal trips should be included in your itinerary when you visit Lochalsh. Obviously, this trip will involve a boat ride that will allow you to visit the natural habitat of these remarkable sea creatures.
About Seals in Lochalsh
Scotland is known for the seal population that breeds along the coastline. You can actually find two species here, the grey seal and the common or harbour seal. The grey seals are usually bigger than the harbour seals. The former has a longer and sloping nose while the latter has a dog-like appearance (like a spaniel).
The number of seals that breed in Scotland is significant enough for it to be considered an important part of their natural habitat. The grey seals tend to breed on rocky coasts and foot of cliffs. They can also be seen on remote islands. These seals prefer exposed coasts and islands. They also like near the open sea where they are near feeding areas. The harbour seals, on the other hand, want to breed on sheltered waters. They also stick close to their feeding areas.Given these, it is most likely that you will see the harbour seals in your seal trips than grey seals. Harbour seals frequent the west coast of Scotland – which is where the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh is located.
These seals spend most of their time at sea and will probably swim for miles looking for food. Fortunately, the food is adequate off the coast of Scotland so you are sure to see them when you go on one of the boating trips in Lochalsh.
Grey seals swim for their breeding beaches in the middle of September. The pups are born at the end of the month and it can stretch up to mid-December. That means you will see a lot of seals in Scotland during these times. Mating happens a few weeks after the female seals give birth and they moult from mid-January until the end of February. The males moult after – between February until April.
If you see seals in breeding beaches during June, these are the harbour or common seals. They usually start early compared to the other type of seal.
What to expect during a seal trip
The success of seal trips will depend on the boat that you will ride. There are many companies in Lochalsh and Isle of Skye that offer boat trips that will allow you to view these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
What you have to understand is that there is no guarantee that you will see a seal in your trip. According to some of the captains of these boats, there are times when the seals just disappear. It can be caused by the weather, need for food or even by the people bothering them. This is why when you happen to see seals, make sure you be as quiet as possible so you will not disturb them. This is the best way for you to really enjoy and experience what they are like.If the tide is high enough, there are boats that go round Heron Island. You will be treated with amazing views of the “Sula Mhor” and the Applecross Mountains. The boat will also follow the harbour and have a chance to take photos of the villages along the coast – specifically the beautiful Plockton.
During seal trips, you will also see other wildlife. You can see otters, dolphins, and different types of sea birds. This is why these trips are great for families even with small children. There are even vessels that have glass bottoms – which will allow you to see the marine wildlife underwater.