Wildlife

Elgol, the Cuillins and the surrounding lochs are teeming with the wildlife unique to the Scottish Highlands.

Golden eagles roam the Cuillins, Bla Bheinn and the surrounding hills and are regularly seen from Elgol or nearby. Sea eagles breed on Rum and can be seen as can merlin, hen harriers, peregrines and short eared owls. Some of the nearby hill tops have populations of ptarmigan. May and June are particularly marvellous for seabirds: razorbills, common and black guillemots, shags, fulmars and other seabirds flourish alongside the bustling breeding colony of puffins which can be visited by boat leaving from the harbour. Rum is an internationally vital breeding site for manx shearwater which can be seen skimming the wave-tops. Gannets and both Arctic and great skuas visit frequently as do eider and mergansers. Golden plover, ring ouzel, wheatear and whinchat breed on the moors and mountains, and twite and rock pipits nearer the coast. Red throated divers feed in the area, and large numbers of black throated and great northern divers appear in the winter which also brings whooper swans and white fronted and barnacle geese to the area along with occasional Iceland and glaucous gulls.

The spring and summer can also bring truly amazing experiences to those enjoying the boat trips to Loch Coruisk and Rum. Grey and common seal colonies are found on the offshore rocks with pups looking on visitors with curiosity. Common, bottlenose and other dolphins are not only seen but on occasions come to view the boats inquisitively and playfully. Porpoises and minke whales are also sometimes seen and even, rarely, killer whales. The enormous basking sharks arrive from their Atlantic wintering grounds to meander slowly in search of plankton between Elgol and Rum sometimes a distant dorsal fin, sometimes drifting under the boats close enough to touch.

Otters reward the patient observer along the shore and there are dedicated otter havens and viewing points a short drive away and on Rum. Pine martens are now beginning to spread on the island having first arrived, like everybody else, crossing on the Skye Bridge! High in the hills mountain hare are hunted by eagles and red deer roam the high hills, but at night come down to eat our herbs and on occasions wander on the road.

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