Come and See Scotland’s Big Five
The West Highland Peninsulas, with their varied landscape and wide range of natural habitats, are home to one of the most diverse mixes of wildlife that you can find anywhere in Scotland. We have Scotland’s “Big Five“ of red deer, otters, golden eagles, red squirrels and seals. In addition, visitors can see white-tailed eagles, pine martens, badgers, possibly the elusive Scottish wildcat and much, much more.
The West Highland Peninsulas have an extremely diverse mix of woodlands and it is the ancient oak woodlands of Sunart that are perhaps the most significant. They cover the northern side of Loch Sunart and are one of the best surviving remnants of an ancient temperate Atlantic oak forest that once clothed most of the west coast of Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. Other woodlands include mixed ash and hazel, wet woodland and Caledonian pine forest. Combined, they provide habitat for red squirrels, pine martens, badgers, wildcats, and pipistrelle and long-eared bats as well as a range of birds including warblers, tits, redstarts, flycatchers, woodpeckers, tawny owl and woodcock. There is also a variety of moths and butterflies, including the rare chequered skipper.
Bog and Grassland
Much of the remaining ground is either bog or grassland and much of the grassland can be found near the coast on chalky, fertile ground of a type that is unique to the northwest coastlines of Ireland and Scotland. This grassland is Machair, a Gaelic word meaning “fertile plain” and it plays host to wildflowers such as orchids, harebells, buttercups, red clover, ragged robin and scabious. As well as the grassland, there are two internationally important sites for blanket bog on the Peninsulas. These are Claish Moss and Kentra Moss and they both support varying amounts of heather, bog myrtle and cotton grasses. These wetlands are home to several types of dragonfly, including the nationally scarce northern emerald and azure walker dragonflies.