Dive Life in Caithness and Sutherland

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Mon, 2009-11-23

Diving in Caithness offers the (almost) unique opportunity to see marine life up close and clearly. Visibility is normally good, anywhere from 10 to 30 metres.

Caithness Diving Club was started in the 1960s. It is Branch 0119 of the British Sub Aqua Club and welcomes divers from any of the recognized training agencies or schemes.

Since 1997, some 450,000 square metres of the seabed has been surveyed using a towed radiation detection system and divers have spent around 1500 hours mapping approximately 500,000 square metres of seabed, retrieving 929 particles in the process.

In recent years diving activities have been replaced by a remotely-operated vehicle equipped with sensitive radiation detection which has surveyed over 200,000 square metres and identified a further 204 particles in the main plume.

Just a short drive East to the scenic black Isle are of course Bottlenose Dolphins, Kingfishers, Otters, Seals, Dolphins, Pilot and Killer Whales and a whole host of other wildlife…simply take a stroll down to the Harbour. Also look out for the Great Northern Diver, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, ducks and gulls. White-fronted Geese.

The Caithness & Sutherland Walking Festival is one of the few in Scotland which can offer forestry, coastal and mountain walks. Enjoy breathtaking sea tours around the fascinating east Caithness coastline with Seacoast. Explore caves, Geos and natural arches. See the bird and marine life up close. The area is great for Diving, Walking, Fishing, Sea Kayaking, Surfing, Cycling, Cape Wrath Challenge, Wildlife Watching and more. Rivers support healthy fisheries and other wildlife Water quality good Rough ground supports peatland birds and other wildlife.

These pictures were taken during a dive at Thurso Lighthouse, photographs by Allan Sinclair. All on one dive, I might add!

Fig: Dead Man’s Finger
with Brittle Star

Fig: Octopus

Fig: Squat Lobster

Fig: Devonshire Cup Coral

Fig: Scorpion Fish

Fig: Star Fish

Fig: Dead Man’s Fingers
and Sea Urchin

Enjoy the great outdoors in Caithness and Sutherland! The beaches around Caithness and Sutherland often have waves that make surfing great fun and Bettyhill in Sutherland, a short distance from Thurso is one of the best places to enjoy this sport.

Caithness coastal cliffs and the surrounding clear, unpolluted sea are teeming with life. The cliffs are covered in seabirds during the breeding season and you can expect to see guillemots, razorbills, puffins, terns, skuas, gannets, shag and of course several types of gulls. There are 125,000 guillemots and 30,000 razorbills nesting on the East coast of Caithness and on Stroma alone.

During the summer the days in the Scottish Highlands are long and it only gets dark for a few hours each night, it only gets dark in June after 11 pm. Scotland is the perfect holiday destination and the north of Scotland is full of opportunities to enjoy the outdoor life.

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