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17 September 2014
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Coast | Ardtornish and the Morvern Peninsula

Morven coast

Ardtornish lies on the west coast of Scotland on the Morvern Peninsula, and boasts one of the most spectacular landscapes in the UK.

This is a stunning location for nature watching with dramatic scenery, tranquil coastlines, and unspoilt habitats.

 

Solitude and tranquility - the Morven Peninsula


Morvern's varied habitats include ancient woodlands, rolling hills, rivers and sea lochs as well as 20 miles of coastline.

The Morvern Peninsula is separated from the Isle of Mull by a narrow strip of water called the Sound of Mull.

Morvern is one of the few places in the UK that has hardly been touched by modern life.

It is sparsely populated, and because of a lack of human intervention, it boasts a great diversity of animals, birds and flowers.

Described by many as 'the best kept secret in Scotland', Morvern is a must for nature lovers seeking solitude and rare species of wildlife.

In winter there is a wide range of wildlife from Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles to Pine Martins and Peregrines.

It's also home to one of the UK's most elusive creatures - the Otter.

Return of the Otter

OtterOtters have lived in Britain at least since the late glacial times about 12,000 years ago or more.

This animal was once widespread but dramatically declined in numbers.

Aggressive farming practices in the 1950s led to pollution of many rivers in lowland areas.

The trimming of bank sides and the use of pesticides also contributed to the decline of the Otter population.

In 1970s few Otters remained in any significant numbers in South West England, Wales and the sea lochs of Scotland.

Wildlife experts say that Otters now appear to be making a comeback.

Their favourite habitats are the banks of rivers, lake shores and rocky coasts where they feed on fish, worms, and insects.

Sea lochs and rivers of the west coast of Scotland are great places to see Otters because they are under less pressure than other parts of the country.

Morvern is especially good for otter watching because there are three large estates where the Otters have been left to their own devices.

Otters in daylight

OtterTraditionally Otters have been seen as nocturnal creatures, but experts now say that they are increasingly being seen during the daytime when there is a lack of disturbance from humans.

A good Otter spotting area is Lochaline, a small sea loch on the Ardtornish estate.

There's open access for walkers to visit the sea lochs on the estate.

If you visit the loch where the river Aline enters it, you may be lucky enough to see Otters playing.

Look out for signs of disturbance in the water when Otters are out fishing for food.

Pine Martens

Pine Marten (Image: Paul Glendell)Ardtornish is also a good place to see Pine Martens - these slinky forest dwelling carnivores exist in very small numbers outside Scotland.

They look like colourful ferrets with their chocolate brown bodies and yellow throats.

Their diet largely consists of field voles, rabbits, and frogs.

The Pine Martens are very curious, and have a sweet-tooth for sticky snacks like peanut butter or honey

These animals range ranging over large areas, but one of the best places to see them is the Morvern Peninsula.

 

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