Moray Firth, Grampian | Highlands

Moray Firth
The Moray Firth is a large inlet, or firth, on the North Sea coast of Eastern Scotland. It lies to the north and east of Inverness and is the fifth largest firth in Scotland. Various rivers flow out into the firth, including the River Ness and the River Spey . The firth also has a number of smaller firths that inlet into it, these include the firths of Cromarty and Dornoch.

The approximately triangular inlet is in fact made up of two firths known as the Inner Moray Firth and the Outer Moray Firth. The inner was often known as the Firth of Inverness but this name is no longer found on modern maps. The Inner Moray Firth is a designated as a Special Protection Area to help to ensure wildlife conservation.

This area of the Scottish coast is well known for whales and dolphins and sighting them has become a popular pastime with visitors to the firth. Bottlenose dolphin and the harbour porpoise are the species you are most likely to spot, although you may be lucky enough top catch a glimpse of the common dolphin and the minke whale. There is a wildlife viewing area located at Chanonry Point which plays host to wonderful displays of dolphins within the inner Moray Firth. Visitor centres at Spey Bay and North Kessock, run by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, are also a good spot to see dolphins and other wildlife.

The area has many paths and trails to get you out into the wonderful countryside of the Moray area. The Moray Firth Trail is a popular route, although it is not one continuous pathway but a network of paths running around 450 miles of coastline. The trail offers an ideal way to experience the fantastic highland and coastal scenery and is part of the larger North Sea Trail which is shared by six European countries with North Sea heritage.

Off road cycling, or mountain biking, is very popular in the Moray Firth area. You could cycle for days on the various tracks that criss-cross the many Forest Enterprise plantations. Rides through Culbin and Roseisle Forest are particularly popular, as is the Moray Coast Ride. More committed off-roaders might like a have a crack at the Moray Monster Trails, a challenging ride from three linked locations, Whiteash, Ordiequish and Ben Aigan.

Horse riding is a great way to enjoy the unique Moray environment and the Moray Equestrian Access Group works hard to open up suitable areas for horse riding. There are many harbours along the firth, a legacy of the area’s fishing history. Today, the harbours also shelter the many pleasure boats that enjoy the waters of the Moray Firth

More British Natural features?

Other Grampian Naturals

River Spey
River Don

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