Scotland @Laetitia Scuiller

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Activities and leisures

The dolphin watching sport situated on the shores of the Moray Firth is accessible to all within a short walking distance. This is an environmentally friendly cetacean watching activity, with the...
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has laid out an observation centre along the estuary of the Spey River in order to watch dolphins and study their behaviours.
This family-owned company controls the entire salmon and sea trout processing chain, from fishing through to export, while adopting an eco-responsible approach.
The Standing Stones of Callanish are a remarkable megalithic site - the most popular site in Scotland - The group of raised stones arranged in a circle dates back to prehistoric times and are aligned...
Harris Island is a place worth discovering. Its wild and bright west coast features the best of the natural beauty of Scottish landscapes.
An exceptional address to enjoy local sea fruits.
St Kilda is an outstanding island listed as UNESCO World Heritage since 1986. It is one of the 24 sites in the world to be listed both for their natural and cultural heritage.
The most reliable and most suited option to discover the wild splendour of St Kilda and the Hebrides Islands.
Une excellente adresse pour déguster les fruits de mer locaux et profiter de la très belle vue sur mer dans une ambiance chaleureuse et authentique.
A stay in a lighthouse above the Straits of Minch is perfect spot for whales-watching !
Located on the seafront, this former fishing village is made up of superb traditional and sustainable homes: the blackhouses.
Wild and isolated islands off the coast of the Hebrides, the Shiant islands are a major breeding ground for puffins, murres and razorbills in the northern hemisphere.
The glass bottom boat is accessible to all to discover the seabed of the Loch Gairloch.
A naturalist outing is an unmissable experience to discover the marine biodiversity of Gairloch Bay.
Archipel
Geographic strenghts

Scotland offers a wide range of unique landscapes that confer this country with an unparalleled charm. The Scottish Highlands, planed and polished by ice during the hundreds of thousand years of the Pleistocene era, are home to a multitude of lakes, lochs, rivers as well as torrents rushing down the slopes and through the forests, meadows, peatland, or even bare rocks. The remarkable landscapes are the signature of this country that evokes strong emotions. The first human settlements in Scotland may go back to after the disappearance of ice. There are many remains of structures built after this era such as stone lines, raised stones and cairns, which are present in numbers in the northern part of the country and in the Hebrides islands. Two out of the four sites in Scotland have indeed been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the island of St Kilda and the Neolithic site Orkney Isles. This country with a surface area of 78,000km² has more than 9,000km of coasts and 790 islands that are mainly scattered in its western part! Scotland is located 30km away from Ireland and about 300km from Norway and exchanges between the peoples have been taking place since the distant past.

Environmental background

The country has chosen to take advantage of the natural elements, which are traditionally regarded as hostile but which ultimately prove to be valuable allies in the context of the new environmental concerns. Winds, currents and tides are some of the natural sources of energy that Scotland has decided to use through highly innovative and promising projects currently under development. The geographical location of Scotland is a considerable advantage as the country enjoys ideal exposure to winds. While in other parts of Europe, the average performance of the equipment compared with their maximum capacity is around, it reaches 40% in Scotland and even exceeds 50% at some wind farms! Wind power developments are planned both on land and offshore. Electricity produced from wind energy amounted to 3.5GW in 2009, including 2GW from land-based facilities. Nonetheless, ambitious goals have been set and it is forecast that 80% of the alternative energy produced in 2020 would be generated from wind power. Production was on schedule in 2011 and it should be noted that with only 8% of the inhabitants of the UK, Scotland produces 37% of the State’s ‘clean’ energy. Scottish Renewables also claims that the production of electricity from wind power has contributed to avoiding the emission of 4 million tonnes of CO2 in 2010. According to Renewable Energy, the eleven sites identified should generate 10GW of electricity in 2020. Scotland has a vast maritime domain that it seeks to exploit in a sustainable manner. Various public and private organisations are responsible for its management in the best interest of the population and taking into account its economy. As early as 1980, different marine areas have been developed such as Marine Consultation Areas (MCAs) aimed at containing the pressure generated by economic development. There are today nearly 240 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) protecting 2.4 million acres of sea and coasts in Scotland. SACs help in protecting various ecosystems such as sandbanks, reefs, islets, estuaries and marine caves, as well as various marine species such as bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops Truncatus), whose observation by tourists is becoming a major economic issue locally, common seals (Phoca Vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus Grypus), which are the focus of particular attention. Since 2009, 31 extensions have been added to the SACs in the marine domains of Scotland in order to protect in their breeding areas various species of birds in Scotland such as Northern gannets in St Kilda, great skuas and turrs along the coasts of the Hebrides. It is also to be noted that Scotland has adopted the recommendations of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee for the preservation of various species such as blue whales, killer whales, humpback whales, Minke whales, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, cods, herrings, maerl and freshwater mussels. The government of Scotland is seriously considering the setting up of vast protected marine areas in order to protect sea mammals in a marine area stretching between the northwestern coast and the string of islands of the Hebrides.

Nautical events

Various attractive nautical events are held in Scotland. Below are three important events: The West Highland Yachting Week Sixty-five years after its launch, this regatta is an immense success. Up to a thousand boats can be brought to participate in races on a vast stretch of water with Oban and Tobermory as the epicentres. This regatta takes place towards end July/early August each year. Its special characteristic is that it moves from marina to marina as the race progresses. The boats coming from the south of Scotland gather at Gigha Island before racing each other towards Craobh, while other leave Oban to reach the marina of Craobh. Ultimately, everyone meets in Oban, then in Tobermory. Registration is made on a class basis. Besides the Spinnaker category where real competitors can race each other, there are four other classes which allow less experienced navigators to enjoy the fantastic landscapes and the friendly atmosphere. Young children – accompanied, of course – are also allowed to go onboard during the regattas. The race counts two IRC classes and the handicap system of the Clyde Yacht Club is applied. The Portsoy Traditional Boats Festival is held every year in June. The boats gather at this port, which was the first one to be built on the coast from the Moray to Aberdeen towards 1550. It is still possible to admire the remains of the first reconstruction works undertaken in 1692, which add a special charm to the place. The charming village is as interesting with several buildings from the same period and beautiful, narrow lanes leading to the port. It is an excellent opportunity to renew in a festive way the maritime tradition of Scotland and to fill up with remarkable images. Traditional craft initiation sessions are also organised, amongst others shipbuilding, weaving and embroidery, while various traditional music bands provide entertainment in the streets and the pubs. The Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series is a regatta launched in 1974 and remains one of the biggest nautical events in Scotland. The race takes place over 4 days in May, starting from the port of Tarbert, on the bank of Loch Fine. This is a major event for this small town, with a temporary doubling of its population. Tarbert is located 95 miles to the west of Glasgow. Not less than 100 boats take place in the race held under IRC regulations. The show on the waters of the loch are worth it, both for the competitors and for the spectators, who are welcomed with open arms for this colourful and vibrant event.

Other feature

The land of Gaels, Scotia in Latin, originally referred to neighbouring Ireland, before the Gael people came to settle down in what is now the west of Scotland (History of Ireland by Stephen Gwynn). Between 1300 and 700 BC, Scotland took part in trade between the different neighbouring regions, including the British Isles, Brittany in France, Galicia and Andalucía. This period named the Atlantic Bronze Age is evidenced by the discovery of metal objects with similar workmanship in these different Celtic regions. A long-standing pioneering spirit The Education Act of 1496 placed Scotland, after Sparta in Greece, among the first countries to make public education generally available. The Treaty of Union became effective in 1707, making official the political union between Scotland and England and thus forming the United Kingdom. The country enjoyed exceptional growth in the 18th century. Its intellectual and economic influence was then felt throughout Europe and in the world. The abolition of taxes on trade with England generated unprecedented growth. Trade developed mainly with the American New World. It was during that period that Glasgow became the largest commercial port in the world based on the import of tobacco from Virginia aboard clippers. The intellectual influence of Scotland was undeniable with the advent of philosophers, economists, researchers and intellectuals such as Adam Smith, Robert Burns, Adam Ferguson and James Hutton. More than two centuries later, the country continues to demonstrate exceptional economic dynamism. The nation seems to stand up to the challenges and shows great ability in adapting to the fast pace of the modern world. Scotland remains, with Edinburgh, a major global financial marketplace and is becoming a leader in sustainable economic development through investment in renewable energies, despite being richly endowed in natural resources with oil from the North Sea.

In short

Scotland is renowned for its pristine natural beauty, its strong Celtic identity and its fantastic landscapes, which attract more than 20 million tourists every year. The clear waters of its lochs, its steep cliffs colonised by seabirds and its various rocky islets battered by the swell of the Atlantic Ocean combine to offer visitors a host of activities. The country’s extremely rich cultural heritage has its origins in prehistoric times and in an outstanding recent history, which can be discovered through its Megalithic sites, castles, cities and harbours, amongst others. Local authorities are aware of the wealth of natural resources and of the energy potential stemming from the wind, sea currents and tides. They have implemented ambitious economic development programmes based on alternative energy generation, once again putting the country at the forefront of Europe’s economy.

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Ouessant put on agricultural recovery in the fight against wasteland

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Atlantic: draft of whale sanctuary scuddled

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Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Park : whale watching strengthened rules

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TripAdvisor boycotts attractions with wild animals

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Moorea: the biophonie, a persuasive tool for underwater monitoring

Following four months of records, scientists from Island Research Centre and Environment Observatory (Criobe) in Moorea demonstrated that underwater acoustics is very efficient to identify healthy environment and that marine protected areas are effective. A monitoring has been conducted in four MPAs of the island and four non-protected areas, and has clearly helped to differentiate the two.

Scotland: the largest protection area for porpoises in Europe

The Scottish Government has confirmed the creation of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) of 13,540 km2 in the Hebrides for the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) which is a protected species. If porpoises are still the most common cetaceans in European waters and around the UK, their numbers tend to decline because of marine pollution and drowning related incidental catches.