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Staff at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and Visitor Centre have welcomed a temporary resident, whale watcher Craig Mackie, a volunteer with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT).
His home during his month-long stay will be a keeper’s cottage at the lighthouse.
Craig originally hails from Fife, but is currently based in Oban where he is studying Marine Science with the Scottish Association for Marine Science -University of Highlands and Islands.
In July this year, Craig answered an advert placed by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, for a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in the month-long placement at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse. The placement is part of a trial to develop the Hebridean Whale Trail, which launches next year and will be the first of its kind in the UK.
The trail will be a network of around 25 world-class whale-watching and whale heritage sites, and will aim to promote Scotland as one of Europe’s best destinations for spotting whales, dolphins and porpoises.
At the most westerly point on the British mainland, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse has been guiding ships safely through the waters off Scotland’s west coast since 1849. The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust operate a busy visitor centre and cafe, offering the chance to learn more about Scottish lighthouses, and the flora and fauna of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Minke whales, harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphins are just some of the amazing marine species regularly sighted in the surrounding waters.
On Sunday August 19, Craig and colleagues from HWDT, ran a community whale watch at the lighthouse. The weather was excellent for whale watching, and members of the local community and holidaymakers were treated to visits by two Minke Whales, two Bottlenosed Dolphins and more than 10 Common Dolphins, as well as aerial displays by duelling skuas and gannets.
Craig will be on watch at the lighthouse daily between noon and 4pm until September 7, and is holding two further Community Whale Watch days on consecutive Sundays, August 26 and September 2. He is always glad of an extra pair of eyes and will give tips and pointers for spotting the beautiful cetaceans that inhabit or visit our local waters.
If you do not get a chance to pop along to the lighthouse but would still like to take part in whale watching, you can visit the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s website at hwdt.org or download its Whale Track app to get whale watching information and report sightings.
Information on how to get to the lighthouse and opening times can be found on the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse website at ardnamurchanlighthouse.com or visit their Facebook page.
Whale watchers at Ardnamurchan Lightehouse on Sunday for the first Community Whale Watch. NO F34 Ard Lighthouse 01
Craig Mackie. NO F34 Ard Lighthouse 02