On the second day of our coach trip we started with two brief picture stops near Inverness. Both were on the Moray Firth, the second one on Dornoch Firth that cuts further inland from Moray Firth. Many rivers culminate into these firths and the result of the union is a great diversity of landscapes and life.
Our kilted tour guide, Ross, was an avid photographer and very passionate naturalist. I think such people make perfect tour guides because their passion rubs off on the tourists.
This is the great Moray Firth which is home to seals and dolphins. We did see a snout or two jut out of water at a distance. Rivers such as Ness, Findhorn, and Spey drain into the firth.
On clearer days, it seems many of these seals are out on the bay simply lazing around. But because the weather was mirky, the bay was all but abandoned.
The colourful flora around the waters and the brilliant light that cast spectacular reflections in the water still made it worth it for us to stop and spend a few minutes.
This was the second stop.The River Oykel that drains into Dornoch Firth which is a smaller Firth cutting in from the Moray Forth. The River Oykel is the migration path of the North Atlantic Salmon that swims up the river to reach its preferred spawning site in the fresh water.
Here is the River Oykel with green and purple banks. The purple colour is mostly because of heather, a plant that grows in the bogs and is the main source of the fuel, peat.
Beautiful pink flowers! I haven't yet been able to find out their name. I will update the post once I do. But these add a lot of colour and character to the landscape. They grow in wild abandon, undisturbed by human intervention.
Right next to the River Oykel is Struie Hill, which is the vantage point from where we took a couple of photos and headed to our next stop of the trip. I will soon write about it.