A POD of approximately 150 Common Dolphin visited Ullapool and Lochbroom on Saturday 20th.
A number of dolphin were spotted from the harbour in Ullapool in the early hours and concerns were raised when it was established that the pod was a large one and was heading towards shallow waters at the head of the loch where there was a risk of stranding.
Ullapool Harbour Master Kevin Peach contacted Noel Hawkins who works on the local tour boat The Summer Queen and also attended a British Divers Marine Life Rescue course on how to deal with whale and dolphin strandings held in Ullapool earlier this year, and a boat was sent out to monitor the pod.
Mr Hawkins explained: “I have encountered large pods such as this further out at sea and at the Summer Islands many times but I have never seen a pod of this size so far in the loch close to the shore.
“It is also strange as it is very late in the year for them. The pod contained large adults and a number of juveniles and appeared to be hunting fish up and down the loch.
“We observed them for a few hours as did many members of the public who could see the animals from the main road and banks of Lochbroom, and the animals showed no sign of distress or abnormal activity.”
He continued: As night fell we lost visual contact with the animals but will continue to observe if they remain in the area.
“This year has been outstanding for dolphin and whale activity in and around Lochbroom and the Summer Isles which has been great for wildlife enthusiasts and watchers, but is also a reminder of the importance of the work and training carried out by groups like the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and we have only this week confirmed another marine medic course for Ullapool in March 2013.
“I would like to urge anyone interested to come along and help ensure we can look after these wonderful creatures if a situation like the strandings we have witnessed at Fife this year and Durness last year were to happen on our coastline.
“Hopefully we will never have to put it into practice but it is important that we have trained people available if required.”