Nature Lovers

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Nature Lovers are spoilt for choice on the Morayshire and Aberdeenshire Coasts. We've put together a list of some of the best ways to encounter all manner of species in their natural habitat. Just make sure you’re mindful of disturbance and, though it goes without saying, leave nothing but footprints.

With mile upon mile of rugged coastline, unspoilt woodland, meandering creeks and clifftop meadows, it’s no surprise that the Moray Firth is home to a diverse array of wildlife.

The North East is especially renowned for its rich marine life and is one of the best places in the UK to spot dolphins, basking sharks, grey seals, seabirds and even humpback whales.

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The Loch of Strathbeg is a designated Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation purposes. It is located near to Rattray and Crimond in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The loch is maintained by the RSPB and around the loch there are three hides from which visitors may watch the birds and other wildlife


  1. RSPB Loch of Strathbeg
  2. RSPB Loch Spynie Nature Reserve
  3. Forvie National Nature Reserve
  4. RSPB Troup Head Nature Reserve
  5. Huntly Falcony Centre
  6. Scottish Dolphin Centre
  7. National Trust Haddo House
  8. The Linn Falls
  9. Guide Boat Charter
  10. Ythanbank Reindeer

Aberdeenshire is well known for the richness of its wildlife.  Many sites, species and habitats across Aberdeenshire are protected by law. NatureScot provides details on Scotland’s protected species and protected habitats and sites.

All wildlife is important but some species have special protection through European and UK legislation. See the NatureScot website for details of species protection. 

The Scottish Biodiversity List and the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership identify other nationally and locally important species (PDF 137KB). These are considered to be species which are rare or under threat at a national or local level, or for which this area is a stronghold.

More To Explore...

Gannet colony at troup head is one of the biggest colonies in the UK. They are distinctively shaped with a long neck and long pointed beak. Often travelling in small groups they feed by flying high before plunging into the sea to catch fish.

RSPB Troup Head

The high cliffs of Troup Head provide a spectacular setting for Scotland’s largest mainland gannet colony.

The high cliffs of Troup Head provide a spectacular setting for Scotland’s largest mainland gannet colony. There are also thousands of kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills here, along with several other species, including puffins.


As voted by National Geographic Top Rated Places to Visit – “A wonderful region of Scotland. Beaches are fantastic, and the area welcomes visitors as one of their own. Largely rural. People work together for the greater good–fishermen tolerate canoeists; farmers allow walkers to pass over their land on footpaths, etc.”

Cycling through forest


There are exciting cycling routes east, west and south of Sandend Holidays.

Cycling is a very popular activity in Aberdeenshire and Morayshire.

The location allows for a range of riding, from leisurely family saunders to adrenalin-fuelled downhill MTB routes.

The area is also popular for road rides and long-distance cycle touring

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