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Bring a (thick) wetsuit.

Jess McHugh
July 27, 2017

While it might be better known for its high castles, lush greenery, and bone-chilling damp, Scotland is now becoming a snorkeling destination.

And what it lacks in warm weather it makes up for in beautiful views and an abundance of sea life.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust established a "snorkel trail" in the Northwest Highlands in July 2016 as an attempt to draw more nature tourists. The trail includes nine stops on beaches and bays along the Scottish coast where divers can see urchins, starfish, and even some porpoises, seals, and sharks.

The trail is self-led with plans to add instructors to parts of it. It also serves the double purpose of educating locals and tourists about climate change.

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“Scotland needs healthy living seas that can adapt to climate change. The snorkel trail will encourage more people to explore the fragile habitats below the waves and the marine life they support, whilst also helping to raise awareness of the need to protect them," Noel Hawkins, a representative from the Trust, said at the time.

The trust also created a smaller trail in North Harris this month to extend the project to six more beaches.

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Snorkeling in Scotland still might be best suited to the summer months — equipped with a thick wetsuit — with water temperatures remaining in the 50-degree Fahrenheit range even in July. Luckily, any brave souls who plunge off the coast of Scotland can warm up with a whiskey in a nearby pub or distillery.

With transatlantic flights to Europe already on sale for 2018, it might be time to start planning your Scottish snorkeling adventure.

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