There’s some outstanding scenery and wildlife around the shores of the Moray Firth. Stretching from high cliffs and rocky shores in Caithness to the long sandy beaches and dunes of Sutherland, Moray and Aberdeenshire, much of the coastline exposes Old Red Sandstone compressed from sediments laid down on the floor of Lake Orcadie during the Devonian period c. 400 million years ago. The rock is now transformed into high seabird cliffs, narrow castle promontories, and has revealed many fish fossilised in its layers.
The Moray Firth Partnership remit covers North Sea waters up to 12 miles from the coastline, and includes deep seas, estuaries and shallow coastal margins of sandbanks, horse mussel beds, saltmarsh, mudflats and seagrass beds. These each support their own communities of plants and animals, foraging fish and birds. It’s a richness of life that makes the Moray Firth important for many species including bottlenose dolphins, harbour seals, internationally important populations of wintering waterbirds, and summer breeding seabirds.
Eleven rivers feed into the Firth, including some of the most famous salmon river names in Scotland. The rivers connect land and sea, with salmon and trout at home in both waters.
Bounding the much of the Firth are rich, well-drained soils that are farmed or are of natural woodland or plantation forestry. Ospreys breed in a number of the woods, catching fish in the Firth and lochs during the summer.
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