Window into Scotland’s remote underwater world

Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage
Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage
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A rare glimpse at the seabed in one the remotest corners of Scotland has revealed a remarkable underwater world.

Scientists from Scottish Natural Heritage and Edinburgh Heriot Watt examined sites in St Kilda and North Rona off the main outer Hebrides last year.

Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage

Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage

They found an abundance of colourful sealife thriving in what they described as the “edge of the world”.

The archipelago of St Kilda was abandoned in 1930 when the 36 remaining islanders left while North Rhona is an uninhabited island which lies off Scotland’s north west coast.

Dan Harries said: “The cave entrances were teeming with life, from kelp to colourful sponges, se-squirts, bryozoans and anemones with many other species hiding between them.

“Deeper inside the caves in the true darkness where the light no longer reached, life was scarcer, but sponges, sea-squirts, anemones and bryozoans still occurred. Overall the caves looked in good condition without signs of damage - as expected in such a remote location.”

Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage

Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage

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Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage

Picture: Scottish Natural Heritage