RAF bombs may have spooked whales
Experts at the Scottish Agricultural College said the explosion at nearby Cape Wrath bombing range may have caused the pod of pilot whales to flee the area and end up stranded in the estuary at the Kyle of Durness.
Volunteers spent hours trying to guide the whales back out to sea on Friday and Saturday but 16 became beached and perished.
Dr Andrew Brownlow, veterinary investigations officer with the college, said: "One explanation is that they were spooked by something further out to sea. This could include underwater noise such as an explosion."