Atlantic salmon (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
The freshwaters of Harris are crystal clear or peat stained as the rain falling on our catchments flows over hard bare rock and is filtered as it passes through the peaty soils. There is little erosion and the water in our lochs and streams tends be nutrient poor and acidic, with very few suspended soil particles and low densities of plankton. So on the one hand the crystal clear water is indicative of a lack of food, making life tough for all but the most resourceful species. On the other hand the clarity makes it is easier for us to observe what is going on beneath the surface. If you look in the right places, there are fascinating plants and aquatic invertebrates. You can find some of these by searching the shorelines and perhaps lifting up a stone, but others are so tiny you can only see them through a magnifying glass or microscope.
The rivers and lochs of Harris are best known for their atlantic salmon, sea trout and brown trout. As well as attracting thousands of visiting anglers every year, these fish are food for otters, mink, herons and even sea eagles.
by Katherine RossNext Section