Focus Follow Up: Harris
Our February issue’s Focus is on Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides – and here’s a wee bonus on the best place for eagle spotting!
The North Harris Eagle Observatory is located seven miles to the north-west of Tarbert.
Constructed from local timber, with a turf roof and glazed windows, it boasts commanding views up Glen Meavaig and blends into the scenery, giving plenty opportunity to spot the area’s resident golden eagles.
The Observatory is part of the Outer Hebrides Bird of Prey Trail which starts at Craigston on Barra and ends at Loch Stiapabhat on the northern tip of Lewis.
“One of the highest densities of golden eagles”
With a population of just 400 pairs, the golden eagle is a rare sight across much of Scotland. Harris, however, is a stronghold supporting one of the highest densities of breeding golden eagles recorded in Europe.
The rugged Harris terrain provides a fantastic habitat for the eagle, and the absence of predatory mammals such as foxes means that more food is available not only to the eagles but to other winged predators, as well.
In many parts of Scotland there has been a long history of illegal persecution, but on Harris the eagles have largely been left to their own devices. Around 20 pairs of golden eagles are resident on the island.
A Naturalist’s Dream
In addition to golden eagles, sea eagles are also regularly seen in the glen, particularly during the winter when they come inland to feed on deer carcasses and salmon.
During the summer, several species of moorland birds frequent the glen including merlin, golden plover, greenshank, stonechat and wheatear. It is, in short, a naturalist’s dream.
Discover more of Harris and Lewis in our nine-page Focus in our February issue – out now!
How To Get There
Three miles north of Tarbert on the A859, turn left on to the B887 towards Huisinis. After four miles you will reach Mevaig. The road runs right around the sea loch. At the head of the loch, there is a car park with a stone wall surrounding it. Adjacent to the carpark is a gated track leading north up Glen Mevaig. The Observatory is a 2km walk up this track from the car park -about 30 minutes. The Observatory is open to the public all year round.