Neist Point in Glendale is undisputedly the finest place on the Isle of Skye for watching whales, dolphins, porpoise and basking shark, with pods being resident from May through to September. The peak months are June and July, when sightings of Minke Whales become almost a daily event.
The Minke Whales often approach within 5 to 10 metres of the shore, giving spectacular views and the amazing opportunity to hear them 'blow' as they surface.
To get the best views, choose a day when the sea is flat calm and pick your way carefully to the water's edge between the end of the point and the lighthouse. Find a comfortable rock, with a good view either side, sit and wait... patiently!
Minke Whales often carry distinguishing marks, such as the one in the photograph (top right) that has a red, diagonal scar (\) on its left flank below the dorsal fin. Their commonest colouration is jet black but some individuals, believed to be juveniles, appear blueish with pale flanks.
For the closest views, Neist Point is the best place on Skye. They are also regularly seen off Lower Milovaig and have come inside Loch Pooltiel.
Common Dolphins are regularly seen in the Minch off Lower Milovaig and also off Neist Point during the summer months. They are also seen occasionally in Loch Dunvegan as far up as the Three Chimneys at Colbost.
These are the basic features that distinguish Glendale's commonest cetaceans:
There were at least four minke whales in the Minch off Neist Point, with some very close approaches in the afternoon. There were at least four harbour porpoises off Neist in the afternoon, with three in Moonen Bay.
There were c.30 bottlenose dolphins close in at the point in the morning (Nick & Charlotte - Cetacean Watch UK).
Orcas John Coe and Aquarius were far out off-shore from 10am onwards and came very close in at Neist Point around mid-day before heading over towards Harris (Nick & Charlotte, Cetacean Watch UK - Insta).
There was also a minke whale off Neist (Donald Shields).
There was a pod of about 30 common dolphins in outer Loch Pooltiel at around 5:30pm that split and a group of 10 came into the loch as far as the black beach.
Killer whales are occasionally seen off the Neist Point and Milovaig. They have a distinctive large, upright dorsal fin.
This camcorder footage of a pod of killer whales was taken at Neist Point on July 23rd, 2008 by Matt Swain.
Harbour Porpoises are most often seen in the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, off Meanish Pier, with pods of up to 12 being present throughout the Summer. Another fairly good place for them is Moonen Bay, very close inshore, at the point where Loch Mor flows into the sea.
Basking sharks are Britain's largest fish and are totally unrelated to true sharks. They float around with their white, dustbin-like mouths wide open hoovering up plankton.
They are very common in the sheltered coves around Neist, Oisgill and Milovaig during the Summer months.