Explore above & below Scotland's most beautiful coastal region

Argyll & the Isles is a stunning region characterised by forested peninsulas, sinuous sea lochs, beautiful coastlines, and craggy islands. Its marine environment is of international significance, being home to the first Mission Blue Hope Spot in Scotland and mainland UK and it has some of the darkest skies in Europe.

Above and Below Trails

The self-led Above & Below trails feature key sites for wild swimming, snorkelling, beach hunts, sunsets and dark skies along Scotland’s Adventure Coast.

These self-led trails have been developed in partnership with NatureScot and the Scottish Wildlife Trust to encourage local people and visitors to slow down and look Above and Below the typical scenic delights, highlighting great places to snorkel, wild swim, beach hunt, watch beautiful sunsets or marvel at dark skies.

Strong community input and safety considerations are at the fore with important tips and local insight provided for each site.

The creation of the trails along coastal sites helps to tell stories of the marine wildlife, sunsets and dark sky experiences on offer.

In particular, community-led organisations such as Argyll Coast and Islands Hope Spot, Adventure Oban, Seawilding and Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation plus local outdoor business operators Dan the Merman, Basking Shark Scotland and Heathery Heights were key to identifying the best sites along this diverse stretch of coastline.

Seawilding are the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project. Snorkellers can get involved in local ocean recovery efforts by connecting with Seawilding.

Immerse your senses Above & Below

The Above and Below trails encompass the Sound of Jura, Firth of Lorne and Loch Linnhe. The trail sites reflect the diverse beauty and value of the marine region. The trails highlight local facilities and family-friendly attractions such as the Ocean Explorer Centre, all for a wonderful day out.

Our trails will encourage everyone to experience these special places responsibly, ensuring they can be enjoyed long in to the future.

In particular, the snorkelling trail has been developed with the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It is the seventh trail in the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s growing network, which aim to make oceans more accessible and to connect people with the incredible marine life found in Scottish seas.

Some of the snorkelling locations, such as the stunning Ganavan Sands, are hubs of activity whilst others, such as Queenie Reef, feel like a true wilderness adventure.

Get your Above & Below Map

The trails and the new Above and Below map and guide were launched at Asknish Bay at the Loch Melfort Hotel south of Oban.

Printed versions are available locally to encourage local exploration and an interactive map and downloadable guide with more information can be found here