Orca Watch 2018 Watch Sites & Info

Duncansby Head remains the main watch site for the Orca Watch event. However, this year we’re looking for your help to expand the data collection to other sites in North Scotland, Orkney and Shetland.

To take part, you’ll need a watch form (click here) and appropriate clothing and optics for looking for cetaceans from a cliff top.

You could conduct a watch from whatever site you like, but here is our list of recommended watch sites for Orca Watch 2018:

 

North Caithness Coast

 

Duncansby Head    Join us at Duncansby Head, the main Orca Watch watch site.                                                free Car Park

John O’Groats       Orca often seen passing                                                                                                            free Car Park/toilets/refreshments

Gills Bay               Seal haul out, Orca often seen in Stroma Sound                                                                       watch from Lay-By

St Johns Point      Orca can be seen passing, and a good view of the seal haul out NW Stroma                            long walk from the parking

Dunnet Head       Good view across Pentland Firth                                                                                                RSPB Car Park

Holborn Head Other dolphins, whales and orca can pass very close to shore                                                         long walk

 

 Duncansby Head Dedicated Orca Watches:

 

Day

Date

Start Time

Finish Time

Saturday

26/05/18

6am

12pm

Sunday

27/05/18

6:30am

12:30pm

Monday

28/05/18

7am

1pm

Tuesday

29/05/18

8am

2pm

Wednesday

30/05/18

8:30am

2:30pm

Thursday

31/05/18

9am

3pm

Friday

01/06/18

9:30am

3:30pm

Saturday

02/06/18

10am

4pm

Sunday

03/06/18

11am

5pm

 

                                                                                                 

East Coast Caithness

 

Noss Head  Good coverage of Sinclair Bay Orca often seen here                                                                                 parking not easy, long walk

Wick South or North of Wick River.  Orca often seen close to shore near Estuary.                                                      car parking                                                                                   

Sarclet Nr Thrumster          Seal haul out Orca hunt here                                                                                              free parking short walk

Whalegoe Steps Ulbster     Orca often seen passing here                                                          free Small Car Park sighting  possible from there or top of steps

Lybster.                      Orca often seen heading North close to shore and seen heading South further offshore           long walk, rough ground

                                             

 

Orkney

 

Burwick South Ronaldsay   View of South entrance in and out of Scapa Flow                                                             parking, not a problem                    

Hoxa Head South Ronaldsay  Good location for spotting Orca                                                                                     park then long walk

Stromness    Orca often seen in Bring Deep and Hoy Sound using West entrance to Scapa Flow                                best viewpoints not known

Birsay, North West Mainland Orkney. Seal haul out where Orca are seen.                                                                   free parking          

 

 

 

Shetland

Sumburgh Head, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                        Car parking 

Mousa Sound, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                             Car parking 

Eshaness, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                                     Car parking 

Nesting, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                                        Car parking 

Hillswick, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                                      Car parking

Fair Isle, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                                      Car parking 

Noss Sound, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                                 Car parking 

Sumburgh Head, Shetland. Good location for spotting Orcas.                                                                                        Car parking and facilities 

 

 

KRISTINA STEINMETZ and LIAM MASON have been absolutely amazing and produced LOCATION MAPS on our behalf of the Pentland First area and some suggested view points for watching out for orca. With these location maps people will know exactly where to go, which facilities are there as well knowing who to contact for more information.

 

Location map of the Pentland  Firth, with suggested viewpoints for watching out for orcas. Copyright: Liam Mason

Location map of the Pentland Firth, with suggested viewpoints for watching out for orcas. Copyright: Liam Mason

 

Here’s are four maps for each location site (including viewpoints where to look out for orcas): 1) North Caithness, 2) East Caithness, 3) Orkney, 4) Shetland

North Caithness. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz

North Caithness Location Map. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz

 

East Caithness. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz.

East Caithness Location Map. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz.

 

 

Orkney. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz.

Orkney Location Map. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz.

 

Shetland Location Map. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz.

Shetland Location Map. Copyright: Kristina Steinmetz.

If you are unsure about any aspect of data collection, please contact info@seawatchfoundation.org.uk.

If you have any questions about the suggested watch locations, please contact Orca Watch founder, Colin Bird.

If you would like to be kept up to date with Orca Watch events and news please email our lead volunteer, Anna Jemmett. You could also join our Orca Watch Facebook group.