SCOTLAND offers some truly spectacular coastline, and while summer may not always offer us sunbathing weather, one alternative way to enjoy a beach day is to don a wetsuit, grab a snorkel kit and explore the hidden world beneath the surface. Snorkelling is becoming increasingly popular with three official snorkel trails already created by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

However, when snorkelling in Scotland it’s important to never snorkel in extreme or rough weather conditions, to never interfere or touch jellyfish or other marine life, and to never snorkel alone. While there are plenty of sites suitable for snorkelling around the country, here are six spots that should reward intrepid underwater explorers.

Eyemouth Beach, Berwickshire

An ideal spot for first-time snorkellers, the historic town of Eyemouth is graced with a sandy north-facing beach popular with outdoor enthusiasts. The beach is easily accessible and snorkellers can ease themselves in gradually.

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Crabs and starfish can be spotted from the rockier outcrops to the north of the bay. Keep an eye out for squat lobsters in the submerged rockpools – you might also spot other fish species sheltering in the seaweed.

Carragraich Bay, Isle of Harris

Just three miles from the village of Tarbert is Carragraich Bay – a perfect place to explore the underwater realm with its kelp-covered reefs and cliff faces. Beginners can easily stick close to shore thanks to its sheltered position and should keep to the right of the bay while more advanced snorkellers should venture further along the coast.

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Snorkellers can also observe the colourful algae populating rock faces, and spot urchins, crabs, fish and the occasional lobster lurking in between the fronds of kelp. Carragraich Bay forms part of the North Harris Snorkel Trail.

Achmelvich Bay, North West Highlands

In the summer months, Achmelvich Bay near Lochinver is bustling with all manner of water sports enthusiasts, thanks to a campsite close by and its proximity to the North Coast 500 tourist route.

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The pristine white sandy beach has rocky outcrops on both sides, making it easy to explore the marine habitat. The beach is also a popular fishing spot with cod, haddock, whiting, pollock, saithe and mackerel prevalent.

Dunbar, East Lothian

Roughly 30 miles east of Edinburgh, Dunbar is blessed with a high number of sunny days and its rugged coastline makes it a perfect location to don a mask and snorkel. There’s a sheltered snorkelling enclave close to the shore and some deeper channels of water where marine life can be found. Other water sports are also available in Dunbar. It’s a lovely town too so take advantage of the shops, pubs and cafes.

Gruinard Bay, Ross and Cromarty

Gruinard Bay, with its three beaches, is a popular spot with visitors as it offers spectacular scenery, rocky coves, and vibrant pink sands. For some fun low-tide exploration, the headland at the north end of the bay is a good place to start.

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This is where the sand turns to rocky shore, seagrass and kelp, providing fish, shellfish and other marine life with cover. Rare and fragile maerl (a purple-pink hard seaweed that forms spiky underwater “carpets” on the seabed) can also be spotted here.

An Dun, North West Highlands

One mile from Gairloch you will find the An Dun headland. At low tide the sheltered lagoon is home to juvenile fish and other small marine creatures. For a more advanced snorkelling trail head to the outer side of the headland (caution: requires a scramble over slippery boulders) where you can find kelp forests, shellfish and other marine fish.

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The area around An Dun offers scenic views stretching north to the peaks of Assynt and has plenty of rocky coastline to explore – and if you’re lucky you might even spot whales further offshore.

l To visit one of Scotland’s snorkel trails head to scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/things-to-do/snorkel-trails