Our land is an area of exceptional nature conservation value, hosting many nationally and internationally important species and habitats. Due to its island situation, our land is heavily influenced by the sea., and the adjacent North Atlantic gives rise to a climate characterised by frequent rain, strong winds, cool summers, and mild winters.
Although these climactic conditions are hostile to many species, they provide an ideal situation for some. From the kelp forests of the foreshore through flower-rich machair, lochans, blanket bog and wet heath to the alpine grassland of the high slopes and summits, North Harris is home to otters, atlantic salmon, freshwater pearl mussels, a myriad of specialist plants, mosses and liverworts, plus many breeding birds of conservation importance such as arctic tern, golden plover, greenshank, merlin and red-throated divers – their mournful calls such a feature of a Harris summer.
North Harris Environmental Designations
Approximately half of North Harris is covered by three overlapping environmental designations which gives this area the highest level of conservation protection available under current legislation.
North Harris Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI)
SSSI Statement of Importance
North Harris Special Area for Conservation (SAC)
SAC Qualifying Interests
North Harris Mountains Special Protection Area (SPA)
Dùthchas na Hearadh
Chan eil sgaradh soilleir ri lorg sna Hearadh eadar nàdar agus daoine. Bha Hearaich a’ fuireach air feadh na h-oighreachd o chionn ghoirid, agus chì sibh tobhtaichean, àirighean, agus fada a bharrachd ge b’ e far a thèid sibh. Tha gach pàirt den oighreachd a’ tighinn a-steach dhan dùthchas againn, agus ’s ann tro leansa an dùthchais a bhios Urras Ceann a Tuath na Hearadh ag obair. Tha dleastanasan againn air feadh na h-oighreachd, agus tha an oighreachd air fad mar phàirt den fhearann againn. Nì sinn ar dìcheall a h-uile latha airson a bhith a’ glèidheadh àrainneachd fhallain agus bheartach, mar a bha ar sinnsirean, agus saoilidh sinn oirnn fhèin mar buill den àrainneachd.
North Harris is a particularly important habitat for our resident golden eagles, sustaining around 13 pairs that occupy and defend territories throughout the year. This represents an exceptionally high density of eagles, only equalled in a few other parts of the Hebrides. The breeding success of North Harris eagle pairs is also known to be excellent, probably due to the high availability of prey species such as mountain hares.
Although only having come into community ownership relatively recently, our land has been long been managed by the community over centuries by way of the crofting tradition and associated practices.
Both as a community, and as an organisation, we are committed to managing the estate to preserve and enhance its conservation value wherever possible. There are currently several activities which are in place to maintain and improve our land. See below for more information:
We are keen to build up a fuller picture of our land and open to working with individuals or organisations to undertake responsible surveying and monitoring activities. Any noteworthy records of species' distributions are greatly appreciated. and we regularly welcome contributions from schools and universities towards our environmental activities. Please get in touch if you might be interested in a project in North Harris.