Long before watching for dolphins was a popular tourist attraction, sailors were receiving help from dolphins. In 19th century New Zealand, and before that in ancient Greece, they safely guided ships into harbour. To sailors they are a sign of changing weather and symbols of safety. Many places around the world today offer dolphin watching expeditions. This is known as eco-tourism.
The popularity of dolphin watching in the UK has risen over the past 20 years, sometimes replacing traditional fishing as a popular livelihood. Arrangements can be made for you to see different species of dolphin off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland.
There are various places in Scotland where viewing dolphins is a plentiful pleasure. A boat trip for dolphin enthusiasts leaves from Inverness to travel along the Moray Firth, the defining eastern coastline of the Highlands, where over 100 dolphins live and play in the wedge-shaped estuary. This is the most northerly European dolphin breeding ground. The Wildlife Centre here is a great place to arrange your trip. If you travel to the Isle of Mull, you may spot a Risso dolphin.
If you are going to Scotland to watch for dolphins, the best time is between mid-June and September. All the year round, in the Hebrides, you will be able to see bottlenose dolphins. Although the numbers are smaller here you can still arrange for a boat trip to try and see them.