SPA description
(information as published 2001)


image: SPA location map 


The Cuillins SPA is located on the island of Skye in the northern Inner Hebrides of west Scotland. It is a large, predominantly upland site rising from sea level to over 900 m. It encompasses a diverse range of habitats including heather moorland, rough grassland, blanket bog, coastal woodland, freshwater lochs and lochans, conifer plantations, montane heaths and exposed rock and scree. The mountains of the Cuillins extend in an irregular semi-circle, some ten kilometres in length, with a series of narrow summit ridges, deeply cut corries and massive cliffs and screes. Above 400 m altitude, the well-drained slopes support grasslands or species-poor heaths. The lower slopes are covered by various different types of bog and fen communities. Most of the site is grazed by sheep and Red Deer Cervus elaphus. More intensive cattle and sheep farming takes place in Glen Drynoch, an area of semi-intensified grassland with high grazing levels, and Glen Brittle. The site is of European importance for its breeding population of Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, holding one of the highest-density populations in Britain with an unusually high breeding productivity for a west coast population. Golden Eagles nest, roost, display and hunt throughout the site, from the hilltops to the coastal margins at sea level. Each pair may have more than one eyrie, and these are located on cliffs and ledges throughout the site. Birds also hunt outside the SPA on adjacent agricultural land. The site has a long history of occupancy (presence and productivity have been monitored for at least 19 years) and is important in maintaining the species' European range. 


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section

This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
During the breeding season;
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, 11 pairs representing at least 2.8% of the breeding population in Great Britain (1992)



Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.