One of the Loch's more elusive inhabitants is "Seilag" the Loch Shiel Monster, of which there have been several sightings over the years. Seilag is reputedly about 70ft long with three humps and one of the small islands has been named after her. As the Loch is one of Scotland's deepest (145m) there is ample room for monsters to avoid detection: so far Seilag hasn't been spotted from MV Sileas but we keenly anticipate a friendly encounter someday.
Over the past 19 years there have been over 50 species of birds observed from the boat, the crew and skipper of MV Sileas keep a keen eye out for any wildlife while cruising on the Loch, Eagles being a distinct favourite.
There are three Golden Eagle territories that edge on Loch Shiel and, weather permitting, there are regular sightings of this beautiful and elusive bird.
Since their re-introduction from Norway in 1975 the White-Tailed Eagle, or Sea Eagle, as it has become known, has flourished in Scotland. A pair have settled at the south end of the Loch and are regularly seen on the popular all-day Wednesday Loch Cruise.
Another rare inhabitant of the Loch is the Black-throated Diver. There are two regularly nesting pairs and it is always a treat to see them in their beautiful breeding plumage.
Red throated Divers are also seen on the Loch. These birds are most likely to be seen between April and August on the Wednesday Loch Cruise.
Less frequently observed birds
include Peregrine, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel, Osprey and Hen Harrier. Ducks on the Loch are Dabchick, Goosander, Red- breasted Merganser, Mallard, Goldeneye and Tufted. There is a resident population of Greylag Geese at the southern end of the Loch, joined occasionally by Pink-footed and Canadian visitors.
Always good to see during June and July are the Common Gull chicks which frequent the small islands.
There are large populations of Red Deer which graze on the higher slopes of the surrounding mountains and despite their fantastic camouflage can be seen by the avid observer.
The well-respected naturalist Mike Tomkies based himself in a cottage at Gaskan for close to twenty years and from there studied in depth the eagles, wildcats, badgers, otters, pine martens and indeed any wildlife he came across on his daily walks on the loch-side. From Gaskan he wrote many of his well-known books, a classic being "A Last Wild Place".
Note: Passengers especially interested in bird-life are advised to go on our longer "Loch Cruise".