Scotland's most at-risk beauty spots revealed ahead of Cop26

Climate change map shows coasts at risk from flooding and rising sea levels, even if net-zero targets are met

Large parts of Scotland's coastline are at risk of erosion because of climate change, according to a new study by the University of Glasgow.

Some of the nation's best-loved beauty spots are at severe risk of erosion and beach loss by 2050, the report says, citing threats from rising sea levels, strong wave action and coastal flooding.

The research includes a map of 10 coastal sites that will soon shrink dramatically.

These include the sweeping sand dunes of Golspie Links in the Scottish Highlands, Lunan Bay in Angus, the unique beaches of South Coll, and the idyllic inlets on the Caithness coast, including Strathy and nearby Melvich.

Scotland will next week host the Cop26 climate change summit where world leaders will outline steps to reach carbon neutrality by the middle of the century in the hopes of averting a climate-related catastrophe.

Larissa Naylor, professor of geomorphology and environmental geography at the University of Glasgow, said that even if net-zero targets are achieved, many areas in the country will continue to suffer the effects of climate change.

She says it is "imperative to act now" and for society to rapidly adapt to the risk of climate change.

“The map is just a snapshot of some of the locations under threat – the tip of the iceberg", Prof Naylor said.

"Many more wild camping sites will shrink in area or disappear in the coming decades, as the sea level continues to rise and climate-change impacts accelerate.”

As part of its awareness campaign, outdoor brand Vango, which commissioned the study, has unveiled a series of creatively inspired CGI images depicting an imagined, dystopian sunken world beyond 2300.

The first image shows a sunken campsite and the second, one of Scotland’s most famous old buildings – Castle Tioram.

At present the castle is reached on foot at low tide, but it is expected to no longer be inaccessible from the land by 2100, along with the loss of local wild camping sites along the Ardnamurchan coast.

Updated: October 29th 2021, 7:44 AM
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