A marine biology expedition from Oban to Ardrossan that aimed to explore Scotland’s ecosystems has concluded after a successful trip.

As part of the Sail Britain programme, the week-long expedition was led by marine biologist Freija Mendrik and the organisation’s founder Oliver Beardon, concluding on September 17.

The crew of nine took part in excursions, went snorkelling, and examined plankton and microplastics.

Freija and Oliver led the expedition from Oban to ArdrossanThe crew aboard the expedition from Oban to Ardrossan

They also visited community-led ocean protection projects Seawilding, Loch Craignish, and the COAST No Take Zone of the Isle of Arran.

Freija said: “Protecting marine environments and restoring key habitats plays a crucial role in tackling the climate crisis and responding to its impacts. The UK is home to extraordinary ecosystems that can be part of the solution, from seagrass meadows to kelp forests and saltmarshes.

“The west of Scotland is an absolutely beautiful place with so much to offer.

“For people to care about the ocean and conservation they need to have a connection with these spaces and understand why they are important.

“Science which incorporates many different disciplines such as art, photography and storytelling is often a very powerful tool to drive change and we explored these ideas on the trip as well.”

The pair planned the route together after Oliver asked Freija to join him in leading an expedition after she participate in one last year.

Freija also works as a National Geographic explorer and is currently researching the impact of microplastics on corals in Vietnam.

Freija and Oliver led the expedition from Oban to ArdrossanA sea lemon found in the waters at Lamlash bay

As a Royal Yachting Association instructor, Oliver leads expeditions, teaches sailing, and works with groups of young and disadvantaged people.

Oliver said: “The approach is that we all need to know more about it and to see how it affects our lives and how our lives affect it, and we use sailing as our means of doing that. It’s a brilliant social space – people get to work together and live on board the boat for a week.

“This area is a fantastic place to sail. There’s a beautiful landscape and there’s so much marine life here – it’s an easy place to see wildlife and to engage with it.

“We do a lot of work with artists and enjoy working together with artists and scientists. Artists are amazing communicators generally speaking, and they make what are otherwise very complex topics more accessible for a lay audience.”

Sail Britain expeditions like this are ‘open to all’ as they take on applications from hopeful programme participants.

Anyone interested in registering their interest for upcoming expeditions or excursions around the UK is encouraged to email info@sailbritain.org