Friday, 31 October 2008

In search of Scotland's Haven

Apologies for the lack of posts - the weather's been lousy and I've been busy, but today we had some sunshine scheduled, so I awarded myself the afternoon off and went in search of a place called Scotland's Haven, which is supposed to be one of the beaches that grey seals go to pup at this time of year.

All the best expeditions start off with an omen of some sort and one turned up at the top of my drive:

Rainbow at Armadale

I stopped off in Reay. Every time I've driven through it in the past few weeks there have been pheasants in a field just outside the village. Were there today? Were there heck! I did find these two on a garden wall though:

Pheasants at Reay

James at the post office had told me he'd heard there were seals at Ham and since it was on the way I stopped off. Jackpot! Not pups, but plenty of seals. This fellow saw me standing on the cliff top and sounded the alarm:

Seals at Ham (13)

So I lay flat on my stomach and spent the next hour watching the seals:

Seals at Ham (1)

This one amused me. He'd been eyeing up this rock:

Seals at Ham (8)

...and since none of the senior seals seemed to want it, decided to haul up:

Seals at Ham (7)

...only to be foiled by the seaweed!:

Seals at Ham (6)

Lots more seal pics on Flickr if you click on any of the pictures.

I reluctantly heaved myself up out of the heather and headed on down the coast. I didn't actually know where Scotland's Haven was, just that it was between East Mey and Gills Bay somewhere. I turned off the main road at what I guessed was about the right place and 500 yards down the lane found a parking spot with a pedestrian gate next to it, so pulled up and went to investigate.

Half an hour's walk across a peat moor later, I was in the right place - but there were no seals! They must be somewhere else this year. The light was beginning to fade (it's a location to photograph in the mornings, after midday it's heavily in shadow), so I headed back for the car, stopping only to photograph a tanker heading to pick up the gold at the end of the rainbow:

Rainbow at East Mey

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