Atlantic grey seals in Yorkshire
Seals are the only British sea mammals which give birth ashore. Before and after the breeding season, they congregate sociably in herds (‘rookeries’) which can number hundreds. Their ‘pups’ are born singly on rocky or sandy shores, or even in caves or (in the Northern Isles) some distance inshore. Two or three weeks after giving birth, the ‘cows’ come into oestrus (i.e. are ‘on heat’) and mate with a ‘bull’. Like some other mammals (e.g. badgers), seals do not begin gestation directly after mating. The fertilised egg (the ‘blastocyst’) remains free-floating in the cow’s uterus, only attaching to the wall after three months. The embryo then gestates for nine months, meaning that seals have a year-long breeding cycle.
Seals tend to spend long periods of time ashore moulting after breeding and birth. They tend to moult successively; young seals first, followed by cows, then bulls.
||Atlantic Grey Seals
||200-245cm, 170-310 kg
||145-185 cm, 55-130kg
||180-220 cm, 105-186 kg.
||135-175 cm, 45-87 kg
|UK population (estimated)
|Breeding season (calving and mating)
||Isles of Scilly, Cornwall – late Aug-Sept
Wales – October
Scotland (successively; west coast and inner Hebrides, outer Hebrides, Northern Isles, east coast). – Sept-Dec
||3-5 months after breeding, December to April
||Month following breeding
Have a good St Valentine’s Day, all. Having someone you care about to share your life with is, all things considered, a wonderful and precious thing.
(The grey seals above live in Yorkshire)
There are two lighthouses at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. One dates from the nineteenth century, the other from the seventeenth.
Epic sea defences at Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire, built at enormous expense in the 1970s.
They will fail.
One consequence of the explosion in sea kayaking blogs, is that it’s now customary to introduce yourself to paddlers you meet out on the water by enchanging blog titles. In the unlikely event that the paddler you’ve met turns out not to possess a blog, then social etiquette dictates that you should paddle on past without further communication.
Pics taken below Whitby lighthouse.
Watching the surf crash into the sea wall at Scarborough Spa. ‘Clapotis‘ is a word to describe the confused seas which result when waves refract back upon themselves.
Scarborough has a claim to be the earliest seaside resort. A natural spring ‘discovered’ flowing from the cliffs at the pictured spot in 1626 was promoted over subsequent decades as able to cure illnesses. Rather disappointingly, the spring still survives, but is permanently closed due to vandalism.
Last week we happened to be sitting in the van on Filey seafront eating bacon sarnies for brekkie, when the Filey all-weather lifeboat launched for an exercise. The sea retreats someway offshore at low tide on this part of the Yorkshire coast, so a tractor is used to tow the boat into deep water.
As always with the RNLI, it was a pleasure to watch them at work.
This fellow at Flamborough Head in Yorkshire is easily the best six foot tall wooden carved gannet that we’ve ever seen.
Sadly, he was alone; we were too late in the season for the 1000s of gannets who usually live nearby at Bempton Cliffs.
These images show two of Scarborough’s cliff railways, both beside the Grand Hotel; one is still in use, the other is not.
Cliff railways were developed both as a means of making the beach accessible at clifftop resorts, and as a tourist draw in themselves. Each consisted of two cars which counterweighted one another, sometimes utilising water-filled counterweights. This novel means of accessing the beach was first adopted at Scarborough in 1876, built specifically to serve the Prince of Wales Hotel. Scarborough eventually had four; a total of 25 were built across the country between 1876 and 1935.
I guess that this fellow can’t read…
We’ve just made it home from a splendid week on the coast of the North York Moors National Park. Heather had been here to walk the Coast to Coast Path, but I’d hardly been to the area before. Which is a shame. Because it is absolutely stunning.