Waxham to Winterton

The main aim of the recent camping trip to the North Norfolk coast aside from camping for the sake of it was to see some of the seals that have a colony at Winterton/Horsey, a couple of miles along the beach from the Waxham campsite. You must keep the dog and yourselves at a good distance, which we did but so many people didn’t, which is frustrating to witness. Tragic consequences of such ignorance came to light in December.

Perhaps despite appearances, my photos were all taken from at least 10 metres away, which is what the signs tell you to do. The dog was never allowed anywhere near that proximity. They’re done with a 600mm zoom and then cropped to the frame.

Anyway, we counted a couple of hundred seals that we could see in the water and basking at the water’s edge. Two species here – Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus, the “hooked-nosed sea pig”, and Harbour, or Common, Seal, Phoca vitulina, which means “veal seal”.

There is an amazing diversity of colour and patterning of their fur and variation in size. Interesting to note that although they have a common evolutionary ancestor with the cat and dog a closer relative with a more recent common ancestor are the otters.

Footnote: I do feel rather aggrieved to have been berated by a member of the public for allowing our dog to enter the water on a really hot day. We were at least 200m away from the nearest seals and it was a brief cooling-off session so that she would survive the 3 km walk back to our tent! Other people seemed to think it fine to take selfies while smoking and with their dogs almost sitting on top of the seals.