Seal Spotting at Newburgh and Forvie Sands Nature Reserve

This is the first weekend without a run since my 2012 race schedule kicked off on March 4th, so it was a little strange feeling like I had loads of time to myself.  I hit the gym for weights in the morning, then came home and realized I had the WHOLE REST OF THE DAY!  I remembered Ian mentioning one of his friends had expressed an interest in going to see seals on a beach the night before, so I texted him to see if it was happening.  All systems go!

Ian and I were picked up by DazzlePecs (clearly, not his real name) at around 3pm, and somehow made it to Newburgh without his driving killing us.  Armed with the GPS on my phone, we headed to the mouth of the Ythan River where, Dazzle’s dad assured him, we would find seals.  Turns out he doesn’t lie:

To the right: The North Sea. Straight ahead on the shore: hundreds of seals!*

*The little dark specks in the distance = seals.

Not content with the shitty zoom on my camera phone, we decided we would go back to the car, drive over the bridge a couple of miles away, and make our way to the seals for a better view.  We ended up on a trail that wound through the Sands of Forvie National Nature Reserve, a 4(ish) mile loop that would take us roughly 1km from the seals.  The meander through the grassy sand dunes was pleasant as we were shielded by the sea breeze, and just when we got to the last big dune before the seals, we were confronted with this:

AAAaarrrrrggghhhhh!!!!

These wee pillars covered the entire section of the peninsula that we wanted to get to for some hardcore seal spotting and we were being denied because apparently April-August is breeding time for terns, and if they are disturbed they leave their young for predators to come and gobble up.  Missed access by one measly week!  To give a clearer picture of our journey, see the graffiti handiwork of paint applied to a screenshot of google maps below:

Annoying

Still, we had a nice walk continuing along the trail, passing an old church, some weird bones on the shore, and even an old train carriage, but by the time we got back to the car it was pretty cold and damp, and we were all pretty hungry.  Click on the thumbnails for bigger photos (unless you’re completely disinterested, in which case, scroll to the bottom)!

Dunes

Never-ending barrier

Myself and 'Dazzle' walking along the beach

Train carriage

Me and Ian (and seals) at 'Original Sighting Spot'

Me + driftwood = new project for next week!

Once in the car, we all headed for The Cock and Bull Restaurant.  Though I felt somewhat (extremely) under-dressed in a tracksuit for a Michelin listed eatery, the lure of steak was too much.  The food was delicious. and I am still stuffed.

So what did everyone else get up to this weekend?  Races?  Training runs?  A bit of time off?

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