You are never far from a seal when you are in Orkney. The grey seals have their pups at the end of Autumn just as the weather is turning more stormy and temperatures are dropping. I took these photographs in November from the cliffs near the southern tip of North Ronaldsay – about 30 minutes drive from Highland Park House.
Because the seals are in a cove, you can overlook them from the clifftop path without getting too close – the seals are not really aware that you are there but you can get a good view. You also hear the eerie cries of the pups and it is quite a trilling experience.
Amazingly, the pups only stay with their mothers for a couple of weeks while they fatten up. They go off to fend for themselves just as the winter storms start to batter the coasts. It is no coincidence that sightings of orca pods increase at this time of year. Orca (killer whales) are becoming more and more regular visitors to Orkney waters, but the presence of the young seals is obviously an extra temptation for them.