Dropped down the cliffs to Old Peak — or South Cheek as it used to be called — below Ravenscar, hoping to see a seal or two.
And a few seals we did see. The very knowledgeable warden from the Yorkshire Seals Group estimated there were about 500 — he has known up to a thousand.
These are Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus).
Apparently, it’s a good time of the year for seal spotting because they’re moulting when they need to haul themselves out on the scars and rocks.
Moulting occurs more readily when the seal’s body temperature is raised, so they huddle together and bask out away from the coldness of the North Sea.
The seals looked skittish and were definitely aware of our presence but we kept to the distance advised by the warden. If disturbed they would have high-tailed it to the open water. As it takes about two hours for their body temperature to be raised sufficiently to initiate the moulting process, it is essential this is avoided.