GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Tuesday 28 May 2024
 11.8°C   SE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Seal finds new home at town centre harbour

The seal - pictured from 25ft away - at the wooden slipway on Thursday morning. Photo: Helen Iliffe-Adsett

THE ARCTIC bearded seal which took up residency in the centre of Lerwick appears to have found a new home elsewhere at Victoria Pier after its slipway was blocked off over concerns that the animal may become distressed by the attention of the public.

Lerwick Port Authority, which owns the slipway, put up barriers next to the water on Wednesday afternoon to block off the seal following discussions with Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary.

Port authority harbourmaster Calum Grains said the barriers had been put up due to concerns that the seal might get distressed with the amount of people it had been attracting.

The sanctuary’s Jan Bevington said she had hoped that the seal would take up residence elsewhere – and it appears young female has done just that, with the animal seen on Thursday morning on a wooden slipway just a stone’s throw away.

Local tour boats were using the slipway again later on Thursday after two cruise ships visited Lerwick.

The seal, which is thought to be moulting, has enjoyed big interest from onlookers since it appeared at the small boats harbour at Victoria Pier on Friday.

People had been warned not to approach the marine animal and cones were quickly put in at the top of the slipway in a bid to prevent people from walking down – although there have been reports that some tried to get a closer look at the seal from just feet away.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary said on Facebook on Wednesday that “we would all like her to be left in peace, but it’s not possible for a whole range of reasons”.

Writing on Thursday morning after the seal was seen on the other slipway, the sanctuary reminded people to “stay away from her and admire her from a distance so she can stay there in peace and everyone can enjoy the view”.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Visitor Helen Iliffe-Adsett was pleased to see the seal reappear on the wooden slipway after being left disappointed when she saw the barriers being put up on Wednesday.

The animal enthusiast visits Shetland every year to see the local wildlife and had only arrived off the boat that day with a hope of getting the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to see the bearded seal.

She managed catch a glimpse of the seal at 5am on Thursday morning from a safe distance.

“We got good photos of a very relaxed seal and I’m over the moon we managed to see her,” Iliffe-Adsett said. “If she’d gone away of her own accord I would have understood.”

Bearded seals belong to the Arctic Ocean but are occasionally seen as far south as Shetland. Two years ago a bearded seal chose to spend the whole summer at Mid Yell.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.