Travels

Where to see seals in Scotland (Forvie National Nature Reserve)

Several times we have been in the United Kingdom and this time we put the effort to look where to see seals in Scotland. The thing was not easy, since these elusive mammals are not seen lightly. They usually look for desert islets, hard-to-reach cliffs or simply inhabit protected areas. In the end, most of the time you opt for a guided tour and we get rid of problems, but this is not the only option. We can find seals easily and for free in Scotland.


Where to see seals in Scotland

Where to see seals in Scotland

If we start looking online for maps and information about sighting defocas in Scotland we will see that there is a lot of information but in most cases it is impractical. Remote and inaccessible places where only a private boat can reach them or places where “maybe” you come across some but you are not sure you can see them. Well, this headache is over and we have the perfect place to see seals in Scotland.


Where to see seals in Scotland

That place is located just over 20 kilometers north of the thriving city of Aberdeen. There is the Forvie national reserve or Forvie National Nature Reserve. Most of this reserve is closed to the public and in fact where the seals settle we cannot walk in order not to disturb them. However the seals settle at the mouth of the ythan river In the town of Newburgh.


Where to see seals in Scotland

In this town there is a golf course Newburgh-on-ythan Golf Club which is accessed by a narrow road at the entrance of the town. Taking this road and reaching the end we will see a ground parking for vehicles no larger than 2 meters high. There we will leave the car.


Where to see seals in Scotland

Taking a path that takes you to the beach we will reach a coast guard house. Just behind this is the river estuary Ythan. The funny thing is that after reaching this we will not see seals, but hundreds and hundreds of birds. Where are the seals?. If we look towards the end of the mouth we will see an immense dark spot, a large herd of seals less than a kilometer away.


Where to see seals in Scotland

We continue walking through the sand in a place surrounded by dunes. It seems that we are in El Sahara but today's temperatures are so cold that this mirage takes time to disappear. Best of all, we began to see two animals of great embergadura across the beach, the first seals.


Where to see seals in Scotland

Two apparently isolated seals whose companions swam in search of food under the waters of the Ythan River. Some approached us a few meters, about 10m or so. instead, most stayed on the other side of the river, about 50 / 60m maximum.


Where to see seals in Scotland

This forces to have good eyesight or binoculars to enjoy this panorama. In any case, with a camera with a zoom greater than 200mm great things can be done, especially at the end of the river. There the river gets narrower and the amount of seals is very abundant.


Where to see seals in Scotland

The show is impressive and the noise produced by deafening seals. One pass, especially when we had been tired of castle, distillery and hiking trails for several days. Giving this change gave this trip a lot of life.

Practical data

How much does it cost to see seals in Scotland?

This place is completely free and has no cost.

How to get to Newburgh?

The ideal is to leave Aberdeen taking the A90 Northbound until you find the detour to the A975 Newburgh address. Once in the village, take the road to the golf course until you find a parking lot.

Where to sleep?

In Aberdeen the prices are not so excessive and there is a great variety of Break & breakfast. Here are some of them:

  • Crayford's Guest House: simple house with several rooms at a good price south of Aberdeen.
  • Citihouse Aberdeen: comfortable hotel in the center and near the port.

Tips to see the seals in Scotland?

This beach is cold and windy. The sand in the dunes moves very quickly and it is easy for sand to enter our eyes. Therefore it is necessary to wear a windbreak, a protector so that the camera does not fill with sand and especially a good zoom. We take the photos with objectives of 200 and 270mm.

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