19 Oct A Whale Story from the Isle of Skye, Scotland

WCA Lifetime Partner Clive Martin recounts a recent trip to the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

‘Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides islands and some say the most beautiful.

Tent camping is not really my style so I do it in a motor home (with dolphin images all over it…sad eh!) I found a simply awesome spot loch side to spend the night, and it wasn’t long before a bottle of wine was broached and I settled in to just drink in the scenery…and the wine !

I noticed that a number of seabirds, mainly gannets were ‘working’ an area some two miles offshore from my position but fairly close to the other side of the loch. I got my 10 x 50 bins at the ready and enjoyed the wildlife spectacular as literally hundreds of these birds started to plunge dive on mackerel shoals.

I was not really expecting to see what happened next…….a large rorqual whale blow, I say rorqual as the blow was definitely not a sperm whale.

This area of Scotland is certainly home to the small minke whale, but this blow was much too powerful to be that species.

The feeding frenzy persisted for over an hour and now dolphins, probably common dolphins were bundling in and I also observed some bottlenose dolphins much closer to my position.

During the course of this encounter I was able to identify at least three individual whales, and I was pretty sure they were fin whale….unusual to spot them so close to shore and within a loch.

Fin whale
Fin whale

The above episode sets the scene for what I was to encounter next.

Being a whale junkie invariably gets my adrenaline surging so after the above excitement I took a walk along the loch via a grassy track, loch on one side and private land on the other and within this private very overgrown garden I was amazed to see on a very large rock the skeleton of an obvious cetacean…..had I drunk too much chardonnay? Nope, it really was the skeleton of an animal some 20 feet long resting on top of this six foot high rock. As I absorbed the scene I noticed a small notice at the foot of the rock…. image below……and enlarged to help you read it.

Copyright: Clive Martin
Copyright: Clive Martin
Copyright: Clive Martin
Copyright: Clive Martin

I laughed out loud at this notice as it was an obvious spoof write up on what they called the “Long Tailed Water Horse” and a nod to the Loch Ness Monster

Wandering back to my glamping van I vowed to get to the bottom of why a real ‘cet’ skeleton was on the top of this rock.

The following morning I was given permission by the landowner to battle my way through the garden jungle to view the bones of what he assured me was a minke whale…….?, and what I was certain was NOT this species.

I was able to get alongside and took some images which pretty conclusively identifies the species to which these bones belong……do I now make this a bit of a quiz and let you identify it or tell you what I am pretty sure it is?

I can however tell you that in a twelve hour period I had “A Whale of a Time”……just had to say that!!!’

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