You never know what you’ll encounter on seaside walk 

Grey seal, resting and looking towards the camera (Halichoerus grypus), Southend, near Campbeltown,

A grey seal bull joined swimmers in Torquay - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Most mornings, during our enforced lockdown, I’ve taken to walking from my home in Preston to Torquay’s Princess Pier and back again. 

It helps keep me fit and, more importantly, sane! 

Now you would think that walking the very same route, day in day out, would get quite boring, however, having the ever-changing seascape to one side of you - with its wealth of varied wildlife - always keeps it fresh, you just never know what you’ll encounter! 

A few weeks ago, on a particularly blustery and cold day, I went on my usual walk and, when returning back, above Abbey Sands, I noticed one of the extremely hardy swimmers, who all look extremely healthy and take to the water on even the coldest of days, was out in the Bay swimming with a bright orange buoyancy aid in tow.  

Suddenly, from the grey-green depths, up popped a huge grey head. It looked at them with large luminous eyes before disappearing again beneath the waves. 

The swimmer carried on oblivious to the interest their orange float was causing. 

The large head belonged to a massive grey seal bull! 

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He was fascinated by the swimmer and began to trail them across the Bay, occasionally nudging the orange float with his bulbous nose. 

A small group gathered on the promenade, energetically gesturing to the swimmer that they now had a very large - and unwanted guest - following their every move. 

Eventually, having noticed the seal shadowing them, with a gentle slap on the surface they dissuaded him from following them any further. 

It was a truly fascinating thing to witness and it was one of those times that I wished I had taken my camera out with me. I noticed that a couple of lucky people did get some shots of the interaction – which I was very jealous of - and was just another reminder of why, especially during lockdown, we are very lucky to live down here. 

So, whenever you are out and about around the Bay always be prepared and as Shaw Taylor used to advise us on his iconic show Police 5: “Keep 'em peeled!”