A walrus spied lounging on Peedie Beach in northernmost Scotland is believed to be the first such tusker to reach the UK mainland since 1954.
The walrus, dubbed “Wally” by the media, is believed to be the same battle-scarred male seen several days previously in the Orkney Islands. While a 2013 walrus sighting in the Orkneys was said at the time to be a “once in a lifetime” appearance, it would seem that more of the massive marine mammals are turning up far from their usual habitat along the eastern coast of Greenland and north of Scandinavia.
Colin McLean came across the walrus while walking along Peedie Beach at Dunnet Head in Caithness, very close to the northern tip of Great Britain and due south of the Orkney Islands. An image of the mustachio'd and quite wrinkly sun worshiper was posted to Twitter by Davy Shanks, while a very short video can be viewed at the STV website. By the next morning, Wally was nowhere to be found.
Walruses may have enjoyed a wider native range in the past but human predation over many centuries significantly reduced their numbers. Still, the beasts weren't unknown to educated Brits such as Charles Dickens, who featured one in his 1871 narrative poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. So tell us, Charlie, what the Dickens was a walrus doing in Scotland, anyway?