It is believed the seals were protecting their young and became agitated by the man’s presence. (Reuters: Mike Blake)
A fisherman has been rescued from a Scottish cliff face after scrambling up the rocks to escape a colony of 50 “aggressive seals”.
- Man became stuck three quarters of the way up rock face
- Coastguard lowered officer down on ropes to retrieve fisherman
- Agitated seals were likely protecting their young
The man was walking along a beach in Green Stane, near Eyemouth, on Friday evening when he encountered about 50 seals and their young pups.
They “quickly became agitated and turned aggressive”, according to a statement from the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The man tried to flee the colony, scrambling up a nearby cliff to safety.
He managed to climb between 30 and 45 metres up the cliff before becoming stuck nearly three quarters of the way up.
“Realising his predicament, the man did exactly the right thing and called the emergency services using his mobile,” the coastguard statement read.
A difficult rescue
Four rescue teams were called to the scene, enduring unfavourable weather and steep terrain to access the cliff.
A crew member was lowered roughly 27m down the rock face to safely retrieve the man.
Officers prepare to scale the side of the cliff to rescue the stranded fisherman. (Berwick Coastguard rescue team )
A lifeboat “quickly nipped in amid the seals” to collect the fisherman and coastguard rescue officer before retreating to the safety of Eyemouth Harbour.
“Anyone who encounters a seal or a colony of seals on the beach or coastline is advised to move away at the first sign of agitation,” senior Coastguard operations officer Jonathan Mustard said.
“Aggressive seals are not a common occurrence and in this case they may have been protecting or defending their natural habitat and their young.”
The man was uninjured by the ordeal, suffering only from minor cold exposure.
Seal feeding is a popular tourist attraction in Eyemouth Harbour — not far from where the man was rescued — with TripAdvisor reviewers praising the “resident seals” in the area.
The seals are attracted to the harbour by fishing boat crew discarding scraps and are known to approach humans for food.