This is a fantastic little sanctuary that’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
It’s located on the shores of beautiful Loch Creran at Barcaldine, in Oban, Argyll, Scotland.
It’s part of the Seal Sanctuary group which can be found at www.sealsanctuary.co.uk one based in Cornwall and one in Hunstanton, Cambridgeshire.
The Scottish Sanctuary is host to all sorts of sea life from Rays & Flatfish to Seals and Otters. They specialise in rescuing seals and normally have to save around 20 a year. Most seal cubs tend to end up orphaned due to human error. Well intentioned but mis-guided members of the public see them on the beaches and get too close. The mothers are scared off & often don’t return. The sanctuary guide told us that seal cubs have been found on the mainland many miles away from the sea because people think they’re cute and actually take them home with them, only to abandon the cubs when they can’t cope. Sometimes Mother Nature does get involved as they’re generally born in June/July and the following Autumn bad weather can play a part in cubs being injured or lost from their Mums. The centre will always watch the cubs first for one full tidal circle to see what happens before getting involved as sometimes the Mum will leave them alone for a number of hours while they hunt for food.
If they rescue a cub they will do whatever they can to bring it back to health or just rear it till it’s strong enough to go back to sea. They’re very careful not to let the youngsters become attached & dependant on the keepers as they need to learn to survive when they’re released back into the wild.
The staff give talks on all the animals they have at the Sanctuary and they are very informative. The undisputed star of the show for us was an Otter called Fingal. He did have a sister, (Sula), but she unfortunately passed away last year so he’s on his own, but he seems a very happy little otter and loves seeing the public. He’s a proper little showman and posed wonderfully for the cameras. He’s a North American Otter. They’re much bigger than the native British species of Otter and can grow up to two and a half feet long. He was our favourite of the day and we must have spent a good few hours watching him swimming laps of his pool & craning to see over the enclosure walls when he knew the staff were due to visit him. He was obviously very intelligent & had learnt to cope with the loss of his companion by making friends with everyone who came to see him. A wonderful little chap. We were very pleased to make his acquaintance.
The Scottish Seal Sanctuary has a very nice restaurant and coffee shop for all your refreshment needs, with lovely views out over the nearby loch. There’s also a forest walk you can follow. For the younger generation there’s a forest adventure playground and of course, the gift shop. The sanctuary does wonderful work & deserves our support. We spent almost a complete day there and weren’t bored once. Manky and I will visit again for sure.
They are open daily from 10am (except Christmas Day)
please check with the centre for winter closing times, as these may vary.