Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have vowed to improve the safety of a colony of seals at a north-east beauty spot.
Up to 2,000 grey seals haul out on the sand banks of the Ythan at Forvie National Nature Reserve and concerns have frequently been raised about the marine mammals’ safety.
Past incidents have resulted in hundreds of seals rushing into the water.
In response to these concerns, SNH is working with the newly formed Newburgh and Ythan Community Trust and other local partners to improve the car park and paths on the Newburgh beach side of the Ythan.
In addition, the groups hope to create a brand new trails and a viewing platform for people to enjoy the seal spectacle from.
Ron Macdonald, a trustee of the Newburgh and Ythan Community Trust, said: “We’re keen to improve the visitor experience in viewing the seals from the Newburgh side of the estuary and are negotiating a long term lease with The Udny Trust who own the land.
“This will enable us to apply for funding to build a new all abilities trail and a viewing platform together with revamping the car park and upgrading existing paths.”
David Pickett, SNH’s Forvie nature reserve manager, added: “Seeing thousands of seals hauled up together on the beach is truly amazing and we’d encourage people to experience this unforgettable encounter with nature.
“We’ve been working with the local community over the last few years to help people enjoy this spectacle without disturbing the seals.
“Further improvements will make it even easier for people to find the best place to see the seals.”