Dead whale removed in six-hour operation from East Lothian beach

A humpack whale has been removed from an East Lothian beach having washed up dead.

The washed up whale. Picture: Dunbar RNLI
The washed up whale. Picture: Dunbar RNLI

Both of Dunbar RNLI’s lifeboats were involved in the operation on Tuesday night, at Tyninghame.

The whale, which was around nine metres long, was washed up at the John Muir Country Park.

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Dead whale washed up on East Lothian beach
Lifeboat volunteers removed the whale. Picture: Dunbar RNLI

It is suspected it could be the same whale which was spotted tangled in a fishing line in the Firth of Forth around a month ago.

Volunteer crews towed the carcass to another beach in Dunbar where a post-mortem could be carried out by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding team.

East Lothian Council’s Countryside Rangers had requested lifeboat assistance as the whale’s location made it difficult for them to conduct


The whale was nine metres long. Picture: Dunbar RNLI

It took two tractors to manoeuvre the animal beyond the high water line and six hours to complete the operation by 11.30pm.

Dunbar lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn said the tow rope snapped twice during the operation – an indication of the challenges faced by both crews.

He said: “It was more awkward than anything else because we were dealing with a dead weight. When you add to that the considerable drag in the water, it was a tricky task.”

It is the third time the lifeboat crew has been tasked to help move a whale in recent years. The volunteers have also been called upon to assist with a dead leatherback turtle in that time.

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