Letters: Dick Melton, February 16, 2016

Dead whale at Old Hunstanton beach ANL-160802-082933009
Dead whale at Old Hunstanton beach ANL-160802-082933009

It was given out on BBC Radio Norfolk recently that the last of the pod of six whales that became stranded in the Wash over the last two weeks had been washed up on Old Hunstanton beach.

Many whales have been washed up on our beaches over the years. In 1762 more than 27 whales were washed up around the coasts of the southern North Sea, East Anglia and Kent, a pod of 11 whales were beached at Orkney in 1994 and another pod of six at Cruden Bay in Grampian in 1996. In 1910 a whale was washed up on Hunstanton beach near the lifeboathouse. Within 24 hours the whale had been stripped of all its meat and skin by the people of Hunstanton so that all that was left on the beach was the skeleton. In those days people would take meat and skin home then they could cut it into strips and put it through the ringer (mangle) to get the oil out for their lamps. Some of it would be eaten after it was dried out and what was left over would be dug into the garden as fertiliser. There have been many whales washed up in and around the area of the Wash over the years and, sadly, this will not be the last one.

Dick Melton

Hunstanton