2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or written in Scotland will be showcased and celebrated. Here at WDC’s Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay in the north-east of Scotland, we’re taking part by collecting stories about Spey Bay from our visitors, volunteers and the local community. We hope to hear about magical dolphin encounters, the fascinating heritage of the area and special family memories. I’m the centre manager and this project has inspired me to reflect on my own Spey Bay stories.
I’ve been lucky enough to work at the Scottish Dolphin Centre since 2009, and I never tire of the changing seasons and weather here on the Moray coast. As visitors and volunteers have been sending in their stories about this wonderful place, it has made me think of my most memorable moments here.
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For three years I managed WDC’s education programme in Scotland, leading thousands of children in outdoor learning sessions, workshops and beach cleans. I remember one glorious sunny day when I had a giggling group of six-year-olds from a local school, raring to start their Dolphin Science session.
Standing up on the hill, they looked at me in awe when they realised they were allowed to use our binoculars – wonderfully exciting! They held up the too big and too heavy equipment to their eyes, and stood in a wiggly line, looking out to sea.
‘I can see dolphins … 47 of them’
‘I can see a whale’
‘So can I!’
Actually, there weren’t any dolphin sightings that morning. But the power of the children’s imaginations, sparked by being in this wild and beautiful place, meant that they saw fins dancing in the waves.
Now, in 2022, those children will be 18 years old. I hope that by spending time in nature as children and taking part in sessions with WDC, they have grown up to care for the environment. We know how passionate many of their generation are about the causes important to them. With the growing threats of climate breakdown, marine litter and pollution and underwater noise, we need as many advocates as we can find to protect whales and dolphins.
Meanwhile, our education programme continues, and during May and June of this year we had more than 200 children lining up on the hill, looking out to sea with binoculars that are still too big. Some of them were lucky enough to spot real bottlenose dolphins, coming to Spey Bay to feed on the salmon and trout here. These experiences in nature can be so inspiring to children, even life changing, and can cement a lifelong love and passion for wildlife. This is why the work we do with young people is key to our fight for every whale and dolphin to be safe and free.
If you have a Spey Bay story to share, please get involved. Submissions can be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to Scottish Dolphin Centre, Spey Bay, Moray, IV32 7PJ. The stories will be collated and shared in the Scottish Dolphin Centre exhibition, website and social media. Stories should be 150-300 words long, or could be in another form such as poetry, video, music, or anything creative.
Tell us your Spey Bay story
If you have visited Spey Bay, live here or have simply been inspired by a photo of it, we want to hear your story.