Scientists and volunteers join together as Orca Watch returns to John O’Groats for its 10th Anniversary

With Sea Watch Foundation’s Annual Orca Watch cancelled in 2020 and moved online in 2021 due to Covid-19, orca enthusiasts are ‘breaching’ for joy as they prepare to return to north-east Scotland at the end of May. Organised by Sea Watch Foundation, from their temporary base at the library at the John O’Groats Inn, Orca Watch is a ten-day event taking place across Caithness and North Sutherland, Orkney and Shetland, bringing volunteers, tourists and citizen scientists together to conduct land-watches, take boat trips, attend local events and try to catch a glimpse of the biggest member of the dolphin family, the iconic orca.

Orca Watch 2022 kicks off formally on Saturday 28th May with an evening of talks at the Pulteney Centre, Wick. During the week, land-watches will be taking place from Strathy Point to Wick and beyond. A key partner, the John O’Groats ferry will be welcoming volunteer citizen scientists on board their regular services and special wildlife cruises throughout the week, to conduct surveys collecting data on orca and other cetaceans further out at sea, as well as offering a generous discount to Orca Watchers. Throughout the week there will be various events taking place and, following the success of our online event in 2021, we intend to livestream some events to bring the excitement of Orca Watch to those who can’t be there in person.

Sea Watch Foundation has partnered up with the following organisations and businesses to put together what promises to be a successful return up to John O’Groats. These include (in no particular order): John O’Groats Ferry, the John O’Groats Development Trust, Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council, OMMRI, NatureScot, CNSF, High Life Highland, Cabin at John O’Groats, Together Travel, SeaView Hotel, Windhaven B&B and Camping, Northern Sands Hotel, The Crofter’s Snug, Highland Haven and Pentland Lodge House.

We’d like to invite you to join us and the hundreds of dedicated volunteer citizen scientists, tourists and local media to witness the passage of orcas and other cetaceans through the Pentland Firth. We are planning to be back in force at the end of May, with our eyes peeled, to try and spot as many fins as we can while collecting valuable effort-related data. Visit us at the Orca Watch base to find out more about when and where watches are taking place, and browse the information and merchandise we will have available.


Photo: Steve Truluck