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Thurso residents relieved as whale carcass is removed at last

By Jean Gunn

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THE carcass of the young humpback whale which ended up on Thurso beach has finally been removed – much to the relief of local residents.

Originally washing up at Scrabster at the end of May, the rotting cetacean drifted along the coast to Thurso.

The way the disposal of the carcass was handled met with criticism from members of the public, including residents over looking the beach area.

Commenting after the whale was moved on Monday morning, Maureen Stockdale, who lives in the town's Pentland Crescent, said: "I am delighted – I can hang my washing out and open my windows. The smell had been horrendous."

The remains of the young humpback whale had drifted onto Thurso beach. Picture: DGS
The remains of the young humpback whale had drifted onto Thurso beach. Picture: DGS

She explained that the carcass, which had lain on the beach for over a week, had been "absolutely stinking". Attempts were made last week to tow it out to sea, but the tide took it straight back in.

"What they did the other day was an absolute disgrace.They dragged it from one side of the beach to the other and dumped it outside my door," Maureen said.

Thurso man Billy McKeaveney, whose in-laws live close to the beach, said he was particularly concerned about the fact that a hole had been dug in the sand in line with the Salvation Army hall and parts of the whale's innards were believed to be buried in that part of the shore.

Although happy that the rotting carcass had now been taken away, Mr McKeveney said: "It is a shocking way to dispose of a whale. Lots of children like to go and dig in the sand near the Salvation Army and dogs are walked there. Hopefully these remains do not come up from there."

Local contractors were hired to remove the remains of the young humpback whale, which measured around nine metres long.

Earlier investigations carried out by a team from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme found that the whale had become entangled in fishing equipment from Nova Scotia in Canada and died as a result of drowning.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The challenging job of removing the whale carcass was managed efficiently and successfully by A&W Sinclair and the council waste management team. While the removal of the carcass was coordinated, public notices were placed at four access locations to the beach earlier in the week.”

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