A FISHERMAN found a 40ft Minkie whale beached on the sands of Morecambe Bay.

Ben Barker, owner of The Sands pub in Grange-over-Sands, found the enormous creature washed up on the north shore near Meathop Park Farm, Meathop, on Monday night.

He said: “Sadly it was dead when I found it, though I got the impression it hadn’t been there for very long.

“There was a lot of damage around its tail, as if it had been hit by a ship’s propeller or caught in a big fishing net.”

Marine biologists are examining the remains – believed to be a mature Minkie whale – and will carry out a post-mortem test on the animal to determine the cause of death before it is buried or burnt.

Mark Simmons, director of science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said the mammal may have died at sea and been washed up on to the shore due to a heavy onshore wind.

“Sadly, around six whales are washed up on the north west coast each year,” he said.

“For the majority of whales around the UK, a cause of death cannot be determined but most die after being entangled in fishing nets.

“Quite often damage is caused to the body after it is knocked about at sea.

“It’s a bit sad to see the animal like this. The Minkie is one of the few whales that comes close to shore and is much more active in shallow water.”

Mr Barker said: “I’ve never seen a whale here before. I found a bottlenose dolphin about two or three years ago but obviously this is bigger.

“It is such a beautiful thing. It is really sad to see it dead but it’s incredible to see such a large animal here in the Bay.”

South Lakeland District Council is advising people not to walk on to the sands to see the whale due to danger of quicksand and fast rising tides.


All stranded whales are the property of the Crown. In 1913 the rights were handed to the Natural History Museum.

Whales, harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins are often found around the northern coast.

Norwegians call the Minkie Whale the Fjord Whale due to ITS tendency to come close to land.

Each year between 350 - 800 whales, dolphins and porpoises wash up on British shores.