Hundreds visit the latest whale washed up on the Norfolk coastline
- Credit: Ian Burt
Many set off early this morning and had travelled from across the country to see the body of a 45ft sperm whale on the beach at Old Hunstanton.
Although the advice issued by West Norfolk Council was to stay away, those who did brave this morning's high winds and drizzle were there because they wanted to see the effects of nature for themselves.
But nobody seemed to be prepared for the gruesome sight of the creature decomposing on the beach.
The majority of groups looking at the whale were families, where many of the adults commented that this was the first one they had ever seen in their lifetime.
Anna Manning and her husband Steve, of Exton's Place in King's Lynn were walking to the whale with their children Lauren, 15, and Jack, 11.
Mrs Manning, 44, said: 'We did know that the advice is to stay away, but we felt that this is important for the children to see.
'My son had said he had never seen a creature as big as this in his lifetime and we want the kids to experience nature in this way, close to the sea where it came from.'
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She added: 'We'll stay for 10 minutes and then we'll go.'
When they reached the body, there were around 40 other people standing around the whale which first became stranded on Thursday morning and was pronounced dead later that night.
Scientists have since taken samples of the creature, which is one of 29 to have become stranded in recent weeks, for further analysis.
'I feel like I'm seeing something that could possibly soon be extinct in front of me,' said Jack after seeing the whale for the first time. 'I feel really upset about it.'
Paul Harwood, 51, an NHS worker left Cheshire at 7.30am and drove two-and-a-half hours to show his five-year-old granddaughter Gracie the whale.
The little girl was clearly fascinated by the sight and asking lots of questions, particularly about the animal's stomach and intestines which are now exposed.
Mr Harwood said: 'When are you going to see something like this ever in your lifetime again? When is my granddaughter ever going to see a creature as big as this in a natural environment in this country?
He added: 'But my one hope is that we will never see a whale like this and in this state ever again - it's terribly sad.'
Meanwhile, a local cafe owner said they had seen a noticeable increase in the number of customers.
Heather Rudd at the Old Boathouse Cafe at Old Hunstanton said: 'Friday's are usually pretty quiet and we only normally see our regulars.
'But yesterday it was like working the weekend, so many people were in the area to see the whale.'
- Did you visit the whale today at Old Hunstanton? What did you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org