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Seal appeal at Horsey Gap

A seal pup lounges on the beach Jan. 4, 2013, at Horsey Gap, Norfolk. Approximately 100 snow-white seal pups are born each year to the light-grey female seals of Norfolk, while the darker males wait in the water. Several hundred have been born since November 2012, and the increase in numbers has meant many visitors for the area. Grey seals can reach up to 11 feet in length, and can weigh up to 680 pounds. (Courtesy photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

A seal pup lounges on the beach Jan. 4, 2013, at Horsey Gap, Norfolk. Approximately 100 snow-white seal pups are born each year to the light-grey female seals of Norfolk, while the darker males wait in the water. Several hundred have been born since November 2012, and the increase in numbers has meant many visitors for the area. Grey seals can reach up to 11 feet in length, and can weigh up to 680 pounds. (Courtesy photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

Adult seals bask along the Norfolk coastline Jan. 4, 2013, in Horsey Gap, Norfolk, where hundreds of seal pups have recently been born. The Horsey seal population has risen from 10 in 2003 to around 1,500 in 2013. There is a viewing area running alongside the beach on the sand dunes, and dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. (Courtesy photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

Adult seals bask along the Norfolk coastline Jan. 4, 2013, in Horsey Gap, Norfolk, where hundreds of seal pups have recently been born. The Horsey seal population has risen from 10 in 2003 to around 1,500 in 2013. There is a viewing area running alongside the beach on the sand dunes, and dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. (Courtesy photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

A seal pup lounges on the beach Jan. 4, 2013, at Horsey Gap, Norfolk. During December and January, colonies of grey seals head to the beach at Horsey Gap. Hundreds of baby seals have been born along the Norfolk coast at Horsey since November, as grey seals head there to give birth between late November and January. Though seal pups look cute and cuddly, getting too close can be very dangerous and also endangers the pups. (Courtesy photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

A seal pup lounges on the beach Jan. 4, 2013, at Horsey Gap, Norfolk. During December and January, colonies of grey seals head to the beach at Horsey Gap. Hundreds of baby seals have been born along the Norfolk coast at Horsey since November, as grey seals head there to give birth between late November and January. Though seal pups look cute and cuddly, getting too close can be very dangerous and also endangers the pups. (Courtesy photo by Karen Abeyasekere)

HORSEY GAP, Norfolk, England -- Braving the cold weather at the start of January, my daughter and I saw a wonderful sight off the coast of Norfolk - seals and their pups lounging on the beach.

After seeing a feature about them on the local news, we decided to get up early and drive to the coast (as you do, on a freezing cold day in winter ... ), for an opportunity to see the cute "little" creatures.

During December and January, colonies of grey seals head to the beach at Horsey Gap to give birth to seal pups. The area is now a tourist attraction, as hundreds of pups have been born there since November.

Horsey Gap is located near Caister-on-Sea. One must travel along small, back roads to get to it. There is a parking area, but I parked elsewhere and we trudged down a very muddy track until we eventually ended up on the sand dunes near the sea. Be warned - it's advisable to wear wellies!

After following other people who were heading from our left (obviously from the parking lot I never actually made it to!), we walked along the sand dunes until we reached the area where the seals were lounging.

It was definitely worth the trip! Even though you can't get very close to them, it's easily close enough to get some good photos. The dunes are roped off down the middle, with people on one side and seals, beach and sea on the other.

Some of the seal pups, in a variety of sizes, were in the grassy area of the dunes. Most of them were still furry, as opposed to the oilskin of the adult seals, and all were very cute with their big brown eyes. One spent the whole time laying on his back, watching everyone upside down, and looking like "he" was inviting them to tickle his tummy!

However, the rope is there for a reason - to protect the seals, and to protect everyone else as well. You must not cross the rope to try and get to the seals. In addition to possibly injuring the pups, if a mother thinks her baby is being threatened, human or otherwise, you'd better run, because there's nothing she won't do to protect that baby!

But there's absolutely no reason to cross that line and get too close. There were plenty of seals to take photos of all along that section of coast.

When we got to the cold and windy beach, there were just a handful of people. However, by the time we were ready to head back, it was getting very crowded with families wanting a glimpse of the seals.

While most of the seals were basking by the sea, we did see a few go for a swim then heave themselves back onto shore. Occasionally, a few of the adult seals would work their way up to the dunes to check on the young ones, then head back further down the beach.

We walked along for a mile or so and took lots of photos. My daughter was having a great time taking photos with her own camera as well, before it started getting just a little too cold and breezy. So if you go there, ensure you're wrapped up warmly!

It took about an hour-and-a-half to get there, but was definitely worth the trip. If you get the chance in the next few weeks, I definitely recommend going to see the seals, as there are not many other opportunities to view them close up.