Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

Sea Anglers at Filey Brigg


Last Sunday evening, I returned to Filey Brigg with the intention of capturing some more exciting seascape photographs. The forecast was good, the sun was shining and the tide predictions favourable. I carefully descended the treacherous slope to the top of the cliff on the north side of the Brigg to a large ledge at the top of the cliff, where the fisherman is standing in the image at the head of this post. I dumped my heavy sack and peered over the edge of the cliff. To my disappointment, the sea was flat calm and very undramatic. Time to re-think my plans.

I had brought along my 500 mm lens as I had spotted a lone puffin and a kestrel the day before. Yes, I know I am supposed to be abstaining from nature photography, but old habits are hard to break. I sat on the edge and watched a group of sea-anglers some sixty feet below, casting their lines into deep pools and crevices and thought to myself that I may as well take a couple of pictures. The anglers didn’t seem to notice or appear to care that they were being photographed. Two hours later, I had filled the memory card on my camera and had missed the sunset.

Here’s a few of the images I took that evening, together with as short explanation of why I chose these particular photographs…

These two girls may not actually be sisters but they do look very much alike. I love their natural expressions with their hair blowing in the sea-breeze and the glorious evening sunshine side-lighting their faces. One of the girls gathered a posy of flowers from the grass at the top of the cliff face.

A Lady Angler

The lady angler in the picture above was fishing with her partner. She appeared to be enjoying herself despite the slippery rocks. The image above was taken at the end of a long cast and the position of her feet reminded me of a golfer at the end of their swing.

Another angler, complete with a red jacket, was also fishing at the base of the cliff. He had already landed several mackerel but it was his little black spaniel that provided most of the entertainment. This little dog never kept still, dashing along and through the rock-pools and returning to his master every few seconds.

Angler with his pet Spaniel

I watched as he landed a fine pollack and held it aloft for his friends to admire…



In order to reach the base of the cliff, the anglers had to use a rather rusty and dangerous looking ladder. As the sun was setting, I thought it would be worthwhile to stay and to take a few photographs of the ‘fisherfolk’ as they ascended the ladder. The couple were the first to leave and being a gentleman, the young man let his partner go first. Actually, what astonished me most was that they both trusted their weight to this piece of rusting scrap iron!

Angling couple ascend

Carrying a bucket in one hand meant that the young lady had to grab each rung with her right hand. If you click on the picture above to see the large version, you can see the wonderful expression on her face as she snatches for the next rung on the ladder.

I watched as the fisherman in the red jacket, gutted his fish in a small pool and carried his equipment up the ladder, as the dog waited patiently for his return. The fisherman then hoisted his pet onto his shoulder and ascended the ladder. The dog didn’t seem at all nervous and when he finally was deposited safely on the ledge, some thirty feet above, he raced the remaining hundred or so feet to the top of the cliff in a matter of seconds.

Cleaning the catch

Ascending with catch

Angler, dog and ladder

Finally a word or two of caution. The steep paths on Filey Brigg can be extremely dangerous, especially so when wet. Combined with high tides and the occasional freak wave, makes this a place that can be potentially, very hazardous. Please take care and stay safe.


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2 thoughts on “Sea Anglers at Filey Brigg

  1. Yes a dodgy place to go Tony,i’m surprised that rusty old ladder is still there! What with health and safety been a high profile.It’s been there donkey years.Interesting people study shots though….

    • Thanks Alan. I actually used the ladder last weekend without a problem. I’m glad its there as it does save a long walk and is useful as an emergency escape route if you are cut off by the incoming tide.

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