It was strange times indeed across the country, and on the day lockdown travel restrictions eased, bringing back some semblance of normalcy after the pandemic...all of a sudden, an Arctic visitor affectionately named ‘Wally the walrus’ appeared, soaking up the sun in Tenby!

It was Saturday, March 27, 2021 and with Wales-wide travel allowed in time for the holidays, and people able to travel to beauty spots on the first day of Covid restrictions easing - a walrus that was first spotted off Kerry in Ireland on March 14, days later making his way over to Pembrokeshire’s Broad Haven beach - continued its jaunt around the Welsh coast, rocking up in the seaside town of Tenby, to the amazement of locals and visitors alike.

Wally the walrus making friends with a Tenby gull
(Photo: Gareth Davies Photography)

It is believed he may have fallen asleep on an iceberg off Greenland which drifted to Valentia Island, before finding his way to Irish seas.

People wandering around Tenby’s harbour and Castle Hill area were incredulous as to what they were seeing, with the large creature basking in the sun and splashing in the sea.

Wally walrus in Tenby
Wally relaxing in the Tenby sun (Pic: Gareth Davies Photography)

Luckily the walrus was protected by the fact that he stayed on and close to the RNLI lifeboat station’s slipway, so was somewhat protected from anyone getting too close, with RSPCA Cymru and Dyfed-Powys Police issuing warnings to tourists and members of the local community to be respectful and give sufficient space to Wally, who went onto make Tenby his home for the next seven weeks.

The Tenby Observer was the first news outlet to publish a photograph of Wally in the town, taken respectfully using a long lens by local photographer Gareth Davies, as ‘Wally-mania’ swept the seaside town, with his unlikely arrival in West Wales sparking global interest!

Wally taking a dip
Wally taking a dip in the sea around Tenby lifeboat station (Pic: Gareth Davies Photography)

He eventually headed to Cornwall; and by late May Wally continued to track south to France, before eventually arriving in the Isles of Scilly on June 17, where he caused a bit of mischief for boat owners!

Wally who captured the hearts and imagination of wildlife lovers locally and around the world with his mammoth travels then went onto be spotted enjoying the last of the summer sunshine soaking up the rays on floating pontoon in the south west corner of Ireland at the end of August; and by September 19 the majestic animal attracted attention from the townspeople of Höfn in Iceland, on what many hoped was a stop-off on his way home.

Wally and seagull in Tenby
Wally making friends with a teby gull! (Pic: Gareth Davies Photography)