Farne Islands

Monday 16 May 2016. I don’t really have a bucket list but one of the things that I’ve wanted to do for some time is to visit Inner Farne during the bird nesting season. This was the main reason for coming to Beadnell at this particular time as Seahouses is less than 3 miles away and boats depart from the harbour for trips around the Farne Islands with a chance to get off for a walk around Inner Farne. I’ve been waiting for the weather conditions to improve and today was the day. A gentle breeze and a near flat calm sea. I’m no great sailor but this was the gentlest crossing ever.

I booked for the 12 noon sailing which got under way 20 minutes late with the boat, Glad Tidings VI, being crammed with the maximum of 80 passengers. As you will see from the route pdf below, we headed out to the east of the Islands stopping for a short time to look at the seals on Little Scarcar. The boat went very close but the seals took no notice of us. We then headed out around Staple Island with the boat getting within 20ft or 30ft of the birds nesting on the steep cliffs.

Coming back on a more westerly course we stopped off for an hour on Inner Farne where I took pictures of Guillemot, Razorbill, Artic Tern, Eider Duck, Puffin, Ringed Plover, Shag, Kittiwake and Black Headed Gull. I came prepared with my hat to protect me from being attacked by the Terns but only a few were sitting on eggs and they were relatively calm although flying within a few feet of visitors. I was amazed by how the birds built their nests so close to the paths with one Tern nest being built in the middle of the path.

The cruise cost £15 which for nearly 3 hours was great value. The NT charge £8 to land on Inner Farne but this was covered by my SNT membership. The cruise covered 10.9 miles with less than one mile of walking. It made a great break and I would recommend it to any birders or lovers of wildlife.

Farne Islands



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