Day 50 The Farne Islands

Monday 25 May 2015 (Bank Holiday)

Craster to Seahouses
13.5 miles
Beadnell Bay campsite

I was up extra early to ensure I made it to Seahouses in time for a boat trip to the Farne Islands. Heading back to the coast, as I popped over a small hill I was confronted with a dramatic view of Dunstanburgh Castle perched on the headland North of Craster.  

Dunstanburgh Castle
 I walked along the St Oswalds Way through the dunes to Low Newton-by-the-Sea. There were some amazing looking bachs (to use the kiwi term that is so apt for these huts) nestled in the dunes.  

One of many ‘bachs’ overlooking Embleton Bay and Dunstanburgh Castle
 The beaches around here have beautiful soft sand the colour of vanilla sugar. I walked the last bit to Beadnell Bay along the beach and bumped into Nigel and his wife. Nigel was the only other guest at the Moonfleet in Skinningrove last week; what a nice surprise to bump into him again.    

Yet another wide expanse of beautiful sand (St Mary’s beach)
 I was booked in at a campsite in Beadnell Bay so by 11.30 I had pitched my tent and set off, with a lighter rucksack, for Seahouses. I had time to stop at the bakery for a coffee and the most enormous piece of quiche with at least a pound of broccoli in it (good for my vegetable count). 

Seahouses is a popular tourist resort, mainly because it is where the boats to the Farne Islands go from, and it was packed today. Fortunately I had booked my trip and it was definitely worth it. I saw lots of the same seabirds as at Bempton Cliffs: all the auks (guillemots, razor bills and puffins), kittiwakes and gulls, as well as grey seals and arctic terns. The difference was that when we landed on Inner Farne I could approach the birds sitting on their nests until I was virtually standing on them! Getting off the boat we were attacked by the arctic terns (one drew blood pecking my finger as I tried to defend my head). They were nesting everywhere, even on the path. The puffins had burrows all over the island too and the other birds colonised the cliffs. Utterly amazing to see them all so close, I could have stayed for hours.   

Arctic Tern number 82 (all the nests are counted and numbered)
Nesting shags

Many of the eggs had hatched. Three chicks in this nest
A puffin just emerged from its burrow
  The boat trip around the Farne Islands was interesting as well. I heard about the story of Grace Darling, the first lighthouse keeper’s daughter, who rowed out to save some shipwrecked folk in a storm. And then there’s the church on Inner Farne, the home of St Cuthbert. There are also fantastic views of the coast, including 3 castles: Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Lindosfarne. The sea looks so clear around the islands but the birds on the cliffs do smell…a lot.  

Big cliffs covered in seabirds

2 thoughts on “Day 50 The Farne Islands

  1. chris frazer May 28, 2015 / 3:26 am

    Ahhhhhh! The Twitcher is back I wondered where she had gone…..There I was thinking what a clever bird (sorry Artic Tern) laying a red egg with a white pattern that looked strangely like a number…….doh!!!!!

    No Adders?

    Weather looks fab!


  2. jstumm May 28, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    Woohoo, a picture of a puffin – that’s probably as close as I will ever get. Another set of great photos. I am getting slightly concerned that we will all be subjected to a slide show when you return! I’m sure Mom still has all the equipment…


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