Fabulous Farnes

The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the Northumberland coast from Seahouses. There are between 15 and 20 islands depending on the tide. They are scattered between 1½ – 5 miles (2.5–7.5 km) from the mainland and divided into the Inner and the Outer islands. From Seahouses it is possible to sail to various combinations of the islands with landings included on some of them for a fee to the NT who provide the ranger service. A trip video can be found on YouTube.

Farne Islands
The Farne Islands accessible from Seahouses. Map courtesy of National Trust ©️

Inner Farne Landing

April is the time of year that I start to get restless for a trip offshore to see the seabirds and the grey seals. A quick glance at the weather, the bus timetable, and the online booking sites, and I was off on the long and winding bus journey up the coast to the fabulous Farnes. At this time of year there is thankfully much to see from the bus with the sun shining, the trees greening up, the daffodils looking great, and the colours gradually returning to the sea and the skies.

St Cuthbert II, Seahouses Harbour. Billy Shiels Boat Trips.

Among the birds and animals I saw on this April trip were Puffins, Grey Seals, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Shags but it varies at different times of year. The onboard commentary and the NT Ranger’s talk provide plenty of specialised information on what birds are presently there and the history of the islands.

Inner Farne
Inner Farne, Northumberland

Seahouses, where the boats depart from, is densely populated with fish and chip shops and so my choice of lunch menu was fairly straightforward. My ticket included a cruise of the islands with a one hour landing on Inner Farne bird reserve where St Cuthbert’s Chapel is located.

St Cuthbert's Chapel
St Cuthbert’s Chapel, Inner Farne
Grey Seals
Grey seals basking on the Farne Islands

I haven’t uploaded a route for this walk because the rangers have created a boardwalk route around the island which visitors have to stick to to avoid the ground nesting birds on the island.

Inner Farne Circular
Inner Farne Circular walk route. Map by National Trust ©

As well as having my spirits raised after another northern winter, I also took advantage of the opportunity to re-record my video of this trip, which incorporates the best short walk in north east England. Having realised that I needed to work on my videos, which began life as more of a diary, I have been working hard to utilise the tools at my disposal to improve them.

With thanks for this excellent trip to the crew of the St Cuthbert II from Billy Shiels Boat Trips (Other cruises are available) and the National Trust Rangers on Inner Farne for a great day out and for reminding me that there is more to the Farne Islands than the puffins.