Saturday 18 July 2020

The Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a group of islands situated off the coast of Northumberland and are a fantastic place to visit to see sea birds (including Puffins), and grey seals in the wild.

The Islands can be reached by taking a boat trip from the village of Seahouses. From the A1 take the B1342 to Seahouses, passing through the village of Warren Hill and the magnificent Bamburgh Castle. When you reach Seahouses there is plenty of parking.

There are a number of islands but it is only on the National Trust islands of Inner Farne Island and Staple Island 
where you are allowed to spend an hour or so on the islands surrounded by birds. There are a number of companies offering boat trips around the islands. These can be found at the harbour in Seahouses and offer a number of different trips including stops at Inner Farne Island, Staple Island, trips to Holy Island and Sunset Cruises. 

The grey seal trip is an excellent way to view both bird life and the grey seals. This lasts about 1.5hrs and takes you to both the inner and outer islands where you can observe an amazing amount of birdlife including, Cormorants, Shags, Razorbills, Guillimots, Kittiwakes  and Puffins.

A wonderful treat is to watch the grey seals basking in the sun or swimming. The majority of grey seals are found on Longstone Island, home to Longstone Lighthouse, the home of Grace Darling and her family. The Grace Darling museum can be found at Bamburgh and is well worth a visit.


Grey Seals On Longstone Rock

Longstone Lighthouse

Inner Farne Island
A trip to Inner Farne Island lasts about 3hrs and takes a trip around some of the other islands before stopping at Inner Farne Island for 1hr. The island is a fantastic place to observe the thousands of birds living on the cliffs or nesting on the ground. From watching the Guillemots,Shags and Kittiwakes on the cliff faces to the attractive puffins waddling around near their burrows an hour spent on the island is a delight. Beware of the irascible Arctic terns nesting neat the jetty and remember to wear a hat. 

Inner Farne Island is the largest of the inner group of islands and is rich in history. Between 676 to 687 the island was home to St Cuthbert, who lived a hermetic life, building a cell and house for visitors. St Cuthbert's Chapel was built in the 1300's by monks of the House of Farne, who managed to cultivate the land and keep livestock. The chapel was used by the monks until the dissolution on the monasteries in 1536. In the 19th century the chapel was renovated to its present state. 

The Pele tower, known as Prior Castell's Tower was constructed in the late 14th century. Thomas Castell was prior of Durham Cathedral when the tower was built to house monks and protect the island from border raids. Following the dissolution of the monasteries the tower was used to house a small garrison. By 1637 the tower had become ruinous and was used as a lighthouse until the construction of the present lighthouse in 1809. 

The views from the Farne Islands of the Northumberland Coast and the magnificent Bamburgh Castle are breathtaking

Arctic Terns





Prior Castell's Tower


St Cuthberts Chapel

Other Places Nearby
   Bamburgh Castle  
         Holy Island

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