It’s been one year and a half since we moved to the UK, but only now did we discover the most stunning scenery seen in Britain (so far!). Farne Islands. A well-kept secret, as they are rarely mentioned in guidebooks or travel reviews, and that’s a shame.
Being unsatisfied with our puffin hunting in Iceland, we were determined to find another spot where it was possible to observe these lovely creatures. A short research suggested, what a surprise, our dear east coast, and more precisely – the Farne Islands, that can be hardly spotted in the map. Soon even more was discovered: not only are they the major nesting spot of puffins in the UK, but for arctic terns, shags and other seabirds it is the main seasonal habitat as well. How could anyone resist?
The more we looked, the more the Farne Islands seemed like a Nordic paradise, it appeared that this ridiculously tiny territory is home for 5,000 seals and one of the most popular activities is diving with their charming neighborhood. We couldn’t really ask for more.
Having crossed Northumberland for the third time at least we arrived to Seahouses – a little town-gateway to the Farne Islands. My personal favorite type: maritime villages in blue-white-black colors, with little ship as a décor and unavoidable cry of the seagulls. Fish and Chips shops, smell of the sea, picturesque harbor through the light mist. Happy heartbeat.
The boats to the Farne Islands depart before the noon, they might be fully booked during the season, but considering the number of providers, getting a place for a boat is not a problem.
Either you choose a small 2 hours tour, or a long one, which lasts six hours. At first I couldn’t understand what one can do during 6 hours on such a small territory? Now I can clearly see the answer. It’s worth of double-checking the prices, as if you are not a member of the National Trust, you have to get a pass for each of the islands, which, at the end, can represent quite a sum. For our two hours tour for two it cost 30£.
After a night in a local camping, at 9:00 we were the worst dressed tourists on the boat. Then the whole fun started. Dark waves, salty drops on the face and hundreds, wrong – thousands of birds on the black and white cliffs.
Breathtaking, there is no other definition.
Puffins, guillemots, razorbills, cormorants – they were all there within hand’s reach.
Due to the strong wind it was impossible to stop at the Staple Island, but even observing this beauty from the boat was impressive enough. Still, the best part of the trip were two hours on the Inner Island.
So meet arctic terns – a seabird which doesn’t tolerate any interference to its private territory.
Heavens for the wildlife photographers.
I’ll dare to repeat, that we’ve never seen anything like this in our lives before. Once again – so far.
Diving with seals
The only one regret resulted from a pitiful misunderstanding is the notorious diving with seals. More precisely its absence. The day before the trip we found out that no matter how short the diving session may be, it can’t be realized without a specific diving qualification, which can be obtained in specialized schools. Just like a driving license. Depending on the degree of this qualification one can dive with a supervisor, or by oneself. It was too late for us to take even an accelerated course (which is far from being cheap), so the seal diving was over before it started. More reasons to be back :)