On the way home from our "Etal" walk in July, the occupants of the car that I was travelling in, decided that it may be a good idea to visit the Farne islands as several members of the walking group were away on holiday. In my opinion, on a good weather day, this is one of the top five days out in North East England.
Seahouses, situated on the Northumberland coast, developed as a fishing town from the latter stages of the nineteenth century and still in use today, is probably better known as the starting point for a boat trip to the Farne Islands.
The entrance to the harbour gives the potential novice sailor a variety of rival companies to choose from, each offering a different kind of trip and at first it is difficult to choose which is the most appropriate one given all the advertising boards
After choosing the seal and Longrock lighthouse tour (the longest boat trip), we boarded and left the harbour on a 90 minute excursion. Most of the boats are quite small so a reasonable day without a lot of wind for this outing is needed for maximum enjoyment. I have to point out with that in mind that this was only the third time that I was making this trip.
The first island or Inner Farne is owned by the National Trust and is a major bird colony for cormorants, puffins and other sea birds. Usually the boats sail quite near these cliffs in order to view the species, but most of the Puffins had flown the week before. some of the boats only sail to this island as they have landing rights and do tours of the island.
We carried on to outer Farne or Longrock where the Golden Gate was the only firm allowed to land on this island. This particular island is quite small and the feeling of remoteness from the mainland at 6 miles out is very evident.
We had the option to either see the interior of the building or wander the rocks observing the occasional seal. I took the second choice in this deserted landscape to take a few photographs.
Longrock lighthouse used to be the home of Grace Darling(folklore hero of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute) and it was on one treacherous morning in september 1838 that she noticed early one morning from her bedroom window a cargo ship in trouble. The ship was travelling from Hull to Dundee and was so severely damaged in a storm that it began to break up on nearby rocks.....
Grace and her father took their rowing boat out in high seas and made the trip twice to rescue as many people as they could. These days, this section of the journey is near a seal colony and visitors seem more concerned about other aspects of the journey.
|Partial recreation of that original journey, GD's window smaller building on the right|
After 30 minutes ashore and the sail back in the footsteps of that rescue, it was time to head back for dry land with a few happier to do so.......
...as they may have liked the peace and tranquility of Seahouses harbour.