He explains that the animals were so accustomed to human activity that they would not be bothered by the proximity of the boats. These commissions help keep this website up and running, and I thank you for your support. The captain took us on a tour of the route taken by lighthouse keeper William Darling and his daughter Grace during their heroic rescue in 1838. We had a spectacular boat trip with lots to see. They were crowded and raucous sea birds including guillimots, razor bills, shags and kittiwake. Grey seals and seal pups can be seen from boats. amzn_assoc_title = "My Recommendations"; This is the best month to see the eiders nesting on Staple. It’s a time of firsts and lasts – will you spot the first puffins in the water, a spring migrant or the last couple of furry white seal pups? All recommendations and opinions are my own. But, the peak puffin breeding season is around May and June. But when we moved to the UK, I found out about the wonderful Farne Islands in Northumberland, and was excited that I would finally get the chance to see them. Arctic terns leave and other seabirds – guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns – start to depart too. amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; The Farne Islands are just off the coast of Seahouses and are really very special indeed - David Attenborough named the Farne Islands his favourite place to spot UK wildlife and we couldn’t agree more. The captain provided a running commentary as we were brought up alongside the island cliffs. Staple and Inner Farne are open. November - December May Arctic terns are nesting on Inner Farne so you will still need a hat if you visit this island – the terns will dive bomb humans to protect their chicks. There's a reason people refer to Castle Combe as the prettiest village in England. About The Farne Islands & Seal Diving The Farne Islands are located just below the Scottish border on the east side of England and are known as one of the best locations in the UK to dive with seals. Diving with Seals in the Farne Islands with Miss Scuba UK - Duration: 11:42. There are many seals too… Tips when planning a visit to see the Farne Islands puffins. July Both Inner Farne and Staple Island are owned by the National Trust (NT) so if you plan to choose a boat tour that includes an island landing, then as well as the boat tour fee, you will also need to pay a landing fee to the NT. We then headed out on a tour around the islands. Staple and Inner Farne are open Although it doesn’t take long to walk the circuit, there were so many birds to see that we easily filled the hour spotting the different breeds and watching their entertaining antics. We paid £30 to Serenity and then bought our ticket for the national trust to get on the island at £15.40. They reminded me of little flying penguins, they looked so awkward. However, if you are a NT member, then you can land for free. We use cookies to provide you with a better service. Seahouses is a quaint little harbourside village with a variety of shops, pubs and café’s. Kittiwakes and fulmars can be seen till mid-month and usually until the end of the month. We also got to watch the grey seals lolling around on the rocks on the edge of the islands, barking and groaning at each other. The accommodation is quite limited in and around Seahouses, so book early, or consider staying somewhere else nearby and driving to Seahouses. It is hard to miss the seals, m ainly because the grey seal colony at the Farnes numbers around about 5,000! The monk Aelwin was living on the Inner Farne during the 12th Century when the islands were sacked by the Norwegians and another known inhabitant of the islands was St. Bartholomew, who was born early in the 12th century near Whitby. They are scattered about 1 1 ⁄ 2 to 4 3 ⁄ 4 miles (2.4–7.6 km) from the mainland, divided into the Inner Group and the Outer Group. Farne Islands Northumberland, England A boat trip from Seahouses onto the Farne islands is a must to see the many nesting birds. Arctic terns, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, and common terns begin to leave too. Shags, cormorants, spoon bills and white-tailed eagles might be seen flying overhead. We booked online with Billy Shiel’s Boat Trips and chose the 2.5 hour Inner Farne bird sanctuary tour which included a boat tour around the islands and an hour of bird watching on Inner Farne. p The only boat licensed to land on Longstone Island plus unique access to tour ... but must be kept on a lead at all times as you can get very close to the seals on occasions. Our 1½ hour cruise sails around all of the islands giving good views of the nesting birds on the cliff faces and viewing the Grey Seals at several vantage points along with an informative commentary throughout. Pufflings are still hatching, and some of the older ones will be heading towards the sea. You might spot our first fuzzy seal pup, a rare migrant or maybe get the island almost to yourself – well, you, some rangers, some seals and still a few birds! Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place to ‘see nature at its best’ is surely somewhere worth checking out. Before heading to the Farne Islands, you need to plan your trip carefully depending on what you want to see, as the islands are closed for landings during the winter, and the birds are only there at certain times of the year for nesting. Our work to care for the Farne Islands is critical to puffins' ongoing breeding success. Birds: Puffins, eider ducks, kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags, and many more birds can be seen on the islands. Scubaverse 6,139 views. The best time to dive the Farne Islands with seals is late September to early October. From puffins to seals and Arctic terns to eider ducks, there's bountiful wildlife for you to discover on your visit to the Farne Islands. Puffins are on their way out – you may catch some at the beginning of the month and see them out at sea. We even saw some puffins peeking out of their burrows. Islands: Inner Farne and Staple are closed. Farne Islands: Seabirds on the Farne Islands - See 729 traveler reviews, 753 candid photos, and great deals for Northumberland, UK, at Tripadvisor. This is the best month to see the eiders nesting on Staple, they sit tight on their nests, so keep your eyes down between the rocks! Come and see the seals! Once home to saints, soldiers and legendary lighthouse keepers, the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast are now a sanctuary for seabirds and seals. But during the nineteen-sixties, the seal population has been building up to an intolerably high level. Farne Islands seal colony sees first pups of season. Although I wouldn’t call myself a serious ‘birdwatcher’ I do enjoy watching them in the garden and when I’m out hiking either in woodlands or cliff sides. 11:42. Given the right weather conditions, the seals are visited every four days and new … Thank you. It took us a few moments to realise it was there to protect an eider duck that had made its nest on the paths edge. Social distancing and furlough have meant National Trust rangers have not been staying on the Farne Islands, in the North Sea, where in normal years they monitor the wildlife. amzn_assoc_linkid = "6457c912f12bd8c0f26397ee2df80bb6"; Warsaw is often overlooked by visitors for the more popular city of Krakow, but this... Sigulda is a short drive from Riga and is set in the stunning Gauja National... Brač is a gorgeous Croatian Island easily accessible by ferry from Split or Makarska. Credit: PA Images An annual seal census in Northumberland has had to be carried out from the air because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Farne Islands are located between Bamburgh and Seahouses on the Northumberland coast and are home to one of the largest seal colonies in the UK with around 1,000 seal pups born each year. The visibility here is usually around 10 metres and you can experience some fantastic interaction with these inquisitive creatures. This is peak time for our fluffy seal pups, they can be seen gathering on the rocks in their thousands, peaking at the end of this month. As the nights draw in later in the month the chapel, lighthouse and landscapes all look spectacular in the morning and evening – you could get some fantastic photos at this time of year if the weather is right. Birds: Puffins are departing, but you may catch some at the beginning of the month. The boat tours to the Farne Islands depart from Seahouses Harbour, sat nav NE68 7RN. Our ranger team undertakes an annual census (previously every 5 years). The first seal we saw on this visit was asleep at the top of steps on Staple Island, at least until we approached. Sadly dogs are not allowed inside the lighthouse. It was fun watching their antics. “This has meant we’ve been unable to carry out our annual seal pup count on the ground. They were smaller than I was expecting. Inner Farne and Staple islands are closed from January until the almost the end of March. After a week of watching the weather and two days of checking sea conditions, the wait was over and finally after being booked a few months previously, six members of Marlin Sub-Aqua Club were in Seahouses ready to dive the Farne Islands. The fish was lovely and fresh, and there were also non-fish items on the menu for non-seafood eaters. A cluster of rocky crags scattered between one and five miles from shore, the islands are known for being the home of Grace Darling , famed for her involvement in the rescue of survivors of the Forfarshire shipwreck in 1838. The Farne Islands, lie just off shore midway between Seahouses and Bamburgh. Don’t forget to get a side of mushy peas for a true British fish and chip experience! Shags are still on the islands and you may see some overwintering birds arriving to re-fuel before they head to the mainland (keep an eye on the stick bundles near the Pele Tower). This sparsely populated county is made up of castles and farmland as far as the eye can see. It’s a great time of year to look for the last few autumn migrants. Golden Gate Farne Islands Boat Trips is a Family Attraction in Seahouses. The spectacle of arriving at Staple right in front of the nesting cliffs is hard to beat! Seals and pups on the Farne Islands in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA) National Trust ranger Harriet Reid said: “Due to … Think about getting a National Trust membership. As we wanted to see the puffins, we visited at the end of April. We had a good tour around the smaller islands and saw many SEALS, PUFFINS and SHAGS. See more. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or find out how to manage cookies. The islands are also the permanent home for a large, and inquisitive colony of Atlantic or Grey Seals. June amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; They managed to rescue 9 of the 62 passengers and crew and as a result, Grace went on to become a Victorian celebrity. On 7th September 1838 Grace Darling and her father rescued nine survivors from the paddle steamship Forfarshire which ran aground on Big Harca in stormy seas. Record number of seal pups born at Farne Islands colony. Search available accommodation in and around Seahouses. Search available accommodation in and around Seahouses, Doxford Hall Hotel And Spa in nearby Chathill, Relaxing in Burgas on the Black Sea Coast, Day Trip from Krakow: Wieliczka Salt Mine, Discover Ireland in Two Weeks – A Detailed Self Drive Itinerary. Early indications of this year’s census show a decline of 12℅. Your email address will not be published. How drones can help with counting seals. As part of the Northumberland region, the Farne Island archipelago can be found 3-5 kilometers off the coast between Seahouses and Bamburgh municipalities. A visit to the Farne Islands starts in the pretty Northumberland fishing village of Seahouseswhere you can watch an array of activity in the bustling harbour before catching a boat for your journey over. You may have heard a story about Grace Darling. Other seabirds – kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags – can be seen on the islands, along with many other species. Last year the islands' seal pup numbers reached a record high of 2,737 - … Shags are on the islands and grey seals can be seen from boats. The seals are used to divers and love to interact with them, and are often referred to as the ‘puppies of the ocean’ due to their playful nature. However, be aware that all timings are approximate, as the weather and other factors can affect migration, nesting and breeding times. Inner Farne and Staple islands are closed from January until the almost the end of March. amzn_assoc_asins = "B06XH9MJRC,0753726289,B01HSE4EPW,B01BV14I40"; Required fields are marked *. Other seabirds – kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags can be seen on the crowded island cliffs. By counting them we can help monitor growth or decline on the colony. Kittiwakes and fulmars can be seen until the end of the month. Took on a lovely sunny day, shows yachts and a walker. We visited the local fish and chip shop Lewis’s Fish Restaurant which is on the main street, not far from the harbour and also offers takeaways. Arctic terns are nesting on Inner Farne. October In September on the Farnes, the first seal pups start arriving: small, fuzzy white balls that look like cotton wool. The Farne islands is considered one of the best places in the world to dive with seals, The area is one of the richest and most beautiful on the east coast of the United Kingdom. Throughout April, August, September and October this tour is available morning and afternoon. What type of seals do we see? April We boarded the St Cuthbe ... We went out to the Farne Islands with Billy Shiels and saw the cormorants, guillemots and kittiwakes and the seals. Arctic terns nest until mid-month so you will still need a hat for Inner Farne only, there are plenty of almost fledged chicks running around the boardwalks. It’s also a great time to experience the tough conditions our past Farnes inhabitants experienced, from Grace Darling to St Cuthbert, sometimes completely alone. The first seal pup born on the Farnes this year was on September 27, and heralded what is hoped to be yet another successful breeding season. It’s been on my bucket list to see Puffins for some time, but so far, the closest I’ve gotten to seeing them was on the menu whilst in Iceland! Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place to ‘see nature at its best’ is surely somewhere worth checking out. Farne Islands can be almost dived all year-long but if you want to increase your chances of an underwater encounter with grey seals, September is the right period to go. As you would expect from a Northumberland fishing village, you’ll find plenty of fresh fish in Seahouses including a plethora of fish and chip shops and an excellent fishmongers called Swallowfishthat even has its own traditional smokehouse. The name 'Shiel' has long associations with the Sea on this rugged Northumberland coastline. Apparently, it was part of a much larger monastic complex, but this is the only remaining building. Islands: Both Staple and Inner Farne are open. Or you could visit Inner Farne between August and October for a bird free trip, following in the footsteps of St Cuthbert or Grace Darling. When the birds leave in late summer the Islands become the pupping grounds for the second largest colony of grey seals in England. Read about 10 facts about the Farne Islands’ seals here. The plan was to paddle out to the Farne Islands for a leisurely day of Seal and bird spotting. There was a real buzz onboard the boat when we finally got to see the first puffins. It seems in the summer, the grey seals prefer sunbathing in the sun than playing with divers. It has a wooden boardwalk circuit, suitable for disabled visitors, that takes you in a circuit around the island. They are located at the most easterly point of the 'Great Whin Sill', an intrusion of volcanic rock which begins in Cumbria and gives a distinct and spectacular character to the north Northumberland coastline. Is this a romantic ... One of the must do trips to do in Northumberland is to visit Seahouses and travel across to the Farne islands on one of Billy Shiel's boats, the official National Trust boats. Arrests as Indian workers ransack iPhone plant over wages 3. Occasionally we would see a head bob out of the water to look up at us with their gorgeous big black eyes. An annual seal census at one of Britain’s most important colonies has had to be carried out from the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the Farnes are home to one of the largest grey seal colonies in Europe. Not only do you get free entrance into the islands, but there are lots of amazing NT properties to visit in the area and car parks around the UK. Islands: Inner Farne is open but Staple is closed. Your email address will not be published. Islands: Inner Farne is open, but Staple is still closed. Shags can be seen from the boat. Farne Islands can be almost dived all year-long but if you want to increase your chances of an underwater encounter with grey seals, September is the right period to go. Published 23 October 2019. If you love to see wildlife, and in particular seals, then you’re in for a treat. Rob Corby reports on a trip he organised to the Farne Islands to swim with seals. The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland, England.The group has between 15 and 20 islands depending on the level of the tide. Inner Farne is open but Staple is closed. If seeing the seabird spectacle is your goal, plan your visit between mid April and late July to see the largest number of birds. Les visiteurs peuvent être débarqués sur trois îles, l’accès aux autres étant interdit à des fins de protection. Published 4 December 2019. Seals and pups on the Farne Islands in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA) National Trust ranger Harriet Reid said: “Due to the coronavirus crisis… Grey seals on the Farne Islands This was my first autumn trip to the Farne Islands. Find out more about what species you might see, when and where, as well as the other features of the Islands, such as St … It was only in the late 1930’s that the business as we see it today really got going. We went on the Inner Farne boat tour as we wanted to get off on the island. Seals on the Farne Islands. Birds: Puffins can be seen on the islands. Land on Inner Farne, Staple Island, and Longstone when the islands open in spring until autumn time. At this time they are very inquisitive and will engage with scuba divers. William Drumm 61,114 views. They were so cute with their sad eyes. Bring a hat to protect you from the dive bombing Arctic terns. Billy Shiel joined his father at the age of 14 years and now Billy Shiel’s Farne Island Boat Trips have been operating out of Seahouses for over 60 years. Bring a hat to protect you from the dive bombing Arctic terns who will be protecting their chicks. Its camouflaged feathers placed it at risk of being tread on, hence the taped off area. I go out once or twice each summer, mainly to see the birds but we usually get to see a few dozen grey seals as well. During this time, two islands are open to the public for birdwatching: This is one of the top grey seal pupping sites in England, with more than 2000 pups born out at the islands every Autumn/Winter. Read my full disclosure here. If you make a purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. We booked the first departure of the day, so arrived at Seahouses early in the morning and parked at the main carpark just of the Main St roundabout. Longstone Lighthouse. 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