Farne Islands – Wild Day Out

FARNE ISLANDS – 23rd/24th JUNE 2018  FULL

We will be posting more Wild Days Out very soon

Few natural spectacles can compare with the sea bird colonies found on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland, England. The sheer number and diversity of colourful, clamorous birds, and the remarkably close encounters one has with them are truly world class! The Islands host internationally important colonies of puffins and terns, as well as a host of other species from guillemots and razorbills to kittiwakes and shags. Add to that the rugged cliffs and wide vistas and you have the recipe for a Wild Day Out to remember!

JOIN ME, SIMON KING, FOR A WILD DAY OUT

ON THE FARNE ISLANDS.

We will meet in the morning at Seahouses Harbour and board our boat with the doyen of Farne Island sea faring, William Shiel, whose family has been running boat trips to the Islands since 1918. Even as we leave the harbour we shall be seeing the birds which use the coastal waters as their feeding grounds – eider ducks, and a variety of gull species among them. As we get out into open sea we will be watching for other seabirds on the wing and on the water, including our first glimpses of puffins, and other auks.

First stop will be Staple Island. This rugged rocky sanctuary in the centre of the archipelago hosts a large puffin colony together with shags and other cliff nesters. Access here is variable depending on the weather, but we should be able to land and spend an hour or so amongst the puffins.

From Staple, we re-board the boat and sail to Inner Farne. Before landing we will take in the awesome spectacle of the seabird cliffs and watch for Grey Seals that haul out on the rocks around the shoreline and hunt in the deep waters.

Once on Inner Farne we make our way to the top of the Island on the board walk which runs through the heart of the Arctic Tern Colony. These beautiful, delicate world travellers will have chicks at this time and defend their nests with vigorous calls and the occasional peck at an unwary head! The wearing of a hat is most definitely recommended!

More puffins greet us on the higher ground as do the black-headed gulls which specialise here on stealing fish from their puffin neighbours. We will have ample time to sit amongst the puffins and other birds here, before we make our way to the cliff edge. Here the shags, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots breed and many of their nests are remarkably close to the cliff top, affording fabulous views.

We will also have a special treat in store on the day, with a rare opportunity to see the Island from a striking and rarely visited viewpoint.

In the late afternoon we will board the boat once more, making a final tour of the cliffs before heading back on the 30 minute boat ride to Seahouses.

We will be out for at least 8 hours, possibly a wee bit longer.

Like every Island adventure, successful landing on the Farne Islands is weather dependent. This is especially true of Staple Island. If the trip has to be cancelled due to weather, guests will be offered the choice of a full refund or the chance to reschedule the trip. We will be keeping the 24th June available as a contingency.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING WITH YOU

This is an all day trip and resources on the islands are very limited. Guests should pack enough food and drink for the whole day, and bring suitable clothing and footwear. The weather can be very changeable so good waterproof layers are a must. It should be noted that Staple Island is quite rough underfoot and so a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required. Oh, and don’t forget that hat! Binoculars are a must but a spotting scope is optional only – many of the birds will be sitting just a few meters away, and some may even be sitting on you!

There are FANTASTIC photographic opportunities on Farne, and whilst this trip is as much about soaking up the magic of the place and its inhabitants as it is about taking pictures, if you are a keen photographer I’ll be very happy to share hints and tips and techniques you may wish to deploy to get memorable images. In short , if you want to bring your camera kit, definitely DO!

There are toilet facilities on Inner Farne.

LIMITED TO 10 GUEST ONLY 

£249 pp, which includes all boat fees for the full day sailing. 

(National Trust members can land on the Farne Islands without incurring an extra landing charge. Non-members must pay Landing Fees to the National Trust directly. These are currently about £28 pp)

To reserve your place please email [email protected]

 

Read what some of our guests have said about wildlife watching days with Simon….

“I had the most wonderful day in Simon’s company at Ham Wall and Shapwick. We went on to see over 40 different species (plus a few others which we only heard) and a number of these were life firsts for me. Simon was very gallant, calm, generous with his time and incredibly knowledgeable. So, in summary, thank you for genuinely one of the best days of my life.”  PH

“Brilliant days at Knepp and Somerset.” SD

“What a great day we had, hubby was over the moon with his early birthday present.” DF

“We had a wonderful day.  Simon is such a special person to spend time with, we learnt a lot.” SG

“I had a ‘Grand Day Out’ with Simon. I learned so much that I immediately put into use this morning when dog walking!  I’d love to do more of these days out.”  SH

“We had the most fantastic day, it was special in so many ways. It always feels like a real privilege to be out in the countryside with Simon. I hope to do it again one day.”  RH

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