Drizzle; Farne Islands Press Trip 04/06/2014

by on Jun.10, 2014, under Birdwatching, Farne Islands, Northumberland

Seeing a familiar location, in unfamiliar conditions, can be like visiting somewhere for the first time.  Over the years nearly all of our trips to the Farne Islands have been in glorious weather.  I could never be blase about the islands, but sometimes I hope for a new experience…

I arrived at Seahouses Harbour just after 11:30 to meet up with Melanie and Gustavo.  Melanie is a journalist from Germany, currently writing a piece about Northumberland, and I’d been asked to be her guide to the Northumberland coast (Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island).  We hit a snag straight away – they’d been delayed in Alnwick and didn’t arrive in Seahouses in time for our sailing around the islands!  A quick change of our booking, and a drive to Bamburgh for the quickest tour of the castle imaginable (thanks to Chris and his staff) and we were back in Seahouses for the 13:30 sailing.  The earlier sailing had gone out in fine weather, but this one was cold, densely overcast and drizzly; very, very drizzly.  The sea was mirror calm all around the islands, disturbed only by the patter of raindrops, revealing huge rafts of Puffins, Guillemots andRazorbillsKittiwakes shrieked from the cliff faces, Fulmars glided effortlessly overhead and Grey Seals watched warily as we passed by.  Common, Arctic andSandwich Terns were fishing, Shags and Cormorants were standing, sentinel like, on the rocks and Gannets passed by on their way to and from distant feeding grounds.

It really did feel like a completely different experience to usual, and Holy Island in the rain, although it’s a very special place too, was going to struggle to match that strange other-worldliness of a seabird colony in the gloom 🙂

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