30 July 2019

Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland. There are between 15 and 20 islands depending on the tide, which are divided into two groups – the Inner group and the Outer group. The inner group includes Inner Farne and the outer includes Staple Island. They are currently owned by the National Trust and local boats are licensed to take passengers to Inner Farne, Staple Island and the Longstone. Visits to other islands are prohibited to protect the wildlife. 

At the right time of year, (usually late May to August), puffins can be seen on Inner Farne and surrounding islands. We booked a tour boat from Seahouses and as we were taken to the island, the tour guide pointed out lots of different birds – even sunbathing seals – but no puffins. Luckily, once we arrived at Inner Farne, there must have been hundreds of puffins running about; I found out that they live in burrows and spent quite a while watching them pop in and out.

Also on the Inner Farne, Arctic terns nest close to the path and will attack visitors who get too close as we found out! Visitors to the island are advised to wear a hat for this reason. The Inner Farne is also home to 14th century chapel, St Cuthbert’s.


16 July 2019

Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle is a grade I listed 14th century castle on the Northumberland coast between the seaside villages of Craster and Embleton. Dunstanburgh is managed by the English Heritage and National Trust members can also visit for free. 

It was built between the years 1312 and 1322 and is part of a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’, an important natural environment for birds and amphibians. We spotted some nesting seagulls (they were so fluffy) and cormorants.

We parked in the carpark in Craster, and the walk along the coastline from here to the castle is just over a mile; it was very windy along the route! Inside the castle you can climb up to the top to admire the surrounding countryside, and there’s a lovely walk around the cliff tops with a view of the sea and the nesting birds hidden in the rocks.

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