Sanctuary for seabirds and seals on the rocks
here’s no sight or sound more impressive than that of a puffin stumbling towards their hungry chicks with a bill full of lovely juicy sand eels. But then the guttural bark and agitated slapping of a massive bull seal as they protect their cubs is a close second.
You can witness these unique sensory experiences on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast. Once home to saints, soldiers and legendary lighthouse keepers, these rocky islands are now a sanctuary for seabirds and seals. In fact, the Farnes are home to one of the largest grey seal colonies in Europe.
Lounging languidly on the rocks or barking defiantly at you, the seals act like they own the place - having been on the islands for over 800 years, surviving fur hunters and numerous dangers, they pretty much do. Each autumn, the beaches on Brownsman Island become overrun with grey pups and although the Island is closed to the public, you can see all the activity from a boat.
To see the thousands of seabirds that nest on Inner Farne, including puffins, shags, and terns, head out in the Summer months. The unmistakable flash of a puffin’s orange bill is the signal to get snap happy with the cameras – you’ll do well to capture just a fraction of the vibrancy of these islands but then that’s the best kind of challenge.