The Farne Islands have been called the 'Galapagos of the North'. I am lucky enough to have been to the Galapagos and, while the Farnes can't boast the diversity and evolutionary history of Galapagos, they offer the intimate experience of wildlife that make both places very special. The Farnes have the advantage that they are much more accessible to visitors, lying just 2-8 km off the UK Northumberland coast, off Bamburgh.
The Farne Islands are some 15-20 in number, depending on the tidal state. The Farnes are resistantigneous dolerite outcrops, once connected to the mainland but now left as islands by erosion of softer surrounding rocks. They are managed by the National Trust primarily as habitat for seals and many species of seabird.
This post serves as an introduction to the Farne Islands before further posts on the wildlife. This is a retrospective look at a trip to Inner Farne and Staple Island in 2016. Because of Covid-19, the Farnes have remained closed this year.
Inner Farne is about 300m across. It is uninhabited but has a religious history from the year 678AD as the home of St Cuthbert, a retired Prior from Lindisfarne Priory on nearby Holy Island.
Staple Island is one of the Outer Group of the Farne Islands. Joined at low water to Brownsman Island, the two together are about 500m across. Although uninhabited, the island was an early monastic settlement from nearby Lindisfarne.
This has been a brief introduction to the Farne Islands to set the scene. Further posts will feature the stars of the show, namely Grey seals, Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, three species of tern and various other seabirds, photographed in a wonderful day out on the Isands in July 2016.