The Farne Islands and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Lindisfarne is a magical location. It is an island for about 10 hours a day, when the tide is high and it is cut off from the mainland. There is a castle and an ancient priory on the site, plus a little village with shops and pubs and cafes.
Meanwhile, the Farne Islands is a collection of rocks off the Northumberland coast. There are 28 of them at low tide, and as few as 14 when the tides run high. They are famous as breeding grounds for all manner of nesting birds, as well as being home to a large colony of seals. Usually, you can visit some of the islands to see the birds up close, but they are all closed to visitors this year due to avian flu.
With that in mind, we booked ourselves a boat tour that would take us up close to the sea birds, and give us a couple of hours to explore Lindisfarne while it was cut off from the mainland at high tide. Our tour set out at 11, and we got very close indeed to some of the Farne islands, and spotted all manner of guillemots, kittywakes, puffins and grey seals. We even caught a glimpse of some arctic terns, which had just arrived back the past weekend from their winter migration from Antarctica, a round trip of 50,000 kilometres.
In our brief two-hour stop on Holy Island, there wasn’t time to visit both the priory and the castle, so we admired the castle from afar and the priory ruins up close, stopping along the way to partake in the island’s finest offerings of crab sandwiches, coffees, and ice-creams.