I spent an early June weekend visiting the Farne Islands off Northumberland’s coast, this is an area well known for the seabird colonies that it supports. The best trip for photographers is the Billy Shiels ‘all-day’ trip which visits both Staple Island and Inner Farne, the two islands with the largest colonies of birds and costs £35, leaving from Seahouses. The trip chugs out on the ‘Glad Tidings’ boat, initially around the islands before mooring alongside Staple Island. On the way you will probably see the local Grey Seals sun bathing and bobbing about in the sea plus as you get closer a multitude of birds on the surface of the sea or flying back and forth to the islands. The first thing that you notice is the strong smell of guano coming from the white stained cliffs which does fade as you accustom yourself to the environment. Once on the island it is so easy to dash from one place to another as there is so much activity all around you but you benefit from being selective and sticking with one subject at a time and familiarising yourself with the bird’s behaviour. The second stop is on Inner Farne where you will be greeted by the Artic Terns who are fiercely protective of their nests. It is highly recommended that you don a hat as soon as you disembark Glad Tidings – you will soon realise why. Once over the initial shock you will marvel at the persistence of the Terns as people walk the boards past their nests. It is worth noting that there is a £6 entry fee onto each island as they are National Trust land so take you membership card if you have one.

Farne Islands 2