Farne Islands Sunset Boat Tour – Exploring Northumberland, UK

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The Farne Islands is one of the UK’s greatest wildlife destinations, boasting a 70,000 rich puffin breeding colony, more than twenty species of bird and the largest grey seal colony on the east coast of Britain.

A sunset boat tour is not an activity you would normally associate with the unpredictable and changeable weather of North East England.  But add a landscape dotted with lighthouses and castles,  a wildlife plethora of birds and mammals and a group of islands with character, history and charm and you will understand why a Farne Islands Sunset Boat Tour can become a highlight of your day.

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The coast, castles and countryside of Northumberland attract visitors all year round.  But it’s the feathered guests who return each spring that create one of the highlights of the region.  The opportunity to see a range of migratory sea birds in their breeding colonies on the Farne Islands is why bird watchers, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and tourists head to the coastal village of Seahouses in the spring and summer months.

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And an evening boat cruise is a great complement to the day trips offered around and on the islands.  Not only does it provide additional time to get up close and personal with the region’s wildlife, it’s an opportunity to photograph them in the soft light of the ‘golden hour’ as they float on the water, fly past your boat and dive into the sea from the rocky cliffs.

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The Farne Islands are located only three miles offshore and as such, it doesn’t take long to leave the land – and the realities of your day – behind.  It doesn’t take long for the sound of the boat moving through the water to be interrupted by the squawking of the birds that coexist in the region.  It doesn’t take long for the sight, sounds and smells of the colonies to create a overload of your senses.

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There is something to see in every direction:

Guillemots diving off the rocky cliffs of Staple Island, in search of food.

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Puffins flying past with the accelerated flapping of their wings that helps them reach speeds of more than 80 kmph.

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Kittiwakes fighting for optimal nesting position on the island.

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Grey seals lifting their head in curiosity between the belching, fighting and sleeping that symbolises life in a hauled out community.

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And all aspects of the breeding cycle…including the beginning of it where privacy is not an option!

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Serenity is the only company offering sunset tours as I write this, which means you can enjoy a tranquil end to the day on the only tourist boat on the water.  As a photographer, you enjoy the space, agility and stability of Serenity’s catamaran.  And as a wildlife enthusiast or simply a visitor to the region, you will find the commentary provided by the skipper both educational and full of contagious enthusiasm.

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A sunset boat cruise is a great way to end your day in the Farne Islands or, as I did, introduce you to the region and whet your appetite for the following day’s landings.

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From May until September, Serenity runs sunset boat tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Whilst advanced bookings can be made via their website, this is not essential and it’s possible to approach their office at Seahouse harbour on the day of the trip to book you replace.    Adults: £13, Children: £9 (15 and under), Under 4: Free

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

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