The recent visits to Leighton Moss with my Rainforest Reporter entry, sent me back twelve months to a few days I spent in Northumberland. The objective of the trip was to ‘photograph a puffin’ . Success many times over on that score, with other wonderful things thrown in for good measure.
Alnwick Castle was impressive, stylish and beautiful presented. From the Poison Garden to the Harry Potter lawns, the flowers and fountains. Everything was beyond photogenic. I just wish we had been able to sample the delights of dinner in the Tree House restaurant. It was as magical as Hogwarts.
Seahouses was our next stop and base for the trip. Not the most exciting place I have visited, but the B&B was good with a different fish every morning (unfortunately now closed ). And the beaches were fabulous. Sand, sea, surf, blue sky and sunshine! A little cold for swimming but I did manage to paddle.
The all important boat ride around and to the Farne Islands exceeded expectations, with guillemots, shags, cormorants and turns, as well as the all important puffin.
Landing on Inner Farne meant having to dodge the turns who nest on the gravel with no nests. What they lack in nest building skills they make up for with precision attack. We were warned that a hat was essential and it wasn’t for rain. The puffins don’t have much more in the way of defence. Nesting in burrows on the ground, they provided enchanting entertainment for the hour long stay. They are just the most charming of birds.
On the return trip we were accompanied by seals appearing as curious about us as we were of them.
The day was rounded off by a trip to Lindisfarn. A friendly landlord directed us to a cove where we watched a family of eider ducks, the ducklings looking like buoyant little rocks. There were also some tiny little waders who looked like dunlin or little stint, but I am not certain. Maybe someone can help me out there?
Before our return we managed a coastal walk around Craster which also took in Howick Hall, the ancestral home of Earl Grey as in Tea. The oddest place. It was like going back fifty years. Certainly needed a marketing manager. But again we were awed with the coastline and wonderful beaches.
If Northumberland had warmer weather the Mediterranean wouldn’t stand a chance.
Remember to look for books on Northumberland here – plus any other books or music. If it’s on Amazon – it will be here.
A few more puffin pics…