I’m not long back from a week solitary retreat on the shore opposite Lindisfarne on the Northumberland coast. Went there to write, to attempt to complete my current novel (A sequel to “Tom Fleck”. I need another 1,000 words). I go to the same spot each year, and each year have a day out on the nearby Farne Islands. This trip was to Staple Island with Billy Shiels’ boats. You should go – it is another world.
Staple Island takes its name from these rocks.
The Farnes belong to the National Trust. The bird colonies are cared for by wardens who monitor populations. Kittywakes on the right and Guillemots below. We had an hour on Staple Island.
Shag. Also called Green Cormorant. On this visit, birds were on eggs or nursing chicks.
Guillemots. (From French diminutive for William) There are about 40,000 on the Farnes – and increasing.
There are fewer Razorbills.
Female Eider duck sitting on eggs. Just a yard from my feet. The birds seem to treat the visitors as a drifting part of the landscape. St Cuthbert, who retreated to the Farnes, was fond of this bird. Its other name is St Cuthbert’s Duck, or Cuddy Duck.
A young couple from India. Honeymooners?
Puffin, just popped out of its burrow.
There are little freshwater pools – if you like green tea.
Longstone Lighthouse from where Grace Horsley Darling rowed out.
My mother was a Horsley . . .
Grace was born on 24th November 1815 at Bamburgh, Northumberland and spent her youth in two lighthouses (Brownsman and Longstone) where her father, William, was the keeper. In the early hours of the 7th September 1838, Grace, looking out from an upstairs window of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, spotted the wreck and survivors of the Forfarshire
on Big Harcar, a low rocky outcrop. The Forfarshire
had foundered on the rocks and broken in half; one of the halves had sunk during the night. Amidst tempestuous waves and gale force winds there followed an amazing rescue of the survivors. Grace’s life would never be the same. from http://www.GraceDarling.co.uk
Grace died 4 years later of consumption. She is buried at Bamburgh.