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The Farne Islands


Inner Farne

The Inner Farne is the largest of the Farne islands group and is home to many of the breeding birds during the season, Puffins,Shags, Guillemots, Cormorants and Razor Bills. The birds nest on the rock faces and close to the path allowing an excellent vantage point for keen ornithologists or photographers. A small chapel also stands on the island, where St Cuthbert had a cell dug out during his time as a hermit, the chapel still holds services for visiting pilgrims. The island opens at 13:30 during the breeding season and trips leave the harbour at 12:30 sailing around the inner group before landing visitors on the island itself.     



Longstone Island is the most important island for shipping along the Northumberland coast. The lighthouse is a key navigational aid and stands 23m tall at high water, flashing every 20 seconds. It was also the home of Grace Darling who moved there in 1826 and gained national fame when 12 years later she assisted her father William Darling in the rescue of the survivors of Forfarshire on the 7th September 1838. Longstone Island is also home to an Atlantic Grey Seal colony. The landing is free and guided tours inside the lighthouse are exclusive to passengers on the MV Golden Gate. 





Brownsman Island is not open to the public for landings however some excellent vantage points can be achieved from sea level. Brownsman is an important habitat for the sea birds nesting in the area. The island is home to Puffins, Guillemots, Terns, Razor Bills, Cormorants and many other species of birds during the breeding season. Brownsman also used to be the main island for the seal pups during the breeding season, however the National Trust wardens keep the seals off this island as they cause erosion. The seals are now found on Longstone Island. There is a small cottage on the Brownsman which used to be the home of Grace Darling and her family before they moved to the lighthouse on Longstone, the cottage is now used by the National Trust bird wardens who look after the island during the summer.




Staple is another of the main Farne Islands for sea birds and is home to a number of Puffins which dig their burrows into the grassy banks. Staple is also famous for the 'Pinnacles'. These vertical columns of rock host a colony of Guillemots and so many birds choose to nest here that as one lands another has to fly away. As the cliffs on Staple Island are sheer the boat can be safely navigated close into the rock faces where the nesting birds are, giving passengers the opportunity to see the birds on their nests and in their natural habitat. Staple is open to the public in the mornings. As on Inner Farne passengers choosing to land on Staple Island will have the opportunity to explore the Island's wildlife and get very close to the nesting birds.


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