The Farne Islands
The Farne Islands are a small group of islands a few miles off the coast at the Northumberland village of Seahouses.
They consist of 28 islands with varying visibility depending on the tide. Some of the islands have wonderful names, Megstone, Elbow, Wideopens, Goldstone, The Bush, Glororum Shad, Gun Rock, Staple Island, Brownsman, Callers, Crumstone, Fange, North and South Wamses, Roddam and Green, Big and Little Harcar, Nameless Rock, Blue Caps, Longstone and the furthest out at over 4 miles from shore, Knivestone.
The Farne Islands are formed by the most seaward outcrops of the volcanic intrusion called the Great Whin Sill. This can be traced from Upper Teessdale in Durham where it forms the High Force waterfall all the way up to North Northumberland to the Farne Islands and the rocks upon which sit the castles of Lindisfarne, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh. The dolerite rock gives the Farne Islands their distinctive blackened appearance.
The largest, innermost and most historic of the Farne Islands is Inner Farne. For many years Inner Farne was the home of St Cuthbert who lived in solitude. St Cuthbert had a reputed gift of healing which brought pilgrims from all over the Kingdom of Northumbria. Island of the Pilgrims, or ‘Farena Ealande’ is the source of the islands name.
The Farne Islands and surrounding seas are an internationally important wildlife reserve. During the spring breeding season over 80,000 pairs of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, eider ducks, kittiwakes, fulmars, shags, Arctic, common and sandwich terns plus more make the various islands their temporary home. Gannets and roseate terns are regular visitors to feed in the rich seas surrounding the Farne Islands.
Throughout the year hundreds of grey seals can be seen basking on the rocks. During the Autumn and Winter months the seal numbers swell to over 4,000!
Cetacean sightings are becoming more frequent too with good sightings of minke whale, harbour porpoise, Bottlenose dolphins, common dolphin and basking shark.
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