The Farne Islands

Farne Islands
Seahouses & Farne Islands
(Click to enlarge)

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.

Serenity II leaving Inner Farne
Serenity II leaving Inner Farne

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.

Today the Farne Islands are an incredibly important wildlife reserve, home to many species including Puffin, Eider, Razorbill, Guillemot, Shag, Kittiwake and Fulmar. There is also a large colony of grey seals which breed through the autumn and winter months.