24 May.  This is one of the legs we have been really looking forward to, and today the weather didn’t disappoint – sunny with a gentle wind.  We left the marina in North Shields at 8.15 and were soon out of the harbour and heading north. The coastline was varied: our first waypoint was off Coquet Island, just outside Warkworth and Amble marina (we were sorry not to go here, our neighbours at Royal Quays, two gentlemen with matching Fisher 25 motorsailers, were extolling its virtues as a friendly marina set in lovely countryside).  As we travelled north we started to see splendid castles: first Dunstanburgh, an impressive ruin on a headland, then as we drew near to the Farne Islands, Bamburgh. We began to see the occasional seal and many more birds than previously, and spent our time spotting puffins – one or two were paddling around along with guillemots and razorbills.

We arrived at Inner Farne, the largest and most inshore of the Farne Islands at 3pm, and decided to anchor for an hour off the west coast of the island, in close under a cliff covered with guillemots nesting. It was sunny and warm, we could see Lindisfarne in the distance to the north and the coast we had just travelled to the south. We switched off the marine VHF radio which at this point was receiving coastguard messages from both Humber and Aberdeen. The sound of birds was constant, and we could see visitors to Inner Farne waiting for their boat back to the mainland.  What a privilege to be able to get to such a remote spot under our own steam. The combination of place and weather felt like one of those magical moments that come as the reward for many hours travelling by sea.

We reluctantly pulled up our anchor and set off on the 6 mile trip to Lindisfarne.  Entering the harbour requires following two sets of leading beacons – which were large and clear, so a straightforward task if you’re used to carefully following transits. We were escorted in by several seals popping up to have a look at us, some quite close.  Having spent some time trying to anchor in a pool away from the normal anchorage, we gave up (at high tide it was hard to be sure of swinging room with sufficient depth, and at first attempt the anchor dragged) so we anchored in the conventional location close to the shore just off the small harbour filled with fishing boats. Settling down for the night, we set an alarm for 1.45am to check the anchor after the turn of the tide. Our evening view was of Lindisfarne Castle in one direction, Bamburgh Castle in the other and off to one side a rock just off the shore with a cross prominently mounted on its top, a reminder of the ancient and sacred nature of this place.

  • Distance: 52 NM
  • Wind: W/NW 4-5 becoming variable 3

ABOUT THIS BLOG

On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.

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