Farne Islands^

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sub5rider
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Farne Islands^

Post by sub5rider » Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:51 pm

Someone here must have all the "almanac" type info for a Farne Isles trip, surely?

If you are that person could I ask you to type something up and publish it ?

You know the stuff, tides, races(?) start & finish, landing, camping etc.


Please ?
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

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MikeB
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Farnes

Post by MikeB » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:59 pm

Almanac? Nah - here's the potted version!

Launch from Seahouses, Bamburgh, Beadell or similar. Head out to Farnes - tides floods south / nice racey bit between mainland and islands but nothing scary although it does get rather bouncy, especially below the Longstone.

Nothing terribly scary though. Racy bits between islands as well (obviously), but think fast-flowing water rather than humungous standing-waves.

No landing except on Longstone (of Grace Darling fame) where the lighthouse makes a nice stopping point. Other islands are bird sanctuaries - one or two can be visited but I think there's a charge and/or it must be arrannged.

Many seals, billions of assorted birds including puffins and artic tern in season. Good cliffs and many divers, most of whom will ignore you. Watch out for the tourist boats - the skippers have no respect for kayakers at all and will happily run you down.

Nowhere to camp out there that I know of - the Longstone is a rock - we've always used campsites on the mainland and there is a lovely caravan/camp site at Belford. And also a Caravan Club site which will accept tents, at Beadnell. It's especially handy as you can carry boats across the road and onto the beach for launch.

All the towns mentioned have good sea access with parking etc. Great, sandy beaches for launch and recovery. Good for surf though, so that could be a factor.

Excellent variety of pubs - I recommend the Ship in Seahouses where there is also a superb fish & chip shop. In fact, sitting on the benches overlooking the harbour eating your fish supper and then adjourning to the Ship for the evening is a very nice way to follow up a days paddle to and round the Farnes.

Spend the next day surfing and its been a good weekend.

(If our host wishes to put this up as a "report" , thats fine by me!)

Mike.

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Jim
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Re: Farnes

Post by Jim » Wed Sep 03, 2003 6:36 pm

Hmmm, I seem to recall having to get chips in Seahouses returning from climbing trips at Kyloe and places - it's clearly not on the way back to Newcastle so must have been good (what memory?).

I never got round to doing the Farnes trip, but I know loads of people have done it in river boats (more like dancers than pops) with no consideration of tides and weather (which I totally do not condone!) so it can't be that serious, as long as you make sure the weather is going to be settled.

For more information try page 223 of Nick Dolls "Canoeists guide to the North East", Cicerone press.

To cheekily pinch some of the data therein:
NW tide stream (ebb) begins +06:00 HW Dover (+01:30 HW Tyne)
SE tide stream (flood) begins HW Dover (-04:30 HW Tyne)

Without a map the rest doesn't really mean anything to me but it's worth getting hold of if you must know details :-)

JIM

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sub5rider
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Re: Farnes

Post by sub5rider » Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:38 am

Thank-you both.

Now I'm reminded of the birding opportunities I must go there in the spring!

But in the meantime I'll have a look at the tide stuff for the next month and see if I can drum up enough interest for a club trip before the nights get too long.

(PS for Jim: the Nordkapp guru's 12 year-old paddled around the Stacks from Holyhead to Porth Daffarch with us last w/e - in his Inazone.....)
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GEORDIE
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farnes

Post by GEORDIE » Sun Sep 07, 2003 12:37 pm

the best places to launch for the farnes ar seahouses
harbour (there is a small charge for this £1.00 I think
also £1.00to park on the pier)or just outside of
seahouses on the grass verge next to the path leading down to the beach just a short carry:
if you go up to bambrough it is quite a trek thru the dunes
on big spring tides the tidal streams can cause overfalls at the north and south ends of inner farne
and the stream runs fairly swiftly thru the inner sound
standing waves can be expected in staple sound on
northgoing stream (great to surf)also tide runs quickly
thru west side of staple sound on the south going stream(not the place to be at 3 in the morning on the biggest tide of the year :x )
staple to longstone is ok most of the time wether you go round north or south side of staple island
you can land on inner farne as long as you feep below thr fence be side the jetty on the east side of the island even though the wardens might tell you you cant
you can its an arrangement with bcu I think
you cannot land on any other islands except in an emergency other than longstone which has no restrictions
it is possible to camp on longstone use a bivvi bag under the light house and hope it doesnt :rolleyes get foggy
very loud fog horn
there is a good camp site at beadnell just five minutes away from seahouses and a couple of good pubs in beadnell
I have charts of the area & if I can dig them out I could email them to if required

happy paddling
geordie

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Post by active4seasons » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:26 am

Seahouses harbour is now £5 per boat and master is the usual jobsworth with no give.
Two main access points:
One to North of Harbour as stated but the other is in Bamburgh from free car park to North of Castle. Turn right in village heading North just after green along Windings, car park on right at the end of the straight. Can be a long carry across the beach in low water so trolley recommended. Can also be good surf here.
The put in mentioned above is at the old coastguard lookout which no longer exists and does involve quite a hike through dunes but the main issue is the crossing to inner Farne from here is across the main flow! Would make sense to time approach with tide from either seahouses or Beach to North level with Megstone (Northernmost islet).
As mentioned nothing too scarry but wind is the main issue.
Wardens are great if you respect the metal posts at high water, we are not allowed to land on any island accept Inner Farne above high water and definately not on the nice beach to the South of the pier. Wardens are resident from about March to Nov.
Have fun.
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Post by andreadawn » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:50 pm

Haven't been out to the Farnes for years. Before I started paddling I went out twice on the tourist boats, on both occasions landing on Staple Island and Inner Farne. Make sure you have a hat if visiting Inner Farne. The Arctic Terns take no prisoners!

Image

This is from Staple Island looking back across Staple Sound and Inner Sound to Bamburgh Castle. Staple Sound, in the foreground, looks 'interesting'! Can't remember what wind and tide were doing but it clearly wasn't too windy for the weedy little open boat we went out in.

It would be nice to visit Staple Island again for the novelty of wandering about in the middle a large seabird colony, with birds sat on their nests just a few feet away.

Image

From the above though, it sounds as though Staple is out of bounds to paddlers.

Is this because;-
1. Landing by kayak is impracticable? (I didn't have my paddlers hat on when I visited so can't remember)
2. Landing by kayak is simply not permitted at all?
3. Landing is only permitted for NT members or people who are willing to pay the access fee? (currently £5.40 to non members).

I remember a group of paddlers landed on Inner Farne whilst we were there and were immediately accosted by a warden demanding money with menaces. Or at least that's how it looked. It certainly didn't look welcoming. Since I'm a member I've long wanted to go back if only to be able to wave my membership card in someone's face in similar circumstances.

Andrea.

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Post by runswick2000 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:07 pm

Simon Willis did a podcast about this last year, have a look here

It looks great, I hope to go next year so let us all know how it goes.
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Post by Mark R » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:45 pm

Mark Rainsley
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Post by runswick2000 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:24 pm

So, you can't land during the breading season. When's that?!
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Post by andreadawn » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:33 pm

Thank you. Had forgotten about that excellent website.

Andrea.

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Post by andreadawn » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:39 pm

runswick2000 wrote:So, you can't land during the breading season. When's that?!
April- July for birds. Autumn for Grey Seals (November on the Farnes according to this/Sept-Oct according to above website).

Andrea.

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Farnes

Post by MattB » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:22 pm

I have to disagree with Geordie and think that the best place to launch for the Farnes is Bamburgh. If you want a longer trip launch from Beadnell. A fantastic day trip, must be one of the best in the country. Paddle out have lunch on Longstone, wait for the tide to turn and head back via the stacks at inner farne.

I know of one person who got to inner farne is a spud, many years ago. A completely unsuitable craft for this type of trip.

One of my favourite paddles

Matthew

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active4seasons
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Post by active4seasons » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:18 pm

You can land on Longstone and inner Farne at any time of year just to the North of the pier on the rocks below the high water mark shown by rusty old posts - used to be a fence. To walk above the high water mark or go to the toilet you will have to pay your fee to the NT or produce your card. The wardens are getting better as many of us have spent time talking to them. Please let me know if you do have a bad reception as I live and work in the area and would be interested in any negativity regarding sea kayaking.
We should remember, as Andreas photos show, this is one of the greatest wildlife reserves off the East coast and it would be good to keep it available for all in the future.
In answer to your question regarding landing on Staple Island Andrea the best thing to do would be to talk to the NT but I am fairly sure they only allow a certain boat operator to land. Saying that if your name is Simon Kinfg and you work for the BBC you can land most places - Bass rock included!
Matt I think you mean the Pinnacles not the stacks but yes they are great. There is a great inlet but only accessible during the off season. The Auks especially can loose their eggs if you disturb them and the Herring gulls will get the eggs so please dont get too close. Ironically the nesting birds seem more comfortable with the smelly tour boats - I guess they are just more used to them!
Don't forget a good camera and have fun.
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Post by ChrisS » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:52 pm

The wardens on Inner Farne were very friendly when we landed there in the summer. Land on the right hand side of the landing stage (as you approach it) to avoid disturbing the terns. I don't know why exactly. As Andrea has said, the terns are more than capable of looking after themselves. You just pay the usual landing fee if you are not a NT member or flash your card if you are.

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Post by Owen » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:10 pm

Was there last September, one of the wardens was most obnoxious not sure why we weren't even trying to land. Some of the tour boat men were as bad. I found their attitude was in stark contrast to everyone else we met in the area. Maybe their just the kind of person that get off on trying to lord it over others.

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Post by Jim » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:27 pm

ChrisS wrote:The wardens on Inner Farne were very friendly when we landed there in the summer. Land on the right hand side of the landing stage (as you approach it) to avoid disturbing the terns. I don't know why exactly. As Andrea has said, the terns are more than capable of looking after themselves. You just pay the usual landing fee if you are not a NT member or flash your card if you are.
Adult Terns can presumably fend for themselves, but I guess if they are supposed to be keeping eggs warm but are instead flying about trying to attack sea kayakers (and yotties), then their offspring might not do as well.

Certainly in the Autumn and winter the issue with scaring birds into flight is that they are supposed to be feeding up to survive the winter, by putting them into flight you not only stop their feeding but causethem to burn off the reserves they are trying to build up.

It's the little things that we don't think about that can make a difference to things like birds. Apparently, I'm not an expert I just used to know some.

Jim

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Post by Helen M » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:41 pm

Had a wee epic there last year ... SURF! Scary stuff! Got out OK - was very concious of coming back in!

Managed it OK.

Farne Isles were .. awesome!

Adrenalin rocks!

H - x

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Post by ChrisS » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:50 pm

Of course we were careful to land in the correct place and keep outside the roped off areas. And I recommend that others do the same.

However lots of terns choose to nest right next to, or even on, the board walks and in the yard of the little chapel, and then spend all their time being agressive to humans. I do not think they can be the most intelligent of birds!

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Re: Farne Islands

Post by active4seasons » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:24 pm

Latest news on launching from nearest car park to Bamburgh on the windings road (golf course road) is that the council have put up a barrier to stop the over night campers - consequently some people will not be able to get under with sea kayaks on the roof! There is a car park further along but requires a much more difficult carry through the dunes. There is free access down to the water at Budle bay but there are seasonal restrictions as this is part of the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve.

Ollie
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