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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday 20 June 2024

Puffins galore and why did the boat suddenly stop?

 We heard from one of the motorhomers at Bamburgh Castle about fines being issued if all four wheels were not inside the designated parking bay and it had been known for the warden to lie in wait and catch anyone staying after the 8 am departure time. A fine of £100 was issued to the unsuspecting on the spot! Ah, okay, make sure we had parked correctly, yep, set alarm for 7 am, check, worried all night about the alarm not going off, groan, and because of the worry woke before 6 am! By 6.30 we had washed and dressed, all bedding stowed and MB ready for travelling. But then we asked ourselves a question. Why leave now when we can stay until 8 am, we were being paranoid not like us at all so on went the kettle for the first cuppa of the day.

7:45 am and on our way to Seahouses. The early bird gets the best parking spaces and only one other motorhome there. On his windscreen was something no one wanted to see, he had been issued with a fine! Seahouse car park has 24-hour parking but no cooking or sleeping in the vehicle was permitted, it's purely used as a parking area only. Oh, dear, he had arrived late and thought to get away with it, but those pesky wardens would come around at silly times night and morning. They were not best pleased with themselves and had learned a valuable lesson.  Anyway, we paid £10 for an all-day ticket, had breakfast, another cup of tea, and sat twiddling thumbs until the time to leave for the Farne Island tour.

The boat called Serenity was almost to capacity and we kicked ourselves for not booking the earlier tour at 8.30 am. Only about 15 people got off when it arrived back. Note to oneself, always take the earliest tour! We were out on the water for 2 hours watching seals and the thousands of nesting birds on the cliffs.

Landing on Farne Island had been on the cards for ages. The last time we tried Avian Flu was running riff and the boat trip taken then could not land. To get off the boat you must pay the NT for the privilege, and that is on top of the cost of the tour. As NT members it considerably reducing our cost price.  One hour was all we had on the island but that was more than enough for me to finally get what I had been hoping for, Puffins carrying sand eels in their beaks. But first, we had to run the gauntlet of the Artic Tern. Nesting so close to the walkway, we were constantly bombarded and yes those beaks are sharp!


Even with my hat (we had been warned to wear a hat) I could feel the force of their beaks! Ian seemed to attract them more than me.

These first three are my favourite photos,

There were other birds on the Island, I'm afraid it was the Puffins that I was most interested in.

Eider Duck

The journey back was not without some drama. Suddenly the power was dropped and reverse deployed. We all wondered what had happened. Man overboard perhaps? Nop, someone had lost their hat and the skipper went back to retrieve it!

Back on land, we decided to treat ourselves to fish and chips. Climbing the steps to the pavement above, I tripped, and down I went on knees and palms....again! And the camera was around my neck...ahhhhhh. No harm was done to me other than my pride, and my camera came away unscathed apart from a small knick out of the sun visor. phew!

A few miles back the way we came was a farm shop Sunnyhill, where you could overnight. It has been a stopping place for us before and we remembered the breakfast was substantial and cheap. The trouble was finding it! So much new building work going on, we drove right past thinking it was a building site. Anyway, after several drives up and down the road, we eventually came across the place and totally different from how I remembered it.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful pics of the seals and seabirds, especially the Puffins which are my favourites too.
They are such endearing busy little birds, it's amazing how they carry there portly little bodys on those tiny wings to dive for so many tiny sand eels in one go.
Hope you are recovering well from your fall now, I know the feeling, take care out there.
Ann xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Considering how hard Puffins have to work to feed their young, it was horrible to watch the gulls mob them to steal the sand eels. But those wonderful birds often managed to evade them by landing right by the burrows and running for cover.

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