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The long way home [Jun. 24th, 2017|08:15 pm]
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So that was the end of our stay on Lindisfarne. Memo to self: a half-week in a holiday cottage is shorter than a full week than you would believe possible. Also, much as I enjoyed our trip to Scotland last year, I do love spending time on Lindisfarne. But now it was time to go home. We could do something fun on the way home, though, couldn't we? [personal profile] durham_rambler had a request for what we might do. And it began like this:

Stairway to Heaven

We took a boat trip from Seahouses to the Farnes - specifically, to Inner Farne. We've done this before - thought I find it hard to believe what this diary is telling me, that the last time was in 2010. I don't have much to add to what I said about that trip at the time, and our first visit in 2006. The weather was less good: a bit blowy, which didn't, fortunately, make the boat trip uncomfortable, though it did mean that I was already quite wet with spray when we were caught in a sudden downpour on the island. But the rain stopped, and though the sun didn't come out, there was a brightness in the air, and by the time we were back in Seahouses for a late lunch at the Neptune, my face felt quite burned - anyway, that was later.

Having been here before, I didn't knock myself out trying to get pictures of the bird cliffs, which I knew would be unsatisfying compared to the spectacle of the thing itself. I couldn't resist this inlet, filled with guillemots on all walls, sky about and sea too:

Guillemot central

Mostly, though, I sat back and watched the birds on the water around us, some quite close. I love that thing that both guillemots and puffins do, taking off, where they seem to run along the crest of a wave, flapping like mad, until gradually they life into shallow flight.

As ever, you leave the boat and climb up onto the island through a gauntlet of terns. I didn't linger here, though I liked the way the terns had colonised this stepped path:

Ladder of terns

If anything, there seemed to be more terns than in previous years, and their territory had extended into the center of the island, which I remembered as being exclusively puffins. We carried on, to where the path forks round the lighthouse, and the left hand branch runs to the end of the cliff and stops immediately above the cormorants - I'd say nest, but there's no real sign of any nest, just black fluffy baby cormorants. Along the clifftop to the left is puffin territory, and this fellow was posing right in front of the rope, behind which photographers were pressing three deep:


He (if it was a 'he', because you can't tell) didn't seem to mind the attention, and didn't seem in any hurry to move off. I found this a bit unsettling: wasn't there a puffling somewhere waiting to be fed?

This, on the other hand, was a puffin on a mission:

Puffin on a mission

I didn't have a chance to grab a better picture, because the next moment it had dived into a burrow and vanished.

One last picture: three puffins perched on the corner of the lighthouse wall:


There's something of the Hollywood studio about that lighting: this is my best profile...

Overheard, on leaving the island:

Boatman of the Saint Cuthbert III: "Did you hear how the hen do went?"
Female voice behind me on the jetty (probably a bird warden): "It went canny... She went as a mermaid."

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.

[User Picture]From: sartorias
2017-06-24 09:10 pm (UTC)
Those are terrific pictures. Though I can't figure out the straight-on puffin: does it have something in its beak?
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2017-06-25 10:36 am (UTC)
does it have something in its beak?

Yes, like the puffin in a hurry, it is carrying small fish, to feed its baby - the beak is grooved to enable them to carry more!
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2017-06-25 10:25 pm (UTC)
Glad you had a great time on Lindisfarne!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2017-06-26 10:19 am (UTC)
Thank you!
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