Thursday, April 08, 2010

Northumberland at Easter

The Northumberland is blessed with a wild, bleak and beautiful coastline full of adventure. Kirstine and I braved the A1 with thousands of others for the great Easter get away. By late evening we were established in our lodgings at Farne Diving Services in the village of Beadnell.

On Good Friday morning the beach at Beadnell Haven was bristling with wildlife. Eider ducks were so busy squabbling over who should mate with who that they hardly noticed me sneaking up on then with my camera.

The tide was on its way out and the wading birds were tucking into the fresh feast exposed along the sands.

Most interesting were a small group of 'bar tailed godwits' possibly part-way through migration to their breeding grounds in higher lattitudes.

On Saturday Kirstine and I paddled out to the Inner Farne to look for some more wildlife. Before long we spotted the first of what seemed like a million puffins. Kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and shags have also arrived in readiness for the breeding season.

Sunday morning was a little fuzzy due to a few extra beers in the Craster Arms. I left Kirstine to rest whilst I met up with local kayak guide Ollie Jay for a trip out to the Longstone. The Longstone is one of the outermost Farne islands and after stopping for a hot drink beside the lighthouse we had fun nipping in and out of the tide races that rush between the kelp infested rocks. Some of the seals followed us for over a mile until we were well on our way back to St Aidan's beach near Seahouses.


Simon said...

Until I moved to Scotland from Northumberland, I thought Eider ducks were really called 'Cuddy Ducks' - I didn't realise it was a local name associated with St Cuthbert.

Ollie said...

Interestingly Simon Cuthbert was one of the first people to place a protection order on a bird, way back in 680 ish:
"While on the Farne Islands, he instituted special laws to protect the Eider ducks and other seabirds nesting on the islands; these may have been the first bird protection laws anywhere in the world. Consequently, eider ducks are often called cuddy ducks (Cuthbert's ducks) in modern Northumbrian dialects."