Matt Jones

Archipelago

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Over the Easter period, we decided to get out of the city for a while, get some fresh air into our lungs and escape the noise and bustle of Newcastle. We didn't have to go far; a one hour drive north and a 20 minute boat trip took us to the Farne Islands; an archipelago just off the coast of Northumbria, England. The Farne Islands are where the birds live, millions of them: puffins, cormorants, guillemots and eider ducks; it was nice to be in a place where species other than human beings rule the environment. The Farne islands, like much of the area are steeped in history and folklore; the inner-most island - suitably entitled ‘Inner Farne’ - is where St Cuthbert used to live life as a hermit after being the Prior of Lindisfarne. We saw the descendents of the seals and birds that were his only company on the islands. A mile outward from Inner Farne is Longstone Island, this is where Grace Darling, the daughter of the Lighthouse keeper, famously rescued people from the stricken ship Forfarshire aground on Big Harcar rock. It was easy to imagine what it must have been like back then as the place hasn't changed in the 165 years since the event. So, if you're in the north-east, a trip to the Farne Islands is definitely worth while.