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Day 5: Wednesday 09.06.21 - It’s all about the birds……!

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

We commented last night on how light it still was at 10.30pm so when I visited the facilities at 3.37am this morning I couldn’t believe how light it was outside! Seems they have just five hours of darkness up here which is quiet amazing really seeing as its only 400 miles from Dorset. It’s like we’re staying in a different hemisphere! Of course being so light early on means the birds are awake earlier and we were greeted by the Dawn Chorus to a cacophony of birdsong. It’s a lovely sound to hear……it’s just so loud!

We’re off on a boat trip today so we pre-ordered breakfast for 8am and wandered down to the conservatory in our sandals, even though they do have a parquet floor in the dining area. We all concurred that this breakfast was one of the best we’ve ever had. Honestly, out of all the hotels and B&B’s we’ve stayed in around the world this has got to be one of the best. Breakfast cooked to order, salmon, kippers, eggs done any way, cereals, yoghurts……you name it we could have it. Compliments most certainly must go to Nicola, the proprietor and cook.

We quickly got chatting to Graham and his wife Sue, who were sat on the next table to us. A lovely couple who are both retired and on a road-trip like us, however their road-trip is lasting months whereby ours is just a week. Ah the joys of retirement… day!

We found ourselves in a bit of a dilemma after breakfast. What to wear for the boat trip. The weather suggested a windy and cloudy day with temperatures of up to twenty degrees, but depending on which direction the wind was blowing it could be a cold wind or a warm wind and of course we’d be out on the North Sea. Pearl chose to wear shorts, well she is from Aberdeen, whilst Maice and I decided upon trousers with jumpers and jackets and Pearls two woolly hats stuffed into our backpacks, you know, .just in case. As it turned out we didn’t need any of it, it was that warm.

The excursion was leaving from Seahouses, a seaside town some two miles up the road so in order to get our ‘steps’ in we decided to walk it there and back. We’d never have got there if we’d followed Maice who turned right at the junction by the village stores instead of left. She was rather disbelieving of Pearl and I when we both said we needed to go left so as we didn’t have SatNav Steve with us to settle our little disagreement we asked the lady in the village shop. ‘Left’ she said. So we turned left, walked along the coastal path and then down onto the beach. What a lovely walk, what a lovely day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, there was a slight breeze and the air was fresh. We all felt totally energised. At one point we had to come off the beach and walk around the golf course but somehow missed the turning and ended up walking through someone’s private land and then had to clamber over a wall into a field. Suffering some minor scrapes we eventually found our way to the Billy Shiels office where we collected our tickets. We had forty minutes to spare so went in search of a coffee shop. Could we find one? Absolutely not! We ended up going from pub to pub to see if any did coffee. The first pub told us their coffee machine had broken down and the second pub only did coffee out of a machine. Ah well, that had to suffice.

At 11am, all masked up, we were on the boat and away we sailed, towards the Farne Islands. Pre-COVID the National Trust, who own the islands allowed people to walk on them but that’s not possible anymore so we just had to sail around them. The islands are full of birds……Puffins, Shags, Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Arctic Terns and we saw them all. Apparently up to 90,000 birds nest here each year which is quite amazing. We were

riveted and totally mesmerised as we watched them perch precariously on the cliff edge and the acrobatic displays they perform in the air are amazing. How they don‘t bump into each other beats us. Did you know that Puffins spend at least eight months out at sea and will lose the colour of their beaks during this period! The air turned rather pungent as we sailed past a number of very smelly seal colonies, some perched on the rocks sunbathing and other fishing or playing in the sea. Did you know that seals sleep vertically in the water with their noses out of the water. Fact…..and that’s according to the skipper of our boat!

Back on dry land we went in search for something to eat and found the Bamburgh Castle Inn, a very nice looking hotel overlooking the harbour. After selecting the most comfortable seats we could find in the beer garden we sat down to an enjoyable lunch of mussels, chips and a glass of wine. Ah, what’s not to love!

Walking back along the beach in the heat of the day, we took off our shoes and socks and paddled all the way to Beadnell. The sea was that cold it numbed the feet but it was so refreshingly good. Hopefully it would help Pearls blisters and my corns! They say salt water is good for the feet. We stopped off at the village shop for Magnum ice-creams (other ice-creams were available) where I dropped my sunglasses, the lens fell out and rolled under the ice-cream fridge. In order to retrieve ones lens I had to get onto my hands and knees and try to hook it out with the fishing net, provided by the shop assistant. Eventually lens and frame were reunited and we made our way back to the B&B.

After a few glasses of Prosecco in the room we decided to head down to the beach and have supper down on the sand. Armed with our camping chairs, a selection of snacklets, which constituted our ‘supper’ and Pearl‘s bottle of gin we walked the five minutes to the beach and set up camp. What a lovely evening we had, eating, drinking, laughing and chatting and even engaging with the dog walkers as they passed by.

Over all it‘s been a fabulous day and we’ve been so lucky with the weather. Long may it continue for the rest of our vacation………!

M&A and Pearl xxx

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