When I moved to the North East, oh, five years ago, I wrote a list. On that list was a bunch of places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to see. One item on the list was to see puffins.
Five years later, and I hoodwink Durham Wildlife Trust to let me go on the Big Summer Volunteer Trip to the Farne Islands.
Graeme, who looks after all the Low Barns volunteers (of which I am technically one), insisted we all arrive early to ensure the coach would get away on time. He was on holiday for the Big Summer Volunteer Trip (for shame!) so he missed the sight of us getting sunburn waiting half an hour for the coach to turn up. After Winter-Spring, no one complained that it was too hot.
A rather distracted-looking coach driver showed up eventually (we think after getting lost, but he was a little vague on the matter) and took us on a tour around County Durham to pick up the Rainton Meadows rabble from the other side of town. Then we were off! Until the coach started making increasingly desperate beeping noises. Something was wrong.
Cue an unexpected pit stop on the A19. Highway patrol were with us within a minute, and we were allowed out so long as we stayed behind the crash barrier. After a slightly nervy half hour waiting for the coach to be sorted, we were off. Again.
As we were now running quite late, Craig, who was the Responsible Adult for the day, managed to get us booked on a later ferry. The coach behaved itself, and we arrived at the Billy Shiel’s stand in Seahouses with five minutes to spare. Phew!
In short order, we were packed like sardines on the Glad Tidings IV, wondering what had happened to Glad Tidings I, II, and III.
The next two and a half hours was a bird and seal fest. It was an amazing experience. The highlight for me was getting pecked by a determined tern who had learned that targeting people’s hands was more rewarding in terms of blood letting than aiming at their hats. Oh, and of course, seeing the puffins.
Photos below – click to view large – or visit my new Ipernity site to see even more.