Too many years to mention have gone by since I last visited the Northumberland coast so it was like staying for a week somewhere completely new which was great.
Like the rest of you, after what’s gone on around the UK and World over the last couple of years, we were ready for a holiday, so so ready in fact, the fact that we set off from Pontefract in torrential rain and arrived in Seahouses in torrential rain just didn’t seem to matter and certainly didn’t dampen our spirits, pardon the pun. Neither did the fact that the A1 past the Angel of the North was fully closed for many miles for maintenance work forcing us and all through Newcastle and under the River Tyne through the £1.90 toll Tyne Tunnel which is an amazing feat of engineering and much longer than you would expect (well over a mile long) and at least it stopped raining while in there 🙂
(For anyone travelling to the North East worried the A1 may be closed, it is now open again with around 6 miles or more and 50 MPH restrictions.)
On the way home I got the see the Angel of the North for the first time, bloody amazing, but back to the holiday and photography…
As always this week was to be first and foremost, a family holiday, with most photography done while the family and most were sleeping, which let’s face it, is when the best light is anyway as most of you know.
Before arriving in Seahouses I had planned in my head to photography sunrise
and sunset, this simply didn’t happen due to lack of sleep and having the odd few pints in the wonderful Olde Ship Inn where we chilled, drank nice pints, and ate nice food more than once during the week, well recommended and they keep a nice pint of Theakston’s which is always a pleasant change from the usual lager and cider. So, I ended up photographing the sunrise every morning except the Friday we went home. As it turned out the sunrises were far better than the rather none event sunsets so all turned out well.
Some of the places we visited were The Farne Islands (the nesting puffins had gone), Bamburgh Castle and Village, Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter), Berwick-upon-Tweed, and Beadnell. Not all were photographed because I visited some with the family, also I am still processing images from the week, that said, here are a few images that I share of the week that I have pleasurably processed up to press…
I took this multi-shot panoramic image of Seahouses Harbour a few days after my birthday but what a present this sunrise was. This panorama was only possible due to perfectly still and calm conditions and of course the reflected sunrise.
Night to Day
Night turns to day at Seahouses Harbour on the Northumbrian Coast. The sunrise forms and reflects as fishermen get ready to steam out to sea.
Grace Darling ~ St Aiden’s Chruch ~ Bamburgh
Grace Darling was 22 when her life changed.
On the night of 7 September 1838, a steamship called the Forfarshire was sailing from Hull in Yorkshire to Dundee in Scotland. The ship’s engines failed and around 60 crew and passengers were in peril in a storm.
The captain, looking for shelter, mistook the Longstone Lighthouse for the lighthouse on Inner Farne, nearer the shore. A large wave swept the ship up in the air and it crashed down onto Big Harcar rock.
Half of the ship sank within 15 minutes and dozens of men, women and children lost their lives. Some hadn’t even had time to escape their cabins. Nine people made it into the ship’s lifeboat. Another nine survivors scrambled onto the rocks, away from the raging sea.
From the vantage point of Longstone Lighthouse at 4.45 am, Grace Darling saw the outline of the wreck. As dawn came at 7 am she spotted survivors moving on Big Harcar rock.
Grace and her father, William, thought that conditions would prevent the launching of the North Sunderland lifeboat. They both saw it as their duty to try and rescue the survivors of which they managed to save 9 lives.
Both Grace and her father were awarded gold medals from the Royal Humane Society, and Silver Medals for Gallantry from the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (now the Royal National Lifeboat Institution). She was the first woman to receive an RNLI Medal. Queen Victoria even sent her £50.
A rocky coast covered in seaweed with waves lapping up the rocks and the sun starting to rise in the background has always fascinated me, I could look and listen for hours. This stretch of coast is near Seahouses Harbour on the Northumbrian Coast.
Seaweed at Seahouses
As waves and tide flow in and out of this rocky valley or rock pool, the sound of the sea, sunrise light on the clouds, and seaweed & fresh sea air really sets me up for the day at Seahouses, Northumberland.
Due to high morning tides (any excuse!), some of the iconic shots of Bamburgh Castle from the beach near the Lighthouse were not available to me but I did the best I could in all conditions, rain, shine and most in-between.
The Heart Pool
Revealed as the tide recedes down Bamburgh beach, the heart pool or heart of the north as some call it comes into view in all its green splendour.
The heart pool makes great foreground to the magnificent and historic Bamburgh Castle as the sun starts to rise on a rainy day.
This panorama was taken in August at 5:20 am with almost clear blue skies as beautiful golden hour light bathes sand dunes and pampas grass leading to the windmill and the historic Bamburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast, England.
Bamburgh Sand Dunes
Almost clear blue skies and beautiful golden hour light bathes sand dunes and pampas grass leading to the windmill end of Bamburgh Castle on the Northumbrian coast.
Bamburgh Beach Sunrise
We all love to stand and watch the sun come up, which is exactly what I did while in the sand dunes behind Bamburgh beach at golden hour on the Northumberland coast.
The above lightning image is pure fiction of course but all was done by me from photography to Photoshop work so maybe we could call it art?
Anyway, onto The Farne Islands or The Farnes…
Scattered a couple of miles off the coast of Seahouses, this cluster of islands was declared by Sir David Attenborough as his favourite place to see nature in the UK.
Head to Seahouses between March – October and book a Farne Islands boat trip at one of the wooden kiosks that line the harbour. Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Billy Shiel Boat Trips or the Golden Gate Farne Island Tours all sail daily in the summer months and at weekends and school holidays throughout the year, weather permitting.
Look out for the island’s colony of grey or Atlantic seals lazing on the rocks or bobbing inquisitively in the sea. The islands have the largest breeding colony in England and fluffy, white seal pups can be seen on the islands from late October.
If seeing the seabird spectacle is your goal, plan your visit between mid-April and late July to see the largest number of razorbills, guillemots, eider duck and, of course, puffins.
I missed the puffins nesting but will be back soon for the iconic shot of a puffin with a line of sand eels in its mouth!
Grey Seal Sunbathing
The Atlantic Grey Seal is the rarest species of seal in the world and the colony on the Farne Islands is their only major breeding ground on the east coast. I believe this lovely chap to be a Bull Grey Seal but could be wrong.
Moulting Grey Seals
Grey seals have grey and brown fur, sometimes with a pattern of blotches, these two seals at The Farne Islands are moulting and look a little worse for wear but all perfectly natural of course. Female grey seals may live for 35 years, but males seldom survive to more than 25 years old.
How do you make a full week of photography into a short blog post especially when I still have images from the location to process but need to get this post out because it’s heather in the Peak District next weekend! I don’t know, but here’s a gallery of images good and maybe no so good processed so far…
After ‘The Rescue’ of course…
Mainly to help others thinking of visiting the Northumberland coast, Seahouses, Bamburgh or the Farne Islands or to know the fantastic apartment we stayed at with a great location, do comment below so I can answer your questions and help others at the same time.
Thank you kindly
Most of the above images can be found for sale in very high resolution as Photographic Prints (posters), Canvases, Framed (with or without a mount), or as Acrylic by going to the Prints & Canvases heading in the top menu bar.