Summer Walk No 7 - Coquet Island Boat Trip, Amble, Tuesday 16th July 2013.

View of Club Members on the two boats at Coquet Island.

On Tuesday 16th June 2013, Morpeth Camera Club members had to find their " sea legs " for Walk Number Seven on the Summer
Programme. Meeting in Amble Harbour a boat trip to Coquet Island, situated about one mile off the Northumberland Coast was on
the agenda, as we tried something a bit different from our usual local walks.
Coquet Island is owned by the Duke of Northumberland & the " RSPB " manage it as a nature reserve which is home to thousands
of nesting sea birds such as, Puffins, rare Roseate Terns, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns, Artic Terns, Kittiwakes & Eider ducks,
which all nest there in the summer months.
There was an air of excitement as we walked down the dock steps & boarded Amble Boatman Dave Grays two passenger vessels
the "G-Fisher III " & the ex Eastbourne 41ft Watson Class Lifeboat the " RNLB Beryl Tollemache ", hired for our visit.
Leaving the inner harbour we were soon in action with our cameras as fishing cobles, pleasure craft and two RNLI lifeboats
" The Four Boys " and the " Jock and Annie Slater " left the harbour. Being at sea level the view from our boat gave us a totally
different perspective of the area as we passed between the piers and out into the open sea.
A fine evening, with a calm sea & a very slight breeze made it near perfect conditions for our " Puffin Cruise ". As we approached
the island several local fishing boats were in the area and the views back to Amble were spectacular as the sun broke through
bathing the mainland in sunlight.
A Grey Seal colony which stays on the east side of the island all year round was the next point of interest and we were not disappointed as several seals posed for our cameras. As we moved clockwise around the island, with both skippers skilfully manoeuvring the boats into the coves and breaks in the submerged rocks for views of the seabirds, you realised that when seeing
it close up the island is a lot bigger than it appears from the land.
With both boats now pausing close to the west side of the island it enabled members to photograph the remains of the medieval
monastery that was incorporated into the lighthouse when it was built in 1841 by Trinity House. A James Walker designed the
lighthouse, which is a white square tower of sandstone,with walls more than one metre thick, surrounded by a turreted parapet.
The first keeper of the Coquet Light was a William Darling, the elder brother of Grace Darling.
The lighthouse was automated in 1990 and the island is uninhabited in winter, but seasonal wardens are now present throughout
the summer to protect the nesting birds and live in the adjoining lighthouse keepers cottage.
As the sea birds flew on and off the island, some carrying sand eels in their beaks it was a challenge to try and capture them &
it was also a good time to get shots of fellow club members on the other boat before the return journey back to Amble.
Safely back in port, fresh fish and chips was the only way to round off an excellent visit & I wish to record my thanks to the twenty three photographers who supported this trip.
                                                                             Davy Bolam.