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Inner Farne and Lindisfarne Workshop

Easily one of my favourite locations of 2018 Northumbria proved to be every bit as peaceful, interesting and full of wildlife as I hoped it would be. My trip to Inner Farne and Staple Island was a smorgasbord of sights, sounds and smells unlike anything I've ever experienced before; thousands upon thousands of puffins, guillemots, razor bills, shags and terns all jostling for space to breed and raise their young. During my all too brief two day reccie I visited Lindisfarne for the first time and was struck by the deep sense of history and topography of what is possibly one of the earliest christian settlements in the UK. Irrespective of your worldview it's hard not to feel that this is somehow a special place. The trip was so successful I was determined to create a photography workshop that would combine wildlife with landscape for a never to be forgotten weekend in two remarkable locations.


This workshop will run from Saturday morning through to late afternoon on the Sunday. We will meet in Seahouses which is the point of departure for the boats across to the Farne islands. The afternoon boat will be booked for you and the cost is included in the price. This gives us plenty of time to look around the town and go through any tuition needed and set up cameras. Optimising your camera will give you the best chance of capturing the wildlife we expect to see both on our journey across to Inner Farne and on the island itself. There is a National Trust landing fee which doesn't apply if you are currently a member. Non members will require a landing pass which can be paid for at the National Trust booth on the pier.

Day one - we meet down by the main jetty at 1000 where we'll find a cafe to sit and chat about what you would like to get out of both days. This is your opportunity to ask any questions around exposure, birds in flight techniques and any other photography issues you'd like to discuss. I will also go through the settings on everyone's camera to make sure it's optimised for the kind of photography we'll be undertaking. We can then walk around the town and do some practical work before lunch and embarking on the afternoon boat. The trip itself is around 2.5 hours and includes an hour on Inner Farne. I've picked a later boat as the island is often quieter. Following our return there will be time for a debrief and discussion around the format for day two where we move across to Lindisfarne via Bamburgh castle. Sunsets can be especially interesting off the coast here at Seahouses so you might want to consider this as an option after dinner.

Day two - we start our day slightly earlier at 0900 so please let your guest house know you need to be out by 0845 if you are in Seahouses. We'll meet at the main car park in the town which I'll point out to you on day one. From here we'll head off in convoy to Bamburgh castle where we can park up and spend some time on the beach in and around this magnificent building. I have no plans to visit the castle itself as I want you to have plenty of time at our next location which is Lindisfarne. Bamburgh castle to Lindisfarne is approximately 30 minutes away via the A1. We'll try to leave together but I would appreciate you keeping your phones on and getting a good idea of the directions to the main car park on Lindisfarne where we will meet to explore the island. There are cafes and restaurants available so lunch and a break in the afternoon shouldn't be a problem. Lindisfarne is accessible via a causeway which does flood at certain times of the day. I've added a link below to show you the safe and unsafe times. Depending on the tides we'll need to be off the island by a certain time to ensure both your safety and to make sure you don't get stuck on the island. We will therefore start to leave at least half an hour before the tide is due as traffic will build up. I always finish the workshop with a debrief around back at the car park. Those of you making this a long weekend might want to consider staying on the island overnight as sunset and sunrise can be amazing.

Our time on Lindisfarne will include photographing the various seascapes and the newly refurbished Lindisfarne castle along with the Priory and other notable buildings and landscapes we see. Full tuition is available to all participants throughout both days. Those of you who have been on other workshops with me will know I like you to be on manual during the day. Please don't worry too much about this as we have plenty of time on day one to go through the exposure triangle and composition along with looking at the various buttons and dials you need to understand to get the most out of your camera.

Like all things outdoors that involves weather and wildlife I reserve the right to change the format of the workshop without giving notice - I will however endeavour to inform you of any changes at the earliest practicable opportunity. I strongly advise you to read my terms and conditions which can be found here. Please read thoroughly as they form the basis of our contract together and contain information around safety, refunds and our obligations to each other.


What will I need to bring?

I often emphasise that my workshops are for everyone interested in photography irrespective of where they see themselves on the 'photography spectrum'. Someone just starting out on their photographic journey will get as much pleasure out of this weekend as a seasoned photographer would. The bonus of course is you have a weekend of tuition at whatever level you would like it. This is your weekend and my only role is to make sure you learn and see as much as is humanly possible. There are of course caveats - there always is. Those of you with a small compact camera with a short focal length lens may struggle with birds in flight and other distance shots. I would suggest a camera with a telephoto that covers 70mm up to 300mm and beyond would be ideal for the wildlife side of the workshop. If you have a wide-angle lens (somewhere around 16-30mm) you'd be set fair to cover most of the landscape component. I have a high end Sony bridge camera (Sony RX10 mkiii) that can be hired for a very reasonable two day rate. This has a lens range of 24-600mm and will be all you need for the weekend. Demand can be high so please let me know as soon as you book if you want to rent the Sony. I've found a tripod is useful for the landscape day but less so for the wildlife as we are either bobbing about on a boat or frantically trying to decide which of the thousands of birds we want to photograph on Inner Farne. Please bring a hat with you and old clothes as the terns on Inner Farne have been known to peck arrivals on the head as they protect their territory - the old clothes are for the obvious reason as thousands of seabirds take to the skies overhead! 

The weather can be changeable  and there isn't a cafe on the island so pack a waterproof, flask and something to snack on for the afternoon. We don't leave until 1400 so lunch won't be a problem. The terrain on the island can be slippy and is steep as you leave the jetty but only for a short distance. Hiking boots are ideal for this terrain. I've added a link below for you to take a more in depth look at the Farnes and what they offer. Those of you staying for longer than the weekend might want to consider visiting Staple island. The boat trip itself lasts for around 2.5 hours but includes an hour on Inner Farne. The sea can be choppy at times so you might want to consider packing some Kwells or similar to limit any motion sickness if you are that way inclined.

If you have a set of ND filters or a circular polariser then bring them along as the seascapes along Bamburgh and Lindisfarne respond well to both types of filter. A cable release might be helpful if you want to shoot longer exposures but you can get around this by using the timer to limit any camera movement. I can't emphasise enough the importance of bringing enough memory and battery power along with any other peripherals you might need like the battery charger, cables and lens hood. It takes nothing to throw it all in the car so please pack for as many eventualities as you can think of. 


The cost for the two days on Inner Farne and Lindisfarne is £300. Numbers on this workshop are always limited to sixThis includes two days of full tuition and the cost of the boat trip across to Inner Farne. Accommodation, travel and food for the weekend is not included. I am able to recommend several places to stay and eat in and around Seahouses so please contact me if you want further information.

...and finally

Please read my terms and conditions on the site or I can send you a copy out via email. They cover most of the questions around refunds, booking terms and the limit of my responsibilities to you the participant. I want you to have the best of experiences and travel back after the weekend with memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. Help me to help you by thoroughly reading this page and seeing if you and your kit are ready for what will be an unforgettable weekend in a beautiful, rugged and diverse county. 

I very much look forward to your company on this workshop. You have my guarantee you will learn and grow as a photographer over the two days with a greater understanding of exposure, focus and how your camera performs. We will have an adventure together and that continues to fill me with excitement as I like adventures!


Any further questions? I'm on +447810862599 or if you can't find an answer on this site or Google. 

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