Like many photographers, the pandemic disrupted a number of my annual photo trips. For 10 years straight I’d visited the Farne Islands in Northumberland and various locations in and around the Borders. So after a two-year gap it was great to go back; who’d have thought you could miss the pungent smell of a seabird colony.

It was one of those trips where the weather went from good to bad going and good to bad coming home – typical. I was only there for three days and day one was a complete washout. Good job I managed to get on three separate boat trips to the Farnes on the second day – thanks to Serenity Boats Tours.

Farne Islands photography

The conditions were mixed: mist, sun, overcast, and torrential rain, not bad all in one day. I still managed a good mix of images. I’ve processed all the images with a less-than-natural feel (for want of a better phrase). I think it adds a little more atmosphere and drama, especially to the cliff images, besides I’ve already more than enough conventional-looking images and it’s good to try something different.

I’m always conscious of trying to get a shot of Bamburgh Castle in the background as we sail around the islands.

The two main lighthouses on the islands are always worth shooting. The white one is on Inner Farne and the red one is on Longstone island.

The Pinnacles are a great spot to get up close to the cliff face.

I love the textures and colouring on the cliff faces with all the drama a busy seabird colony brings with it.

Landing on Inner Farne I tried a few flight shots – it feels like I’ve spent more time deleting the blurry ones than it took to process the good ones.

Warkworth Castle photography

After seeing the fascinating series Pubs, Ponds and Power: The Story of the Village on the BBC, in which Warkworth was featured, I decided to pop in on my way home. The full episode isn’t currently available but you can watch an intro clip to Warkworth here

Staff at the English Heritage site were friendly and helpful and didn’t look at my sizeable camera bag with suspicion like some places seem to.

I had the whole place to myself, for at least 5 minutes, until a school bus turned up! Other visitors aren’t a problem, it’s a big place, you just have to wait for people to move out of your shot. I’m sure somebody there couldn’t wait for me and my big bag to shift.

The exact date the original castle was built is unknown, but it’s had a few extensions in its time. We’ve all been there, first it’s a conservatory, next thing you know you’ve built a great hall, brewery, wine cellar, beer cellar, and a church. Talking of the church, don’t the remains look like a giant stone robot? See below.

The keep provides good views across the village, but general visitors can’t go to the very top, unless I didn’t see the stairs.

Although only a short trip, it was good to dust off the camera and take a trip down memory lane (or the A1 as some call it). Northumberland has so much to offer.

Maybe it’s time MPS, as a group, revisited the area too?


MPS member