Friday 18 November 2011

Behind the scenes

Home for the final few months...Brownsman cottage

View from the kitchen window - a bull seal on the prowl

Post arrives... (Ciaran Hatsell)

Communal cooking for the team - Ciaran cooking

April and Graeme seawatching

The team at work - gravel collection for Tern 'terrace'

Inner Farne closed down for the winter

Friday 18th November comments: The Farnes is a wonderful place, with some spectacular wildlife and amazing sights. However one aspect I don't often cover on this blog, is island life behind the scenes. The team have been living out on the islands since mid-March and have seen and done it all. We've counted over 80,000 pairs of seabirds, welcomed 45,000 visitors and counted over 1,200 seal pups and where still going.

The island team is now down to five members for the final few months and during this time we'll live on Brownsman in the 19th century former lighthouse keepers cottage. The cottage was once home to the Darling family before they moved to the Longstone on the completion of the lighthouse in 1826. However the cottage is now 'home' to the wardens, complete with gas lighting (yes we still use gas mantles) and no running water. The 21st century is gradually catching up with us as we now have the addition of photovoltaic's but otherwise, life is fairly basic.

Brownsman is not for the faint hearted as once darkness falls after 4pm we rarely venture outside as Bull seals rampage across the island tops...a dangerous place to be if you can't see! Its strange to be sharing your back garden with Grey Seals, but we accept it as the 'norm' and just get on with daily life. Work can vary from day-to-day, as the weather dictates our movements but there is plenty to keep us occupied; painting and decorating appear to be the 'in-thing' at this moment.

Otherwise the team of five will continue to live and work out here until early December and then, like everything else on the islands, we'll leave for pastures new. However the season isn't over yet (not by any stretch) but already our thoughts are drifting to next March, when we'll be back, to do it all over again....

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ooh, sound cold. I hope those left behind don't become stir-crazy shut up like that. I suppose that is what you call real dedication.