Thursday, 5 December 2013


Staying clear of the chaos; Grey Seal on Brownsman (Ciaran Hatsell)

Staple and Brownsman being smashed (Ciaran Hatsell)

Tickets please. Inner Farne ticket area under water (David Steel)

View of South Wamses; the shingle beach with pups has gone (Ciaran Hatsell)

Knoxes Reef gone, and the pups with it (Will Scott)

Jetties gone on Inner Farne (David Steel)

Inner Farne beach gone; 'dock bank' breached (David Kinchin-smith)

Can I come in? (Ciaran Hatsell)
Thursday 5th December comments: We won’t forget it and we’ll be talking about it for some time to come. The biggest storm surge in 60 years has just battered the east coast and we were in it, almost up to our necks.

As dawn broke across the Farnes, the wind was already reaching in excess of 60mph from the north-west which remained constant throughout the day. To make matters worse the high tide at 4pm brought a storm surge which pushed the sea level two meters above the expected high tide line. This was a storm of epic proportions!

The team were safe, generally the islands were safe (they’ve had a lot thrown at them in their time) but there was no hiding for our Grey Seal pups. The low lying islands like Knoxes Reef, North Wamses and Northern Hares were awash and there was nothing we could do.

The loss of the life will be high, but it could have been worse, a lot worse. The pupping season is almost over and if this had happened just four weeks earlier, we would have had a real nightmare on our hands.

So the Seals have had a tough time, the islands have been battered and it’s not even over. We have another day of big tides and predicted swell, and we are hoping to leave for the winter on Saturday. This is not over by any stretch and don’t we know it!

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