Seahouses – gateway to the Farnes
Published: Wednesday 30th Dec 2015
Written by: Jackie Forsyth
Many of Stay Northumbria’s lovely self catering holiday cottages are based in Seahouses. Why? Well the village has a history seated deep in the fishing and farming industries. The houses by the sea were built later than the houses in North Sunderland just half a mile inland which were homes to the farming community. When the fishing fleets came south from Scotland, St. Abbs and Eyemouth the fisher lasses followed and fishing communities sprang up all along the coastline of Northumberland.
Seahouses was one, it has been a commercial centre ever since, in addition to fishing, the area was a major player in the Lime and Grain trades and the original harbour played its part in import and export relating to both these trades. Now, with these industries and major deep water fishing in decline through EU quotas and “over fishing” (see our fight for fish page), the remaining fishermen concentrate on catching prawn, lobster and crabs and some have turned their boating skills to providing services to tourists. From the harbour you can book a boat to either take you sea fishing, diving or more generally a trip to or around the Farne Islands.
So, Seahouses is the gateway to the Farne Islands, it is the only place to book these trips, and on the islands you’ll find a wide variety of bird life and during the breeding the inimitable Puffins in their thousands. (May-July being the best time to see them). The Farnes are also home to one of England’s largest breeding colonies of Grey Seals and our skilled skippers manouvre their boats to within feet of them giving you great photo opportunities. If you are a keen diver, some of the boats will run “diving with seal”trips, but these must be booked and are limited. See the boat owners at the bottom of this page.
For an insight watch this 10 minute video made by our friend and accomplished diver Ben Burville.
Our friend Ben Burville shows you the underwater world off the Farne Islands in this 10 minute video
The Kipper – that golden smelly fish – which is herring smoked for a couple of days over smoulding oak shavings – no dye, no additives, just goodness on a plate. In Seahouses, down a little windy back lane above the harbour you will find Swallow Fish. Run by Patrick Wilkin, this is the last remaining traditional smokery in the village. Reputably the smokery which “invented” the Kipper, sometimes it is possible to see right inside the smoke house and Patrick is often willing to explain the process. So call in – ask – and see the vast array of mainly locally caught produce in the Fisherlasses Kitchen shop. They even do online and mail order.
Beaches – Fine stretches of beautiful sandy swaithes run between Seahouses and Beadnell to the South, and there’s nothing better on a glorious day than walking the beach north, jumping the brook as it runs to the sea at Monkshaven check out the waders and dippers along the shoreline and then in the distance the mighty Bamburgh Castle comes into view perched on a rocky outcrop right above the beach….
If walking’s not for you, take the kids to the rock pools below the Seahouses harbour and take yourself back in time, wellies on, fishing net and bucket in hand and there you have it an afternoon in the fresh air turning up all sorts of finds in the clear shiny waters then back home for fish and chips and a good night’s sleep in a cosy Stay Northumbria cottage…..