Puffins! - The Farne Islands

An amazing 5-day photo tour to the jewel of Northumberland’s wildlife!

Included

Professional Photo Guide

Transportation (return from London)

Cottage accommodation with own room

Boat trips to islands (ex landing fees)

Kase filter kits available

Small tour (max 5 participants)

Dates & Times


April 2022

April 2023

Fitness Level


Low- Moderate

Price


£895 (+ NT Landing fees)

Availability


Currently on hold due to islands access restricted by National Trust

Join Us

Join us on a magical 5-day / 4-night trip to experience one of the most exciting seabird colonies in the UK! 

Not only have we scheduled three separate day trips to the islands to photograph the birdlife, we’ll also be staying within sight of one of the world’s great coastal castles, Bamburgh Castle! Along with Dunstanbugh Castle, this gives the enthusiastic among us the unique opportunity to indulge in some potential bonus landscape photography with two stunning subjects in the evenings.

Puffin with wings fully spread landing next to standing puffin

Northumberland’s Farne Islands are home to more than 20 bird species, with the highlight being over 80,000 incredibly charismatic puffins!  Along with the puffin extravaganza, the islands’ other species including four species of terns, guillemots, razorbills, shags, kittiwakes, eider ducks, plus grey seals basking in the sun by the water’s edge. More info can be found at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/farne-islands/features/wildlife-calendar 

Please note:   

1)  Due to Staple Island being a bird sanctuary and undeveloped, this tour may not be suitable for those with limited mobility.  Please contact us if you are unsure.  

2)  The boat captain’s decision to delay if adverse weather conditions is beyond our control (which is why we go for 3 full days just in case).  In this scenario we’ll look to find suitable landscape locations in the area to photograph as an alternative. 

Puffin in vegetation calling looking directly at camera
Recommended Equipment
  • Telephoto lens – eg 70-200mm, 70-300mm, 100-400mm, 200-500mm, etc. 
    Walk around//mid range/kit lens – eg 18-55mm, 24-70mm 
    Wide angle lens eg 16-35mm, 17-40mm (for landscapes and diving terns!)

  • Don’t have a telephoto lens?  We’ll have 3 telephoto setups available, including 1,000mm+.  Please let us know at time of booking.

  • We also have 2 x branded 1.4x (Canon & Nikon) and 2.0x for (Nikon) available.

  • Tripod (for landscapes) and possibly a monopod if you’re using a heavy telephoto lens.  Due to the limited space on the boat and small island paths on Staple Island, at most a monopod is advised for the boat trips.

  • Filters (for landscapes). Kase filter kits available. Please mention at time of booking if required.

A full packing list will be provided prior to the tour.

Included / Not included
  • Included:
    • Professional photo guide & tuition.
    • Return transportation fom central London in our comfortable 8 seat vehicle.
    • Cottage accommodation including own room,  There may be supplements for Premium rooms (if available).
    • Kase filter kits if required
    • Battery charging facilities in vehicle

    Not included:

    • Personal & travel insurance
    • Food & drink
    • Travel to start point or from end point of tour.
    • Anything not specified as “Included”
Fitness Level

Easy to Moderate

This tour involves walking of up to 30 minutes along paths/trails and requires occasional short steep steps or inclines.  A person of average fitness level should have little difficulty.

Where we'll meet
Central London start/finish point.

At 9am, outside Starbucks Coffee, Unit 1A Euston Tower Podium, Regents Place, London NW1 3DP.

The meeting point is close to Warren Street, Euston Square, Euston, & Great Portland Street tube stations.

We expect to return to London between 6-7pm on our final day.

Meeting point map.

Daily Itinerary

Puffin head visible whilst standing in vegetation

Day 1 – Journey to Northumberland

The adventure begins! You and your fellow travellers will be collected by your photo guides from the scheduled meeting point. From there, you’ll begin the journey to Northumberland. 

En route we’ll get to know each other and have the opportunity to watch some videos about our subjects and locations on our flip-down TV screen to get the most out of our travel time.
 

We’ll stop for lunch along the way then press on to our accommodation.  After unpacking, we’ll have dinner locally and review images from past tours and discuss what we can expect over the next few days.

Puffin taking off in flight next to standing puffin

Day 2 – Inner Farne and Staple Island

Today we rise and shine for the first of our three scheduled boat trips to the islands.  We’ll be at the jetty for 9am and expect to return around 3pm, giving us around two hours of photography on each island each day.  Expect to take thousands of shots so make sure you bring multiple extra memory cards! 

Our first stop, Staple Island, is quite rocky with basic paths and no facilities.  Our second stop, Farne Island, is more developed with public toilets and shop. 

After our boat trip we’ll rest, freshen up, have some food, and then travel to one of our sunset landscape locations. 

Puffin in flight against white clouds and blue sky

Day 3 – Staple Island and Inner Farne

After browsing your images at the end of the previous day, you will have the opportunity to work on and expand your portfolio.  Our objective over the three trips to the islands is to capture a variety of images, including portraits, flight/action shots – including Puufins with mouthfuls of sandeels, and environmental images. 

After our boat trip we’ll again rest, freshen up, have some food, and then travel to one of our sunset landscape locations.

Baby puffin in burrow on Farne Islands

Day 4 – Staple Island and Inner Farne

Day four sees us continuing the daily journey to Staple Island and Inner Farne.

For our final boat trip to the islands we’ll look at putting the polishing touches on our puffin portfolio. 

Some may explore different pictures, such as using a wide angle lens to capture the terns as they swoop in to defend their territory.

After our boat trip we’ll again rest, freshen up and have some food, then travel to one of our sunset landscape locations.

Puffin in flight with colourful background

Day 5 – Return to London

With our memory cards full of amazing images, we’ll wave goodbye to Northumberland and start our return journey to London around 10am.   

We’ll stop off for lunch on the way and expect to return to London around 7pm.

Testimonials

I just wanted to thank you again for a wonderful trip which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I have learnt so much on this trip – taking the most amazing photos! Yourself and Phil gave me so much help which I am very grateful for.

If you do another trip to the Lake District I would love to join you again!

Debbie A.

Many thanks for a wonderful trip last week, I really enjoyed it and have taken away so much 😊.

I’m about 80% through post processing, it’s really difficult to choose as there are so many great shots!

I’ve been considering buying Kase filters too!

Siu C.

Guides

Dion Hitchcock - Photo Tour Guide

Dion Hitchcock

Dion is an expat Australian based in London, United Kingdom. A prodigious traveller, after visiting 40+ countries he decided it was high time to learn about photography so he could better document his travels and quickly caught “the bug”. He became involved in several camera clubs assisting them running workshops and now runs his own, including in the UK, Iceland, and his home country of Australia. A qualified pharmacist, he’s now swapped helping patients and teaching pharmacy students for helping clients with both the technical aspects and artistic side of photography. Although an unconventional transition, he sees this as a natural progression as both of his parents are artists who instilled in him an appreciation of the beauty of the wondrous world around us.

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Terms of Service

Please note that our tours and workshops are always in high demand and usually sell out. We historically have over 90% occupancy so we strongly advise to book early.

 As photographers ourselves, we always do our utmost to ensure each participant has the opportunity to get the best shots possible on every tour. However, we are dependent upon the weather, which is highly unpredictable. Your photo guide will monitor local weather conditions and adjust any proposed itinerary according to conditions and any local weather warnings.

We highly recommend that you have your own travel and medical insurance. For our overseas clients, please be aware that your own domestic medical insurance and private health scheme may not cover you whilst you are overseas.

Bookings and Acceptance of Terms & Conditions

By making a payment to UK Photo Tours by Paypal, bank transfer, Stripe or other means, you have agreed that you have read and understood these terms and conditions and therefore have entered into a contract with UK Photo Tours.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel your booking and the tour is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a £150 service fee. If you cancel and the tour does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of tour:

Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus the £150 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund

Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.

If UK Photo Tours have to cancel a tour then you’ll be offered another place on an existing tour or a full refund. We cannot be held liable for any loss of any kind resulting from the cancellation of a tour beyond the tour ticket price.

Pricing

Prices listed on the UK-Photo-Tours.com website are per person, unless otherwise specified.

Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.

Unless otherwise specified, prices do not include any local taxes or use-fees, including foreign departure, security, port charges, park fees, customs, immigration, agricultural, passenger-facility charges or international transportation tax.

Prices do not include tips/gratuities to tour directors, drivers or local guides; passport and visa fees; baggage and personal insurance; any items of a personal nature; and any beverages or food not specifically listed under “Included” on the product pages of the UK-Photo-Tours.com website

Tour start/end

Our tours have a designated start and end point and it is each participant’s responsibility to ensure they are at the designated starting point on time and the tour price does not include any flights, accommodation, transport, taxes or charges, etc prior to our start or after our end points/time. We are happy to give advice on such should it be needed.

Passports, Visas, & Insurance

It is the responsibility of all passengers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements.

As visa and health requirements are subject to change without notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.

We strongly advise all travellers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance to minimize possible losses due to unforeseeable situations prior to, during, and after your tour.

Disclaimers & Limitations of Liability

It is the sole responsibility of all participants to take out adequate insurance protection for themselves to cover any loss of belongings, theft, accidental damage, injury, cancellation and costs incurred resulting from any event with UK Photo Tours.

UK Photo Tours holds Public Liability Insurance, Motor Vehicle Business Insurance, and Tour Operator Insurance, and will not cover anything excluded under the terms of those policies. Policy details are available on request.

UK Photo Tours cannot be held liable for any loss, damage, accidents, injuries or sickness during your tour. The same applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes, industrial action, viral pandemic, civil disturbance, wars, floods or sickness, or any other force majeure. UK Photo Tours reserves the right to change routes, schedules and itineraries if needed because of weather, road, boat route conditions or should the necessity arise because of unforeseen reasons.

Covid-19

We are taking great care to follow the current guidance from the government regarding Covid-19 ( https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus ), along with up-to-date advice from tourism organisations such as VisitEngland.com and VisitScotland.com in order to keep safety a priority.

All of our guides are fully vaccinated and have had booster doses. We encourage participants to be fully vaccinated if clinically able to.

To further reduce risk, we’re continuing with requiring masks to be worn in the vehicle (unless medically expempt). Vents will be open and windows lowered in the vehicle to increase fresh airflow. We provide antiviral hand gel in the vehicle and at any accommodation, along with spare surgical 3-ply face masks for participants if required.

We’ve adopted the tour industry standard of requesting a negative Covid-19 lateral flow test within 72 hours of the start of the tour, and ideally for the result to be logged on the government website. This test can be done at home.

By asking for a negative test we hope you’ll agree it is for everyone’s protection and helps to provide a smooth and safe tour. In the UK, you can obtain free lateral flow tests from either your local pharmacy scanning a QR code, or sent direct to your home through the website https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests , or by calling 119.

We ask all participants to please be vigilant in reducing their exposure risk to Covid-19 in the 10 days leading up to the tour, and remember to test if you have any symptoms and ensure that you have adequate travel insurance in place.

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