Seahouses and North Sunderland : our friendly and useful community and trades website.


Aerial view of seahouses and the Farne Islands.
This aerial view clearly shows:
  • almost the whole village of Seahouses, though Kingsfield housing does extend slightly further south, off to the right.
  • the outer breakwaters that protect Seahouses harbour from the ravages of North Sea gales. The inner breakwater guarding the shipping-harbour proper is just visible.
  • the offshore Farne Islands, looking quite modest from this distance.
  • North Sunderland, the compact community towards the lower left corner.
  • the range of mobile home facilities, complementing the hotels and b&bs to provide a full range of accommodation for holidaymakers.
The image was kindly provided by local pilot Paul Kiddell. To learn about microlight trip and training facilities at Eshott Airfield, just a bit down the A1, get in touch with Purple Aviation.

The Community Millennium Video, Seahouses: Village By The Sea, is now available on-line -
 • Part 1.    • Part 2.    • Part 3.    • Part 4.    • Part 5.    • Part 6.

A telephoto seems to bring Bamburgh closer to Seahouses. December sunshine lights up a few of the tour boats, safe and sound on the hard for the winter. Beyond them the sea has modest swells breaking onto the sands where some all-season walkers enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Sheltering behind the dunes is the Monks' House, whereas Bamburgh Castle makes the most of its eminence on its natural rocky outcrop to command all the surrounding countryside of its erstwhile kingdom.

Seahouses is best known as the base for all explorations of the Farne Islands and for its clean, wide, uncrowded summer beaches. Perhaps less spectacular than some, Seahouses does nevertheless have its own cliffs. The limestone ledges are beloved of seabirds, especially kittiwakes and fulmars as seen here, for their early summer family-raising in contrast to their normal 24/7 wave-wanderings.

Low-water exposure reveals a myriad rock pools down below: buy your bucket and net in the village!
Not too near the edge now !

Seas aren't always this calm! Even at low water Seahouses harbour can serve as the operational base for the tour boats, commercial fishing and angler boats, and dive-service vessels - not to mention the lifeboat and visiting RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) and yachts. Principal interests are the Farne Islands, a National Nature Reserve safeguarding seabirds and seals, together with their surrounding waters, rocks and seabed. The lighthouse on Inner Farne is the most obvious feature seen here.

Other boats cruise further north to visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Like any coastal area, Seahouses can also have its share of dramatic meteorology! In reality this winter scene was remarkable not so much for its darkness (which the camera may exaggerate) as for the 'eyes of God' peering down through the gaps on the cloud above the golf course headland. A clifftop section of the Coast Path.

Looking across the harbour and out to Inner Farne. Emphasising the link between Seahouses and the Farne Islands, this colourful image shows the winter siting of many of the tour boats. Protected from the worst of the elements by their residence on the jetty, the situation makes the pre-season maintenance much easier - the scraping down, anti-fouling the hull, painting and lettering the topsides, replacing the zinc electro-chemical protectors, checking the screws and glands. But test-running engines may have to await a return to the water.

Seahouses Golf Club enjoys an enviable position. Seen here from one of the fairways near the cliff-top, the clubhouse is set against a background of pasture, farm and woodland stretching eventually to the foot of the Cheviots. The clubhouse includes full-service restaurant facilities. A green and pleasant land.

Viewed from Crewe Street. Besides the boats 'native' to Seahouses (even if they have BK Berwick or other port registrations) visitors arrive from all directions! The number of incoming yachts is relatively modest, but rigid inflatables drive in on their trailers, sometimes by ones and twos, occasionally in organised conventions of dozens. Launching and retrieval is ideal using the ramp but can also be a practical proposition on the smooth firm sands nearby. 

When summer approaches patches of the background turn yellow as farm fields of oilseed rape come into flower.

The huge area of fine clean sand south of Seahouses is Annstead Beach, stretching down to Beadnell. Some regard it as an advantage that there is neither road access nor official car park, so crowding is never a problem - no, never. And yet it is a favourite stretch of coastal walk, frequented by both long-distance walkers and local folk enjoying fresh air and exercise - with or without their dogs. Family groups find the sands and adjoining dunes ideal for picnics. Occasional specialists make use of the facilities for kite-flying, sand sailing or surfboarding. Not quite a man-lifting size!

A busy day in the office!!! Quite apart from the tour and service boats that winter on the hard or in the water, there are the all-year fishing boats based in Seahouses harbour. Seeking either fishy-fish or lobsters and other shellfish, the harbour facilities are used for repairs and routine maintenance work. The concrete ramp runs well down beyond the water level of "low water springs": it is invaluable for drying out to gain short term access to hull, keel and screws. The particular vessel seen here is a catamaran: having two hulls simplifies the whole beaching process as there's no fear whatever of it tipping over!

Away from the harbour, a walk southwards on the public path over the golf course brings a view of the mini-beaches of "Snook or North Sunderland Point", to quote the Ordnance Survey map (at NU228315).  Despite their apparent vulnerability sufficient access routes make it impossible to become trapped at high water: the solitary visitor is quite safe. Separated by the natural groynes of angled layers of limestone, the southern section is predominantly sandy whereas the corner is filled with a variety of rocks suffering the perpetual rounding of never-failing tidal toing-and-froing. The most distant peninsula is the adjoining village of Beadnell. This view makes it clear that Annstead beach, in between, really is in a bay. The official path doesn't come quite this close to the edge.

This outfit represents many £thousands. Another vital use for the harbour launching ramp is in enabling the Seahouses lifeboats to access the sea at every stage of the tide. As well as the fully enclosed All Weather Lifeboat this RIB - rigid inflatable boat - serves lesser but equally vital inshore needs. The RNLB Peter Downes is a generously equipped craft manned by a fully trained crew, all of whom are, in accordance with the highest traditions of the R.N.L.I., unpaid volunteers. The rest of us can make more minor contributions by visiting the Lifeboat Station on the north-west corner of the harbour. Meanwhile, further details of the vessels and service are on the Seahouses Lifeboat website.

Another winter scene - of a bright, clear, frosty morning, out walking the dog this time. The official Northumberland Coast Path overlooks the harbour before (when south-going) meeting the Seahouses cliffs and then crossing the golf course plateau here. Winter winds may not always be kind, but dedicated golfers and conscientious dog-walkers don't allow such minor factors to interfere with their invigorating, flu-defeating exercise and enjoyment! Not every day is QUITE this blue.

A composite photo. Birds are notoriously difficult to photograph. But the natural environment of Seahouses offers some unusual facilities. Birds can be guaranteed to sit still in appropriate poses when they are nesting or incubating eggs! So all that's needed is a pretty standard zoom camera - nothing professional, no hide, and no hours of impatient waiting. Top left is a fulmar: notice the dark tubular additions to its bill. Kittiwakes, on the right, have more slender heads and bodies. The grey heron simply HAS to keep still if it's ever going to catch fish unawares - provided the photographer doesn't push his luck too far. More unusual, the foot-long, active green creepy-crawly king rag worm is a denizen of the coastal strip, normally hiding well down the tidal range but here dispersing his sperm into the water of a rock pool.

Visitors to Seahouses tend to be curious about the stone building on the harbour's outermost rocks. Is it a refuge for idiots who get caught by a rising tide? No.

During the nineteenth-century extensions to the harbour it was necessary to blast away some of the rocks: black powder explosive was to be used. But even before the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act it did not seem a good idea to store explosives in the village itself. So a powder house (or pooder hooss) was built out there for safety's sake. Having withstood the winds and waves of a century, it is now a Grade II-listed building! It had some long-standing weathering damage remedied early in 2012.
A visitor from Liverpool is intrigued!

February snow, 2010. Another weather extreme hit Seahouses, as well as all the rest of the United Kingdom, during the extended, cold winter, of 2009-2010. While it is rare for lowland coastal areas to see snow to any significant extent, even this far north, we weren't allowed to escape that time: this was a scene in February 2010. But thanks to that effect, and with belated thanks to Dr. Beeching, we enjoyed quite exceptional views along the footpath from the Seafield car park to North Sunderland which had previously served as the railway track.

It's an ill wind ... !

Already seen from above, this is a closer view of Snook Point on the edge of the golf course, from the sands this time. Anyone with the slightest interest in geology is likely to be intrigued: in a single view there is abundant evidence of many of the processes that formed the very structure of the Seahouses landmass. The obvious layering reflects the depositional processes of aeons ago, with more recent glacial material on top. The converse, erosional effects, explain the present exposures and the gradation of rocks from sharp-edged to wave-rounded. There's much more about all this on our Seahouses Rocks page. Snook Point again.

Annstead beach, June 2013. To complete a pictorial portrayal of Seahouses in all its moods it is only fair to mention the occasional haar, sometimes known as sea fret. Seafarers are familiar with 'advection fog' which arises when warm, moist air blows gently over a cold sea. With high pressure over the North Sea onshore breezes can sometimes bring wisps or banks of this localised fog onto the beaches, as here along Annstead beach, south of the village. Note the lovely blue sky: haars come and go erratically during heat-wave conditions.

Seahouses enjoys a long tradition of involvement with the game of bowls. There are facilities and organisations for both indoor (carpet) and green (lawn) versions. An integral part of the Sports and Community Centre, players have immediate access to all the facilities of the Centre. In very regular summertime use, visitors from other clubs take part in tournaments too. The bowling green is maintained by a dedicated team. Bowling green with tournament.

Crewe Street view, August 2014. As a tourist hot-spot, Seahouses is able to provide iconic views for visitors to enjoy. This blue-sky photo shows folk taking things easy as they watch the toings and froings in the harbour, specifically the two Seahouses lifeboats making their way towards the harbour mouth: it was for a bank holiday demonstration, not some dire emergency. Extreme right is the Inner Farne Island lighthouse: extreme left, Bamburgh Castle. (And a local dog-lover kindly provides refreshment for visiting canines - the bowl in the lower left corner!)

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