Sadly, it is looking increasingly unlikely that I will be leading any puffins & seabirds wildlife photography workshops on the Farne Islands this year, and possibly in future years.
The National Trust are looking to implement a new centralised booking system for landing trips where bookings can only be made one week in advance. This means I can not guarantee availability in advance of workshop dates and it also makes it very difficult for workshop participants to arrange and confirm accommodation and travel plans.
Furthermore, the National Trust are proposing a system whereby the boats operators and skippers are required to make ‘bids’ for the business of transporting visitors by sea to the Islands. The proposed system is absolutely unworkable from the point of view of the boat skippers. As a result, they are unable to land on Staple Island and Inner Farne as per previous years.
It’s a tough decision for the skippers, but I absolutely understand their reasons. Andrew, Toby and all of the team at Serenity, and also William and his Glad Tidings team have my full support. It’s a terrible decision by the National Trust. It will have a detrimental effect on the service industry in Seahouses which couldn’t come at a worse time as plans are being made to recover from the financial hardships caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic.
We live in a time when so many of us have a massive disconnection with our natural history and the need to understand, appreciate and conserve wildlife has never been greater. Organisations like the National Trust should be working to improve ethical access to wildlife, not implementing financially driven obstacles instead.