The Blue Bell Hotel is ideally situated for exploring the wonders under the sea. Northumberland diving is world-renowned for its crystal clear waters, abundant marine life and fascinating wrecks. Centred around the Farne Islands, Lindisfarne and St Abbs just along the coast in Berwickshire, the area is first class for novices and professional divers alike.
Eyemouth and St Abbs are historic fishing ports on the Berwickshire coast famous for their rugged cliffs and perfectly clear waters. The marine life here is not only plentiful, but also diverse, making it one of Europe’s top dive destinations and the number one spot for shore diving in the UK. In 1984 the Voluntary Marine Reserve, the first of its kind in the UK, was established here covering 8km of spectacular coastline.
Not only famed for its shore diving, St Abbs Head and its surrounding areas have over 80 wrecks, a few of which are still diveable when inland conditions are unfavourable.
One such wreck is the Glanmire, highly accessible and most definitely worth a visit.
Although very close to the harbour it is still a dive for the experienced as temperatures plummet, but shoals of coal fish, mature wolf-fish and conger eel can be found around the wreckage. Southeast of St Abbs harbour, on the rocks known as the Ebb Carrs, lies the wreck of the Alfred Earlandson another worthwhile, but slightly less accessible dive.
The Farne Islands, just off the Northumberland coast, has some of the best diving the county has to offer, with many wrecks to be explored, including the San Andreas, Brittania and the Somali, reputed to be the best of all. These wrecks tend to lie in the 20-30 metre limits but deeper wrecks do exist.
The scenic dives from the Islands are legendary with a large collection of anemone, dead men’s fingers and a vast selection of interesting crustaceans. Friendly grey seals make their home here and the inquisitive amongst them may come to join you.
Lindisfarne offers particularly exhilarating dives for the experienced diver in some of the UKs most dangerous waters. However, charter operators, from nearby Seahouses and Beadnell bay, do offer professional guidance to the more inexperienced diver.
The Blue Bell Hotel’s fantastic location near to the Scottish Borders and beautiful coastline scenery makes it the ideal base to explore a wide variety of Northumberland attractions. As well as quaint fishing villages such as Berwick-upon-Tweed and Bamburgh, the Blue Bell Hotel is close to a variety of popular and historic places to see. Northumberland’s history as England’s front line of defence in wars against the Scots has led to an impressive number of castles and forts throughout the county. Some are still majestic family homes, as in the case of Alnwick Castle, and others, like Dunstanburgh are imposing ruins. More castles in Northumberland have public access than anywhere else in the country, making it a haven for history lovers young and old. The Farne Islands can be found approximately 3 miles off Northumberland’s coast, and being so abundant in rare species of wildlife, plant life and birdlife, are largely protected by the National Trust.
There are over 20 islands making up the Farnes, divided into the Inner Group and the Outer Group. Connected during low tides the main Inner Farnes are made up of the East and West Wideopens, Knoxes Reef and the Megstone. The main Outer Farnes are Staple Island, Longstone, Big Harcar, North and South Wamses and the Brownsman. For nature lovers there can be nowhere more exciting. 290 species of bird have been recorded on the Islands, including in the 18th century, the now extinct Great Auk. Today, the breeding season sees around 20 different species coming to the Farnes, leading to total numbers in the region of 100,000 birds.
The diverse species include Oystercatchers, Gannets and Eider Ducks. For any visitors to Northumberland, a visit to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is an unmissable outing. Found just off the Northumberland coast near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Lindisfarne, meaning ‘Land’s Corner’, is a picturesque island of great historical significance. With a population of around 165 people, the island sees more than 650,000 visitors attracted to its beautiful scenery, historic priory and castle, and abundant and often rare wildlife and bird species. The island is tidal and linked to the mainland by a paved causeway which becomes impassable by the tide twice a day. The Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve protects the vast populations of birdlife which are of international significance. Species include the pale-bellied brent goose, widgeon and the bar-tailed godwit amongst others. Rare birds such as Radde’s Warblew and Red-flanked bluetail have all been spotted on the island, as have migrating scarce Siberian birds. Naturally, birdwatchers from across the globe are attracted to all the island has to offer.
Not restricted to plant life and rare species of bird, the marine life around the island is also abundant and extremely varied, and as yet not completely explored. North Atlantic Grey Seals are a common site offshore and hundreds of Common Seals have colonised the area between the mainland and the island. There’s plenty to do for couples, families and business traveller’s alike, and staff at The Blue Bell Hotel are always happy to help arrange days out and give advice on the plentiful visitor attractions.