Sea Kayak Resources

Sea Kayaking in Northumberland

Farne Islands

Tidal Information

  • Local HW is +03:45 HW Dover.
  • Tidal streams run 3kn springs in Inner sound and 4kn springs in Staple sounds, and flows can be up to 6 kn in the narrow channels and around the islands.
  • Tidal streams at the Farnes are: NW begins +06:00 HW Dover, SE begins at HW Dover.
  • The Farnes extend some 6 miles from the mainland and this shallow area can result in a short choppy confused sea.
  • Launching and landing on the mainland can be through big surf especially after periods of E or NE winds.
  • The direct crossing from the “old coastguard station” across the Inner sound to Inner Farne can be very choppy with haystacking waves of 3+ metres.  Alternative  launch sites are from the Harkness rocks beside the small lighthouse just north of Bamburgh and cross to either Megstone or Inner Farne, or from Beadnell Bay south of Seahouses.
  • The south east side of Staple Sound produces overfalls especially with wind over tide.
  • Knivestone to seaward of Longstone can produce large overfalls at spring tides.

Holy Island

A circumnavigation of Holy Island by sea kayak can be made with careful tidal planning.  There are extensive flats and marshes either side of the causeway which drain very quickly, so a spring tide and accurate prediction is necessary to avoid the ground drying beneath you.

Tidal Information

  • High Water at Holy Island and the Refuge hut on the causeway is +0345 HW Dover.


Launch from Holy Island harbour approx. 2.5 hours (excluding stops) before high water. You need to time your journey to be at the Refuge at HW (approximately 6Nm into the trip).  Kayak anticlockwise, against the tide but stay close inshore and use the back eddies.
Go past Emmanuel Head and Coves Bay and after a further 5 km / 3 miles you come to the major channel in the sand bar.  Be here 0.5 hour before high water. There may be breaking surf here.  Continue on to the Refuge and then around to Holy Island harbour.

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