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Skomer Island Puffins, Pembrokeshire

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Pembrokeshire Holiday South Wales June 2014 - page 3

Our visit to Skomer Island, famed for its abundance of adorable puffins and other seabirds, sure was the highlight of our Pembrokeshire holiday in Wales!  We caught the 'Dale Princess' across from Martin’s Haven, located at the end of Marloes Peninsula to spend the day wandering Skomer and observing the island's abundant seabirds, and particularly those cute puffins, close up as they went about their business around their burrows - simply magical!  Skomer Island, an important wildlife site, is located in south west Pembrokeshire and is both a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
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Martin’s Haven at the end of Marloes Peninsula in Pembrokeshire
We wisely arrived bright and early at Martin’s Haven to secure our crossing ticket for Skomer from the Lockley Lodge Visitor Centre, run by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.  With around...

Pembrokeshire: walking up to the coastguard lookout at Martin’s Haven
...two hours to kill before our sailing we wandered up to the coastguard lookout on the headland above Martin’s Haven, known as the Deer Park, where we found a geocache and enjoyed the...

Pembrokeshire: looking out to Skomer Island from the headland at Martin’s Haven
...delightful Pembrokeshire coastal views including, of course, the view across to Skomer Island.  Before long it was time...

Cliff-side path to join the boat to Skomer Island
...to join the line along the rough path by the cliff-side to board the Dale Princess for the island.  Dive boats are also operated from here.

Our selfie on the Dale Princess while crossing to Skomer
Here's our contribution to the world of selfies with our pic of us on the Dale Princess crossing to Skomer Island.  There are three sailings a day (but not Mondays); at 10am, 11am and 12 noon.  There's no advanced booking, it runs on a first come-first served basis so our advice is: arrive early on popular days.  The crossing from Martin’s Haven...

About to dock at Skomer
...to Skomer takes around 15 minutes.

Pembrokeshire, South Wales: Skomer Island briefing from the resident warden
After the climb up several flights of concrete steps from the boat landing we were greeted by the resident warden for an enlightening lowdown on Skomer...

Track to the Old Farm at the centre of Skomer in Pembrokeshire
...before continuing along the main island track to the Old Farm at the centre of the island to eat our picnic in the shade and use the delightful composting loos.

Skomer Island trig point
The Trig point alongside the Old Farm marks the highest point on Skomer Island at 79 metres (that's 259 feet).  There's various...

Walking across Pembrokeshire's Skomer Island
...designated trails over the island.  Skomer in the springtime is covered in bluebells and red campion, but as we were there in June we decided to head to...

Approaching The Wick on Skomer in Pembrokeshire
...The Wick and its abundant puffin population at that time of year.  The puffins of Skomer Island are undoubtedly the main draw for visitors; there are in excess of 10,000 of those guys resident...

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire: seabird spotting at The Wick
...during the breeding season. The Wick is also the place to spot kittiwakes and auks.  Taking a brief reprise from puffin spotting, we also bagged an earthcache here at The Wick.

Skomer puffins by their grassy burrows
The Skomer puffins nest in grassy burrows above the cliffs.  Can you spot the guy seabird spotting through the telescope down there?

Taking a pic of a posing puffin on Skomer in Pembrokeshire, South Wales
The seabirds on Skomer are a naturalist's photographer's delight and the delightful puffins seemed only too willing to oblige!

The Wick, Skomer: puffin exercising his wings
The Wick was formed by geological fault activity when softer rock eroded leaving this dramatic cliff face of harder rock exposed.  Now how's this for a...

Pembrokeshire: puffin in nesting burrow on Skomer
...close-up of a puffin in his nesting burrow?  We were amazed at how unfazed by people the puffins were, even wandering up to within feet of us.

More adorable puffins on Skomer
As you can imagine, we - and everyone else - were snapping away catching those adorable puffins at every opportunity.

Another Skomer Island puffin
June and July are the best months for observing the Skomer puffins as that's their breeding season; by August they've left their burrows to live at sea.

People along the track on Skomer in Pembrokeshire
Visitor numbers are limited to 250 a day and we seemed to encounter most of them at The Wick!  Other seabirds on Skomer are the Manx shearwater, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars.

Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire: the Mew Stone
Following the Wick Farm Loop trail on Skomer we next arrived at the Mew Stone, a volcanic stack isolated from the island when softer rocks between it and Skomer were eroded.

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire: view towards The Neck
This delightful view is towards The Neck, a rocky outcrop from Skomer.  Sadly we were now on the track to catch the boat back to Martin’s Haven, our visit to delightful Skomer Island now all but over.

 

Now, what does it cost to visit Skomer Island?  For our 2014 visit the boat was 11, there's a 10 landing fee, and parking in the huge National Trust car park at Martin’s Haven was 5 (NT members free).

As you can see we enjoyed some wonderful sunshine on our visit to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, just don't expect it to always be so - it is Wales after all!

So that just about wraps up our wonderful Pembrokeshire holiday.  Visiting Skomer was most definitely our highlight, but the scenic walks along the Pembrokeshire coastal path came a close second.

Don't forget to check out our huge collection of UK tourism resources, useful if you're planning a visit to Pembrokeshire or elsewhere in the UK.

 

Other birdlife and wildlife visits include: Arundel Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre, Amazon World (IOW),
Port Lympne Animal Park in Kent and the Otter, Owl & Wildlife Park (New Forest).