Breathtaking – can only describe the scenery and wildlife as some of the most beautiful in the whole of Wales. To see bluebells not under trees is awesome. We loved every minute. Sleeping in the hostel is fine and more luxurious than anticipated. Taking all food and drink for the 24 hours was perfectly manageable too. We did have to book the accommodation last year as it is so popular and there is only room in the hostel for 14 overnighters.
Skomer is accessible from the little harbour at Martin’s Haven and for those wanting a day trip boats sail (weather permitting) just three times a day. Contact Dale-sailing for more details. You have to be prepared to queue in the popular weeks ie Whitsun half term.
Looking towards St Brides Bay and Solva from the island. We also saw porpoises from the island and from the ferry crossing. And of course we saw the worlds largest population of Manx Shearwater returning around half eleven at night from their days feeding in the Irish Sea. What a fabulous noise they made!!
The little boat arrived to pick us up the next morning and take us safely back to the mainland – the crossing to Skomer is quite short and only takes about 15 minutes. Experienced crewmen know the seas well and don’t take risks if forecasts are poor. so crossings can be cancelled at short notice.
We think you will love Skomer 2015 too! Come and stay at Old Oak Barn in June and have a look for yourselves. We currently have two short breaks available around June 6th and June 21st. Phone on 01994230716 for more details.
You can see more pics of puffins in our other blogs!
We had a fantastic day out at Skomer last week and certainly for many visitors this is the highlight of their week in Wales.
The bluebells were amazing!
If you stay at Old Oak Barn it will mean an early start to catch the ferry at Martins Haven but that is all part of the adventure. The crossing to Skomer only takes about 10 – 15 minutes. The booking system has changed now and is much better in that as soon as you arrive you go to the award winning visitor centre Lockley Lodge and get your tickets for the boarding which will be from 10 O’clock onwards. There is a fee of approx £11 for the crossing and £10 for the landing so for £21 per adult it is not cheap but well worth it! SO if you catch the 12 noon ferry you can go for a walk to Deer’s Park for example and then just queue for the boat 10 minutes before departure.
We can provide maps and directions for visitors wanting to explore this beautiful little island. Approx 1.5 miles across and 2 miles wide it is fairly tiring but where else can you see porpoises, puffins, short eared owls, guillemots, razorbills and of course big Skomer rabbits all in the same place! Visit Skomer and we don’t think you will be disappointed at all!
See Skomer Puffins and stay at Puffin House in Broad Haven.
Visiting Skomer to see the puffins has to be one of the most wonderful day trips if staying in Pembrokeshire between the months of May and July. The little birds return in April from their winter base in the Southern Hemisphere and settle on the island of Skomer to breed. Each pair will usually lay one egg underground where it is safe from the herring gulls which torment not only the puffins but especially the manx shearwater who also breed on the little island. There are normally over 10,000 breeding pairs of Puffins on Skomer and Skokholm Islands, making them one of the most important Puffin colonies in Britain. They arrive in mid-April to nest in burrows, many of which have been dug by the island’s large rabbit population. The last Puffins leave the island by the second or third week in July. Puffins feed mainly on small fish and Sand Eels; often they can be seen with up to a dozen small eels in their beaks.
As everyone knows the storms this year have been some of the worst for a hundred years in this part of Wales. Luckily we are told that the damage on the island seems to be minimal although some guttering has been wrenched off the buildings. Of more concern though are the reports starting coming in from France of large numbers of seabirds washing up on beaches, including Puffins in the Bay of Biscay region. Amongst the Puffins were three juveniles that were fitted with geolocators last year on Skomer. Latest figures are suggesting that 25,000 birds have been effected and that over 14,500 Puffins may have died not all from Skomer but some certainly have suffered.
This photo was taken in February 2014 and shows the bodies of puffins washed up on a beach in Sainte-Marie-de-Re, western France, after heavy storms. This could not be coming at a worst time for our seabirds. It is at about this time of year that Razorbills and Guillemots return to the Pembrokeshire islands to claim their places on the sea cliffs and some of the birds were in breeding plumage. With a high chance of local birds being involved the long term studies of these important colonies are more urgent than ever. It is therefore devastating that NRW (National resources Wales) have we are told just withdrawn funding for one of Skomers most important and longest running monitoring programmes.
The Skomer wardens, Ed and Bee, are hoping to get back onto the island later this week in March once their boat is repaired and no doubt will post something on the Skomer blog when they return. Ed has recently posted some graphic details of the huge seabird wreck which is mainly centred in the Bay of Biscay but has also seen a few hundred dead birds in Pembrokeshire.
However despite the gloom we are sure the puffins will be back breeding soon on Skomer and if you do want to visit the island then its worth having a look at Puffin House seaside apartment in Broad Haven to see if they have availability for your stay – Availability Calendar or check out Old Oak Barn which also has an up to date availability calendar too.
The Welsh Wildlife website will give you all the information you need to find out how to plan your trip to Skomer. You have to catch the little ferry from Martins Haven in the morning as early as possible to sail across the short distance to the island. If you visit the Trip Adviser page and have a good read you will get some tips on what to take and when to arrive in order to be sure to catch the small boat. Visitor numbers are limited and you cannot book much in advance because of the weather so you do have to go prepared to wait your turn for the boat. I think this is all part of the adventure!
The Skomer puffins arrive back from their winter habitat in the southern hemisphere towards the end of March and normally the first chicks hatch out in May. Ideal weeks to visit are in June after the Whitsun week which can get very busy. The small birds have normally flown away by the end of July.