Coquet Island

Published 31 October 2021

Coquet Island and the lighthouse – one of the many great sights from the first day of the Northumberland Coast Path

The thing about coastal paths is that they tend to give you lots of views of the sea. And often the sea can be a bit boring. If you’re lucky there will be some birds, or a ship. But a lot of other times you only get to see waves and waves and waves. Not that there’s anything wrong with waves. But one wave is quite similar to another.

And that’s how it all is. At least until you reach a point where there is an island to look at.

Wikipedia states there are 122 islands of England. That’s England rather than the whole of Great Britain. Which is, of course, an island itself. Some are well known islands like the Isle of Wight. Some are rather unknown despite being huge. Like the island of Portsea, which contains most of the city of Portsmouth. Some are a good way from the ‘mainland’, like the various Isles of Scilly. And others are close to it. Like Coquet Island.

Ah, Coquet Island. The first island the Northumberland Coast Path walker sees if they’re walking the trail from south to north.

It’s not a big island. A mere six hectares in fact. And it’s definitely not far from the coast. Only 1.2km away. So on a day with good weather you’ll get a fine view of it. Especially as it’s got a very distinctive lighthouse on it. When they built it and the associated lighthouse keepers cottages, they incorporated the remains of a medieval monastery. It looks like it would be a fascinating building to visit, but that’s strictly forbidden. The only inhabitants on the island are seasonal wardens stationed there to protect the wildlife. The wildlife being why the island is off limits. Puffins can be found there. Various gulls too. But it’s also home to the largest colony of the roseate tern, an endangered species whose number has increased thanks to the conservation efforts on the island.

Coquet Island looks like a beautiful place. But it’s one that needs to be admired from afar. And as the trail approaches the town of Amble, the Northumberland Coast Path, provides a fine view of it.

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