Farne Islands Mermaid Swim


When we found out that one of our cottage owners was training for a swim from the Farne Islands to the mainland Northumberland coast we asked her to tell us a little more about it. We'll be rooting for you on the 29th, Claire!


There’s rarely a day goes by when I don’t see the Farne Islands.

I wake up to the view of them. I walk the dogs and ride along the beach with them as a backdrop. I take photographs of the islands and write about them for my work, encouraging people to visit and see their extraordinary wildlife.

It’s unsurprising, then, that our lovely self catering holiday cottage in Seahouses is called Farne View. Its floor to ceiling windows give incredible views towards the islands that have captivated me all my life.

I had a moment of madness ten years ago which saw me pledge to swim from The Farne Islands to the mainland. It’s fair to say I had enjoyed several glasses of wine at the time. 

‘Impossible!’ Scoffed my other half, Francis, when I mooted my idea. ‘It can’t be done.’

Which was rather like a red rag to a bull for me.

Although the distance is only some 1.5 miles, the strong currents make swimming from the islands to the mainland very difficult.

So in my 40th year, I’ve decided enough procrastinating and more action.



With the help of fellow mermaids Jane Hardy, Jill Henderson and Sylvia Bland we will be making the swim on August 29th with William Shiel and Andrew Weightman of Billy Shiel’s Farne Island Boat Tours acting as our support boat.

Although I’ve always loved swimming in the sea and am definitely a water baby, I have a ridiculous fear of sharks and have been badly stung by jellyfish before.


Just training for my swim has been something of an epic adventure. I’ve been rubbed raw by my wetsuit and have lasting scars that resemble dodgy love bites around my neck; stung by jelly fish (again) and been bitten by horrid duck mites. But I have met and been inspired by some amazing and very supportive people who have become great friends.  They are behind me every step of the way, as, now, is Francis, who has gone from telling me it can’t be done, to being my number one supporter and chief sponsorship whip!

I’ve chosen to raise funds for two very different charities that are close to me: The Alzheimer’s Society and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Sadly, I think we can all say we’ve been touched in some way by the cruelly devastating condition that is dementia. In my case, my grandparents, which is why I have chosen to support The Alzheimer’s Society.

The Islands’ wildlife plays a critical draw in terms of attracting visitors to our area, which so many local businesses – including mine – relies upon. They are home to an amazing array of marine life, from grey seals to dolphins, whales and sharks - although I hope I won’t meet any during my swim! It was important for me to support the work of The British Divers Marine Life Rescue, which is dedicated to the rescue and well being of our marine mammals.

You can support Claire and her Farne Islands Mermaid Swim on JustGiving.


UPDATE: Claire and team successfully completed their Mermaid Swim and raised 678% of their £500.00 fundraising target!


Farne View, Seahouses | Northumberland

Sleeps 4+2 with uninterrupted views across the pretty harbour at Seahouses to the Farne Islands beyond.

The dunes at Seahouses