Skomer Island is located near Dale and is just under a mile off the Pembrokeshire coastline. To prevent erosion and protect the wildlife only 250 people are allowed to visit the island each day and all visits must be pre-booked. Breeding season for puffins is from April to July and Skomer Island has the biggest concentration with an estimated 35,000 of them.
I had pre-booked tickets online with Pembrokeshire Islands boat trips for our group to participate in a day trip to Skomer Island. Our package was the 5 hour ‘Skomer Landing’ trip and you have options for the boat times. Places were filling up fast however I was able to book the tickets about a month or so in advance. The total cost per person was £42.50 which included the boat fee, the landing fee and the booking fee.
We parked in the Martins Haven National Trust car park, walked across the road to show our digital bar code to receive our tickets and headed down to the jetty to wait for our 11:00 sailing.
The boat trip took about 15 minutes and we were soon arriving on Skomer Island.
As soon as you disembark the boat you need to climb 87 steps. Once at the top we had a safety briefing, followed by a nature briefing from a guide.
We could see see hundreds of puffins as we began to walk around the island.
Dogs are not permitted on Skomer and as such we were a party of 9 persons on this trip, minus the dogs! There is little shade and Skomer can be quite exposed to weather conditions such as wind and rain. We were fortunate to have perfect weather of around 22 degrees on this day which wasn’t too hot for walking.
You can walk around the circumference of Skomer in about 2 – 3 hours which includes plenty of stops. There are also paths leading to the centre of the island where toilets and picnic benches are located. There is no cafe so you need to bring your own picnic for the day.
The old farm was built in 1840 and over the years was managed by different owners. It was severely damaged in a storm in 1954 and left as a ruin. Next to the farm is a grassy picnic area and a small visitors centre with information about the island.
Most of the island is about 60 metres above sea level and as such it is surrounded by steep cliffs. We could see seals swimming in the sea and basking on the small islands below.
Half of the group left early to return to the holiday house and ensure their dogs were OK and everything was still intact! They took a short cut through the centre of the island.
Yvey, Matt, Chris and I stayed for longer and continued our circumnavigation around Skomer.
Before long we came to hundreds of puffins as we returned towards the boat for the short journey back! Chris and I visited Staffa Island just off the coast of Mull in Scotland back in May 2017 and didn’t see any puffins at close range as they were all in the sea in the distance! Our friend Russell was fortunate to see one!
Below is a selection of some cute puffin pictures 🙂
Some of the burrows were next to the footpaths but unfortunately we didn’t see any baby puffins which are called ‘pufflings’.