I am so lucky that Honest HQ is based in the most beautiful part of the world – bonny Northumberland! I’m spoilt rotten for beautiful places to visit, drive less than an hour inland I can walk along Hadrians Wall, less than an hour up the coast I can dive with the seals at The Farne Islands. But do you know want to know a secret from a local? The snorkelling in Northumberland is EPIC.
It’s no wonder that John (one of our amazing customers) fell in love with it! He’s a massive water baby and now that his kids are old enough (Billy is 10 and Freddy 12) he’s introducing them to the underwater world too.
John lives in Teeside, but visits his caravan near Seahouses nearly every weekend. The family just can’t stay out of the water! Here’s 5 reasons why they love it so much.
1. IT’S A FAMILY ACTIVITY
I already mentioned that Freddy and Billy are well on their way to becoming expert snorkellers. The thing I love the most about snorkelling in Northumberland is that anyone can get involved. It’s not like diving where you need to have loads of heavy gear and extensive training (both of which can cost a small fortune too). You can literally grab a mask and snorkel and hit the water… although in Northumberland, I’d recommend a wetsuit too! If you’re interested in investing in some of your own gear, Jim wrote a guide that will help you choose the perfect gear for snorkelling.
With a little bit of common sense about conditions coupled with some local knowledge and a short training session, you and the famalam will be out there exploring before you know it.
I teach a lot of kids to dive and snorkel and there’s definitely a common reason why they take up lessons – they love the ocean and their parents are desperate to get them away from their screens. Snorkelling is cool! Exploring the Northumberland coast is amazing, searching for marine life is exciting and most of all it’s prime family time.
2. KEEP FIT
Hands up if you want an activity that keeps you fit… but you don’t even need to break a sweat? (I’ve got both hands up haha.) It’s time to ditch the gym and hit the water!
I’m no expert, but google suggests that you can burn 300 calories an hour snorkelling! I’ve just made a mental note to take my Garmin Descent MK2i out with me on my next snorkel – it’ll be able to track exactly how many calories I burn!
- Builds cardiovascular health – snorkelling increases your heart rate and strengthens your ticker. You shouldn’t be getting yourself out of breath while you’re snorkelling, but this raised level of activity still builds heart muscle. This helps decrease the risk of certain health problems like coronary heart disease, heart failure, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Tones and trims – particularly your quads, hamstrings, calves, ankles and hip flexors. I notice this even more if I’ve been playing in some current!
- Improves your breathing – because you’re breathing through your mouth and regulating your air intake, you’re actually practising a breathing exercise! Breathing through a tube also creates a little bit more resistance compared to breathing normally. This helps to increase your maximal oxygen uptake which is a good indicator of aerobic fitness.
- Increases your lung capacity – if you’re adding a little bit of freediving into your snorkel sesh, you’ll build greater lung capacity as you hold your breath to dive down underwater.
- Improves your joint mobility – any water-based exercise is perfect for those with joint pain and stiffness. Snorkelling is no different! Exercising in the water removes the issues with impact forces that you’d experience out jogging or walking.
- Changes your mental health – I’ve never had a problem that can’t be solved with saltwater! Getting out in nature and being in the water is an incredible mood booster. It reduces stress and anxiety and as with all types of cardiovascular exercise, snorkelling has been shown to release endorphins that elevate mood.
3. GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH MARINE LIFE
Don’t listen to the people who tell you that there’s nothing to see in the North Sea! They couldn’t be more wrong! There is soo much to see when you’re snorkelling in Northumberland – our coast is teeming with life.
The last time I was in the water I saw…
- Flat fish
- Coral (yes, we do have coral in the UK)
OMG I love the seals. John and his whole family joined us on a grey seal snorkel safari at The Farne Islands. These rocky outcrops are home to over 5,000 grey seals who are, let’s face it, just underwater doggos! They’re so inquisitive and playful which means that when we’re snorkelling with them we have some great encounters. They’ll quite happily come right up to you – they might even have a nibble and tug on your fins!
In my opinion, this is the jewel in the crown of snorkelling in Northumberland. Our safaris are guided by our team who will give you a snorkel lesson and a briefing on responsible interaction with the seals before they take you on a tour of the site to meet the locals!
4. ESCAPE THE 9-5 GRIND
I’m lucky that scuba diving and snorkelling is kinda my job – I get to do it every day! I left my job as a teacher to do this stuff full time because I loved it so much! John is a mechanic and he works incredibly hard, putting in long hours. The perfect way for him to unwind is to hit the water with the kids.
Now that the light nights are here, forget the pub after work – there’s nothing better than a cheeky dip snorkelling in Northumberland. Grab your gear and pick your spot! There are so many cracking sites along our coast. You could even make a night of it – take your BBQ up with you and relax as you watch the sunset.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the ocean though! The amount of times I’ve been chilling after a snorkel and I spot dolphins and porpoises playing, it just tops off the evening. Perfect!
5. PROTECT THE OCEAN
When you start snorkelling regularly, you’ll see one thing that absolutely breaks your heart. Marine debris. This messy problem wreaks havoc on the underwater environment. Animals can get entangled in rubbish or mistake it for food. Scientists reckon that 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year.
For most people, this issue is out of sight, out of mind. But when we fall in love with the ocean after exploring what lies beneath the waves, we can’t help but feel upset and angry. The good news is that you now have a special power. As a snorkeller, you have the skills to tackle this problem directly.
Pick up every piece of trash you see while you’re out snorkelling in Northumberland. You can even take a trash bag with you to collect litter as you go!
where’s the best spots for snorkelling in Northumberland?
If you want to learn more about the best places for snorkelling in Northumberland, Jim and I created a whole training session about it! In this 50 minute video, we cover…
- The benefits of snorkelling
- The best places to go snorkelling in Northumberland
- Maps of where to park, where to enter, where to swim (and google earth walkthroughs of each site)
- Descriptions of the type of marine life you’ll encounter
- Information about the best time to snorkel the site and whether it’s suitable for beginners
- Gear considerations
- Our recommendations for the best gear to use when snorkelling in the UK
- How much you should spend on your gear
- Planning considerations
- Experience levels
- Emergency procedures
- Taking account of the tide, current and weather