Wild & Ancient Britain with Ireland May 09—24, 2018

Posted by Andrew Whittaker

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Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker, a senior member of the VENT staff, has led VENT tours since 1993 throughout Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Europe,...

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For millions of years the coasts of Britain and Ireland have been shaped by erosion into some of the most spectacular and breathtaking coastal scenery on our planet, packed full of amazing wildlife sights. These ancient lands are simply brimming with history too. We enjoyed a fantastic two-week cruise exploring these islands on the magnificent Ocean Adventurer, falling in love with the spectacular British Isles and Irish coastline in all its glory, from its towering sheer cliffs and immense granite stacks home to countless thousands of seabirds to remote islands rich in historical wonders and carpeted in bluebells and the intense golden colors of flowering gauze. Delving into its rich history and culture, we visited beautiful subtropical gardens ablaze with blossoms and enjoyed almost perfect weather conditions; this combined with an exceptional ship crew and fantastic cuisine made for the cruise of a lifetime. We all had so many unforgettable highlights to take home with us and cherish forever!

Atlantic Puffins

Atlantic Puffins— Photo: Andrew Whittaker

 

Our exciting trip began in colorful London from our classic, well-positioned hotel just outside the famous Paddington Railway Station (sadly, no Paddington Bear was spotted). Nearby Hyde Park provided us with the opportunity for a pre-tour walk and a great introduction to the common birds of the UK, with many exotic Rose-ringed Parakeets.

After a wonderful full English breakfast, we headed out through London by coach to Portsmouth. On the way we stopped at one of the most famous landmarks of England (a World Heritage Site) to explore the ring of standing stones of Stonehenge constructed from 3,000 BC to 2,000 BC. We were even graced by a singing Corn Bunting, sadly a rare bird now in the UK. After lunch we enjoyed a visit to the immense Salisbury Cathedral. Midafternoon we arrived into Portsmouth Harbour where we embarked the Ocean Adventurer, our home for two spectacular weeks, being treated like kings and enjoying many fabulous meals. As we left port, those on deck were rewarded with fantastic close studies of migrating Parasitic and Pomarine jaegers side by side, allowing an excellent comparison.

Read Andrew’s full report in his Field Report.