The head ranger for the Farne Islands, owned by the National Trust, recounts his week
Monday: It's a big week for my team of 11 rangers. After a four-month winter break, we're heading back to the Farne Islands, where we'll spend the next nine months. Working together like a well-oiled machine, we manage to get all the equipment, including the kitchen sink, down to Seahouses harbour and onto a boat. After a short sea crossing we land on desolate Inner Farne, where everything needs to be unloaded and moved to various buildings. We celebrate that night with a cheeky wee dram, but tiredness sets in and it's an early night. Welcome home.
Tuesday: Our first morning back on the islands and the sun is shining brightly. We have five days to prepare the islands before we open to the public, so we split into task groups. Two rangers start scrubbing off four months of seaweed growth on the jetties; others open and clean the visitor centre and 13th century chapel. I head to the office in the lighthouse to catch-up on e-mails and the Farnes blog.
Wednesday: More glorious sunshine and more heavy lifting. Today we're moving wheelbarrows of shingle to create a nesting habitat for Arctic terns, which in the long term should help to maintain and increase our numbers of breeding seabirds.
Thursday: With two days before the islands open to the public, I call a staff meeting to thank the team for their efforts and outline our priorities over the next 48 hours. Further preparation work includes constructing a new fence, removing vegetation from the boardwalk and sorting the facilities on the islands, including painting the toilets. We are nearly finished.
Friday: The final day of preparation and, given their hard work this week, we give the team a free morning. I check over the island. The seabirds are slowly returning and the presentation of the island looks good. Some final tweaking in the afternoon and the job is complete; tomorrow we can open. It might have been a hectic week, but the real hard work is about to begin.
The National Trust preserves and protects historic places.
David Steel is head ranger for the Farne Islands, owned by the National Trust