I started writing this on day 797 while sitting on the machair at the side of Gott Bay beach on the island of Tiree.
The internet connection was so bad that I decided to wait until I was home to write it…. It’s now day 808. 😆
So back to day 796…. I went with Tiree Tours to Staffa leaving at 2pm.
Sadly about 20 minutes before we were due to depart… Bhruic had an explosive bout of diarrhoea. We could not take her on a boat trip after that….and sadly it meant that Craig had to miss out. (Incidentally she was fine for another 5 days until it happened again by that’s by the by…)
I would say that this trip is really not for dogs….. this next pic is me making the descent onto the boat and not sure how we would have got Bhru down there at all….
“Where you going without us Mumma?”
So we set off for what was around an hour’s speedboat ride out to Staffa.
Staffa is situated about 6 miles off the coast of Mull and 33 miles west of Oban as the crow flies. I’ve wanted to visit Staffa and Fingal’s Cave since my parents took me on a boat trip from Oban around Mull past Iona and Staffa and back to Oban. I guess I was around 10 or 12 years old.
The trip is not for the faint hearted. It’s a loud and fast ride but you soon settle into the noise and the movement. It’s not particularly bumpy as the Rib speeds over the swell but we’re out on a relatively calm day.
We pass the Dutchman’s cap on the way there and I have to tell you I have photos of it from every single angle 🤣🤣🤣
Then all of a sudden we start to slow down. There she blows!
Staffa has been uninhabited since 1800. Staffa is the same geology as the more famous Giants Causeway in Ireland. The island is of volcanic origin and is made up of an extraordinary pattern of predominantly hexagonal basalt columns.
In short, it is out of this world and so stunningly beautiful that this will be a very precious memory for me for many years to come.
We sail slowly up to the main attraction, Fingal’s Cave which is 20m high and 75m long.
The rib slowly sails into the cave. The water is clear turquoise coloured and the roof is shimmering gold.
It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring all at once. The colours are amazing.
The water is deep but you can see the rocks almost as clearly as the ones above the water.
The roof is just as stunning as the cave itself. Nature is an amazing thing.
Everywhere I look there is something else to see. I’m worried I’m taking too many photos and not enjoying the experience for what it is.
We back away back out and the sea looks dark green.
Now we’re heading round to the landing platform.
I was the first off the Rib and straight up onto the landing platform.
Even the water here is eye catching. So green with the moss on the stones.
I’m on my own… I wish Craig was here but I am more than happy exploring by myself. I don’t feel odd in this group of couples. I am off over the basalt columns like Heidi the mountain goat. 🐐😆
Again it isn’t for the faint hearted. You need to be pretty sure of your footing. In the 21st Century, it’s probably the least safe thing I’ve visited but it is nice that there’s an element of common sense to your visit rather than being herded along a path with barriers all the way.
I stopped to look backwards and no one was following me. I was on my own and likely to get into Fingal’s Cave alone.
And then you turn the bend to walk into Fingal’s Cave. Wow…..
I’ve run out of adjectives…. I’m scared at this bit as it’s so precarious, yet determined to push into the cave. No one else is around.
Looking back out the way over to Iona and the Dutchman’s Cap is just visible on the horizon.
Then you reach the end of the path… just a small chain to stop you.
Zoomed in right to the back of the cave.
Don’t look down!!!
And so I stood here and I sang. All by myself. I just sang a couple of scales like I used to do in Higher Music when I was warming up for singing. The video clip I recorded did not do it justice. The echo was amazing. The clip sounds like I’m randomly singing for no reason. 😆🤣
The Gaelic name for Fingal’s Cave is An Uamh Bhin which means the melodious cave but it was subsequently renamed after the 3rd Century warrior Fionn MacCool.
The cave inspired Mendelssohn’s Die Hebriden in 1832 when he visited and heard the acoustics. (Click on the link for a listen!)
After a good bit of signing, nervously at first, I was joined by two guys from the boat and I shut up straight away and let them have their time alone in the cave. I went down the rocks closer to the water.
The left and I was alone again so went back in again for a second visit!!
Then others finally arrived (no idea what kept them all …so I headed back out and along the path I’d just come. It’s just as beautiful heading back to the landing area. Look at all the hexagons in this!!
This pile of basalt columns is called Am Buachaille or the Herdsman. It fascinated me.
Then I’m at the bottom of the steps…… they are very steep!!
These steps are pretty vertical up the side of Staffa and onto the top. I should say here that a boat trip landed with lots of people with walking sticks (and I don’t mean walking poles…) you have to be pretty sure on your feet to tackle this trip… I held on tight all the way up. Here is the trig point on the highest point of the island.
And the view….
Look at the columns of rock there…
I should have said, we got an hour on the island so all to soon it was time to head back down those steps!!!
Holding on for dear life with one hand and taking photos all the way…
Jeezo man… what goes up must come down.
Tiree Tours are heading back in to pick us up. They’ve been moored out at sea for the duration of our time on land.
And the steps keep on going…
Love these sea pinks.
And guess who gets right up front for the journey back!
The trips stops several times on the way back. You raise your hand, as you can’t be heard over the noise of the engine, if you spot some wildlife other than seabirds. Again I have loads of photos but this is the best of a Minke Whale. The porpoise were too fast for me. 😆
As you could have guessed I highly recommend the trip to Staffa though it’s closing down to visitors from August until March of 2023. I believe they are working on the access. Probably making it all Health and Safety compliant I guess.
I had the best afternoon and was back in Tiree by 5pm after my front row seat home.
Stay safe everyone ♥️♥️♥️