Staffa


Staffa from Iona.
The Isle of Staffa takes its name from the Old Norse for “stave” or “pillar island” – and when you visit Staffa, you will see why.
Staffa is home to the world famous Fingal’s Cave, a large sea cave formed from hexagonal basalt columns.  It is reminiscent of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, and if you consider the geographical location of both the Giant’s Causeway and Fingal’s Cave, you will see that this is no geological accident.
It is no surprise that Fingal’s Cave, being such a beautiful and natural wonder, has been the source of much artistic and literary inspiration.  The composer Felix Mendelsshon visited Fingal’s Cave in 1829 and wrote the “Hebridean Overture”, or “Die Hebriden”, inspired by the echoing sound within the Cave itself.  William Wordworth, Lord Tennyson, John Keats and Queen Victoria were also drawn to Fingal’s Cave to experience its visual and aural magic.
One of the few historical facts is that the Swiss town of Stafa was named after the island of Staffa by a monk who moved there from the nearby Isle of Iona.  Staffa appears only to have been brought to the attention of the English-speaking world in the late Eighteenth century.
Staffa is a rich natural habitat, with puffins, kittiwakes, shags and gulls nesting on the island; seals and even dolphins, basking sharks, minke whales and pilot whales can even be spotted off the coast of Staffa.
Staffa itself lies about 6 miles to the west of the Isle of Mull.  Getting to Staffa is not particularly easy – it has no genuine anchorage, and can only be reached by small boat trips from Dervaig (Mull), Fionnphort, Iona and Oban.  These trips generally only operate between May and September, and landings on Staffa can only be made in calm sea conditions due to rocks at the landing point.
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