Image courtesy of Margret Powell-Joss ©MP-J_May2005

Location: Mull and Iona
the natural world

Staffa and Fingal's Cave

"Staffa – fabled for its Puffins, and for Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides” overture inspired by Fingal’s Cave.

"On the first of many visits, after quite a rough crossing, I heard an almost infra-sonic boom each time a wave struck the back of the cave. Having travelled through the island’s basalt columns, the sound was audible at the north end.

“A few years on, I was granted permission to stay on Staffa by myself for a few hours. The tourists left; the sun came out. By the ruined bothy in the island’s heart, insects buzzed in the warm air. An almost perfect calm descended.”

As told by Margret Powell-Joss

Staffa is a small uninhabited island of half a mile long and a quarter of mile wide - famed for its hexagonal rock columns, formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions. It came into the care of the National Trust for Scotland in 1986 and was designated a National Nature Reserve in 2001. Fingal’s Cave is a sea cave on the island, known for its natural acoustics which inspired Mendelssohn to compose his Hebrides Overture.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.