by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2016
No geologist could turn up the opportunity to visit Staffa and take in the scene which is almost universal in all books on volcanic landscape ever written! Made more famous by Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave overture, the island has been visited by tourists for a century or more. It stands defiant against the Atlantic weather, about six miles off the coast, just to the north of Iona. It's columnar, fast-cooled granite is so well documented it needs no further introduction but it is nevertheless a crazy scene of structured order, topped off by a jumble of volcanic debris about 20m thick. Given that more than 2km of volcanic rock has been planed off by glaciers it is remarkable that this bottom-most layer (of about 20) has survived at all - a few more hundred years of ice would have seen it ground to dust!
Once the visitor has negotiated the pavement of hexagonal stepping stones aided by a wire handrail, they get into Fingal's Cave itself. The journey is a bit of a stroll on a dry summer day but might be more menacing with a bit sea running! After retracing your steps it's off to visit the puffins who live at the northern end of the island.
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