The Isle of Staffa
It was Mendelssohn who perhaps came closest to capturing the magic of Staffa in the Hebrides Overture, which he wrote in 1832, having visited Staffa three years before. Modern visitors often start excursions to the island from Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull, though boats also leave regularly from the Iona pier. The voyage along the coastline of south west Mull is spectacular, with views of the precipitous cliffs of Ardmeanach and the Wilderness of Burg.
Caves and Geology
The approach to Staffa by sea is breathtaking, great basalt columns flanking the deep caves which have inspired so much praise. Since all the caves face south east (with the exception of Clamshell which faces due east) they are best seen by morning light.
If you are fortunate with weather conditions you will be able to land and explore the natural wonders of Fingal’s Cave (230 ft deep, 60 ft high, and 50 ft wide at the entrance); or Clamshell Cave (130 ft deep, 30 ft high, and 17 ft wide) where the columns are intricately curved and distorted; from the mouth of this cave you will see a strange rock just offshore, almost the shape of a pyramid: this is called Am Buchaille (‘the Herdsman’).