My Scotland - Staffa and the magic of Fingal's Cave

It was during May, on my last trip to the Hebrides .... we voyaged through the narrow sea between the Isle of Mull and Iona in western Scotland.  This ocean inlet is called the Sound of Iona .... a beautiful name for a truly beautiful place.  Our little boat, skippered by Iona Davy, left behind the white sandy beaches and headed out into the Atlantic towards the small flat island on the horizon.  

Staffa is Gaelic for Stave or Pillar - as we approached, the island's name fulfilled its promise - giant black pillars rise from the depths of the ocean, like some kind of modern sculpture.  These cliffs of awe-inspiring, six sided columns were formed as a result of slow cooling liquid lava, thousands of years ago.  'Fingal's Cave' - a large sea cavern in the cliffs of columns, had drawn us here.  Named after the hero in an epic poem by an 18th C. Scottish poet, it was the inspiration for Mendelssohn's famous Hebrides Overture following his visit in 1829.  

There is an extraordinary, otherworldly aura inside Fingal's Cave .... as I stood on the narrow ledge of fractured columns, gazing down at the impossibly green water and out through the cathedral arch of the cave's mouth, I swear I could hear Fingal's laments echoing through the air .... 

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