F2015Fingal’s Cave is a cave on the island of Staffa, off the west coast of the Isle of Mull, which is itself off the west coast of Scotland.  And if you like the repetition, Scotland is off the west coast of Europe!

It’s a place of legend, and much visited by tourists as far back as the eighteenth century, when the legend of the giant Fingal – or Finn Mac Cool,  the Irish hero – was in popular circulation.  I’ll go into the legend some more tomorrow, when we visit the Giant’s Causeway.

The cave is famous for its basalt columns, formed by the cooling of magma at the right rate to create the hexagonal columns – and hexagonal rock pools.  Just why the magma was there, and extruding from the earth’s crust, is due to a volcano located on what is now the Ardnamurchan peninsula.  This volcano has left its mark all over the British Isles, with lines of magma, sometimes forming sills or dykes running right the way through the islands’ structure for hundreds of miles (for more info see this wikipedia page and maps).  Britain is a geologist’s paradise as it has such a variety of rock formations and such different ages of rocks from northwest to southeast.  It’s why we have such varied countryside.

The pictures of the cave above are mine, taken on one of my many visits using the wonderful Turus Mara boat service from Ulva Ferry on Mull.  As we approach the cave from the sea he always plays Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture – popularly known as Fingal’s Cave – it makes a wonderful accompaniment to the exploration of the 72 ft tall, 270 ft deep (into the island, not downwards) sea cave.

And there’s a ridge of basalt columns extending out into the sea to the south-west…

One small step for Fingal

… come back tomorrow to see where they lead!

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Fingal’s Cave

19 thoughts on “Fingal’s Cave

  • 7 April, 2015 at 11:15 am
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    I too have visited several times, also with Turus Mara – then on to the Treshnish Isles to see the puffins. Wonderful places!

    • 7 April, 2015 at 5:18 pm
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      Oooh, you should see my puffin pictures 😀 Have you got a couple of hours to spare?

        • 12 April, 2015 at 3:54 pm
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          I’ll try to remember to put some in my Reflections post.

    • 7 April, 2015 at 5:19 pm
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      Isn’t it just, Alex!

  • 7 April, 2015 at 1:54 pm
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    what a delight to see these photos and to read more about it. I too have been there and I took my flute. I got it as an adult and had a few lessons, but when I began to play in the cave it felt like someone/something else was using my fingers and my breath as it was phenomenal – thanks for bringing back the memory

    • 7 April, 2015 at 5:19 pm
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      What a wonderful experience – amazing! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  • 7 April, 2015 at 5:35 pm
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    Wow. Everything pictured here looks like something that belongs in a professional travel magazine. You take great photos, and the place is absolutely beautiful. I loved the background information pertaining to the volcano. A place of legend, indeed. Thank you for sharing, Jemima.

    • 7 April, 2015 at 8:15 pm
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      Well, thanks! I suppose I take so many photos just in case one turns out nice – but truly, the scenery is stunning and the light that day was awesome 🙂

    • 7 April, 2015 at 8:16 pm
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      Thanks, Patricia 🙂

    • 8 April, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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      Everyone should visit Scotland. And they say the Isle of Mull is like Scotland in miniature – which it probably is – so go straight to Mull and get the boat trip to Staffa!

  • 7 April, 2015 at 10:44 pm
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    How mysterious and beautiful! Hopefully I can get there one day 🙂

    • 12 April, 2015 at 3:55 pm
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      I hope so too!

  • 8 April, 2015 at 1:44 am
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    This place goes on our list for when we next visit Scotland!

    • 8 April, 2015 at 2:59 pm
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      Great!

  • 17 May, 2015 at 2:09 pm
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    Hi Jemima – I’ve seen a tv programme of perhaps Fingal’s Cave music being played inside the cave … I have to say it was beautiful, frightening, stunning and completely disarming .. and yes I’d love to visit too … and I will take your advice and go straight to Mull and Staffa … cheers Hilary

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