The Staffa islands belong to the Southern Hebrides i.e. a bunch of small islands of Scotland, completely unsettled by human population. Despite the same, it deserves a special mention due to the extraordinary Fingal’s Cave, which is a cave in the sea and a popular tourist attraction for sightseeing. The islands stretch abruptly about 30 hectares in area. The once independent islands of Staffa have been taken over by the National Trust of Scotland in as recently as 1986. The islands are once said to be populated with as many as sixteen people back in the 17th century. Since then the islands have been occupied predominantly by the seabirds and visitors and has become a site of scientific importance as well.
Staffa is made up of mostly volcanic rocks. It is most famous for its tall geological structures like the different caves: Fingal’s Cave being the most popular one and also the columns of basaltic crystals. These columns formed by the solidification of molten lava, have a definite pattern or shape generally hexagonal that form the structure of many important caves.
These islands do not have an illustrious past but they have often been visited by many a famous personalities in the 19th century. The popular musician Felix Mendelssohn visited these islands and has immortalized the islands by composing a song called ‘Hebrides Overture’ or popularly known as the ‘Fingals’s Cave Overture’. Other heard of people to have explored the Staffa feature Sir Walter Scott who termed the location as “most extraordinary”, the famous poets William Wordsworth and John Keats, Queen Victoria, Jules Verne etc. J.W. Turner the famous painter painted the “Staffa, Fingal’s Cave” in tribute to his visit to the place.
The Fingals’ Cave is located in the Southern part of the islands. It has a well defined, most attractive and characteristic hexagonal shaped entrance formed by the solidifying of the inner crust elements. It is virtually inaccessible by the boats as the sea water always exists. Several cruise companies include a trip through the cave in their package organized mostly in the summers if the weather is befitting. You can however explore the resplendent beauty of the place on foot. There are many a landing sites from where due to irregularities in the basalt pillars you can walk your path to the enigmatic caves.
In the recent years the visits to the Staffa have become only frequent as this is one of the rarest examples of nature’s magnificence. Tourism is at boom in these islands.