Friday, July 17, 2015

Fingal's Cave

Well, it's been a while. I've had this photo set edited for several months already; I just never got around to adding any text. This spring was one of my busiest yet and I'm nearly halfway through my summer class, but I've finally found some inspiration and gusto!
Fingal's Cave is related to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. It is supposedly part of the bridge between Ireland and Scotland built by Finn MacCool as he threw rocks in retaliation to the taunting of a Scottish giant. The rock formations are nearly identical to the causeway but they form a huge cave located on the small island of Staffa off the west coast of Scotland. This island is only accessible through Staffa Tours (or if you have your own boat, I suppose). We booked a last minute tour a couple of days before while we were camping on the Isle of Skye. The tour included ferry tickets from Oban, Scotland to the Isle of Mull where we took a bus (also included in the price and about an hour long) to the other side of the island. From there, we boarded the Staffa Tours boat and headed out to Staffa.

The ride out was a little wet and little rough as one would expect on a small tour boat, but the tour guides provided us with some super awesome yellow rain slickers to keep us dry. They dropped us off to explore the island for about an hour or so.
The island was pretty spectacular with its huuuuge basalt columns.
The entrance to Fingal's Cave!
Forrest and I immediately headed to the cave while others on our boat decided to climb the slippery stairs to the grassy top of the island to try to spot some puffins. We had to follow the pathway made a little more navigable by handrails from the drop-off point to the cave. It was very wet; I was glad, as always, to be wearing rain boots.
I almost died several times. Those rocks are slick!
The water was so clear inside the cave. I wish I could have captured it a little better.
Up we headed to the top to explore! The island is actually a bird sanctuary and home to a large puffin colony (which no one in our tour was able to locate). The island is small enough to explore pretty quickly, but I wish we could have stayed a little longer for more chance to behold some of those puffins. Puffins would just about make my life, I think.
If we'd had more time, we could have wandered all the way over there (behind me). We spent too much time admiring the cave. Can one spend too much time admiring a cave, I wonder? The slickers were starting to get a little warm as the clouds burned off, but I was still wearing two coats.
I really want to know how in the world they made that tiny dock and stairs.
This tour was a really fun and fairly unique experience. We went on the Three Isles Early Bird tour. I think we had to get to the ferry from Oban around 7 am, if I recall correctly (which is pretty early for me-- especially if I am waking up on the ground and it is raining (and it always is)) But the early tour is cheaper which is always a plus (and I think they were probably sold out of the regular tours?).
From Staffa, we took the tour boat to the small Isle of Iona where they left us for the rest of the day. We had to take the (tiny) ferry from Iona to Mull (which was about a 10 minute ride) and then the bus from Mull back to the ferry terminal on the other side of the island where we took the last ferry back to Oban. All of this was included in the tour price and it was pretty stress free once we realized we wouldn't have to coordinate bus and ferry times all on our own.

Iona was just about the cutest island I have ever seen. It was easily walkable and had the huge Iona Abbey (where the Book of Kells was possibly made!) I have another post planned for the island. It was a lovely, relaxing way to end our tour.
Iona up above and Iona Abbey below as we got closer.
The people on the Isle of Iona were just the nicest and we really enjoyed exploring for a few sunny hours. More on that later! 

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