If you follow my Instagram feed, you will see that we are just back from a long weekend away camping in the South West of Mull. Whilst camping we decided to pay for a trip to the Staffa National Trust Nature Reserve (the island is maintained by the National Trust for Scotland) with Staffa Trips (not been compensated in the slightest, just wanted to mention them as they were fab!) who were incredibly friendly, efficient and knowledgeable about the area. The trip out to Staffa takes just under an hour and you can look out for wildlife on the way.
We spotted seals, Cormorants and some other sea birds on our way across as well as getting a great view of Iona and the iconic abbey.
When you arrive at Staffa you can see the amazing remnants of volcanic activity in the area, there are giant hexagonal columns that are reminiscent of the Giant’s Causeway and are impressive both from a distance and when you set foot on the island.
Fingal’s cave looks pretty dramatic from the sea, where you can see the sea swell up inside. The cave itself is known for it’s natural acoustics, although I personally didn’t notice it (probably as I’m not musically orientated and all we did was shout into the cave to hear the echoes!).
We were given an hour ashore to see Fingal’s cave and walk over to the Puffin’s, although we were told it would be plenty of time to see both, I don’t think they count on small people slowing you down! It would be great to have had another half hour so we didn’t have to rush quite so much (although it would be no problem without kids or with older kids).
As soon as we were off the boat we headed straight for Fingal’s cave, walking over the hexagonal columns that have formed a natural walkway. It’s only possible to land in good weather, which is understandable when you have a swell of water passing between the small island of columns beside the main island and the jetty, making it a little difficult (but fun!) to jump off the boat onto the jetty.
The columns are really easy to walk on and we were at Fingal’s cave in no time. Apparently the cave is named after the giant Fingal and there are various myths and poems about the cave.
The actual walk around the corner into the cave is quite steep and I was particularly wary of Mr O going anywhere near the edge, making sure he was holding onto the rails all the time. I had Mr A in the Tula on my back as he doesn’t do hand holding and would not be safe without being strapped on!
After a few attempted photos (not easy with the light) and some echoing we headed back out the cave and along the hexagonal shore, up the steep steps to the top of Staffa. The Puffin nesting area is at the opposite end of the island, although the walking is easy, it’s hard to convince small people to keep walking until we get there and then get food and water. This is why we didn’t have much time to watch puffins. Fortunately we arrived with a few minutes to spare before heading back for the boat and after sitting on the grass for 5 minutes we had a couple of Puffins poking their heads out of the nearby burrows.
Apparently the Puffin’s are happy to see you as people scare away the larger sea birds and it’s safer for them to land and go into the burrows. If you can stay longer I’m sure the Puffins will get even closer and it’s great to watch them flying out to sea and back.
We had a mad dash back to the jetty and as some of the other people on the boat didn’t manage to see the Puffin’s we had a quick trip round on the boat to watch them from the sea. They are such beautiful birds.
I highly recommend a trip to Staffa and if you head out with Staffa Trips it costs £30 and adult and £15 a child (under 5’s are free), with a total of 3 hour round trip. You can also get dropped off on Iona on the way back for no additional charge, which we didn’t do this time, but will need to visit another day.
Have you visited Staffa or Mull before? What do you think of the cute little Puffin’s?