Photographer's Note

Having seen the three excellent photographs posted by our friend Jean (jean113) yesterday of Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway, I decided to have a rummage through my archives to look for some images of the Isle of Staffa which has some very similar geology, particularly its prismatic columns of basalt.

This is Staffa (from the Old Norse word for "stave" or "pillar") and here, just beyond the boat, is the entrance to Staffa's most famous landmark, a sea-cavern called "Fingal's Cave", so named after the eponymous hero of an epic poem by 18th century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson. In Irish mythology, the hero Fingal is known as Fionn mac Cumhaill. The legend of the Giant's Causeway has the giant, Fionn or Finn, building the causeway between Ireland and Scotland.

And, of course, Fingal's Cave gained fame in the 19th century after the Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn visited in 1829 and wrote his "Hebridean Overture" (Op. 26), inspired by the weird echoes of the sea, waves and wind in the cave.

However inspiring the scenery, Staffa was never an easy place in which to live. In 1772 there was only a single family, living on a diet of barley oats, flax and potatoes, and whatever their grazing animals could provide. By the end of the 18th century they had deserted Staffa, apparently terrified by the severity of winter storms. Signs of "rig and furrow" agriculture can still be seen on the island but the only surviving building is the ruin of a 19th-century shelter for travellers.

But I suppose I was cheating when I took this photograph two years ago - I was not heading for the island nor the cave but was aboard a cruise ship sailing from Liverpool to Norway to visit its fjords and we happened to pass Scotland's Inner Hebrides on the way.

Larger image here:

In the workshop a photograph, taken from around the headland you see to the right of my main picture, of the little primitive harbour where the boat drops off its passengers who can then walk to the cave or above it to the top of the island:

And another workshop image showing that not all passengers on our cruise were desperate to view Staffa:

ISO 100, 1/80 sec at f/10, focal length 70mm.

ikeharel, holmertz, jean113, ktanska, pajaran, Royaldevon has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 0
Points: 24
Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1986 W: 427 N: 7659] (30513)
View More Pictures