Paul Whittaker Plumbing

Author Topic: Iona and Fingal's Cave  (Read 2443 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
Iona and Fingal's Cave
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2015, 08:57:11 PM »
I may have been 350 miles away from home but as I sat down on the tiny boat from Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull  to the Isle of Iona, the lady next to me exclaimed ‘Oh! It’s Steve from the Ramblers in Manchester isn’t it?’ I must admit I still haven’t a clue who she was but I think that the appearance of a fellow walker from Manchester is a tenuous link I shall exploit to legitimise submission of the article which is usually about Manchester Ramblers walks and exploit this subterfuge to include a description of the two astoundingly beautiful islands of Iona and Staffa visited on 13th May 2015.

The weather in the West of Scotland during the first two weeks of May was cold and wet but there were a small number of days between the storms when the weather was still, dry and bright with astounding visibility. One such day gave us a day’s walk in the snow which still lay on the upper slopes of  Aonach Mor, a couple of miles north east of Ben Nevis: another gave us the experience of a trip of a lifetime to Iona and to Fingal’s Cave at Staffa.

Iona is a place of palpable peace and tranquillity. The monastery founded by St Columba in 521 was the centre for the propagation of Christianity throughout Scotland and the small Iona Cathedral is still a centre for pilgrimage, contemplation and prayer which continues to attract many visitors to religious retreats on the island. A brief walk around the island leads to shrines, ancient crosses and pathways to life in a landscape which has changed little during the last few hundred years.

Many of those on religious retreat took a day off (or confined themselves to silent prayer) and joined the birdwatchers, walkers and those backpacking round the world on the boat the Staffa. Large seals lay enjoying the sun on the rocks exposed by the tide knowing that we were not a source of danger.  The mile crossing was across a blue sea and sky which could have been mistaken for the Mediterranean if you didn’t have a thermometer. Most disembarked to carefully find their way along the path constructed across the hexagonal basalt columns to the mouth of Fingal’s Cave, and all found it just as inspirational as the composer Felix Mendelssohn did back in 1829 when he heard the acoustics of the waves crashing into the cave and wrote The Hebrides Overture/Fingal’s Cave. The boats moored at the back of the island for a couple of hours and the birdwatchers who remained on board were rewarded with sightings  of dive-bombing guillemots, puffins and a fine selection of sea birds. Please add Iona and Fingal’s Cave to the list of places you must visit at least once in your lifetime.

In the meantime, closer to home, why not join us for a day’s walking around Pateley Bridge on Sunday 7th June? Go to our website  for more details. Our next Public Transport local walk is Whalley Circular on 31st May meet on 1003 train from Victoria.

[attachment deleted by admin]