Hill: Meall nan Gamhna, Staffa
Date: 10th July 2017
Company: Myself and Becky
Time: 1Hr

I last visited Staffa in 2004 on a fairly dreich day. I have therefore always wanted to return to see this fantastic island on a better day. On waking up this morning, the weather looked pretty-good. We therefore made our way to Fionnphort to catch the boat out to Staffa.

En-route to Fionnphort, I stopped briefly to photograph Ben More which was reflecting beautifully on Loch Scridain.

Ben More reflections, Mull:

On arriving in Fionnphort, I treated myself to Scallops and Stornoway Black Pudding for breakfast. A delicious combination.

Looking across to Iona from Fionnphort:

Just before 10:00 our boat arrived and we were soon off towards Staffa.

Our boat arriving:

Looking back to Fionnphort:

During the trip out to Staffa, which took under one hour, I took numerous photographs. We saw common seals, grey seals and numerous birds including Gannet, Cormorant, Arctic Tern and Guillemot.


As we got closer and closer to Staffa, I was reminded of the impressive geology, especially the huge hexagonal basalt columns. The next set of photos were all taken on the approach to Staffa.



Impressive basalt columns on Staffa:

Impressive basalt columns on Staffa:

Sailing past Fingal's Cave:

Hexagonal basalt columns:

Fingal's Cave:

McKinnon's Cave:

McKinnon's Cave and Fingal's Cave:

Once on the island, numerous passengers made their way towards Fingal's Cave, many made their way towards the puffins at the north of the island, while myself and Becky were the only ones to set off for the summit. We were going to leave the best till last and hopefully avoid the initial crowds.

On reaching the summit we took photos of each other and enjoyed the views. We had the summit to ourselves.

Becky at the summit of Meall nan Gamhna:

Myself at the summit of Meall nan Gamhna:

View north from summit:

Dutchman's Cap:

Summit cairn:

From the summit we next made our way across to the north of the island to hopefully see some puffins.

Looking back towards the summit:

We were not disappointed. There were numerous puffin flying into and out of their burrows and many just sitting around enjoying being photographed.







A minority of the puffins were flying back with food. These ones generally flew straight back into their burrow without hanging about and so were difficult to photograph.

Puffin with fish:


We spent far less time than we would have liked watching the puffins as we still had to pay a visit to Fingal's Cave. The huge downside to this trip is that you are only permitted one hour onshore. If wanting to visit the summit, see the puffins and visit Fingal's Cave there is really no time to hang around. I would have enjoyed spending the full day there exploring the island at a more relaxed pace.

Heading to Fingal's Cave:

With around ten minutes remaining before we were due back to the boat, we arrived at Fingal's Cave.

Becky at the entrance of Fingal's Cave:

The cave geology and acoustics are equally impressive.

Fingal's Cave:

Inside Fingal's Cave:

Becky outside Fingal's Cave:

After spending only a few minutes at Fingal's Cave, we made our way back to the boat admiring the incredible geology en-route.

Heading back from Fingal's Cave:

Amazing geology:

We were soon back aboard the boat and on our way back to Fionnphort. This tour is so rushed that the boat does not even do a circuit of the island as you get on visiting the likes of Ailsa Craig and St Kilda.

Looking back to Staffa:


I will definitely be back to Staffa given the opportunity. It is just a real shame that the boat trips provide so little time ashore. Do not however let this put you off as the island is awesome!