Friday, 25 May 2012

Staffa and the Treshnish Islands

We had the pleasure today of a trip out to Staffa and the Treshnish Islands aboard Staffa Tours' new Tobermory-based MV Islander. She's a catamaran, built for the company last year, and a well-found, fast, but stable boat, ideal for trips out into the Atlantic. Better still, Staffa Tours organised the weather for us - wall-to-wall sunshine, flat calm as we left, then a pleasant breeze once we were out beyond Mull.

The highlight of the trip wasn't, as we had anticipated, Staffa, impressive as it was, but the main island of the Treshnish Islands, Lunga, our first stop. We could have wandered the island for hours, enjoying the bird life, of which the puffins took the limelight...,

....the flowers - we saw the first wild orchids of the year - and....

....the history of the place, which was inhabited until 1824 - the houses are still there, roofless, staring out to sea.

Staffa, however, has the magnificent columnar basalt, an awe-inspiring sight. Fingal's Cave is only a small part of the structure, and some of the smaller columns, above the main ones, form intruiging shapes.

The Islander - seen here re-embarking passengers at Staffa - sails seven days a week from Tobermory and Kilchoan, and alternates two trips: on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays she goes further north, to look for whales, dolphins and basking sharks, and often also visits Lunga. On the other four days she does the trip we so enjoyed today, to Lunga and Staffa. She'll pick up from Kilchoan whenever there is demand - just phone 01681 700 338 to book, or go to Staffa Tours' website, here.

This is a new service, and the trip is a must, not only for the many visitors to West Ardnamurchan, who will love it, but for any residents who haven't seen the Treshnish Islands. The boat leaves Kilchoan at 9.45am, and is back at the Pier by 4.00pm - a great day out.

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