Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Mull, July, Day 4.

A magical day.  The weather did perform today as we hoped.  We had booked a boat trip with Staffa Tours, out to Staffa and Fingal's Cave and then on to the Isle of Lunga for puffin adulation.
The boat left Ledaig pier in Tobermoray at 10.45, calling in at Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan to pick up some more passengers.  As we motored out towards the northern tip of Mull the views back down the Sound of Mull towards Ben More were superb, the water sparkling in the sun.  On rounding the north of the island we had good views of Glengorm Castle and then vistas opened up out to Coll and along to the Treshnish Islands where we were bound.  We passed Lunga on our way to Staffa and were soon reducing speed for landing.  The columnar basalt, a continuation of the Devil's Causway in Ireland,  making up the cliffs was spectacular, as were the views of Fingal's Cave.  On landing Heather climbed the steps to the top of the Island to relax and draw in the sun while I scrambled along the causeway to Fingal's Cave.  It is possible to scramble right into the cave and the amazing scenery is well worth the effort; no wonder it inspired Mendelssohn.  
Joining Heather up on top of the cliffs, it was pleasant to relax in the sun and soak up the views.  The clarity of the air is something else and the colours amazing: from the cerulean blue of the sky contrasting with dazzling white clouds to the myriad blues and greens of the sea.  The water is crystal clear and I loved peering down into the limpid depths.
It was soon time to move on to Lunga where a scamble across the rocky beach and up the short climb to the grassy terrace overlooking the water took us to the puffin colony.  We were told that there were 3000 birds present and I can believe it: large numbers were gathered outside their burrows while many hundreds more whirred busily between the colony and fishing grounds, some bring back beaksfull of sand eels.  The birds were incredibly tame and allowed an approach to within three feet.  they were totally relaxed and inquisitively wandered up to peck at cameras and equipment.  I understand (from Springwatch, no less) that they are more relaxed when people turn up and they return to the colony, as the presence of humans keeps away the marauding gulls and skuas which predate on the puffins.  There were not just puffins present but razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars and oystercatchers along with herring and black-backed gulls cruising the cliff tops looking for an easy meal.
Our homeward journey seemed to speed by, perhaps because most people seemed to nod off.  By the time we returned to Tobermoray the sky had clouded over once more and the rain soon swept in.
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