From afar, it looks like a regular island enveloped by water, but come closer and you’ll see that it’s one of the most unique natural volcanic rock formations you’ll ever see.
Situated about 10 kilometers from the west of the Isle of Mull, the Pillar Island (or Staffa) is an amazingly unique natural treasure. It is an island of the Inner Hebrides in Argyll and Bute in Scotland.
Thanks to the Vikings, the Pillar Island has been named ad such because it’s been said that the appearance of the basalt columns reminded them of their homes, which were built using tree logs that are situated vertically.
It’s always been uninhabited, save from perhaps one instance when one family tried to live there in the 18th century. They were forced to leave by the harsh winter storms and difficult access to food (it’s been said that they lived by mostly barley oats and potatoes). Most of the columns are mostly hexagonal in shape, and the tallest ones are more than 35 feet in height.
It was Sir Joseph Banks who discovered this island in the 1th century. Not long after the discovery, it was visited by many well-known and important people, such as Queen Victoria and Romantic composer and pianist Feliz Mendelssohn. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it was visited by personalities such as poets John Keats and William Wordsworth, authors Jules Verne and Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson.
The island looks like this because of a volcanic erosion. In 1987, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and The Department of Environment for Northern Ireland honored it by being a Natural Nature Reserve.
The island offers many unique formations, and one of the most important is the Fingal’s Cave (An Uamh Bhin, which translated to “the melodious cave”)–-a sea cave that was formed by hexagonal columns, not unlike the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland (yes, Led Zeppelin fans, this is the same place where they shot the cover of Houses of the Holy). The entrance is an arched roof that some people said gives the feel of a natural cathedral (ergo the name relating to melody), so being here will certainly be something magical and undoubtedly out-of-the-ordinary.
This unique Staffa Scotland island can still be occupied today, and visitors can explore it when riding a boat from the resort town of Oban in the Argyll and Bute area, the village of Dervaig on the Isle of Mull (west coast of Scotland), Fionnphort, and the island of Iona. It is possible to disembark at Am Buachaille, but you must make sure that the weather is calm, as there is reportedly no proper anchorage here. When visiting Fingal’s Cave Staffa, you can go on sightseeing cruises that usually operate in the months of April to September.