The Ethereal Beauty of Scotland's Fingal's Cave

Illustration for article titled The Ethereal Beauty of Scotlands Fingals Cave

Fingal's Cave is on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in Scotland's Inner Hebrides. Its unique beauty is the result of Paleocene lava flow, and the cave inspired, among others, Felix Mendelssohn, Jules Verne, John Keats, August Strindberg, and Pink Floyd.


Image Credit: Fingal's Cave Staffa by dun_deagh/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The name itself is derived from the epic poem Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language by James Macpherson.

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Scotland is nothing short of awesome for geologists - or just anyone in some way vaguely interested in rocks. Hutton's Section, one of the most important sites in the history of geology, is no more than a thirty minute walk from the railway station in Edinburgh.

There's Knockan Crag, where scientists first figured out the science of thrust tectonics. There is Lewisian Gneiss at Scourie which is three ****ing billion years old, when life on this planet was still trying to figure out this photosynthesis thing. If you really want to learn some geology while working out how to pronounce a few more complicated English words, you can always visit Unst (I like one of these sites for its unique ecosystem, but it's perfectly reasonable to be interested in the rocks).

Check out this page for expert (I just like interesting walks and don't claim to know much)recommendations and a map.