ROCK OF AGES

The ex­tra­or­di­nary hexag­o­nal pil­lars and abyssal caves of the Isle of Staffa proved a rugged and beau­ti­ful muse for pho­tog­ra­pher Sa­muel Hess, finds Morag Boot­land

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

The Isle of Staffa's mag­nif­i­cent ge­o­log­i­cal beauty acted as the per­fect muse for pho­tog­ra­pher Sa­muel Hess

The ge­o­log­i­cal beauty of the im­pos­ing basalt col­umns have made the is­land fa­mous

The Isle of Staffa is on many a trav­eller’s bucket list and it’s a place that Swiss pho­tog­ra­pher Sa­mual Hess had long wished to visit. The ge­o­log­i­cal beauty of the im­pos­ing basalt col­umns and deep caves that have made the is­land fa­mous called out to be cap­tured on cam­era; just as the acous­tics cre­ated by the waves crash­ing against the pil­lars in Fin­gal’s Cave on the is­land in­spired Felix Men­delssohn to com­pose his The He­brides over­ture fol­low­ing a visit al­most 200 years be­fore.

Staffa is the Old Norse word for pil­lar and it is said that the hexag­o­nal, vol­canic rock for­ma­tions – which can also be seen in the Gi­ant’s Cause­way and Rath­lin is­land in North­ern Ire­land – re­minded the Vik­ings of their houses, which were built from ver­ti­cally-placed tree trunks.

Hess’ visit to Staffa to cap­ture th­ese dra­matic and im­pres­sive im­ages of the is­land and some of its most colour­ful in­hab­i­tants came on a day when the weather was kick­ing up a storm. De­spite doubts that the boat he was sched­uled to catch from Fion­nphort on the Isle of Mull would sail, the crew and a small group of tourists braved the swell and got a thor­ough soak­ing in the process.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the re­sult­ing im­ages are well worth any dis­com­fort the weather may have caused. The clouds and sea spray only adding to the drama of the fas­ci­nat­ing ge­ol­ogy of Staffa.

Hess’ visit to Staffa to cap­ture th­ese dra­matic and im­pres­sive im­ages of the is­land came on a day when the weather was kick­ing up a storm

Rock n’ roll: Hess and his fel­low trav­ellers were drenched de­spite their colour­ful wa­ter­proofs.

Above left: Staffa main har­bour. Top right: Dra­matic skies meet sea swell on route to Staffa. Above right: Puffins nest on Staffa in the spring and sum­mer. Left: Togged up for the weather and sur­viv­ing the swell.

Above left: Pick­ing their way around the col­umns. Above right: The power of the sea. Right: Hess cap­tures Tober­mory on the Isle of Mull be­fore brav­ing the jour­ney to Staffa. Left: Meet­ing some of Staffa’s puffins.

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