Staffa Island

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The meaning of the island is pretty obvious to those who spent their share playing computer games, to those who didn’t, the word Staffa originated from Old Norse stafi-oy (stave or pillar). If you somehow haven’t seen a single picture of the island, and you don’t understand what staff could have to do with naming an island, the answer is pretty simple. The East rock face of Staffa looks like it was built from pillars, and NO, the Vikings didn’t build it. They were just as surprised as we are today. The island resembled of their homes, which were built from vertical trees. Maybe, homesickness, eh? Nevertheless, to everybody’s amazement (unless you are a geologist), the amazing rock formations of Staffa Island are of natural origins.

Even though Staffa Island is a part of the tour, it is so spectacular that I decided it needs a separate article.

The Treshnish Isles

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Most known for their natural beauty, the Treshnish Isles for ages was playing with the imagination of inhabitants of the Isle of Mull. Dark shapes of the isles gained the title of a fleet of dreadnaughts, indicating the fear of an invasion of the people that used to live here. It was for a good reason, all coastal territories of Scotland been challenged by the Vikings for several centuries, who even inhabited the Treshnish Isles between the 9th and 13th centuries, and for better or worse, the island found themselves in many wars afterward.

Today, the situation had changed dramatically. It is no longer inhabited by the humans and the fear of invasion was changed by the curiosity of adventurers. It is a popular tourist destination for its natural beauty and the rich biosphere. The Treshnish Isles are monitored by the authorities, but it is still open for everybody. At least, as long as the visitors act wisely and respect the status quo. For more than a century, not a single person is living in the Treshnish Isles but many bird species found the isles as their home during the breeding season.

General rules of visiting Treshnish Isles

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Conservation of this incredible habitat depends on us. The Treshnish Isles are open to everybody, even during the breeding season. It is up to us, visitors, to keep it this way. Please, be conscious of your actions and follow the official rules:

Rules of being on Lunga Island

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DO take all your litter home.
DO NOT disturb or approach the wildlife, particularly during the breeding season.
DO sit and wait for a while – it is often possible to gain a more rewarding view of the wildlife.
DO NOT climb on old walls or move stones. This can damage a valuable archaeological site.
DO avoid the cliff edges and wet grass on steep slopes.
DO NOT bring dogs (unless assistance dogs) or any pets onto the islands.

Treshnish Isles wildlife

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Dolphins in the area include killer whales. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any. We’ve been told that they usually come to the boat (a common behavior of these majestic animals), therefore should be expected. Wherever the waves made them hard to spot or something else, it wasn’t the case for Grey and Common Atlantic seals. While it is almost guaranteed that you’ll see them chilling on the islets, don’t be surprised by spotting some out in the open waters.

Puffins Therapy in Treshnish Isles wildlife cruise tour from Oban, Scotland

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There is also a possibility to meet whales, basking sharks, and otters. But mammals and fishes are not the reason you should be here, the birds are.

Picture A

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Some things just cannot be described. Visiting puffins and their neighbors is one of those experiences. Once on Lunga island, there are two options:

First is a walk to a huge rock which is home to thousands of guillemots (picture a);
The second being the same, just failing to do so (picture b).

It is very easy to get seduced by any of the many puffins living their everyday lives not too far from where you’ll get set ashore. I know it is hard, but you need to resist the puffins. There are plenty more of them on the road to the guillemot colony.

Picture B

b) Cute puffins on Lunga Island, the Treshnish isles wildlife tour, Scotland.

Walking in Lunga island

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The walk will not only reward you with meeting more birds but with the beautiful nature of Lunga Island and the surrounding Treshnish Isles. You’ll be circled by the charismatic puffins during your time in Lunga island, so be prepared to smile for a while as these birds will definitely cheer you up.

Two puffins looking at each other

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The wildlife tours to the Treshnish Isles are even advertising themselves as a stress-relief remedy called “Puffin Therapy”. It is hard to describe how, but after the experience, you’ll feel a boom of optimism, so strong that for a while ill-fortune will seem like an impossible concept.