Staffa National Nature Reserve
BUNESSAN, ARGYLL & BUTE
Most people come to the Staffa NNR to marvel at the cathedral-like columns of the dark volcanic rock of Fingal’s Cave, a huge cavern formed by the constant battering of the Atlantic Ocean. But a rich mix of seabirds make the island their summer home, while the surrounding seas support seals, dolphins and the occasional giant hulk of a basking shark. Staffa is the nesting place for a range of seabirds including fulmars, shags and gulls. But the island is probably most famous for its puffins, which arrive in late April, and you can see rafts of them collecting at sea before they come ashore to nest. Summer sees the island turn pink with beautiful drifts of sea thrift. By now the puffin chicks have hatched and the parents take it in turns to feed them at their nest burrows at the northern end of the island.
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About The area
Discover Argyll & Bute
This is a county that’s all about awe-inspiring landscapes and unique island cultures. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney put the area on the map when he wrote Mull of Kintyre, recorded in 1977 with the local pipe band backing his group. Kintyre is a long, thin peninsula that points south from the mainland, sheltering the mouth of the Firth of Clyde from the open sea. It’s very nearly an island, with just a narrow isthmus connecting it with Knapdale, to the north.
Tucked away at the end of the Firth of Clyde, Bute has been the holiday playground for generations of Glaswegians and is home to some of the finest golden beaches anywhere on the west coast. It may not boast the wild mountain grandeur of some of Scotland’s other islands, but Bute is blessed with swathes of heathery moorland and a range of low, fertile hills, perfect for walking and studying the local wildlife. Such is the variety of landscapes that make up this county.
To experience the sights and sounds of the area, visit Dunoon in late August for the Cowal Highland Gathering, when more than 150 pipe bands from all over the world compete for prestigious trophies.
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