Searching for some puffins on Staffa island

We left Oban harbour very early that morning and like the previous days, the weather was not fantastic but I was hoping the sky would cleared up a bit in the afternoon. We had booked a tour that would take us to Staffa, Mull and Iona islands and we were very excited to discover that part of Scotland !

Oban Harbour

Oban Harbour

The plan was to visit Isle of Staffa first, a tiny island located 10 km from Isle Mull. From mid-April to early August, it’s possible to see nesting puffins over there so we were really looking forward to spot them. To get there, it’s quite tricky as you have to first take a ferry from Oban to Craignure on Mull, then take a coach from Craignure to Fionnphort. Once you are over there, you still have a 45 minutes ferry ride to the island of Staffa.

The first ferry ride from Oban to Mull was pleasant, but as it was raining, we didn’t dare going outside to take some pictures. Once we reached Mull, we jumped into the coach and at that time, the weather was really miserable. It was extremely foggy and rainy and we could see much outside as you can see on the picture below taken through the window of the coach.

In the coach

After 30 minutes of driving, the sky got a bit better and the rain stopped, perfect timing for our boarding to the ferry that would take us on Staffa.

Staffa ferry

That boat ride was a bit horrendous, as the sea was really rough. It was raining and at that time, I was really thinking that trip was going to be a disaster. I only managed to take one picture that is not too blurry of the island from the ferry….

Fingal's cave

Once we reached the island (I was happy to be on land to be honest), the guide told us we had to chose what we wanted to do : either see the puffins or visit Fingal’s Cave (see picture above), another iconic feature of Staffa. I was a bit shocked to hear that we had to chose… when we booked the tour it was specified we would see both. Well technically they didn’t lie as we saw Fingal’s Cave while we were approaching the island… but still, I felt tricked. We decided to go for the puffins and if we had time, we would go and visit the cave.

We climbed up the steps and started to head towards the puffin nests at the tip of the island.These basalt columns remind me of Iceland and I felt nostalgic :-)

We were the only ones choosing that option, everyone else was going for the cave. And that’s what they have missed.



We arrived where the nests were supposed to be and we could see the nests on the side of the cliffs but all the puffins were on the water. We decided to wait a little bit to see if some of them would come back to the nests… and they did ! We managed to spot some ! I was so happy !

We stayed there for such a long time… it was so nice. After a while we decided to go back and to have a glimpse of the Fingal’s cave. We managed to get halfway through before we heard the signal that it was time for us to go back to the boat. Despite not having seen the inside of the cave, I was feeling very happy to have seen the puffins and the wonderful basalt columns :-)

(to be continued..)

Travel Monkey

82 responses to “Searching for some puffins on Staffa island

  1. Fantastic post! As I continued reading I was hoping you opted to see the puffins! And when I saw that cove full of nests I actually gasped! Really wonderful close-ups of the puffins, too. :)


  2. Pingback: Monday Escapes #25 - My Travel Monkey·

  3. What a beautiful place!! Oh my, it was really a hassle to get there, crazy! I like that, as it makes the place even more special.
    I loved the pictures, and awesome that you found the puffins, they are sooooo cute :D

    Happy New Year dear, and thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes


  4. How wonderful! I would also have gone looking for puffins rather than the cave. They are so beautiful. I have never been close to them yet. One day….


  5. Pingback: Driving through Mull, just like a taste of water which is too little to quench the thirst | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  6. Puffins are adorable! I’ve always wanted to see them since I read kids’ novels that had the little symbol of a puffin on the side. What interesting rock forms. I do sympathise about the rough seas though! I have bad memories of being in a boat in rough weather. Icky! :)


  7. Great photos, I would’ve have chosen the puffins as well. :D I’ve never seen one in their natural habitat so I’m hoping to see some when I go to Iceland (fingers crossed it will happen next year).


    • Yes, I’ve heard of it and I’ve seen so many pictures of it. I plan to visit Ireland in 2016, don’t know when exactly because it’s quite tricky to fit things with my boyfriend’s timetable at the moment. I would really love to visit, it looks so amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Puffins!!!!

    I’ve been dying to see one in the wild! They have them in Maine and it’s on my bucket list. So is Scotland… So maybe I follow your path and knock two off of my list at one time! ;)



  9. How wonderful that your trip turned out good anyway :) I am super jealous that you got the chance to see the Puffins! Haha, just kidding, but I want to see and photograph them to really badly!

    All those city names you mention I know from the names on the whisky bottles on my shelf. Really cool :)



  10. The puffins are so cute! They must have sense there were visitors around and so made their way to you ;) Lol, at first I thought the puffins were statues when I looked at your photos…camera is very sharp, and the puffins look so clean! :D Pity to hear you had to choose between the two natural attractions. Maybe it is because of time constraints, and the guides didn’t want the trip to feel rushed.


  11. I would have made the same choice! The columns and the landforms themselves are so unique and picturesque (very reminiscent of Iceland, as you said), and who could not like those puffins?!


  12. Great post and you made the right choice. Not only did you see the puffins, those were really interesting basalt columns. As you said, they were quite similar to those that one sees in Iceland.


  13. The trick of the uncomplete tour isntead tastes very bad, in my case that would got me very upset and couldn’t enjoy the ret of the trip; that happened in Uros islands. Despite that I know is hard to photograph in that weather but I like that kind of landscapes: thanks for nurture my appetite for cloudy days :-)


  14. Such a shame about the weather. Mull & Iona are my favourite of the islands. I’ve visited both so many times & have such amazing memories of both. In fact I’ve never been to Iona in anything other than glorious sunshine. The day I went to Staffa we saw basking sharks as they commonly feed in that stretch of water. I don’t remember being made to choose between puffins & the cave but it was many years ago. I hope you get the chance to explore Mull another time in better conditions. It is so tranquil and beautiful.


    • Sunshine ? Blue sky ? Basking sharks ???I’m really envious right now :p We want to go back to Mull and spend a few days over there. We were quite unlucky with the weather for that part of the trip and we really want to do some hikes over there. I understand why it’s your favourite island :-)


      • Yup. It’s the benefit of living somewhere instead of being a tourist: you can pick & choose your weather! But I’ll be playing tourist myself next year when I go home for a visit. I’ve got lots planned to do, a lot of it outdoors so I’ll be at the mercy of the weather Gods then too.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. PUFFINS!! I would definitely have made the same choice–but hated to have to choose. I’m not sure there’s a cuter animal in the world than a puffin . . . When I was a kid, I knew a poem–“There once was a puffin/In the shape of a muffin/And he lived on an island in the deep blue sea . . . “


  16. These are great pictures, puffins are beautiful
    and what about the columns of basalt, they are wonderful …
    Thank you very much for this reportage …
    I wish you a good Sunday.


  17. So bad they made you choose between the puffins and the cave – I would definitely have wanted to see both, especially after a horrific boat ride….. that’s the part that would put me off to be honest, the fear of being tossed around on the waves, I don’t handle that very well. It looks gorgeous though and those columns remind me of the Giants Causeway.


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