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Visiting Fingal’s Cave (Cave of Melody) in Scotland

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The Cave of Melody is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist sites. Over the centuries, it has been featured in many movies, books, and songs, including a song by Gerry Rafferty called “The Cave of Harmony” and a book by Richard Adams called “Watership Down.” The cave is located in the southern part of Scotland, near Kilmarnock.

The Cave of Melody has existed for centuries. It was first mentioned in a book by Sir Walter Scott called “Marmion” in 1808. The cave was once used to store weapons and food during war.

How many churches have you visited on your vacation? Which is the most magnificent and awesome one you have seen? Based on your personal experience, books, and documentary films, maybe you liked some of those cathedrals that you have visited before.

About Cave of Melody – Scotland

Fingal's Cave Scotland Scenic Coastal Wonder
Sarah / Adobe Stock

The great explorer and botanist Joseph Banks wrote that the best cathedral developed by men, Fingal’s Cave, is located in the southern part of Staffa Island in Scotland and must be visited.

This so-called “church” is the cave of Melody of Scotland situated at the southern part of Staffa Island in Scotland. This remarkable isle is situated in the Inner Hebrides.

The entire isle of Staffa is basaltic and has features similar to those of the cave in Ireland—the Giants Causeway. The top of the Cave of Melody is made of volcanic crust slag. On the other side of the cave, guests can enter an indistinct interior to witness the yellow stalactites glistening against the fluted walls.

Fingals Cave Staffa Scottland
Photo: ajbear

This cave is also called Fingal’s Cave by the locals of Scotland and Uamh Binn in Gaelic, which signifies Melodious Cave or Cave of Melody. This name was accredited to its pleasant and melodic acoustic.

According to research, in 1829, the great German composer Felix Mendelssohn came to Staffa by boat. As he moved towards the uninhabited island, the echo generated by the smashing waves opposed the sea cave, which gave him the idea to write down a melody.

It is also said that this concise melody became the tune of his proposition, The Hebrides, also called the Fingal’s Cave. Visitors can try what Mendelssohn did if they want to write a proposition.

The Victorian Statesman Sir Robert Peel was told that he became poetic when moving toward the cave. Robert Peel wrote he had seen the cathedral not developed with hands and had felt the regal and splendid swell of the ocean, the beat and pulse of the great Atlantic, throbbing in its deepest and private sanctuary.

Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish novelist, described the Cave of Melody as the best place he visited. Every description he had heard of this remarkable place remained in his mind. The whole interior is composed of basaltic pillars soaring like the covering of a church, running deep in the rock, perpetually swept in swelling in a deep sea.

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Things to Know About Fingal’s Cave

Fingal Cave Staffa
Photo: dun_deagh

If you’re looking for an extraordinary experience, be sure to visit Fingal’s Cave in Scotland. This cave was formed by an ancient lava flow that cooled and exploded perpendicular to its surface, and the geometric basalt columns are a sight to behold.

There are several great facts about Fingal’s Cave and the Cave of Melody that you should know.

It Has Extraordinary Geometric Basalt Columns

Closeup of Fingal Cave stones and columns
Dale11/Wirestock Creators / Adobe Stock

Fingal Cave’s design is reminiscent of a science-fiction movie. Each fractured column has an identical perfect hexagon at its center, giving it a chilling or mystical sensation. Scientists have found that scientific explanations are simple, yet they are not from another planet. These neat six-sided pillars are incredibly inspiring.

It is also known as the “Cave of Melody” because of its strange and wonderful acoustics. The hexagonal columns act as natural amplifiers, making the waves sound like they are crashing right next to you. Hearing the sea’s roar from within the cave is an experience you’ll never forget.

It Was Featured in a Song by Gerry Rafferty

Given the amazing rock formations and basalt pillars, The Cave of Melody was featured in Gerry Rafferty’s song “The Cave of Harmony,” released in 1978.

The song tells the story of a man who falls in love with the roar of the sea from within the cave, which is an experience you’ll never forget. The Cave of Melody was also featured in Gerry Rafferty’s song “The Cave of Harmony,” released in 1978. The song tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman he meets in the cave.

Fingal’s Cave is a Site of Historic Importance

Fingal's Cave structure and skyline
Lee/ Adobe Stock

This cave was formed in the 1700s and has been visited by many notable people, including author Sir Walter Scott and composer Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was so inspired by the cave that he wrote an overture called “Fingal’s Cave.”

It’s Associated With An Ancient Irish Legend

Fingal's cave at Staffa island at the Scottish coast
Lars Johansson / Adobe Stock

The cave is also said to inspire the Celtic legend of Fionn Mac Cumhail, a giant warrior who built Giant’s Causeway from Ireland to Scotland to fight his enemy, the Scottish giant Benandonner.

According to legend, Fingal is the entrance to this long route through the Scottish countryside on the northern shores. The Giant’s Causeway and Fingal Cave in Northern Ireland are two of the most famous limestone caves in the world.

It has attracted Artists For Centuries

Man enjoying Picnic above Fingals Cave
pauws99 / Adobe Stock

This sea cave has grown in popularity among European artists and musicians, inspiring many of them. Famous visitors and writers like John Keats, William Wordsworth, James Keats, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jules Verne have visited. Pink Floyd wrote several songs about the site.

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How to Visit Fingal’s Cave

Staffa island seen from the ferry boat.
eugpng / Adobe Stock

The cave of Melody in Scotland consists of wonderful geometric columns that make up the interior, which was formed by a crust from volcanic slag. The sound created by the smashing of the waves makes a remarkable melody once they bounce on the arched roof.

The Cave of Melody (Fingal’s Cave) is on Staffa, a small island in the Inner Hebrides. It is about 2 square kilometers in size and is on the island’s southern coast. Even though the ship no longer has access to Staffa Cave, it does so regularly. Alternatively, one may visit Staffa by boat and continue up one column before hiking to another.

The Staffa puffin colony is particularly spectacular during the summer months. Visiting the Cave of Melody is one of the finest ways to appreciate this magnificent cave. The hike usually takes about an hour and a half, but ensure you have enough time because it’s so beautiful you might want to spend more time there.

There are no services at the cave, so remember to bring hiking boots, rain gear, and snacks, which are essential if you visit Staffa Cave. Scotland can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared. Also, make sure you have a map of the area with you. Fingal’s Cave is open all year round, but access may be restricted during severe weather conditions.

Boat Trips to Fingal’s Cave

Tourists with boat visit Fingals Cave and hexagonal volcanic basalt rock columns, Isle of Staffa, Hebrides, Scotland, UK
Phil / Adobe Stock

To visit the cave, take a boat trip to the isle of Staffa. If you want to take a boat cruise, you can depart from Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Scotland. There are several boat tour operators that offer trips to Staffa, including the following:

  • Mull Adventure
  • Staffa Tours
  • Hebridean Island Cruises

The cave is located on the southern coast of Staffa Island, home to a large puffin colony. The puffins can be seen on the island from May through September. To see them, take a boat trip to the island during those months.

Hiking to Fingal’s Cave

Hiker in Yellow jacket hiking to Fingal's Cave Hike
Erik AJV / Shutterstock

It’s also possible to trek to Fingal’s Cave from Staffa Island. The distance from the shore to the cave is about 1 kilometer. Although the journey is not difficult, it does get steep at times. A sign marks the cave’s location at the start of the expedition.

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Devil’s Beef Tub

Clouds hover over Devil's Beef Tub
Gareth Tandy / Adobe Stock

The Devil’s Beef Tub is a popular tourist destination in Scotland. It has been featured in numerous films, novels, and songs throughout history, including “The Cave of Harmony” by Gerry Rafferty and “Watership Down” by Richard Adams.

The cave is located in southern Scotland near the town of Milton Keynes. On the trails of Fingal’s Cave, you’ll find the Devil’s Beef Tub.

The Devil’s Beef Tub is a large natural basin formed by glaciers during the Ice Age. It is said that the basin got its name from the fact that it was once used as a cattle pen by local farmers. Today, the Devil’s Beef Tub is popular for swimming, hiking, and picnicking.

Getting to the Devil’s Beef Tub

Fingals Cave Staffa
Photo: luxpim

The Devil’s Beef Tub is located on the island of Staffa, which is part of the Inner Hebrides. To get to the Devil’s Beef Tub, take one of the many boat trips offered to the island of Staffa. If you want to get closer to nature or for nature lovers looking for unique landmarks, the Cave of Melody in Scotland is the best place to visit.

The Cave of Melody is a popular tourist attraction in Scotland. Over the centuries, it has been featured in many movies, books, and songs. It is a beautiful cave located in the southern part of Scotland near the town of Kilmarnock.

All of these works have one thing in common: they are all inspired by the beauty and wonder of this amazing cave. If you’re looking for amazing travel destinations, subscribe to our free travel newsletter today.

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FAQ

Where is the cave of Melody Scotland?

It has been likened to an “institution.” It’s a music cave on South Staffa Island in Scotland. The Hebridian islands are found in the northern half of the country. The entire island of Staffa is made mostly of basalt, like the cavern on Irish Island called Giants Causeway.

Who owns Fingal’s cave?

This cave is situated in the National Nature Reserve and is maintained by the National Trust. The cave was named after a legendary poem composed by Scottish poet-historian James Macpharrell in the 18th century, which was dedicated to it.

What is special about Fingal’s cave?

Unlike any other cave, the Fingal Cave has an incredible geological and historical heritage. At 72 feet tall and 220 feet wide, the hexagonal basalt columns that make up the interior walls are strikingly impressive, right in the middle of the deep and swelling sea.

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  1. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor says:

    The Giant’s Causeway had to be one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited. I’m so intrigued by the geological features there and at Staff.

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