A few years ago we ran ‘Creation Experience’ weeks in the churches where I am minister. They were opportunities for primary aged children to come and explore the vast wonders of creation. One year we took them on a journey from the beginning of time, through the Big Bang, the evolving of life in the oceans, the volcanos and life moving from seas to dry land, the era of dinosaurs, then on into the forests and eventually along came human beings. The children loved it and we loved hosting it. We gave them each a bookmark at the end of their 90 mins Creation Experience as a keepsake, with the timeline on it from over 15 billion years ago to present day. Staggering to think of the journey creation has taken since the beginning of time.
Well, Dave and I were fortunate to step back in time 50 million years and experience first hand a part of that historic journey our planet has taken. We got on a boat with Staffa Boat Tours (http://www.staffatours.com/boat-tours/departs-fionnphort-mull-and-iona/staffa-tour/) and set off to visit Fingal’s Cave, located on the island of Staffa, off the coast of Mull. The cave came to be from a lava flow over 50 million years ago, that lay down basalt columns of layered rock. Whilst the columns were being laid down a tilt occurred, pressure was applied above the cave, forcing a crack to open up below, which was further shaped from the crashing of waves at the island during storms. This created the stunning structure we were able to step onto and see for ourselves.
Renowned for its natural acoustics, eerie sounds produced by the waves, and naturally arched roof, the cave evokes a cathedral-like atmosphere. This has allowed for the cave to earn its Gaelic name ‘Uamh-Binn’, meaning ‘cave of melody’. The cave has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors over the centuries, including Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn who visited in 1829 and wrote his Hebrides overture in ode to the acoustics of the cave. Past visitors have also included Sir Walter Scott, Keats, Turner, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Prince William of Orange, William Wordsworth, Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson.
The name ‘Fingal’ originally comes from an Irish myth, where the hero Fionn MacCumhaill’s (shortened to ‘Fingal’, meaning ‘white stranger’) and his faithful warriors migrated into Scotland from Ireland. The legend is that Fionn built the Giant’s Causeway, which has identical columns to Fingal’s Cave, after a challenge to fight. He soon became famous across Scotland, making his name the obvious choice.
I invite you to take your time looking at these photos and video clips, savouring the calmness of the waters, the contentment of seals resting on the rocks, the cormorants fishing in the waters and the breathtaking awesome Isle of Staffa with Fingal’s Cave as it’s centrepiece.
Perhaps listen to Mendelson’s Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture (https://youtu.be/a3MiETaBSnc) as you join Dave and I stepping back 50 million years, thankful for such a beautiful planet and mindful that the story of Planet Earth is older than we can imagine and more precious than any silver or gold. May we count our blessings for being able to be part of this amazing wonderful world. This was a creation experience I will never forget! May these video clips and pictures be a blessing to you all.