Fingal's Cave, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. (Wikipedia Commons. Click to enlarge.)
Staffa is an uninhabited island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
You may take a boat tour of Staffa from the Isle of Mull, itself a place of magnificent unspoiled beauty with a 300 mile coastline and a population of only about 2700.
In turn you may reach the Isle of Mull by ferry from Oban, a town about 90 miles north of Glasgow.
Some of us will never visit Staffa, or the Isle of Mull, or even Scotland for that matter, and we know who we are. Many people have made the journey however, and if you live in the United Kingdom, you should certainly be one of these visitors. You will never forget it.
In 1829, a classical composer by the name of Felix Mendelssohn made the trip from his German homeland and was inspired to write the beautiful and haunting Hebrides Overture, commonly known simply as "Fingal’s Cave." The music was inspired by the almost unearthly echoes of the sea which can be heard from inside the cave.
This and subsequent trips to Britain, and his friendship with Queen Victoria and her musical husband Prince Albert, also inspired Mendelssohn’s Symphony #3 (Scottish Symphony.)
Although the boat tours do not go into the cave, it may be reached on foot from the island in which it is located, Staffa.
Sir Walter Scott described Fingal's Cave as "…one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld. It exceeded, in my mind, every description I had heard of it… composed entirely of basaltic pillars as high as the roof of a cathedral, and running deep into the rock, eternally swept by a deep and swelling sea, and paved, as it were, with ruddy marble, baffles all description."
Update: Check out this song Fingal The Giant on Soubriquet's blog.
Note: If you can't place Mendelssohn, here is probably his most recognized composition.
And... Fingal's Cave (short free preview)
Italian Symphony (short free preview, click on #1)
Scottish Symphony (short free preview, click on #2)