Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/512

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Dr. Mac Culloch on Staffa

sides by perpendicular cliffs, varying in altitude and broken into numerous recesses and promontories.

It is intersected by one deep cut, scarcely to be called a valley, which divides the higher and more celebrated columnar part from the remainder of the island. At the highest tides this more remarkably columnar part which forms its southwestern side, appears to terminate almost abruptly in the water, but the retiring tide shows a causeway of broken columns forming a sort of beach at its foot. Round the other sides of the island there is also a beach of varying breadth, consisting of detached fragments, and of rocks jutting out into the sea in many irregular directions. This beach, when the weather is perfectly calm, and the swell off the shore, will, under due precautions, afford landing in various places, but it is on the eastern side that the most numerous landing places occur. Various narrow creeks sheltered by the island itself from the predominant western swell, admit of easy access in moderate weather, provided the wind is in any direction from SW. to NW. and for the encouragement of the mineralogist, who may be terrified at the exaggerated reports of this difficulty, I can assure him that I have landed on Staffa when the vessels that navigate this sea have had their sails reefed, and the boatmen of Iona and Ulva have called it impracticable. The love of the marvellous has conferred on Staffa a terrific reputation, which a greater resort has discovered to be somewhat akin to that of Scylla and Charybdis.

It is easy to perceive from the southward, that with this flat disposition of its surface, and notwithstanding its irregularities, Staffa possesses a gentle inclination towards the N.E. although no opportunity is afforded for ascertaining the precise dip. It is not of importance to ascertain it, nor can it amount to more than 5 or 6 deg. of variation from the horizontal plane.