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puffin

An unlikely ruler, perched atop the rocky prominence on the Hebridean Isle of Lunga, Scotland. Humans once lived here but now it’s a breeding ground for birds: razorbills, guillemots, and those cutest of birds, puffins. Designated a site of special scientific interest, Lunga is also a popular tourist destination. In a rare example of human-nature symbiosis (highlighted in Euan McGregor’s Scotland’s Wild Heart BBC programme), the tourists scare away would be hovering predators, granting the puffins the freedom to care for their young, and us human visitors a unique photo opportunity.

Lunga, one of the Treshnish Isles, can be reached by boat from the neighbouring Isle of Mull. We took a day long trip from the “capital” of Mull, the picturesque Tobermory.

Tobermory, Ilse of Mull

The trip also set us upon Staffa with its spectacular hexagonal basalt columns (similar to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland) and sea caves, particularly Fingal’s Cave, celebrated by the composer Mendelssohn.

Fingal's Cave, Staffa

Travel advice: it gets cold at sea and the journey was long. We took no provisions – foolishly, and only a serial bar found in a coat pocket kept us going. Take warm clothes and provisions. There are no amenities on these islands.

For the Daily Post weekly photo challenge Atop.