We will be in Scotland in May and plan to go to Staffa to see the Puffins. Are there other places besides Staffa to see the Puffins? Is Staffa difficult to get to? Is the trail strenuous? Any information would be helpful. Thanks.
Look at the Staffa tours website for info. Sounds like you can only view from the sea or one area. I believe the puffin colonies are out of bounds for visitors. Tours are weather dependent as it involves a sea trip in a smallish boat. Look at British Wildlife website for more loacations to see puffins. The do love cliffs and inaccessible places!
I have been to Staffa and had a fabulous time watching Puffins!!
I took the Three Isles tour out of Oban and the stretch from Iona to Staffa was done on a Staffa Tour boat. I enjoyed the passage to the island, but my sister felt a little uncomfortable with the speed and size of the boat. It held about 25 people. At Staffa you depart at a stone quay. There are two options. Option #1 Walk left along the side of the cliff to Fingal's Cave which is the Scotland end of the Giant's Causeway. The rocks are irregular, but there is a sort of hand rail. Option #2 Climb up a steep series of steps to the top of the island. There you are free to roam. A sign gives you an indication of the area to view Puffins. You simply go and sit near the edge of the cliff and the curious puffins begin in fly in and around you. It is quite a spectacular sight and was worth all of the effort.
You are not going down the cliffs into the Puffin Nesting area, but sitting at the tops of the cliffs and watching the Puffins and having them come check you out.
I think that anyone with the abiity to climb several flights of stairs would do okay on this trip. You could stop and rest if you like. There was one unfortunate couple that found that either trail was too much for them. The boat doesn't stay at the quay and they were forced to wait on the stone ledge near it for over an hour waiting for it to come back. I think that they wished they had known more about what was required to climb up the island.
If you can do stairs, then you can probably do this hike and the Puffins experience is great fun.
Just a side note, if you have more time in the area and are a serious birder, the islands of Jura and Islay are important migratory bird locations. http://www.islayjura.com/
Did you happen to see any kids on the Staffa tour? Wondering if kids 7 and 10 would be okay with the hike.
I've been to Staffa twice and whilst I do not specifically remember any children on either trip, I am sure they would be fine and negotiate the footpaths and terrain perfectly well.
There were families on our trip and the kids had absolutely no difficulties at all. If you can do stairs and walk over terrain, you can do this trip.
Thank you for the info re kids and Staffa! I had kind of written it off thinking it would be too hard with kids, now will definitely try to fit it in.
I believe the Puffins are only on Staffa in summer months, but I honestly can't remember what the guide said. I got sea-sick about that time. (seas were very rough due to the hurricanes in the Atlantic when were were there in September)
That said, this was a great way to see the 3 islands and the puffins on Staffa http://www.staffatours.com/boat-tours/departs-oban/three-isles-tour-mull-iona-staffa/