Hello, my friends. How are you guys today? I’ve missed you. I have been away on holiday with Mr. C and his parents, off the grid and making memories. But I’m back now, ready to catch up on all the things you’ve been up to and eager to share some of the best moments from our trip. For today, though, I’d like to show you a tiny island located in the outer part of Scotland’s Firth of Forth, where the river meets the North Sea. This island is called Bass Rock and it is a beast of a thing!
Rising to a height of more than 300 feet, the rocky island is a steep-sided volcanic plug that dates to the Carboniferous Age – arising a whopping 300+ million years ago. At a distance, the surface of the rock can appear white, almost as if covered in a dusting of snow. This is because of the presence of the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets. In fact, in the peak of their nesting season, it is estimated that more than 150,000 of these sea birds call Bass Rock home!
In addition to being an important avian conservation spot, Bass Rock also played an interesting part in Scotland’s history. The island is associated with St. Baldred, a hermit and evangelist who was sent to spread Christianity to the people living in the Lothians during the sixth century. The abbot eventually chose this uninhabited rock as his place of refuge and lived out the remainder of his life there as a hermit. Following his death around 756, a chapel was built on the site of his cell. A second chapel was constructed in the mid-1500’s and the ruins can still be seen today.
Bass Rock features in various works of fiction, including Catriona written by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The earliest recorded proprietors of Bass Rock were the Lauder family and incredibly, they held onto this possession for several hundred years. They are likely the individuals who built the castle, the ruins of which can be seen below the chapel and that are now dominated by a 20th century lighthouse. From the 1500’s through the 1600’s, the castle served as a fortress and as a prison during the time of the Covenanters and the Jacobites. The island was also a strategic stronghold during the Scottish and English Wars.
Today this tiny island with the giant personality belongs to the Hamilton-Dalrymple family who acquired the massive rock in the 1700’s. Can you imagine owning such a thing? I certainly cannot!
If you are interested in seeing an incredible video of Bass Rock shot by drone, just Google ‘Bass Rock’ and you will find a video by Alan Hunter called “A Visit to the Bass Rock” (not sure about copyright stuff so I don’t feel entirely comfortable including the link). It’s easy to find, though, and it’s fantastic!
Friends, if you’re ever in Edinburgh or in the vicinity, it’s definitely worth making the 30ish miles east to see this amazing “tiny” island. I think you’ll be just as impressed with it as I was.
Take care and I’ll see you again soon!
*Gannet photos courtesy of Pixabay