Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The fossil tree of Mull.

Approaching the Wilderness coast of Mull from Staffa, we landed at a natural recess in the rocks.

The Mull volcanic eruption of 50 million years ago did not just spill out over a barren landscape, it buried a land of verdant forests. At the back of the beach, to the left of distorted basalt columns, you can see the vertical impression of a tree trunk that managed to stay upright after it was engulfed by lava.

When it was first discovered by McCulloch, there was still a charcoal like deposit round the trunk where the bark had been. Despite its inaccessibility on foot, this has been hacked away by souvenir hunters who have since started chipping away the remains of the rocky stump. It has now been capped with concrete.


  1. Very nice Douglas. I've admired that bit of coast many times from above, or from Ulva or the Ross of Mull, and once walked/scrambled the length of it. Getting to the fossil tree on foot involves finding a ladder down a short section of cliff! I really must get around to paddling there one day.


  2. Thank you Andrea, I definitely recommend you and Michael should paddle it!

  3. Hi Douglas!
    It's a fascinating object this fossil tree - alas we missed it on our trip on the west-coast of Mull. I didn't know what to look for :-(
    Now I have seen your picture I - realise we were very close to it indeed, I have seen the contours from the water, not realizing it was the MacCulloch's Tree!

  4. Hans it was very good to hear that you enjoyed your trip to the west coast. The tree was an interesting find. Many people think it is the ray of basalt layers but it is actually the vertical impression in the rocks to the left.
    Douglas :o)