The Corryvreckan Whirlpool

One of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring sights in nature is a maelstrom or sea whirlpool.  These magnificent spinning cauldrons are formed where tides crash or sea water is forced into narrow vortices. There are two particular well-known maelstroms in Europe {Mael = to grind or whirl around; strom=stream. cf. millstream.} - the original Maelstrom off the Lofoten Islands near the coast of Norway and the gulf of Corryvreckan between Jura and Scarba in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. These magnificent examples of nature in the raw have long held a particular place in the human psyche, and have myths and legends associated with them that seem to come from the edge of time. This programme will combine wonderful footage of these magnificent natural wonders filmed from both above and below sea-level and the ancient stories told centuries, possibly even millennia ago by the tribal peoples of Scotland and Scandinavia.
The Gulf of Corryvreckan is over 300 feet deep but when the whirlpool is at full power the depth of the water is less than a hundred feet. The particular cause of this awesome power is a subterranean spike off the coast of Scarba which causes the great Atlantic waves to form into a giant vortex and create the Corryvreckan whirlpool. It is a dangerous place and local fishermen and sailors have a wealth of stories of its dangers. Even on calm days the swell of the Corryvreckan can be several feet.


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