“Rumours has it that one of the bodies has never been found to this day; but the ghost of this lost man appears in the foam below the waterfall inside the second chamber of Smoo Cave when the burn is in high flood.”. Any dead bodies are disposed of in the local dunes where archaeologists accept bungs to write them up as Pictish or Viking burial sites. Naturally, the cave was likely used by smugglers in the past. The entrance is 50ft high and 130ft wide, making a gaping hole in the limestone cliffs. © 2021 Natpacker. Another claim is that two excise men seeking out illicit whisky distilling in the mid 1700s were drowned by a local man, Donald Mackay, who was bribed by the government agents to help in the search for an illicit still rumoured to be in the cave. Please assume that any link that you click is an affiliate link. Be aware - these are affiliate links. We spent about an hour, at the cave. Smoo cave has one of the largest entrances to a sea cave in Britain. -This is a private tour of 3 days that will be customised around you. Many local legends surround the cave, including one of highway man McMurdo who patrolled this far flung corner of the north during the 1500s. 200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland, This website and its associated newspaper are members of Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). So glad you find my posts useful It added: “Donald Mackay, being a strong swimmer, purposely manoeuvred his craft into dangerous proximity to the crashing furies at the base of the fall and purposely capsized the boat, when he swam to safety, leaving the two unfortunate Inland Revenue officers to drown amid the angry, troubled waters. Scotland is the best! Your email address will not be published. There is Smoo Hotel or if you are camping, you can stay at Sango Sands. Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan condemned the sick festival, which sees thousands of dogs cruelly killed and eaten every year. Using 3-D imaging technology, archaeologists have mapped Scotland's "Cave … The residents of nearby Durness lured a clan of marauders into the cave and slaughtered them to a man. Free car park next to the cave. McMurdo murdered his victims by throwing them down the blowhole into the cave with the highwayman buried in a tomb at nearby Balnakeil Church. The name Smoo is believed to have come from the Norse “smjugg” or “smuga”, which means “hiding place”. There’s so much to see in Scotland! Unfortunately, there was no guide available on that day, which would have added insight into the history of the cave. Discover the history of the most iconic bridge in Venice. Aerial Photography | Scotland From The Sky. The residents of nearby Durness lured a clan of 18 marauders into the cave and slaughtered them to a man. It costs you no extra and just helps to keep me blogging. In 1992 an archaeological dig on a midden site - similar to a rubbish tip- concluded the cave was one of the of the most northerly habitation sites in the British mainland. The entrance to the cave is found at the end of a 600-metre long tidal gorge which is called Gaeodha Smoo (Gaeodha is Gaelic for “cave”). For many centuries the cave was believed to be the residence of none other than Satan himself, so it was no surprise when locals found bodies dumped in the cave system, but these were simply men who’d crossed the local laird not paladins struck down by the lord of darkness. Cloud rolls over the mountain Beinn Spionnaidh near Durness in the remote northern Highlands of Scotland. The inner cave, home to a thunderous waterfall, is by local repute the gateway to hell. Smoo Cave is on the A838, as well as being on the North Coast 500 route. The is a car park at the top of Smoo Cave (be wary, it gets very busy in summer). It is both a freshwater and sea cave, which has been formed along two geological lines of … The peaty waters of the Allt Smoo flow off the moors, tranquil until they vanish into the darkness of a gaping sink hole. One Legend States That The Blow Hole Was Created By The Devil. As the Devil tried to follow the dog to cause some mischief the sun rose, leaving the Devil powerless. The cave is a scheduled Scottish monument and consent had to given by Historic Scotland. “A water kelpie or an evil spirit of aquatic propensities could not have chosen a fitter abode and to say the truth I believe at our first entrance and all our feelings were afloat at the marvelling of the scene the unexpected splashing of a seal would have routed the whole dozen of us. Smoo Cave is a large combined sea cave and freshwater cave in Durness in Sutherland, Highland, Scotland. We ascended the steps to the other side of the cave and took a walk along the top of the stunning cliffs. Another tale tells of a Donald MacKay in the 1700s (though I am unsure if it is the same MacKay who sent his dog to look for the Devil in Smoo Cave). Smoo Cave, Durness: See 1,119 reviews, articles, and 1,056 photos of Smoo Cave, ranked No.5 on Tripadvisor among 19 attractions in Durness. Of course, such a beautiful and dramatic setting is home to a number of stories and legends. There is also a circular walking path from here. Guided geological tours of Smoo Cave, part of which are undertaken by boat, are run over the summer months. It is believed that the cave was occupied during the Stone Age more than 5,000 years ago. All Rights Reserved. While Smoo Cave is ripe for myth and superstition - some believe it to be a gateway to the nether world - detailed archaeological studies have been carried out to increase understanding of who may have lived here. The cave boasts one of the largest entrances to any sea cave … In the early 1700s, the Smoo Cave was the setting for a murderous trap. Smoo Cave is situated at the head of a narrow inlet which runs inland 600m from the N coast of Durness. Visited Smoo cave, while driving the northern most section of the North Coast 500. To get to the cave from Inverness, catch the bus to Durness. Smoo Cave: Smoo Cave visit - See 1,096 traveller reviews, 1,009 candid photos, and great deals for Durness, UK, at Tripadvisor. “On this particular occasion on which Donald Mackay was employed by them, the Smoo Burn was in high flood, and on pushing off from the anchorage inside the second chamber of the cave, Mackay observed that the two gaugcrs were literally terrified, as he rowed them into the spray of the waterfall inside it.”. It is both a freshwater and sea cave, which has been formed along two geological lines of weakness. A number of marine shells, including oysters and limpets and animal bones, including deer, suggest the diet of the day. The cave was formed along the boundary between two types of rock, the Sangomore Formation and the Sailmhor Formation. Personally, I have not done this walk, but you can find details here. Smoo cave is part of the Durness Group, and so was formed in the Early Ordovician dolomites. It is believed to have been a Stone Age home more than 5,000 years ago with Norse settlers later gathering here to repair boats and fish for herring. But it is possible. Entrance of Smoo Cave, large combined sea and freshwater cave in Durness, Sutherland, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK. Great post. Later Norse settlers possibly used the caves as shelter. Three chambers of the caves can be explored, which go back 83 metres. As such, I earn from qualifying purchases. More deaths occurred later in the century, when two Inland Revenue officers were drowned in the second chamber’s thunderous waterfall. Below you can see some of the content I share on my main social platforms. Sir Walter Scott visited Smoo Cave in 1814, who wrote about it in his diary and brought the cave to public attention. Smoo Cave has to be included in any stay in north west Scotland. I’ve been all around Scotland but have never heard of smoo cave! The deeper the archaeologists went, the older the remains with butchered bones and small flakes of quartz discovered in the midden’s base. Let me know when you go to Scotland next, I can happily help with some recs! New Dig at Smoo Cave In September 2012 we finally got permission to attempt to find a new cave inside the main chamber after submitting an archaeological report (click here to view). Thought seawater rarely enters the cave anymore, due to the area undergoing an isostatic uplift. I’m always hearing of new places once I get home too. From the car park, there are some wooden steps that lead down to the main cavern. The cave was formed along the boundary between two types of rock, the Sangomore Formation and the Sailmhor Formation. High pressure and temperature conditions at depth then recrystallise the rock which results in the formation of bands to create (Lewisian) gneiss. The journey takes 5 hours and goes via Ullapool. Don’t forget to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my recent posts, adventures and thoughts. Reasons To Visit Mexico – And Get Out Of The Resort, Things To Do In England – Must Have Experiences, How To Cope With Your Periods When Travelling, Mexico Travel Tips – What You Should Know, Best Places To Visit In Mexico That You’ve Never Heard Of. This dramatic and spectacular sea cave is set into the limestone cliffs in Sutherland. Unfortunately, there was no guide available on that day, which would have added insight into the history of the cave. The upper layers of the midden, which was packed with shells, dated to the Iron Age, around 3,000 years ago. If you’re exploring the Scottish Highlands it is definitely not to be missed. This forms an impressive blowhole during storms. More deaths occurred later in the century, when two Inland Revenue officers were drowned in the second chamber’s thunderous waterfall. It consists of a main cave (33m wide and 48m deep) and a series of smaller, subsidiary, caves. The name Smoo Cave is likely to have come from the Norse ‘smjugg’ or ‘smuga’ meaning a hole or hiding-place. He was able to swim to safety but the two officers drowned. It’s definitely worth a visit. Smoo caves are the result of erosion from the sea and an underground stream, making it unique in the UK. An affiliate link will use a cookie to track any sales on the website that you are directed to. Lairg Tourism; Lairg Hotels; Lairg Bed and Breakfast; Lairg Vacation Packages; Flights to Lairg; Lairg Restaurants; Things to Do in Lairg; Lairg Travel Forum Love the photos, the caves looks awesome. Fascinating. Old stories state that the gateway to the faerie world is found inside this cave, guarded by spirits. I really need to plan some more trips to Scotland. Visible archaeological deposits are confined to the main cave and consist of a midden covering much of the E portion of the cave; this is at least 17m long and a maximum of 8m wide. The easiest way to get to the caves is to drive. There are wooden platforms that lead you into the second cavern. I’m Nat, the backpacker behind the travel blog. Looking Out Across Gaeodha Smoo From Smoo Cave. We spent about an hour, at the cave. ©JPIMedia Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. The third chamber can only be explored by boat, which requires you to book a Smoo Cave tour, which you can do here, or there is normally a board with details on. What a mysterious and fun sounding place! Still a great stop off, superb views from In the early 1700s, the Smoo Cave was the setting for a murderous trap. So many places to visit with loads of history and legends! Hi! I love Scotland so much! Since then I have been determined to see as much of this world as possible. Smoo Cave: Smoo cave - See 1,119 traveler reviews, 1,056 candid photos, and great deals for Durness, UK, at Tripadvisor. There is one a day which is run by D&E coaches. The second chamber is much smaller than the main chamber, but still very impressive. This mysterious sea cave was carved by the sea Related Videos. From the UK, I was bitten by the travel bug during a round the world trip in my early twenties. The rain had been heavy so the water was rushing through the cave as we entered. Occasionally they may also throw them down a waterfall at Smoo Cave to save them the walk. Required fields are marked *. Strange tales from 6 sacred stone sites of Scotland, Glasgow to create new £11.9m film and TV studio at historic Kelvin Hall. This is because it is actually two caves, that have been formed by different actions, joined up. Other locations that have been collected here on Natpacker.com. The below links will take you to travel resources that I recommend. With a moody, restless dusk falling, I descend into the jagged, fern-bearded mouth of Smoo Cave, a Tolkienesque venue by name and nature: you expect to be asked a riddle to gain entrance, or stumble across a mossy pile of treasure in the gloom. Norse settlements have been found in Caithness, including Dunnet Bay, around 46 miles away with only a burial site recorded nearby. The stream plunges 25m, hitting rocks as it … Some are tours, some are accommodation, some are transport. The cave was formed within Early Ordovician Dolostones of the Durness Limestone Group. Therefore, I recommend hiring a car if you can. As the dog came back terrified it is certain that the devil can be found in the cave. My passion for travel led me to start up this blog, partly to record my adventures and partly to inspire others to travel. At the end of a narrow sea cove in Sutherland, Scotland, you will find Smoo Cave. Reviews given are unbiased and honest, all views are still my own I will only recommend products and companies that I truly believe in. “Impossible for description to explain the impression made by so strange a place.”. This blowhole was the site of some villainous plots. One story tells that a local man, Donald MacKay, sent his dog into the chamber. Would love to visit! The Devil then threw a dickie-fit and blasted his way through the roof of the cave, which is how the blowhole was created. Smoo has a deep sink hole and underground waterfalls, If you purchase anything I will then receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Smoo Cave: Smoo do you think you are - See 1,119 traveller reviews, 1,056 candid photos, and great deals for Durness, UK, at Tripadvisor. One such tale tells of the highwayman McMurdo, who threw his victims down the blowhole. Thanks for your kind words Pip! Great stop off a Smoo Cave. Still a great stop off, superb views from Smoo Cave is found about 1 mile east of the village Durness (which is the most northwestern village on the British mainland). 2700 Ma - Molten bodies cool to form granite-like rocks within the lower levels of the Earth's crust. This will be a very long day if you do this, and you will end up with only an hour at the cave. Yesterday. The limestone cliffs give way to three caverns that can be explored. Smoo Cave: Fun day out - See 1,119 traveler reviews, 1,056 candid photos, and great deals for Durness, UK, at Tripadvisor. Visited ghe cave as a party of 6 with 2 younger children. The main chamber is the result of erosion from the sea whereas the inner chambers are made from the freshwater passages, where rainwater dissolved the carbonate dolomites. Situated around a mile to the east of the town of Durness, the cave can be explored by boat or by the path from the car park on the cliffs. The largest of its kind in Britain, Smoo Cave is one of Sutherland’s most impressive natural head scratchers. Hope you make it to Smoo cave in the future , Your email address will not be published. You always have the most off-beat and interesting posts. I love all the different legends and stories. Wildlife, poisonous trees, ruins and Mayan culture in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. I’ve never heard of this place but I will put it on my bucket list. We had a lovely walk down the steps and into the cave. Once you have finished visiting the chambers, you can either go back to the car park the way you came or climb the path on the other side of Smoo Cave. There are steps leading down to the cave that can be accessed all year. I always feel like i’ve learnt something new whenever I read one of of your articles. The tale goes that two government agents were seeking out illegal whisky stills. You can find timetables here. The animal lover said: “This festival is in my opinion abhorrent. Archaeologist Tony Pollard, who led the excavation in the early 1990s and is now Director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University, earlier said the cave may have been used as a temporary stop over by Norse mariners on their voyages from Scandinavia and the Northern Isles to the Western Isles, Ireland and the Isle of Man. One of the bodies was never found and it is said that the ghost of this man appears in the foam below the waterfall. The bus that runs between Durness and Lairg stops near the car park. MacKay was employed by the officials and was meant to helo them search. With beautiful scenery and lots of legends, Smoo Cave is a captivating place to visit. In this chamber, there is a waterfall of about 25m and some eerie rock formations. x. "Smoo" is a name thought to derive from the Old Norse Smugawhich means "hiding place" and the name is applied to this end of the village and to the river, the Allt Smoo, which disappears into a sinkhole on the inland side of the A838 a short distance from the car park, as well as to Smoo Cave itself. Be aware that buses only tend to run during the summer months. Archaeologists created a picture of high activity, with a peg carved from antler, a bone spatula and a broken bone needle, with a perforated round head - which may have been used to make and repair fishing nets - discovered. Above the cave, on the cliffs, there is also a blowhole. It is thought they dated from Mesolithic Period, or the Stone Age, when the earliest human inhabitants arrived in the Highlands between 8,000BC and 4,000BC. Some articles contain sponsored content; where I have accepted such content, received an item free of charge to review or been hosted on a trip, this has been stated in the article. Smoo Cave: Smoo Cave - See 1,087 traveller reviews, 981 candid photos, and great deals for Durness, UK, at Tripadvisor. You can read about my visit to Smoo Cave in this post. The first two chambers can be explored by foot. At the top, you can walk over the cave, which allows you to see over the blowhole. Other stories tell that the cave was the scene for a number of murders during the 16th century, as highwaymen were found here. With lost of history and pretty sea views, Smoo Cave (click here for reviews) is well worth a visit. Though the cave will go much further back as the stream is here at all times. The caves are beautiful, as are the sea views, and so worth a stop if you are exploring the Scottish Highlands. Smoo Cave is a geological wonder, and with a place like that you can bet there are myths tied to it. Dating potentially as far back as the Mesolithic period legends include that it was used by the devil for his mischief making, utilised as a death trap by highwayman Donald McMurdo and, naturally, a base for smuggling operations. Smoo Cave boundary formed between the light grey … As Smoo Cave is out in the highlands, it is not the easiest place to get to. Railed stair wslkwsy down to the cave and a railed walkway up the hill away from the cave which leadx to a viewpoint or back to the car park. Alternatively, these tours include Smoo Cave. Walkways steep so would be difficult for … Smoo Cave: Smoo Cave - See 1,119 traveler reviews, 1,056 candid photos, and great deals for Durness, UK, at Tripadvisor. He took them into the cave during a high flood and rowed out. If you plan on visiting Smoo Cave, you can find nearby hostels on HostelWorld. Packed with shells, including oysters and limpets and animal bones, including Dunnet Bay, around years... 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