The Smoo Caves
The Smoo Caves in Durness is a very interesting place…
Travelling around the North Coast 500 on your way to stay at the lovely new NC500 pods you will come across a wonderful site in Durness. Carved by the sea, the cliffs at Durness are home to the UK’s largest sea cave. Smoo Cave has a mouth 40m wide and 49m high and it stretches 83 meters into the Earth.
The name of the cave, “Smoo”, comes from an old Norse word, “smjugg”, meaning “the hiding-place”. Throughout its existence it has been just that. From the Neolithic era to today the cave has been used for many purposes. Neolithic, Iron Age and Norse items have been discovered in the “hiding-place”. Today, fortunately it can be found and is a popular tourist attraction. Maybe you can spend some time hiding from the sun or the rain.
Access to the outer chamber of the cave is free but if you wish to travel further into its depths then a guided tour is available and highly recommended. Climbing into a rubber dinghy you are rowed through the darkness until a pillar of light shines from a large hole in the roof. This is where the Allt Smoo Stream crashes down in an impressive waterfall. After taking some photographs the guide leads you up a narrow passage to where a stream bubbles from the ground and flint can be found. Perhaps this is the reason why early settlers took to using the cave.
You will walk away from the cave fully impressed by the grandeur of the site and the efforts of the guide who is on the verge of discovering another cave system behind Smoo Cave hiding behind water and earth.
RedBeard Productions, Inverness