What do Pink Floyd, Felix Mendelssohn, artist J. M. W. Turner, and John Keats have in common? Fingal’s Cave. A natural masterpiece, Fingal’s Cave, with its towering hexagonally jointed basalt columns and ethereal acoustics, inspired each and every one of these prolific artists. Situated on the uninhabited island of Staffa, the columns were formed when solidified lava contracted and fractured due to cooling. A must for the bucket list, this sea cave is referred to as ‘the melodious cave’ due to the harmonic sound of the toing and froing ocean swell lurking within. Entangled with Scots and Irish lore, this place is a true gift from mother nature.
When it comes to caves, Smoo Cave certainly stands out from the crowd. A colossal cavernous palace fit for a giant king, this natural phenomenon is both a sea and freshwater cave. A playground for geologists, the cave came about from sea erosion, while the inner chambers were formed by an inland subterranean stream and rainwater that thawed the carbonate dolostone. The mammoth opening, mystical waterfall chamber, and wee freshwater passage are all worth exploring.
Enigmatic and spiritual, St Ninian’s Cave rests just a stone’s throw from Whithorn Abbey in Dumfries and Galloway. Serene and soothing, it’s easy to see why St Ninian, Scotland’s very first saint, is said to have used this hideout as his own personal sanctuary. Throughout the years, excavations have led to numerous unearthings of crosses and headstones dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Today, carved symbols still captivate the many minds eager to decipher any hidden codes. This gem, which was used as a filming location for The Wicker Man, is a prime picnic and dog walking spot.
If aliens were to land a spaceship in Scotland and surreptitiously disguise it as a seafront cave, then King’s Cave would be it! Aesthetically impressive and intrinsically alluring, rumour has it that King’s Cave is the very site where Robert the Bruce sought sanctuary before the Battle of Bannockburn and subsequently set eyes on the ever-so famous spider. Like many of Scotland’s caverns, this cave sports many carvings worthy of a thorough decoding. Rooted on the Isle of Arran, King’s Cave basks on a pebble-adorned beach amidst a splendid forest, making it perfectly suited to adventurers.