by UK Flower Girl
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
November 22, 2005
Travelling along the only main road in the area, the A838 from Durness to Tongue, we happened upon Smoo Cave. Set on a dramatic coastline of craggy limestone cliffs, Smoo Cave can be a quick visit or a more in-depth visit if you decide to take the boat trip into the further caves.
The following is the information about Smoo Cave from an informational sign near the cave entrance: “Smoo Cave was formed, over millions of years, by the action of the rain and the sea on the soft, soluble limestone rocks of which the area is composed. Water, penetrating below ground, has hollowed out caverns and widened cracks until the stream has disappeared down a sink hole—forming a waterfall, into an underground chamber and finally flowing out of the mouth of the main Cave. The Cave entrance is one of the largest in Britain—measuring 30 metres across by 15 metres high. Its position, at the end of an 800 metre geo—or sea inlet, poses the question whether or not this too was roofed at one time. Within the inner Cave the waterfall of the Allt Smoo tumbles 21 metres or 70 feet through the sink hole.“
“Smoo Cave was named by the Vikings—from “Smuga”—a hole or hiding place” (or, from the Smoo Cave website, “Smjugg” from Norse—hole creek or cleft) — “but there is evidence in the form of prehistoric remains to suggest it was inhabited before even the Vikings discovered it. The Cave also has links with smugglers and the supernatural.
The cliffs and surrounding areas can be dangerous. Please be careful and keep away from the edges.”
Before you climb down to the cave, look for the blow holes above the cave. The brown informational sign also shows you where these holes are located. Be sure to look over the green hillside to see where names or declarations of love have been made out of rocks by walkers in the area.
You can enter the main mouth of the cave and cross the little bridge into the main cave which is grand at 60 metres long and 40 metres wide. The second cave, where you can find the waterfall, is smaller at about 21 metres by 9 metres and can be viewed from the platform. If you want to continue to explore, the next step is the decent down into the depths then exploring via a small boat. There is a guide boat at the cave to take you in for around 3 Pounds. The waterfall wasn’t flowing and my “scared-of-heights” hubby seemed a little reluctant to go down to take the boat tour so we skipped it.
Smoo Cave is definitely a recommended place to stop if you are travelling this length of road. One thing of note at this location is a public toilet, which are few and far between in this rural landscape.
From journal Bonny Scotland: Our adventure continues