Top caves in Scotland – and tips for visiting
If you love the unseen world below, you should visit the caves of Scotland. Most Scottish caves are limestone caves, but you will also find sea caves, fissure caves and caves formed in other types of rock.
Some caves are tiny, some were inhabited by famous people in centuries past, some, such as the caves of Assynt, offer more than 1km of passage and the longest is 2km.
10 caves in Scotland
1 Aberdour Caves, Aberdeenshire
2 Fingal’s Cave on Staffa
3 St Ninian’s Cave, Dumfries and Galloway
4 Smoo Cave, Durness, Sutherland
5 Massacre and Cathedral Caves, Isle of Eigg
6 The Bone Caves, Inchnadamph, Sutherland
7 Mackinnon’s Cave, Isle of Mull
8 King’s Cave, Island of Arran
9 Keil Caves, Southend, Kintyre
10 Crucifixion Cave, Davaar Island, Kintyre
Tips for caving
Before you begin your caving adventures in Scotland, there are a few things you should consider.
If it’s a sea cave make sure you explore at low tide. Check before you go to find out when the low-low tide time is and plan your trip accordingly. Of course, if you are going by kayak, this does not apply to you.
Always inquire about the time the tide will rise. You do not want to be deep in the caves when the tide rises. It can rise very quickly, making exiting difficult.
Expect to get wet. Streams, drips, ponds, and puddles will be in the caves. Some will have a lot more water than others, but they will all have water. Be prepared to get wet.
Wear the right shoes. There are often times that you have to climb steep and wet inclines or jump from slippery stones to other slippery stones. Make sure your boots or shoes are made for this experience.
Before you take your children, research the cave. Many young children cannot handle the climbing or the physical effects that caving has on them.
Prepare for quick climate changes. It can go from very warm to very cold and wet quickly. Bring a light jacket, especially for children.
Take water so you will not dehydrate if something goes wrong. Also bring some candy along in case you need an energy boost, to raise your blood sugar, or if you just get the munchies. It will also help quiet hungry children. There are online candy suppliers who can help you with your selection.
You need a headtorch. The caves are very dark and you need both hands-free to manoeuvre through them. Bring an extra head torch or at least extra batteries.
Take a first-aid kit in case someone gets hurt and a map of the cave in case you get separated from the group.
If you are an inexperienced caver, try it with a guide or other adults with experience before you take your children with you. You must find your limits so you will know which caves to go to. Scotland is the perfect place to learn.