MacKinnon's Cave.

Start. Balmeanach.

Route. Balmeanach - Port Uamh Beathaig - MacKinnon's Cave - Port Uamh Beathaig - Balmeanach.

Notes. MacKinnon's Cave reckoned to be the longest sea cave in the Hebrides, deep in the cave can be found Fingle's Table a large slab used by the "Culdees" of the early church as an alter, the place certainly has an aura of mystery and magic about it, William Black the popular Victorian novelist is said to have set one of the scenes of his novel Castle Dare in the cave, it has been home to hermits and fairies but scariest of all it is said to be an entrance to the underworld, even without magic and mystery it's a dangerous place only accessible after half tide, be warned.

We parked near Balmeanach in the shadow of A" Mhaol Mhor where there's a small car park and information board, the route was clearly marked, through the farm, up the hill to the left of the outbuildings then follow the arrows along the fence line until a gate allows access to the cliffs. After a steep descent we crossed a shingle beach to reach a boulder field, guarded by a waterfall the cave lay at the other side of the field of boulders. We entered the cave through swarms of flies, millions upon millions of them living on rotting Kelp, the cave was eerie, a rather unsettling place, not a nice place to be, Sue refused to leave the warmth of the sun, I switched my torch on, it refused to pierce the darkness, after a few minutes exploring we made our way back into the light, the only way back was to re-trace our steps stopping for a brew after we'd ascended the cliffs.

view route map.


Above the farm buildings of Balmeanach with views across Loch na Keal taking in the island of Inch Kenneth and Ulva.

Our route follows the fence line, on the far horizon the island of Iona.

Rising in the northeast Beinn na Drise, to the right the dark cliffs of A' Hhaol Mhor dwarf the small whitewashed farm buildings.

Seen across Loch na Keal the island of Ulva.

A quick glance back before we descend to the beach.

You can't see the cave from here it's hidden behind the light coloured boulder about half way up the picture to the left.

Sue carefully picks her way through the field of boulders.

After negotiating the field of stone this high waterfall marked our arrival at the cave.

This serious gash in the cliff face is what we've come to explore.

The shot of me gives the scene more perspective.

Sue gingerly enters the cave, she's braved the flies now it's just the dank of the cave putting her off.

We're back in the daylight with views along the coast to the north....

....and to the south.

This was our lunch stop with wonderful airy views over Loch na Keal.

The whitewashed farm buildings of Balmeanach mark journeys end.

Looking back with memories of the drama of MacKinnen's Cave.

back to top

back to list