Smoo Cave.

Start. Smoo Cave car park.

Route. Smoo Cave car park - Smoo Cave - Grodha Smoo - Smoo Pot - Smoo Cave car park.

Notes. Far to the north, around 400 miles in fact from my lair in the Lake District lies a strange land, a land of peat and heather where the bones of the land break through the shallow top soil, many lochans reflect the spirit of the sky, mountains rise like towers from marshy flatlands. This our Norse forefathers christened Sutherland, the lands in the south, we know it as the Highlands about as far north as main land Britian will let you travel without a boat, a land of ancient and modern history, myth and legend, a land where man has barely scratched the surface.

Today after a long drive through staggeringly beautiful scenery we found ourselves at Durness on the north coast. A coast fighting a constant battle as the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea unite to batter the landmass, the raw beauty is astonishing. Golden beaches squeezed between rocky headlands, massive cliffs, sea stacks and natural arches all sculptured by the action of wave power. One of these natural features is Smoo Cave the reason we're here.

Smoo Cave car park provides a few parking spaces, we squeezed in but there is more further up the road. After visiting the cave we took a short stroll to the headland, a path once used by boatman guided us above precipitous cliffs into stunning coastal scenery. At one point we descended in their footfall a narrow trod honed from the cliff face, this allowed their boats to dock even on low tides. Back on the cliff top path we strolled on to the point, sat and drank in some of the best coastal scenery Scotland has to offer.

We soaked it up, views over Leirinbeg to a spectacular Faraid Head, in the other direction Eilean Hoan and the stacks and natural arches marking Whiten Head. We wandered east, watched the incoming tide wash under sea arches before swinging back inland to access the path we just left. Above Smoo Cave we walked passed a sink hole and what would have once been a giant blow hole. We stood our minds drifting back to a time of higher sea levels, when the landmass was lower than today, forced into the earth's mantel by the sheer weight of ice. Recovering from the last ice age, high seas were forced down the deep narrow gorge honing and carving this the largest entrance to a sea cave in the British Isles, on land melting ice fuelling mighty rivers, permeable limestone allowing one particular river to seep underground carving out the deeper fresh water depths of Smoo Cave. This is what makes this a very special place, don't drive on by, stop and visit, you won't be disappointed.

view route map.


The descent to Smoo Cave.

Geodha Smoo, imagine a stormy night, a high tide forced down this narrow inlet, what force there must have been to carve and hone this....

....the largest entrance to a sea cave in the British Isles? no not that I'm allready in the cave, you're looking at the entrance to the inner chamber..

A short sharp ascent to the cliff top followed, with views back to Smoo Cave.

This short stretch of path honed from the cliff face allowed boatmen access to their craft even at low water.

Wonderful views along a coastline shaped by the sea, looking across the entrance to Grodha Smoo to a distant Faraid Head.

In the other direction guarding the mouth of Loch Eriboll, Whiten Head and the island of Eilean Hoan.

Faraid Head seen through a big lens.

Smoo Cave, 50ft high formed by a burn running into the inner chamber and erosion by the sea.

Soaking up views the length od Geodha Smoo, letting our thoughts drift back to a land of melting glsciers and rising sea levels.

back to top

back to list