Scotland Tour: Smoo Cave on the clearest of days

As we set out towards Durness the next morning, the mountains are still cloaked in the smoke of yesterday evening’s heather burnings.

Smoo Cave is found just a little east of Durness. It is the clearest of days, yet the breeze over the cliff tops is enough to send our smaller children scattering and we hold their hands tightly. After some time spent allocating and applying scarves, mittens, hats and extra layers to our five children, we descend the steps together.

The bridge we can see far below leads to the cave entrance, over a river than runs out to the sea. Gulls perch precariously on small tufted ledges.

It is cold in the lea of the cliffs and my daughter huddles against me in her baby carrier. I arrange my scarf so that we are both wrapped in it and then follow the boys across the bridge into the warm sunshine. It is not quite the tourist season yet and we have the place to ourselves.

We have visited natural caverns before, but our children have never seen a cave mouth this looming and large. Their heads tilt back as they take in the sheer scale.

A natural sky light illuminates the space and a rickety looking covered walkway leads onwards. We are delighted to find that it is intended for visitors, and not merely a relic for show.

It leads off into darkness. The children eagerly press on.

It ends in a wooden viewing point, revealing a waterfall cascading into a pool that, in turn, feeds the river that meanders seawards. A sign says that in the summer months, a boat trip can be taken through the caverns.

We listen to the beautiful sound of the splashing water, which is amplified around the small chamber, before turning back to explore the main cave.

“This is the best moment of the trip so far!” Shouts one of our sons, and, to his surprise, it is echoed back many times.

I wait behind to get a snap of all of my boys, husband included, standing on the bridge waving back at me.

It is then time to see the waves and get a better perspective of the vastness of Smoo Cave from a distance.

As always, I am way behind everyone else, carrying my (now sleeping) baby daughter and happily lost in my note taking and photography.

It is time to make the steep return ascent. A hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain beckons.

Afterwards, we will spend the rest of the day following the coastal roads. Our aim is to search out the best view of the stunning mountain Ben Hope, the most northernly of the Munros.


  1. Stunning views Mrs TP and I can see why your Son said it was the best part yet… Love caves and exploring, more in my younger years lol. But living not far from the Blue John Caves where I grew up in Hope Valley, they hold a special fascination, though I would never go Pot Holing, far too many accidents with flood water in the district I lived in Derbyshire. But it’s very popular, that with rock climbing in the Peak District.

    Loving your narration Mrs TP… You write so well… and make each walk very special.. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you,
    And you have been busy and happy I was able to catch up..
    Have a great rest of the week.. ๐Ÿ’š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to get up to Blue John Caverns – we keep seeing it on our way to Mam Tor!

      I’ve done river walking and explored caves – but never pot holing, although I have a few friends who go. I always prefer to be able to see the exit ๐Ÿ™‚


        1. We have a post on the site somewhere about Mam Tor … it was the first time we tried taking our little aspie boys up a mountain – we were worried about the wind and noise being too much sensory overload, but they were exhilarated. A week later, we took them up Coniston Old Man and haven’t looked back since x

          Liked by 1 person

    1. How lovely to hear from you! That explains why the MacKay name features all over the top north west. I’ll be posting on Scotland every few posts or so, until long into March ๐Ÿ™‚ The North West remains my favourite part – even worth the 14 hour drive ๐Ÿ˜ฎ


        1. It took me years to get there too ๐Ÿ™‚ Will do! A new post is up online today, all about Loch Eriboll and the Kyle of Tongue … really pretty landscapes, which I need to go back and spend more time exploring! x


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