Smoo Cave, Scotland

Smoo Cave, Scotland

Life Swift
Published on December 9, 2023
Smoo Cave, Scotland

Smoo Cave is a natural sea cave engraved into high limestone sea cliffs near Durness, Southerland. It is one of the most famous tourist destination in northern Scotland. The cave structure has a length of 200 feet, width of 130 feet. The word “Smoo” is originated from Norse meaning hole or cleft. It is said that the cave was formed by a burn that runs down into the rear chamber. Also, it is believed that the cave is formed partly by the erosion caused by the sea.

Design and Structure

Smoo Cave is exclusive in all around the UK because it is a place where the formation of first chamber is due to the result of the sea actions. Basically, the cave can be considered as the blending of two different caves over a long period of time. The cave can be divided into three major parts: a large sea cave entrance chamber, a waterfall chamber as well as a short freshwater passage. The entrance of Smoo cave (width: 40 m  and height: 15 m) is the largest sea cave entrance in the UK. Still, various leftovers can be witnessed by seeing along the eastern side of Geodh, which was once a part of the cave.


The site contains a signed car park and toilets, along with a sequence of wooden stepladders running down the sea cliffs to the coast letting entree to the caves all through the year.The huge main chamber provide sentree to another chamber, where an impressive waterfall is located.

All the visitors can get a good look at the waterfall from the wooden walkaway. The sound of the waterfall can be relaxing the soul if there is sufficient flow in the water. There is an ancient dunghill located to one side of the key opening. Besides, there are trails along the cliffs, and a path to a fenced area where the visitors can see the openings of three pot holes and the Sink Hole at the same time.

Interpretation of the Smoo Caveby Sir Walter Scot

Sir Walter Scot has wonderfully interpreted his 1814 stay at Smoo cave. He mentioned the beauty of the place in the most appropriate and realistic manner. He described that ‘A water kelpie or an evil soul of aquatic inclinations could not have elected a fitter abode’. Also, he has mentioned that the Smoo Cave holds attraction for the visitors to enjoy the peace and natural beauty.

Present Situation

At present, the cave has a length of 83 m up to the station sump. It is one of the major attractions for tourists to explore this natural and overwhelming scenery. There are plans regarding improving the facilities at site to manage 40,000 visitors annually. Tourists can organize their holidays for the site during the summer to explore the inner chamber.