A sea cave with one of the largest entrances in Britain can be found in the Highlands.
It is believed that Smoo Cave was given its name from the Norse ‘smjugg’ or ‘smuga’, which translates as ‘hiding place’.
Where is this hidden gem?
The cave is set into the limestone cliffs of Sutherland, around a mile east to the village of Durness.
It can be found at the end of an 800 metre sea inlet and is a short walk from a car park off the A838.
A steep track approaches it down to the inlet where the sea water meets the river.
What do I need to know about it?
The cave first came to public notice after Sir Walter Scott featured it in an account of the cruise around northern Scotland that he undertook in 1814.
There are many stories associated with the cave and for centuries it was believed to be the residence of the devil.
This made it a convenient place for bodies to be dumped by the local laird’s henchman at the time for anyone seen to have crossed the law.
Traces have been found of a fishing and shipbuilding community living and working there during the Viking era.
But the earliest occupation of the cave goes back even further to around 5,000 years ago.
How can I visit?
Smoo Cave is fully accessible to members of the public 365 days a year and is free of charge.
There is a walkway into the waterfall chamber with tours also available.
The end of the walkway is as far as you are able to walk unaided.
However, be careful – even small amounts of rain can cause the cave to flood quickly.
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