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Scottish Caving - Cave Survey
Here are some of my images of the caves in Scotland.

Durness Area

 

Smoo Cave

This huge sea cave just outside Durness is open to the public. A freshwater stream rises from its depths out of an impenetrable sump and there is a spectacular waterfall from the surface in wet weather. A TV programme a few years ago featured the climber Joe Brown fishing for trout in the pool at the base of the waterfall!

Smoo Geo - cave is on right at the head of the inlet

A view out

Abseiling into the Waterfall entrance

The waterfall from inside the cave

The late tony Jarratt (Jrat) in the passage to the inlet sump

 

Balnakeil Gloup

This interesting sea cave lies in the cliffs on the southern side of Balnakeil Bay near Durness. It can be reached either by abseiling into the roof by way of a collapse on the cliff tops or by a short swim up a geo at low tide or, with care, by boat.. The cave is liberally endowed with stalagmite formations and is well worth a visit.

 

All nam Uamh valley

 

Bone Caves

These lie to south of Inchnadamph and are in a nature reserve. A parking area by a fish farm leads up the Allt nam Uamh valley to loop around these ancient remnants of a much large cave system extending into the mountain. Just beyond the bifurcation of the main valley, on each side lie 2 of Scotland's longest caves, Allt nam Uamh Stream Cave (ANUS) and Uamh an Claonaite.

Claonaite

This is Scotland's longest cave and exploration continues. You can see the images in relation to the survey on another page.

           
           

Far side of Sump 1 bypass

Cavity wall passage

Ascending first Watershoot

Bottom of second Watershoot by Sump 2

Crawling towards Sump 3

In the big passages beyond Sump 6

Tony Boycott on the far side of Sump 3

The crawl away from Sump 3 to Sump 4

       
           

Splash pit in GNTM

Splash pit in GNTM

Splash pit in GNTM

 

Splash pit in GNTM

 

Splash pit in GNTM

Bear Bones

Bear Bones

Bear Bones

Entering Great Northern time Machine

Corner of GNTM

Corner of GNTM

Corner of GNTM

Base of Raigmore Steps

Near the bear bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Walford the far side of Sump 6b

Approaching Raigmore Steps

Looking down the boulder slope in Belhaven at the entry point from Rana hole at bottom left.

Simon Brooks in Legless Highway

Tony Boycott examines the bear bones

The bear's jaw bone

           
           

Entering the Great Northern Time Machine

Splash formations in the Great Northern Time Machine

Stalagmite formations in the Great Northern Time Machine

Simon Brooks on the Twin Falls of Jabaroo

 

 

 

 

     

Cascade just before Sump 7

The climb into the streamway just before Sump 7

Simon Brooks in Sump 8

Rana Hole

 

In 1996 the large shakehole which lay at the same level as the crag top above the bone caves and about 400 metres for the entrance of Uamh Clanonaite started to receive considerable attention from diggers. They had been inspired by the discovery of Claonaite & and the presence of a lofty aven (Belhaven after one of the local ales) not far distant horizontally from the shakehole. Dubbed Rana Hole as a result of the numbers of frogs found there it was dug with increasing enthusiasm for the next 11 years. A large boulder and mud filled shaft was gradually revealed and as it deepened more and more sophisticated methods were required to remove digging spoil culminating in the bicycle winch and spoil monorail devised and constructed by Norman Flux of Sheffield University Speleological Society (SUSS). The tonnage of spoil increased rapidly until in 2007 a horizontal passage was reached and beyond it a series of chambers and climbs that ultimately opened at the base of Belhaven giving cavers a dry route into the far reaches of Claonaite. Divers soon made the Claonaite to Rana trip and the author with Estelle Sandford made the Rana to Claonaite trip in May 2009 taking about two and a half hours in dry conditions.

 

Rana Hole is a system in its own right with an active stream way and some of the largest cave chambers in Scotland, as well as some beautiful stalactite grottoes.

 

2 A's Chamber

Corner of 2 A's Chamber

Corner of 2 A's Chamber

Exit point from 2 A'sChamber

Corner of 2 A's Chamber

     
     

 

Allt nam Uamh Stream Cave (ANUS Cave)

 

This system was the first system of any significant size to be found in this area. It was chiselled open in 1948 and lies on the left fork of the Allt nam Uamh valley 100 metres before a normally dry waterfall is encountered. The low entrance in the wall of a cliff on the right looking downstream is surrounded by boulders. A constriction just inside the entrance drops into the large Assembly Hall from which passages run in several directions. Downstream encounters the main stream emerging from a sump and it then flows into a very final looking boulder choke. Upstream big fossil passage leads to a large chamber and then a constricted crawl leading to Farr series discovered by the Welsh cave diver Martyn Farr in 1976 by diving the previously mentioned sump. Farr series contains big dry passages waterfalls and cascades and ends in the unpassed final sump 4. There are few formations in the cave but despite it's relatively modest length it provides some sporting caving.

 

Looking out of the entrance

The constriction just beyond the entrance

The Assembly Hall looking back towards the entrance slot (just the right of the flash)

The Assembly Hall looking into the cave

The far end of the Assembly Hall

View along Oxford Street towards the entrance passage

The traversse over the First Stream chamber

Just above the climb into the Pit

 
 

Breakdown Chamber

The dug connecting crawl into the Farr Series from Breakdown Chamber

One of the cascades upstream of Sump 3

   

Dropping down to upstream side of Sump 3

 

Climbing Thunderghast Falls

Climbing Thunderghast Falls

   
     
     

Entering Upholes Passage just before Sump 4

In Upholes Passage

Simon Brooks admires unusual mud drip formations

 

Traligill Valley

Cnoc nam Uamh

This lies in the Traligill valley above Inchnadamph. Parts of it are popular with outdoor groups and it is also a challenging cave diving site. The lowest entrance leads directly onto a spectacular ramp known as the Waterslide which drops steeply for 60 metres before ending in a sump (flooded section of cave passage). Diving attempts in 1991 revealed an underwater boulder obstruction but in 1994 this was passed and some of the most beautiful cave passage in Scotland was entered.

Uppermost entrance

J

ohn Buxton just inside the entrance

The grotto

On the way to the 'worm' static sump

Just below Uamh an Tartair the middle entrance

A view of the Waterslide

 In the WaterslideApproaching the sump

Northern Lights beyond the sumps

Northern lights and Fraser Simpson admiring them

Bottom of the waterslide

 

Storm Cave

 

This is the newest find in the Traligill area and was located after the entrance had collapsed, during a storm. It is very near the main stream sink, so considerable distance fromCnoc nam Uamh. It consists of a crawl, a big dark peat filled chamber, a short streamway and a very gloomy sump.

 

Top of the chamber

Looking up the rubble slope from the streamway

In the streamway

Streamway leading to sump

Small cascades

Near the sump

The sump

 
    

 

 

 

 

 

All na Calda Mhor:

This short but interesting cave lies under a waterfall in a stream valley above Loch Assynt. It is very damp!

 

The Island of Skye

High Pasture Cave

 

 

Valley Head Cave

 

       

 

Breakish Caves

 

       

Mendip Caves

Devonshire Caves

Other Caves