Caving On Skye
Friday, 4 January 2008

After spending the week in a very nice cottage on the side of Loch Slapin, and being on the Sam Allshorne peninsula as the main lump of limestone on the island it would have been rude to miss the opportunity. Unfortunately team failure and the weather dampened the plans somewhat and getting very cold as I forgot my wetsocks and gloves, but a decent days exploration was had nontheless.
The first destination was Camas Malag on the way the the Allt nan Leac valley.

A brief through trip between the sink and resurgence with a middle entrance where the stream drops down a 5m pothole. As is characteristic of a lot of the caves the limestone is very sharp but an interesting if wet trip. Very nice exit partway down a sea cliff with a superb view of Bla Bheinn.
The Allt nan Leac valley runs up from the sea and is the main caving area on Skye. numerous small caves form tributary’s to the main river which emanates from the longest cave – Uamh cinn Ghlinn at the head of the valley.

Uamh Sgeinne (Cave of Knives) was skipped on route up the valley to Beinn an Dubhaich which consists of a Main entrance, with west and east passages off. The west passage is a tall rift which is traversed and ends at a pool, but the rift has very nice banded limestone and flowstone in its lower reaches. The est passage leads through crawls to the stream which is followed down a very slippy and low 5m granite cascade to Waterfall chamber and Grampian chamber.
back at the top of the cascade another short wet crawl leads to an exit through dubious boulders at the stream sink .

A walk up the valley leads eventually to the resurgence of Uamh cinn Ghlinn where due to various (very good ) reasons including being alone, being a looooong way from anywhere and the lack of a wetsuit – the lone explorer satisfied himself with a fully body length inspection of the exit rather than complete the through trip (actually forced inspection due to being unable to reverse up the icy boulders in the entrance) – 1/2 tick at least?

A dash back to the car, and a drive round the hill to Uamh an Ard Achadh – High Pasture Cave – the second longest cave on Skye. A big archaeological dig is underway around the entrance where a chamber has been found to be used for a burial around 40BC. Entry to the cave is still possible, carefully avoiding the 230v power and CCTV cables which run down the streamway.
A very nice streamway – initially quite sharp leads down to a 8m low flat out duck before opening out again to a nice clean washed streamway, which ends too soon at a pool with a very uninviting crawl leading onwards. On returning up the streamway the lower end of the chamber being excavated was explored which appeared to include a shaft being dug in the floor.
A very nice – if too short (140m) streamcave with the added excitement of incorporating Russian roulette to the sport due to the copious amount of broken glass in the streamway (note earlier comment re no gloves).

Last on the list was Breakish Cave and Breakish Bridge cave both being in a river just off the main Kyleakin to Broadford road. After a brief exploration of the wrong river and wondering up the main road for a could of hundred meters the entrance to Breakish Cave was found. A tight muddy crawl leads to a very impressive streamway running parallel with the river bed 5m away. Walking downstream for 40m leads to a lowering of the roof but with passages continuing whilst upstream leads to a decorated section where a step in the floor is met. This soon ends but at the base of the step a couple of low crawls leads to other small chambers.

Heading back down stream for a brief look around Breakish Bridge Cave followed by another sprint down the main road to the amusement of several drivers.
Although maybe not the best caves in Scotland – very interesting locations and Uamh an Ard Achadh is definately recommended for a visit.
More pictures in the photo galley Scotland but non of Breakish or Uamh an Ard Achadh due to lack of really cave proof camera….SANTA!!!!

Images
Camas Malag Sink
Posted by: Stuart Abbott
Size: 98kb
Width: 384 pixels
Height: 288 pixels
Posted: 07 January 2008
Camas Malag Lower Entrance to Upper Cave
Posted by: Stuart Abbott
Size: 154kb
Width: 392 pixels
Height: 523 pixels
Posted: 07 January 2008
Camas Malag Duck in Upper Cave
Posted by: Stuart Abbott
Size: 142kb
Width: 523 pixels
Height: 392 pixels
Posted: 07 January 2008
Resurgence
Posted by: Stuart Abbott
Size: 138kb
Width: 523 pixels
Height: 392 pixels
Posted: 07 January 2008
Bla Bheinn from resurgence
Posted by: Stuart Abbott
Size: 150kb
Width: 392 pixels
Height: 523 pixels
Posted: 07 January 2008