St Ninian’s Cave
Today we had a day off! We decided to head to the Machars and to St Ninian’s Cave. It is a destination I have wanted to visit for such a long time. We arrived there and parked in the car park where there was the strangest of honesty boxes! It looked like an old safe from a Bank vault. It had a small slit in the front of it just the right size to pay our 50p for parking.
Then off we went, firstly down a farm track and past a field full of cattle basking in the sunshine and then through a gate, across a quiet country road and into the Physgill Glen. We were shaded by trees and surrounded by bird song as we walked through the glen. A burn runs along the path and Abiidoodle was helping herself to a paddle and a drink along the way. After one mile we emerged from the glen onto a stunning pebbly beach, blue sky, sparkling sea and an amazing view across to the Isle of Man.
400 yards to the right of us was St Ninian’s Cave. Across the pebbles we walked towards the cave with the pebble beach sloping down to the sea. We walked up the sloping rise of stones towards the mouth of the cave. The cave isn’t as deep as it used to be due to rock falls in more recent times. There were wooden crosses made from driftwood inside the cave and rocks and pebbles pushed into clefts in the rocks. A photograph with a reading was secured by a pebble by the mouth of the cave and various cairns had been made by previous visitors. This truly was a special place and was believed to have been a hideaway for St Ninian who founded the first church at Whithorn sometime in the 390’s. St Ninian’s Cave is now a place of pilgrimage for those on the trail of St Ninian.
St Ninian’s cave was also used in the 1973 cult film “The Wicker Man” where Rowan Morrison, a school girl, disappears and Sergeant Howie is sent to SummerIsle to investigate her disappearance. St Ninian’s cave is featured in the film as the location where he finds Rowan and saves her from being a human sacrifice only to become one himself. It’s one of my favourite films!
We had a wonderful walk to St Ninian’s cave and it certainly won’t be our last, it is one of those special places that you must visit again and again and again.
Come along to Kirklauchline Cottage and explore this wonderful region of Scotland. today to book your next holiday.