For information about the Spar Cave and how to find it see Spar Cave (1)
The main canyon is around 60m (200ft) long, most of its length can be flooded by high tides. The walls of the canyon are up to 30m (100ft) high.
The ruined wall shown in another picture below is just visible in the centre of this picture.
Looking out of the canyon from the tide limit. The foreground tree trunk was probably cast here by winter storms.
Just before the cave entrance are the remains of a wall which was built by a former landowner to keep visitors out of the cave.
Sir Walter Scott's party in 1814 climbed past the obstacle with the assistance of a rope, but a later less patient visitor shot through the door with his yatch's cannon and it was never replaced.
There are two caverns in the back wall of the canyon, the righthand passage quickly reduces to a size only of interest to serious cavers, the lefthand passage is the Spar Cave.
Initially the floor of the cave is muddy, but as the passage turns to the right the floor starts to rise in a flowstone staircase around 50m (150ft) long. The ceiling, walls and floor are all covered with spar (calcium carbonate) formations. The corrugated surface of the waves of spar on the floor provides surprisingly good grip.
At the top of the slope is a level section with a number of pools. Lighting effects make these pools very difficult to see in advance and though not deep they can easily lead to wet feet.
Beyond the level section there is a steeply descending flowstone slope to a very deep, full width pool; this is the mermaid's pool mentioned in Scott's poem.
The pool prevents further progress and so is the effective end of the cave; the physical end is not far from the far side of the pool.
Back to Spar Cave (1)