Spar cave is an impressive historic cave located just outside of the village of Elgol on the Isle of Skye. The geographic formations on the cliffs surrounding spar caves are phenomenal and worth a visit on your trip to the Isle of Skye.
Spar Cave is often overlooked on an Isle of Skye itinerary, however if you are planning on visiting Elgol to go on one of the many boat trips that leave from this area, we would highly recommend squeezing this into your day too.
Spar Cave is only accessible at low tide and requires clambering over slippery boulders to reach, leaving it inaccessible to those with poor mobility.
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A Guide to Visiting Spar Cave on the Isle of Skye
Spar Cave is a fascinating sight to see on the Isle of Skye, you can choose to admire the geological features from the rocks, or if you are feeling more adventurous, you can enter inside the cave. In this guide, we will discuss the best time to go to Lihou Island as well as the following
- What is Spar Cave?
- Where is Spar Cave?
- How to get to Spar Cave?
- Why Should I go to Spar Cave?
- When Should I go to Spar Cave?
- Preparing for your trip to the Isle of Skye.
What is Spar Cave?
Spar Cave is a sight off the beaten path on the Isle of Skye that is relatively quiet in comparison to other sights on the Isle of Skye. In saying that, we would definitely recommend it as a sight that you should visit on your Isle of Skye itinerary.
The history of Spar Cave dates back to the 9th century where it is believed that a local princess fell in love with the son of the chief of Colonsay as he was shipwrecked on the Strathaird coast. They fell in love and she gave birth to his baby, despite their fathers hating each other. The princess hit with the baby in the cave until the feud was over to avoid her father finding out.
The Gaelic name for Spar Cave is Slochd Altimen, which means Nursing Cave. The name Spar Cave came from the white calcium carbonate that coats every surface of the tunnel into the cave.
You will need a head torch to enter into the cave, we found that just a phone torch alone wasn’t strong enough.
Where is Spar Cave?
Spar Cave is located way out of the way from any of the other main tourist sights on the Isle of Skye. It is located outside of a small village called Glasnakeille near Elgol. There is no official sign posts in place for Spar Cave and if you hadn’t heard about it you would never know it was there.
During the 19th century, the landowner built a wall to deter visitors and was charging entrance fees. Since then, a passing gunboat destroyed the wall and this magnificent sight is free to visit.
How to get to Spar Cave?
Spar cave is located near the small town of Elgol. Coming from the mainland, turn left at the Broadford Hotel and follow the road for around half an hour through the glen. As you approach Elgol at the top of the hill, you will see a small car park overlooking the Harbour and car park below. This may be the best place to park as there is limited parking near Spar Cave. This single track road winds around the hills for about 1km. Cross over the cattle grid and continue to follow the road round the the right. If there is space you may be able to park safely at the cattle grid.
Shortly after, you will notice a gate on your left with a faint path through the grass. Follow through the gate ensuring that you close it behind. The path winds down through the field and down the cliff where you will begin to see a cave.
It can be incredibly slippery and the ground beneath is very uneven as you enter onto the stony beach areas so mind your feet.
Follow the rocks to your left, passing by another two inlets before you reach the one leading you to Spar Cave. This is only accessible at low tide and it is important to note the tide times so that you can get back out of the cave safely before the tide comes in as well.
Why Should I go to Spar Cave?
The geological formation around the area and inside Spar Cave is breathtaking. Inside the cave itself, you can climb up the staircase made from calcium carbonate to explore deeper into the cave. Eventually you will reach a pool, we have heard of people going for a freezing dip in there but I can’t say we did that one ourselves!
Spar Cave is definitely one of the more underrated sights on the Isle of Skye that you can enjoy without the crowds. Whether you make the walk across the rocks to see inside the cave or whether you sit on the rocks and enjoy the view, on a clear day the views across the water are magical.
When Should I go to Spar Cave?
Spar Cave is only accessible for an hour on either side of low tide so you will need to make sure you check the tide times for you to enter and exit safely. You don’t want to get stuck in the dark cave for 12 hours so pre-planning is a must. It is also worth remembering that the rocks will be very slippery with seaweed when the tide goes out.
Due to the ground underfoot on the walk towards Spar Cave, it may be best not to visit after or during heavy rainfall as the ground will become very boggy underfoot.
Before You Leave on Your Trip to the Isle of Skye
Before you leave on your trip to the Isle of Skye there are a few things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. These include how to get there and around the island, what to pack and where to stay, all of which are discussed below.
How to Get to the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is connected to mainland Scotland by the Skye Bridge, a free road bridge, from Kyle of Lochalsh to the village of Kyleakin on the island. In high winds, the bridge will close to high vehicles and on days of particularly extreme weather, the bridge may close to all vehicles.
Another option is to get the ferry over to Skye which typically takes around 30 minutes, leaving from Mallaig on the mainland to Armadale. You can check the timetables online as there is typically only a morning and afternoon ferry running.
If you are travelling to Skye without a vehicle, buses run from Scotland’s major cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh direct to Isle of Skye’s capital, Portree. Buses to the Isle of Skye run from other areas in Scotland and you can plan your bus journey to Skye here.
Once you are on the island, you can book onto a tour that departs from Portree and takes you around the best sights that there are to see on the island. Read more about this tour and book your place right here.
Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye
These recommendations may vary depending on what activities you are wanting to do whilst on the island. We have based these accommodations close to the centre of the island and near Portree. In the summer Portree is extremely busy and we would recommend that you look to stay elsewhere if you want to avoid the crowds and traffic.
In the winter months, however, Portree is a pleasant and central location from which it is easy to get to many of the sights around the island.
Luxury – If you are looking for a comfortable apartment stay to come home to after a day exploring, Quayside Apartment is the perfect place for you. With spectacular views and a good central location, this accommodation is comfort plus for your next trip to Skye.
Mid-range – The Portree Hotel is a great central location for your stay in Skye. This hotel overlooks the main square in Portree and during the winter months, there are wood-burning stoves to keep you warm after a day of exploring.
Budget – If you are looking for a budget place to rest your head but still have a great view, The Pink House is the place to stay just for that. A continental breakfast is included in your stay and you can book a room with a great view out to sea.
If hostels are more your scene, you can check out the hostels available in Isle of Skye here.
What to Pack for the Isle of Skye
When it comes to packing for a trip to Scotland there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your trip to the Isle of Skye in winter, you can expect rain at some point. Due to this, the number one item on your packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
Second to that, another item to not leave home without is a good pair of warm and, if possible, waterproof boots. A lot of the best sights on Skye require a bit of walking to reach them and the conditions underfoot can become very muddy. You do not want to ruin a good pair of white trainers so pack some sturdy boots.
You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the winter months as the wind chill can be bitter.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around the Isle of Skye, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
Microphone – Shure VP83 Condenser Shotgun Microphone
Main Lens – Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8
Zoom Lens – Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8
Camera Tripod – ZOMEI Z669C Camera Tripod
Gorilla Pod – JOBY JB01507-BWW GorillaPod
Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 3
Sturdy Phone Tripod & Selfie Stick – ATUMTEK 61″ Selfie Stick Tripod, Sturdy Phone Tripod Stand with Wireless Remote
What is the Best Travel Insurance for Scotland
We know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.
To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.
So there you have it, your guide to visiting Spar Cave on the Isle of Skye. If you are visiting this incredible place and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! Did you get a clear day to see the sights? Did you manage the trip without getting caught in the rain? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience completing this stunning walk.
If you are planning a Scotland trip soon then check out our other Scotland content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your stay and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.
- Visiting the Isle of Skye in Winter – All You Need to Know
- Isle of Skye – The Best Things to Do in Skye
- Isle of Skye Itinerary – One Day on the Isle of Skye
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