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Friday, 8 February 2008

St Ninians Cave

Yesterday,Thursday the 7th of February 2008,I set off to walk down to St Ninians Cave at Glasserton in the Machars.I'd promised myself i'd come back after seeing it from a distance on the last Ramblers outing.
On the path heading down Physgill glen,the snowdrops were in full bloom.Scotland has an abundance of snowdrops and have a snowdrop festival every year.More info on that can be found at
Here's just a few.

Further on was this lovely little bridge,although there looked to be nearly as much water running over it as under it.

Still on the way down i spotted this lovely waterfall.Our waterfalls here in Galloway may not be the most spectacular,but they're without doubt very scenic.

The walk from the car park is a mile long and i finally made it to the shoreline.
The tide was well in and the surf was in fine form as can be seen by these pictures.

A stony walk along the shore and i reach the cave.

This plaque just outside the cave reads as follows.
This cave is by tradition the retreat of St.Ninian,who brought Christianity to Scotland in the mid 5th century.He was said to travel the few miles from his church at Whithorn to be alone here with his thoughts and his prayer.If he did regularly leave his busy church for private contemplation he would be following the examples of many of the holy men in the early church.
It is impossible to know whether St.Ninian actually used the cave,but it was certainly visited by pilgrims to the shrine of St.Ninian at Whithorn for many centuries.
Excavations in 1884 and in 1950 showed that the cave was in use from the eighth century.The pilgrims left stone crosses,some carved straight onto the walls of the cave and others cut onto free-standing stones.The latter are on display in Whithorn Priory Museum.The seven crosses on the walls are done in the same way as the crosses on early Christian memorial stones,pecked into the surface of the rock.The earliest of these may predate the Northumbrian conquest of Galloway,sometime before 731.

I see evidence of recent pilgrims by these marked stones and fashioned crosses.

The cave is smaller than i imagined it would be,but even so there are a lot of carvings/names on the walls.Looking closely there are carvings and names dating back centuries.A lot of the names/carvings have become merged which makes it difficult to make out.Here's a few i photographed.

I'd taken quite a bit of film on this visit.I find it hard to believe but i somehow managed to delete every last bit of footage.YouTube will now have to wait a little bit longer for a St.Ninians feature.
Nevertheless i had a very enjoyable and interesting afternoon.

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