I have walked to the Bone Caves many times with my family on holidays.
This time I did it alone, which felt a little strange but did allow me to take a further wander up the Glen beyond the Bone caves for a short while….this section is not included in the walk details below and though it was very enjoyable its not recommended with children.
The Bone Caves walk takes you up the Glen of the Allt nan Uamh (Burn of the Caves).
The whole walk is about four kilometres long and is mostly on a good path. The walk is suitable for families — but not for pushchairs,
Start from the Allt nan Uamh car park, about four kilometres south of Inchnadamph.
The Magic river, downstream.
The Magic river, upstream.
About 800 metres from the car park, you reach a small crag to the left of the path, and the first view of Creag nan Uamh (Crag of the Caves) appears.
Look at the river. Most of the water doesn’t flow from higher up the glen instead, it is appearing from almost beneath your feet. This is a big spring, the Fuaran Allt nan Uamh. The limestone in this area is so permeable that the water flows through it in a series of caves and cracks. My boys were always amazed at the full flowing river suddenly dissapearing upstream….it became known as the magic river. The river bed above the spring is dry, except during heavy rain, when the underground system can’t take all the water and it flows on the surface.
About 500 metres beyond the spring, cross the dry stream bed and climb up to the Bone Caves. There are four caves, formed thousands of years ago, before the last ice age, as water gradually dissolved the limestone along cracks and faults. Over thousands of years, the glen has deepened, cutting away part of the cave system, and leaving the caves as we see today high on the side of the glen.
Digs here have found the bones of wolves, bears, lynxes and arctic foxes. Reindeer bones and antlers have also been found. Human artefacts and bones have also been found in the caves. Nowadays its just red deer that are the common sight in the glen.
This glen is very popular with cavers. The Bone Caves do not go far into the hillside, but the entrance to the longest cave system in Scotland, the Uamh an Claonaite, is nearby. From the caves, follow the path that continues beneath the crag. This path drops down, crosses the sometimes flooded dry river via stepping stones and then follows the river back down the glen.Rejoin the main path again at the fork. The whole walk takes approximatly 2 hours.