Uamh an Oir

The Cave of Gold

Useful Information

Location: Sron na Carra, near Opinan, Wester Ross.
(57.69739, -5.78932)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: Speleologysea cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=0 m asl, L=40 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Tony Oldham (nY): The New Caves of Scotland,
Steve Chadwick (1992): Poolewe to Gruinard, Selected Walks and Caves with Historical Narrative, p 13
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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From the car park at Opinan, follow the cliff top path, north towards the headland called Sron na Carra. Some 300 yards before the headland an iron stake and a cairn mark the position of Uamh an Oir. The origin of the name has been lost, but parents in the area used to tell the children a tale similar to the Piper of Hamelin, that long ago a Piper led a party of children into the cave and they were never seen again, and if children went alone to the cave the same fate would happen to them.

It was probably a story born out of the need to keep the young and unwary away from the cave, for it is tidal and can only be reached at mid to low tide. Visitors will need to carry a light if they wish to explore the short right and longer left hand branch. It is said, if you listen quietly you can still hear the Piper far away.

There are three Caves of Gold in the area. One on the north east shore of Loch Maree [Ardlair Cave?], the third on the south side of Liathach above Torridon is said to be linked to the Cave of Gold at Opinan, for those who know the way.

reprinted from The New Caves of Scotland by Tony Oldham (sous presse). With kind permission.

Uaimh an Òir is a quite popular title for celtic traditional music. My, it's a pity I don't have three hands, Two hands for the pipe and one for the sword.

The Cave of the Gold is located in the sea cliffs on the headland Sron na Carra. There are two branches but each is only a few meters long, a result of rock fall within the last 100 years. Dixon described this cave differently. The cave can only be seen from a boat or from the shore at low tide.

"A short distance to the north of this place [Uamh an Fhreicadain] there is on the seashore a large cave, which is worth a visit ; it is called Uamh an Oir. It has a fine entrance ; it branches of" right and left ; the branch to the left can be followed for about forty yards, that to the right is not so deep."
John H. Dixon (1886): Gairloch in North-west Ross-shire its Records, Traditions, Inhabitants, And Natural History, Edinburgh, Co-operative Printing Company Limited 1886, Chapter X, gutenberg