King’s Cave near Blackwaterfoot, Isle of Arran

This evening, I am reporting on early Christian and other rock carvings inside the King’s Cave near Blackwaterfoot on S.W. coast of the Isle of Arran, Scotland. The royal nomenclature is believed to relate to Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce although there is no evidence that the Bruce had any connection with the cave.

Carving of Christian cross.

The Cave is one of several in a sandstone cliff. It is large and irregular. Inside are two passages of aisles, separated by the buttress of rock.

The carvings comprise:

  • Figures of horses in the South passage.
  • On the wall of the South side of the cave, opposite to the buttress, are deer and concentric circles cup and ring marks
  • On the face of the buttress or pillar fronting the cave, are figures of a large cross, a smaller one, and of a man with his hands joined above his head.

Carving of man

  • A group of serpents can be found towards the entrance of the cave on the North wall, and on the opposite wall of the cave are two triangles.
  • There are three examples of Irish ‘Ogham’ writing carved into the rock. It should be remembered that Christianity was brought to Scotland by Irish missionaries around the 5th and 6th centuries, AD.

It would appear that the various inscriptions span a period of about 5000 years, viz:

  • Cup and ring marks from the Neolithic era, about 5000 years ago.
  • Animal figures from the Iron Age (800 BC-43 AD)
  • Ogham writing 3rd-6th centuries AD.
  • Crosses and human carving from early Christian period, possibly second half of first millennium AD.

Purpose of the large metal grill at the cave entrance is not clear as the gate is open and there is no attempt to prevent access.

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