Cave types

There are over 3000 known natural caves in Scotland. Usually caves form in areas where the soluble rock such as limestone is gradually dissolved by water over time. This is referred to as karst.

There are other types of caves and underground passages as well:

  • lava tubes emerge during volcanic activity.
  • frost pockets form when water seeps between layers of rock and expands, pushing out stone and leaving an empty space.
  • Littoral or sea caves are carved out of a variety of types of shoreline by the activity of the ocean.
  • There are also many disused man-made mines, some of which can be entered safely if you know what you are doing.

Caving regions in Scotland

There are six main regions in Scotland that have cave systems: Durness, Assynt, Applecross, Skye, Appin, and Schiehallion

Cave database

The GSG has set up and maintains a database of all known caves and mines in Scotland, giving details of locations, exploration, and finds within. This is continually being updated. It can be accessed for free by clicking here.