Some little known facts
How many of these nuggets of Smoo Cave history can be proven to be true?
1. Smoo Cave is the only cave in Scotland which Bonnie Prince Charlie did not hide from the Redcoats in (but it was rumoured that he was seen disguised as a little old woman in the beer tent of the Durness Highland Gathering, July 1746)
2. Although perhaps a surprise to many visitors at first, the occurrence of Piranha in Smoo Cave can easily be explained by continental drift as Scotland formerly passed over a location on Earth now known as South America 300 million years ago.
3. It is a well established fact that Donald McMurdo (buried 1 mile west of Durness at Balnakeil) killed no fewer than 18 people, mostly by throwing them down the blowhole of Smoo Cave in the 17th Century. What is less well known however is that ‘Donnie Boy’ was in fact the first tour guide at Smoo Cave and was simply attempting to collect money from a coach load of sneaky tourists during what were challenging economic times.
4. Although numerous linguists and other academics have claimed that the name ‘Smoo’ is Norse in origin, it is much more likely that it was named after the Smoo Cave Hotel which is located just a couple of hundred metres up the road.
5. The Vikings were first attracted to Smoo Cave in the 8th Century as the enterprising inhabitants created the first luxury spa health club in Northern Europe.
6. Mesolithic inhabitants, far from being the Neanderthal knuckle-draggers which we think of today, were actually highly sophisticated as proven by the recent discovery of a shopping trolley in the depths of the waterfall chamber by the Durness Archaeological Diving Group (Hartley 2009). The trolley can be seen at the The National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.
"This is much better than burning down half of Orkney"
Harrold Skullsplitter, TripAdvisor, July 810 AD