St Columba's Cave, South Knapdale

Grid reference

NR 751 767 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

175100 676700







Nearby places

Cove, settlement, South Knapdale (0.48 miles)

South Knapdale, modern parish (1.81 miles)

Kilbride, ~eccles North Knapdale (2.63 miles)

Kilbride, settlement North Knapdale (2.65 miles)

Tobar Chaluim-chille, North Knapdale (2.94 miles)

Object Classification


Is linear feature?



It is close to the ruins of a medieval chapel, which may have two doorways, one on its south side, one on its north, and through which pilgrims may once have gained access to the cave. Canmore refers to it as St Columba's Chapel, without citing any authority, while it acknowledges a local tradition that the chapel was dedicated to St John (Canmore ID 39011). Two crosses are carved into the wall of the cave above an altar. NMRS records (Canmore ID 39012) excavations which have revealed many finds, including a Viking-type 8th-9th century bronze balance, Samian ware, and later medieval pottery. Though we have found no early forms of this name, the seventeenth century reference to 'the lands called Sanct Collomes Coiff' clearly refer to lands related to this cave, and give evidence of a degree of antiquity of the cult.

Relationships with other parishes

Within South Knapdale, modern parish