THE wild and rugged landscapes of Scotland might encourage poetry and style calendar pages, however a raft of hidden gems can equally hearth the creativeness.
From caves and tunnels to bunkers, mines and crypts, this is our choose of the ten finest underground locations to discover.
The Lochnell Mine Expertise, Wanlockhead
Mining was as soon as the lifeblood of Scottish business and the beating coronary heart of many close-knit communities. Sometimes, it was harmful work. The hazardous situations and bodily peril concerned is essentially unfathomable to many people working sedentary workplace jobs.
A guided tour of Lochnell Mine – a part of the Museum of Lead Mining – offers some sense of what life was like for these tasked with extracting the silvery-grey metallic from the hills round Wanlockhead.
The museum has the one underground mine tour in Scotland, permitting guests to enterprise into the confines of a 300-year-old timbered passage and drift. Excursions final round 45 minutes, with helmets and lamps supplied.
Go to leadminingmuseum.co.uk
Glasgow Central Station
If you happen to love social historical past, then exploring the passageways, vaults and echoing areas beneath the tracks of Scotland’s busiest railway station is a should. Excursions are led by gregarious guides with an encyclopaedic data of all issues Glasgow Central.
The content material centres largely on human tales, equivalent to poignant tales a couple of makeshift mortuary through the First World Warfare. Grieving kin confronted the grim prospect of traversing rows of corpses to establish the stays of family members who had perished on French battlefields.
A curious array of objects, equivalent to a 100-year-old wheelchair and a newspaper relationship from the Nineteen Forties, have been found inside the station’s sealed-up cabinets and partitions. Among the many highlights is an opportunity to descend beneath floor to view a disused, soot-stained Victorian platform.
Go to glasgowcentraltours.co.uk
The Bone Caves and Smoo Cave, Sutherland
If caves are your factor, Sutherland is a superb selection. Carved deep into the limestone cliffs, Smoo Cave, close to Durness, has three spectacular sections: a big sea cave entrance, a waterfall chamber and a freshwater passage.
The Bone Caves, in the meantime, could be discovered south of Inchnadamph on the A837 and are accessed on foot alongside a mile-long path. The world gained fame when Victorian geologists John Horne and Ben Peach stumbled throughout a group of animal bones within the late nineteenth century.
Additional excavations uncovered stays belonging to wolves, lynx, Arctic foxes and even a polar bear, believed up to now from the final glacial interval. Human bones and artefacts have additionally been found within the caves.
Go to smoocavetours.com and nature.scot
Scotland’s Secret Bunker, Fife
The outstanding street indicators pointing to “Scotland’s Secret Bunker” often elevate a chuckle and should you’ve by no means visited, this Chilly Warfare period command centre is filled with fascinating issues to see.
Buried 100ft underground, with the doorway hidden in a non-descript farmhouse, the clandestine bunker – now declassified – was constructed at RAF Troywood, close to Anstruther, Fife, in 1953.
This labyrinth of tunnels, encased in 15ft of concrete, is the place authorities and navy leaders would have gathered upon the outbreak of nuclear conflict and looming assault from the previous USSR. Among the many amenities are an operations room, dormitories, two cinemas and a restaurant.
Go to secretbunker.co.uk
Cawdor Fortress, Nairn
Within the 14th century – or so the story goes – William, third Thane of Cawdor, got down to construct a substitute citadel on a much less marshy web site. To discover a location, he adopted directions mentioned to have come to him in a dream and loaded panniers of gold onto the again of a donkey.
William adopted the animal because it roamed throughout his lands. When night time fell, the donkey rested below a tree within the steep sided Allt Dearg glen. It was right here that development of the medieval citadel tower started, with the tree symbolically included.
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Trendy scientific evaluation has revealed that the tree died circa 1372, probably on account of being disadvantaged of sunshine as a result of the citadel had been constructed round it. It was lengthy believed to be a hawthorn, however in more moderen occasions confirmed to be holly. The tree nonetheless stands within the cellar to this present day.
Go to cawdorcastle.com
Harmless Railway Path and Colinton Tunnel, Edinburgh
Subterranean adventures abound in and across the Scottish capital with The Actual Mary King’s Shut, South Bridge Vaults and the Edinburgh Dungeon all standard haunts on the vacationer path.
A community of strolling and cycle paths across the metropolis consists of the colorful, mural-emblazoned Colinton Tunnel on the Water of Leith Walkway. A part of the previous Balerno department line and now revamped due to a group artwork venture, it stretches 140m (459ft).
The Harmless Railway Path, in the meantime, was constructed alongside a route that ran from Edinburgh to Dalkeith. Broadly credited because the oldest prepare tunnel in Scotland, it covers 518m (1,700ft) and can be utilized to journey – by foot or bike – south-east from St Leonards in direction of Duddingston.
Go to edinburgh.gov.uk and colintontunnel.org.uk
Cruachan Energy Station, Argyll
Usually hailed as one of many best examples of post-war Scottish structure, the Cruachan Energy Station is a formidable feat of engineering.
Its development, which started in 1959, is nothing in need of outstanding and largely right down to the courageous efforts of the Tunnel Tigers, a 4,000-strong military of employees drafted into Argyll to drill deep into the granite rockface of Ben Cruachan, creating the “Hole Mountain”.
At the moment, there’s a customer centre and tour which journeys into the hidden world and workings of the ground-breaking hydroelectric energy station. In current days, renewable power agency Drax introduced plans to develop the advanced by 2030, excavating an additional two million tonnes of rock.
Go to visitcruachan.co.uk
Crichton Crypt Excursions, Dumfries
The Crichton, an 85-acre property on the outskirts of Dumfries, started life as a Victorian psychiatric hospital. In more moderen a long time, it has been redeveloped right into a hub for training and leisure, taking part in host to live shows, exhibitions and festivals.
The positioning’s wealthy historical past, relationship again to 1838, is explored by Largely Ghostly Excursions as a part of its ongoing collection of guided walks across the cathedral-style Crichton Memorial Church, together with the crypt and undercroft.
The subsequent tour – for these courageous sufficient – takes place on June 5, sharing a tapestry of spooky tales woven into the material of the constructing and surrounding grounds.
Go to crichton.co.uk
Fingal’s Cave, Staffa
Arguably one of the vital photogenic caves in Scotland, this bucket checklist spot will get its eye-catching look courtesy of a quirk of cooling lava that created magnificent basalt columns on the uninhabited Hebridean island of Staffa, related to people who kind the Big’s Causeway in Northern Eire.
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Fingal’s Cave gained its identify from the eponymous hero of a poem by the 18th-century Scots poet-historian James Macpherson (additionally the “translator” of the Ossian literary hoax). The 227ft (69m) cavernous inside is claimed to boast large acoustics.
Composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote an overture in its honour, artist J M W Turner painted it and creator Jules Verne mentions it in three novels, together with the famed Journey to the Centre of the Earth. There are common boat journeys for individuals who fancy a better look.
Go to staffatours.com
Let’s sum up the mighty Falkirk Tunnel by numbers: it’s 630m (2,067ft) lengthy, 5.5m (18ft) vast and 5.8m (19ft) excessive.
Created 200 years in the past and initially used for transporting coal, immediately it carries the Union Canal beneath Prospect Hill in Falkirk. The towpath is a well-liked strolling and biking route, persevering with all the way in which to Edinburgh.
It might be illuminated with vibrant lights, however there’s a darker aspect to its historical past. Infamous serial killers Burke and Hare each labored on the tunnel’s development between 1818 and 1822. The canal was additionally utilized by unscrupulous docs to smuggle the corpses of sufferers to Edinburgh College.
Go to visitfalkirk.com and scottishcanals.co.uk
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