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Creag Nan Uamh

Cave / Rock Shelter


Bears, Bones and Bleak Lands

There are caves here in the glen that tell an incredible a story about this landscape before and after the last glaciation.

This was a barren, empty landscape after the last ice sheet melted around 15,000 years ago. At first only mosses and lichens were able to grow on the rocky ground. Then grasses and shrubs began to colonise the land and, more animals were able to survive here. The first people appeared perhaps 8,000 years ago, hunters on the trail of reindeer and bears. We now this because we've found evidence from that period in the caves.

Scottish Polar Bear

A fragment of polar bear's skull was discovered in one cave. It's over 20,000 years old, while horse, brown bear and reindeer remains are about 14,000 years old. You can see some of the bones in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, and there are replicas at the Assynt Visitor Centre, Lochinver.

High and Dry

The cave system here started to form over 20,000 years ago when water began draining into the soft Durness limestone, dissolving the rocks and widening the cracks to form caves. Glaciers later pushed through the area, carving out the glen and leaving cave opening high up the hillside. The glaciers also swept away all evidence of life outside the caves, so we're lucky inside the caves has survived.

Scotland's Long Lost Wildlife

Bear and reindeer bones were first unearthed in the caves by geologists Peach and Horne in 1889. More recent digs have revealed that the remains of other animals once roamed Scotland but are extinct now, including arctic fox, lemming, lynx, wolf and wild horse. Some bones may have been washed into the caves by the melting glaciers, but we also know that the caves were used as a handy shelter by animals, and later, by people.

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drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th November 2020ce

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