Caves project extended

SWACS and Northlight Heritage visit one of the Wemyss Caves.
SWACS and Northlight Heritage visit one of the Wemyss Caves.

A project to digitally capture the historic importance of the Wemyss Caves has been extended.

A pilot project to capture Jonathan’s Cave and produce the Wemyss Caves 4D website in 2014 was widely praised.

And now the Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS) is delighted that the visualisation will be extended to cover the rest of the caves, including Court Cave, Doo Cave and Sloping Cave.

Dr Sue Hamstead, the SWACS education officer, said: “We’re delighted to be seeing this rolled out to the other caves.

“This vital work will give us the best ever record of the carvings in their current state: this is essential in enabling us to monitor their condition.

“Also, the website is a 
wonderful way of sharing 
this unique piece of our heritage with those who are unable to visit the caves in person.”

Northlight Heritage, which carried out the pilot project will once again complete the work, and funding from SCAPE (Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion) and Historic Scotland will allow data capture and much of the processing to go ahead straight away, although some funds will need to be sourced for the later stages of the project.

It is hoped the digital capturing will take place later this month or early in March before any build up of vegitation in the area which can make the process more difficult.

And local people have the chance to get involved in the process too.

Awards for All funding granted to SWACS allowed them to purchase equipment to carry out Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) down at the caves.

These images will be incorportated in to the final visualisation project, and SWACS are looking for volunteers to help with this.

Anyone who would like to get involved or find out more about the project should contact SWACS via the official website at

In 2014, the Wemyss Caves Working Group (WCWG) invited a number of companies to tender for the job of producing a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Wemyss Caves. The WCWG met on January 21 to decide which tender to accept and – from a strong field – Northlight Heritage was chosen.

The group arranged a start-up meeting which took place on February 5. This gave both organisations a chance to talk through the proposal in detail and to ensure that Northlight Heritage understood the needs and priorities of the working group.

The CMP will take into account any issues of vulnerability around the caves and discuss the conservation aims and guiding principles for the site, resulting in detailed recommendations for its future protection, monitoring and management.

Although much of the work will be completed in-house, a walkover survey of the caves is to be carried out this week. Northlight Heritage will then submit a draft plan by the end of March and the working group are due to meet in April to review it.