Caves yield more secrets

Mike McFarlane, second left, on a Wemyss Caves tour
Mike McFarlane, second left, on a Wemyss Caves tour

COMMITTED campaigners are awaiting an expert verdict on more cave drawings found in East Wemss.

Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS) has made a fresh discovery of mysterious wall markings.

The area is known for Pictish incised carvings and the latest find could date from the 12th century.

The East Wemyss coastal area boasts 12 caves – the largest grouping in northern Europe – which have more carvings than all others in Britain combined.

SWACS secretary Moira Cook said the symbols were found in the Well Cave, below McDuff Castle – which was not previously thought to contain Pictish carvings.

“We have asked experts for their opinion,” she added. “There is a possibility of some sort of Templar connection – it’s all very exciting.’’

Local archaeologist, Edwina Proudfoot, added: ‘’An early carving would be a great find, but understanding what can be seen is also important.’’

Chairman Mike McFarlane said SWACS’ ultimate aim was to have an archaeologist-led dig, involving the local community, as well as a visitor centre in East Wemyss which could be accessed by walkers on the Fife Coastal Path, local schools and visitors to the group’s Open Sundays.

“It is frustrating when we visit the caves on any day of the week to find visitors either looking for the caves, or, if they have found the caves, trying to find the drawings inside,” he added.

“A dedicated visitor centre would be an asset for East Wemyss and a boost to the local economy. It would promote a site of Scottish heritage.”

There was little in writing about the early Medieval period in Scotland, said Mr McFarlane, and therefore only a general framework of Pictish history.

“That’s why the archaeological study of the internationally-important Wemyss Caves has the very real potential to revolutionise our understanding of the Pictish period,” he added.