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  • Writer's pictureBrooke McKinnell

Take a tour of the Stalactite Cave- Arbroath, Scotland

I have been visiting the Arbroath cliffs and finding the caves en route for a while now. When suddenly, one day, I came across a post about kayaking tours in the area. These tours took you around the coast to enter selected sea caves you cannot enter on foot. So I kept up to date with their stories and developments. I then saw that they had just launched a new tour. The Stalactite Cave Walking Tour. This cave is one that I've never been able to find on my own, nor have I ever felt confident enough even to try to venture it on my own. So the news that ACTours had begun a trip here meant I had to go. I posted on my social media to see if anyone would like to join me on this unique excursion, and my friend Lance responded.

We agreed on a date and checked the availability online. As they were just launched, we could get on a tour on our agreed date. I was ecstatic and could not wait for the day to come. ACTours had excellent communication, and the booking system was easy to use. We soon received an email explaining a meeting time and location and a list of what to bring, such as suitable footwear, a towel, and some warm clothes.


Tour day

On the day we arrived at the carpark at the beginning of the cliffs on Arbroath Cliffs car park, Victoria Park, we met with our tour guide and founder of ACTours, Cameron Smith, and four other people joining the tour.

Cameron grew up in the area and was very knowledgeable and gave us a good insight into the history and geology of the caves and cliffs.

The Arbroath cliffs were his playground and I would always be out there with friends climbing, caving, cliff jumping, swimming, and exploring.- Cameron Smith

So, after a brief chat and off, we went. There is only a tiny window to visit the Stalactite Cave, so time was of the essence. He could point features out to the group I hadn't noticed before. Such as the 100-year-old outdoor swimming pool that once existed and a set of tracks that were thought to have been used to quarry the stone to make the Abbey.

We wandered down the cliff to the cave entrance and began to walk through in a row. The geology of this cave left me speechless. We were then taken to see an enormous Stalactite.

Stalactites are mineral formations hanging from a cave ceiling or other underground structure. They are typically composed of calcium carbonate, deposited by dripping water that has picked up dissolved minerals from the rock above. Over time, these mineral deposits accumulate and form elongated structures several feet long.

Stalactites are often found in caves and other underground structures with high humidity and slow-moving water. They are formed when water drips from the ceiling, leaving behind a small mineral deposit each time.

Stalactites are often accompanied by a similar formation called a stalagmite, which forms on the cave floor directly below the stalactite. Stalagmites are formed by the same process as stalactites, with the mineral deposits building up on the ground as water drips onto them from above.

Stalactites and stalagmites are natural wonders in many caves and underground structures worldwide. They can take thousands of years to form, and their unique shapes and sizes make them a popular attraction for tourists and cave explorers.


A feel-good experience

We came across some very old graffiti that was over 100 years old, Explored some of the tiny crevasses within the cave, searched for sea glass that is often washed through this cave, took many pictures, listened to Cameron's information on the geology of this incredible cave and had a great laugh. I couldn't help but try tasting the water falling from one of the Stalactites. Afterward, we returned and ended the tour with some information on tides. It's fair to say that everyone on that tour came back out with huge smiles and were all feeling fantastic. Lance and I continued to go spelunking in the other caves along the route.

We also, when booking, selected the option to have our pictures taken.


How ACTours came to be

Cameron was very happy to answer any questions the group or I had. I was keen to learn how ACTours came to be. He told me that after years of travel, he came home and started The Arbroath Cliff Trail, a free walking trail between Arbroath and Auchmithie. He created a map, sign, flyers, and website and used social media to promote the beautiful parts of the trail, attracting thousands of visitors to Arbroath each year. It has massively helped put Arbroath on Scotland's tourism map.

When lockdown happened, Cameron was out kayaking on his own, exploring for hours and hours, exploring every single crack between Arbroath and Auchmithie. He was then contacted by someone via social media who asked if it were possible for he could show them the caves. He took them on a tour that lasted six hours and took photos along the way. He then posted them on his social media, and not long after, his inbox was flooded with messages from people asking if they, too, could go on a tour.

Then out of nowhere Arbroath Cliff Tours was born.- Cameron Smith

ACTours are entering their fourth year and have taken over 600 people on small group kayak tours of these incredible caves. This month he launched his first walking cave tour into one of the most significant caves at the cliffs - The Stalactite cave.

Cameron is also outdoors first aid trained, an RNLI-trained surf lifeguard, and has been kayaking in countries worldwide for many years.



Cameron has big plans for the future of ACTours; he plans to create an all-abilities walking tour, a foraging tour, and possibly a camping trip. It sounds fantastic. Cameron has a strong passion for what he does. I cannot wait to get back to do one of the kayaking tours.

I think it's fantastic that he wants to share his passion with the world, and it contributes to the tourism of the often-overlooked Arbroath area. All the best, and I'll see you again soon.


A little about the Arbroath cliffs

The cliffs of Arbroath, Scotland, are located along the Angus coastline, about 15 miles northeast of Dundee. The most famous and iconic of these cliffs is the Arbroath Cliffs, which rise to around 200 feet (60 meters) and offer stunning views of the North Sea.

The cliffs are red sandstone and formed over 400 million years ago, during the Devonian period. The rugged coastline, with its jagged cliffs and rocky outcrops, is home to various seabirds, including guillemots, razorbills, and puffins, which can be seen nesting on the cliffs during the breeding season.




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