Saints and Stones: St. Ninian's Cave

Saint Ninian is credited with first bringing Christianity to Britain when, around the year 397, he established his monastery at Whithorn on the southwest coast of Scotland. Neither his place and date of birth, however, nor his early life, are known with any certainty. The Venerable Bede relates that Ninian built a stone church at Whithorn known as Candida Casa ("Shining House") and from this base undertook a number of journeys northwards to spread Christianity to the Picts. He is said to have met St. Martin of Tours and dedicated his church to him upon his death in 397. All the texts discussing St. Ninian were written centuries after his death, and therefore the details are the subject of much discussion among scholars.

Legend has it that the cave on the Solway shore was St. Ninian's retreat. A number of ancient crosses were found at this site, giving credence to this belief. The Catholic Diocese of Galloway annually holds a pilgrimage to St. Ninian's Cave on the last Sunday in August.

About St. Ninian's Cave

Historic Scotland: St. Niunian's Cave
Undiscovered Scotland: St. Ninian's Cave
Whithorn Priory and Museum: About Saint Ninian's Cave
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Ninian
Wikipedia: Saint Ninian

Journey to St. Ninian's Cave

St. Ninian's Cave is located on the coast approximately 4-1/3 miles from the town of Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway in southwest Scotland. From the town of Whithorn, take the B7004 towards the Isle of Whithorn. Look for the sign to St. Ninian's Cave on the right side of the road. Turn right and follow the lane to the end where there is a parking lot. From here, walk through Physgill Glen to the shore where you will see St. Ninian's Cave to the right at the end of the beach.

Streetmap UK (NGR NX4212935962)

Visitors Information

Visitors information may be found at the Historic Scotland St. Ninian's Cave website. General tourist information is at the Whithorn Tourism website.

Additional Photos of St. Ninian's Cave

Road Sign for St. Ninian's Cave
Descriptive Sign for St. Ninian's Cave in Parking Lot
St. Ninian's Cave Sign
St. Ninian's Cave Path
St. Ninian's Cave
St. Ninian's Cave
Pilgrim Crosses at St. Ninian's Cave
Pilgrim Crosses at St. Ninian's Cave
Pilgrim Crosses at St. Ninian's Cave
Looking Out from St. Ninian's Cave

Top of Page