Davaar Island Cave Painting – Argyll and Bute, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Davaar Island Cave Painting

The artwork is tucked within a cave on a tiny Scottish island only accessible at low tide. 


In 1887 Archibald MacKinnon, a local Campbeltown art teacher, had a vision in which he was instructed to paint a depiction of the crucifixion in a cave on Davaar Island. He secretly entered a cave and adorned one of its rocky walls with the image he dreamt.

But his secrecy may not have been wise. When local fishermen came across the painting, they thought the artwork was a miracle, a sign from God. After the townsfolk discovered that the artist was MacKinnon, a mere mortal and not a divine being, they were so angry they drove him out of town.

MacKinnon was eventually allowed back, though, as he has twice restored the original work. Today, local artists help look after the painting.

Access to the cave is tricky but doable and well worth attempting if you are in the area. The tiny island is linked to the mainland by a natural shingle causeway that only appears at low tide.

Know Before You Go

To explore the island it is essential you check tide times with the local tourist board in Campbeltown. The start of the causeway is about a 40-minute walk from Campbeltown, or you can park your car nearby. It takes about an hour to walk the shingle causeway and skirt around the island to the cave, plus an hour to return. Sturdy shoes are needed as the island is rocky with a pebble beach. It is definitely not suitable for anyone with a mobility issue.

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