For centuries people have been coming to the cave, a place of contemplation and prayer on the Machars. Many have inscribed crosses, names and initials on the walls of the cave. Some set coins in cracks in the rock which tarnish and slowly corrode.
Others place stones with dedications on them, around the cave, and a few lean crosses against its walls.
To reach this special place traditionally you would travel along the pilgrimage trail through the Machars via Whithorn. This long association started with St Ninian’s mission in AD 397, then resulting in pilgrimage to a shrine at Whithorn from the 7th century onwards.
For there protection many of these important Medieval stones were gathered together at the museum in Whithorn. For over 30 years The Whithorn Trust have been researching the archaeology and heritage of the Machars and revealed some amazing things. Most recently they have undertaken an exciting project investigating the archaeology of the Machars.
It was however announced earlier this year that The Whithorn Trust and Whithorn Story Visitor Centre may be closed due a lack of funding, a situation which leaves the future of this significant heritage centre and many important artefacts it curates uncertain. Importantly for the visitor experience The Whithorn Story Visitor Centre forms part of a hub with the Historic Scotland Whithorn Priory and Museum. The stones in the museum were redisplayed in 2004 in partnership between Historic Scotland and the Whithorn Trust, with Heritage Lottery Funding.
An important relationship between people and the heritage of the Machars is in danger of being severed.
Please help by adding your support to the petition to save The Whithorn Trust.
or add your support through the facebook
In the current economic and political climate, we need to value and support our museums and heritage centers. Like other forms of art and culture, which make our society far richer and more vibrant, they can be soft targets at such times. As places of communal memory, we are poorer without them and our relationships to the landscapes we inhabit will be even more difficult to maintain, grow and enhance.
The Whithorn Priory and Museum micro site has further complementary information about Whithorn and the Machars.