St Fillan’s Cave


A visit to Pittenweem in the summer holidays isn’t complete without a trip to St Fillan’s Cave, on Cove Wynd.

Here at the Cocoa Tree, we hold the key to the Cave, so do drop by and see us if you’d like to take a self-guided tour of its fascinating depths.

St Fillan is famous throughout the area for his legendary acts – in one such act he persuaded a wolf that had killed an ox to take up the ox’s burden, carting the building materials to construct a church at Auchentyre. Though originally from Ireland, he spent most of his life in our little village, praying and writing in the gloom of the cave, which is how the village got its name: Pit meaning ‘place’ and weem meaning ‘cave’.

In the seventh century, the cave was reached by boat and was, it is believed, a hiding place for smugglers. Inside, you will find a Holly Well and an alter used for local services, associated with St John’s Episcopal Church and other pilgrimages from all over Scotland. Further in, steps have been roughly cut into the rock and these lead to the passage that runs under the Prior gardens above.

Should you wish to take a look inside, come and see us at the Cocoa Tree and we’ll happily lend you the key. We ask for a £5 refundable deposit for the key, and a small donation (of just £1) to the cave to cover the cost of maintenance and electricity.

Sophie x