Peden's Cave – Failford, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Peden's Cave

Failford, Scotland

A historic cave in Scotland once served as a hiding place for a famous Covenanter.  


Found at the top of a red stone cliff overlooking River Lugar, it’s said Peden’s Cave once hid Alexander Peden, a famous Covenanter minister from the 17th century. 

Alexander Peden—also known as Prophet Peden— was a very wise man who was born in 1626 and studied at the University of Glasgow. He started a post as a Minister at New Luce in 1660 before going on to lead the Covenanter movement in Scotland. After Charles II assumed the throne, Alexander had to flee his post and avoid being captured.

Peden wandered Scotland and Ireland for 10 years preaching to followers, hiding his identity by wearing a cloth mask—on display at the Museum of Scotland—and hiding in caves. It’s alleged Peden would often preach in the woods. 

After years of escaping capture, Peden was caught and sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment on the Bass Rock, and then another 15 months in the Edinburgh Tollbooth. Later, he was sent to the American plantations as a form of banishment. 

It is said that Peden spent the last years of his life between Scotland and Ireland. Today, the cave where he once hid bears his name. The cave is just six feet high and four feet wide and features steps leading up to it and a human-made bench cut from the rock inside. 

Know Before You Go

Peden's Cave is near Auchinbay farm in Ochiltree parish. To reach the cave, park at the Failford Inn and follow signs that point to the nearby river. From there, signs point hikers to where Peden's cave is. Be fair warned, the entry to the cave is hidden near a steep cliff that drops into the River Lugar. Proceed with caution. 

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