The Wemyss Caves in Fife are famous for the ancient carvings that adorn their walls, many of them dating to Pictish times having been carved some 1500 or more years ago. There is a very dedicated group of volunteers whose aim is to protect and preserve this fascinating piece of Scottish history, and normally at this time of year they are gearing up to start a new season of guided tours of the caves.
The volunteers at Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS) are of course unable to run their usual programme of cave tours, but instead they have been busy dreaming up new ways of continuing their work. They have come up with a way to share with you the experience of touring the caves without anyone having to leave their house. Their not-so-secret weapon is the Wemyss Caves 4D website created using laser scanning and drone photography of the site. Using this website, anyone can navigate their own tour of the caves over the internet, but the big idea is to use the 3D models of the caves to give you the full live guided-tour experience. Via Facebook, the SWACS guide will take you inside the caves and shine a virtual torch on the carvings while explaining to you what you are looking at and filling you in on lots of interesting historical detail. There will also be assistants on hand waiting to answer your questions on Facebook Chat.
“Maybe nothing can quite replace the experience of actually being there but in the face of necessity we have to be inventive, and in fact what we’re offering in some ways surpasses a normal physical tour: you don’t have to be in Fife yourself to take part and there are no flights of steps to walk up to get you around the route. What’s more, the virtual tour can show you what the site looked like in ages past. It can also take you into a cave that is no longer accessible and show you carvings that no longer exist”
SWACS Vice-chair Sue Hamstead
Having completed your tour, you will even be able to order your souvenirs from the online gift shop and have your purchases sent out to you.
The first ever live virtual tour is happening at 2pm on Sunday, 5 April. All you need to do to take part is head to the SWACS Facebook page and settle down in front of the screen.