The Scottish cave that inspired Treasure Island
It was the 'black mouthed cave' stumbled upon by a young Robert Louis Stevenson that would go on to inspire part of Treasure Island.
Sunk deep in the woods outside the pleasant town of Bridge of Allan in Stirlingshire, the cave proved to linger long in the memory of the writer.
It is said to have become the basis for Ben Gunn’s cave in the novel, where the marooned sailor would store his salted goat meat - and mull over his deep obsession with cheese.
It was also where Gunn was to store the gold which he discovered long before the arrival of the Hispaniola.
The Bridge of Allan cave sits on the Darn Walk, not far from Dunblane.
In the book it is described as a “large airy place, with a little spring and a pool of clear water overhanging with ferns.”
RLS, who was born in 1850, visited Bridge of Alan several times with his parents during the following decade with his mother particularly a fan of the Stirlingshire spa town for its supposed health giving properties.
It was also to make a deep impression on RLS.
According to the Robert Louis Stevenson web archive, Bridge of Allan was referenced several times in the private letters of the Edinburgh-born author.
In a letter dated 17 November 1868 to his cousin Bob Stevenson he wrote nostalgically about walking along the Darn Walk.
While in France in 1883, the year Treasure Island was published, his memories of the place clearly persisted.
In a letter to a friend, he wrote: “I shall never forget the days at Bridge of Allan; they were one golden dream”
It is also said that RLS wrote the first part of Treasure Island while on holiday with his wife and young son in Braemar.