The view from the cave on Umphin Island. Photo: Iain Miller

The view from the cave on Umphin Island. Photo: Iain Miller

They are two unlikely combinations of outdoor activities, but Iain Miller has shown that you can enjoy caving and sea kayaking at the same time.

The climber is best known for his ascents of vertiginous sea stacks on Ireland’s Donegal coast but in his short YouTube film he paddles through a dark 300m island cave to emerge into the Atlantic Ocean.

He said: “Umphin – Umfin or Iompainn – Island is a small uninhabited island living on the seaward side of Inishmeane and just to the North of the much better known Gola Island.

“The island sits approximately 3km from mainland Donegal and is normally surrounded by mildly tetchy seas.

“Umphin is home to a ground-nesting colony of several thousand sea birds and sees very few visitors of the human kind. Access to the island is by boat or, if you are feeling Olympic, by swim.

“There is no regular ferry service to the island and leisurely sea kayak paddle is an excellent way to approach and visit the island. On the landward, Donegal mainland, side of Umphin there is a perfect natural harbour and shelved landing beach between mainland Umphin and the outlaying Tornacolpagh Island.

“The channel between the islands provides a very sheltered landing spot which at low tide allows you to walk between the islands as the sea retreats. The rest of the island’s coastline is very exposed to every ripple of oncoming sea motion from all directions, south-west through to north and is effectively guarded by sea cliffs for most of its circumference.”

The video shows Miller paddle out to the island and then into the breaking waves emerging from the cave, before plunging into the darkness and a constricted section of the sea cave before finally glimpsing daylight as he paddles towards the open ocean.

The island, which rises to a height of 16m, lies off the rugged coast of County Donegal in the North-West of the Irish Republic. More details of the island are on Iain Miller’s Unique Ascent website.