St Abb’s Science Day – Geology Walk (long walk, 2½ hours)

St Abb’s Head. Photo: Angus Miller.

Excursion title:

St Abb’s Science Day – Geology Walk (long – duration 2½ hours)

Date & time:

Saturday 26th August, 10.30 am and 1 pm

Leader(s):

Ian Kille (morning) and David Stephenson (afternoon)

Organisation:

Edinburgh Geological Society

Meeting place:

outside the St Abb’s Visitor Centre, Coldingham Road, St Abbs TD14 5PL (note this is the Visitor Centre in the village, not to be confused with the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre at Northfield).

Excursion route:

along the coastal path to the lighthouse, return by the road.

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

6km with 160m of ascent. On good paths that may be rough or slippery, with steep ascent / descent in places.

www.plotaroute.com/route/449250

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

The route follows a cliff-top path, at times close to the edge of the cliff.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Wear good footwear and keep back from the cliff edge.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

At the Ebba Centre near the start and end of the walk.

Excursion aims and description:

Join an expert geologist for a walk around St Abb’s Head and explore the story of the volcanoes that erupted here 400 million years ago.

References:

St Abb’s Head geology walk available from http://www.edinburghgeolsoc.org/publications/geoconservation-leaflets/

Holyrood Park Mapping Exercise

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. Photo: Angus Miller

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

Holyrood Park Mapping Exercise

Date & time:

Saturday 30 September, 10 am

Finish time:

4 pm

Leader:

Simon Cuthbert, University of the West of Scotland

Excursion aims and description:

Holyrood Park in Edinburgh offers a superb section through varied geology, including the eroded cone of the Arthur’s Seat volcano, a major dolerite intrusion that forms Salisbury Crags, and exposures of sandstone and other sedimentary rocks formed early in the Carboniferous period. This excursion will introduce the main features of the geology but encourage deeper understanding by learning how to create a geological map of a small area. Participants will learn the basics of making measurements in the field using a compass-clinometer, analysing rock exposures and recording information in a field notebook and paper map.

Equipment: You will need normal field clothing including stout footwear, and should bring a small, robust notebook, a lead pencil, a selection of coloured pencils (at least six distinct colours), a hillwalker’s compass (Silva, Suunto or similar, or a geologist’s compass clinometer if you have one, otherwise a clear plastic protractor). There are some cheap or free apps for an iPhone or iPad that allow them to be used as a field notebook, such as “Fieldmove”, which have a built-in compass-clinometer. You will need a map-board; an ordinary office clipboard will do, but a piece of MDF or marine plywood about A3 size with elastic bands, fold back clips and/or masking tape to fix down the map, and something to protect it from the weather, is better. It’s also possible to buy mapping cases from the BGS shop or Geosupplies, which are weatherproof but not cheap.

Transport:

No transport necessary

Meeting point:

Dynamic Earth cafe

First locality, parking and description:

Dynamic Earth cafe, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS – parking available at Dynamic Earth or in Holyrood Park.

Excursion route:

The route is not fixed in advance, but will involve walking on paths and some sections of rough ground, with some climbing. However the total distance covered will not be more than a few kms with frequent stops.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

None

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

None

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?

No

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

Toilets at Dynamic Earth and at the Education Centre, Holyrood Park

Geological map sheet:

Scotland Sheet 32E Edinburgh

OS map sheet:

Edinburgh 66

EarthCache weekend, 6-8 October 2017

Salisbury Crags, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

EarthCache weekend – Explore Edinburgh’s geology

The dramatic and beautiful city of Edinburgh is draped over an impressive topography that reflects a variety of bedrock formed by different processes and a long story of erosion, particularly during the Ice Age of the last 2 million years. In the city and in the surrounding countryside, this geology and topography has been used by people over thousands of years, in many different ways: for habitation and defence, farming and fuel and as inspiration for a rich culture. It has inspired great geological thinkers too, especially the father of modern geology, James Hutton, who spent most of his life in Edinburgh and discovered one of the world’s most significant geological sites at Siccar Point.

EarthCaches in Edinburgh

This remarkable story of geology and people has resulted in many EarthCaches being established in the city and the surrounding area. An EarthCache is a specific location that people can visit to learn about geology. EarthCaches are part of geocaching (an adventure game based around the use of GPS to find caches of small hidden treasures) but an EarthCache doesn’t involve a physical cache, rather it involves visiting a specific location and learning about our planet.

Existing EarthCaches in Edinburgh explore the geology of important sites such as Siccar Point, Holyrood Park and the Pentland Hills, and the human story of geological investigation and the use of materials. To celebrate this, Edinburgh Geological Society is hosting a weekend of events focussed on EarthCaches.

If you have any questions about the weekend, please contact Angus Miller, EGS Promotion Secretary, promotion@edinburghgeolsoc.org.

Programme

Friday 6 October, 6.30pm: welcome and introduction

The Society will welcome visitors to the city with an informal lecture that explores the geological story of Edinburgh and the surrounding area. Experts will be on hand to chat and answer questions, and help plan your EarthCache explorations. Venue: upstairs meeting room, Costa Coffee Hanover Street, Edinburgh EH2 2DL.

Event information on geocaching.com

Saturday 7 October, 11am-3pm: EarthCache Event, Holyrood Park

Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat contain some spectacular geology in the heart of the city. There are more than 10 EarthCaches in the immediate area for you to explore. If you are new to EarthCaching, volunteers will be on hand to tell you more and point you in the right direction.

Event information on geocaching.com

Sunday 8 October, 10am-5pm: EarthCache coach tour, East Lothian and the Borders, including EarthCache event at Barns Ness, East Lothian

To the east of Edinburgh there is some beautiful countryside and coast with some fantastic varied geology and many EarthCaches. This coach tour from the city centre will visit several EarthCache sites, including an EarthCache Event at Barns Ness, East Lothian and the world-famous unconformity at Siccar Point.

Barns Ness Event information on geocaching.com

Book a place on the coach via Brown Paper Tickets – earthcache-weekend.brownpapertickets.com

Berwick-upon-Tweed

The Ladies Skerrs dome, Meadow Haven, Berwick – Alison Tymon

This visit to coastal exposures around the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed will examine a section of sedimentary rocks formed early in the Carboniferous Period. This is a sequence of cyclothems, deposited in river deltas, swamps and shallow sea close to the equator and includes coal, fireclay, limestone and sandstone, some containing fossils. We will examine structural evidence for the Berwick Monocline and associated faults, formed during the Variscan Orogeny.


Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

Cyclothems, fossils and the Berwick Monocline

Date & time:

Saturday 29 July 2017, 9 am

Finish time:

4 pm in Berwick; 5.30 pm in Edinburgh

Leader:

Alison Tymon, EGS

Excursion aims and description:

To examine the fossils and features of the coals, fireclays, limestones and sandstones of the cyclothems of the Lower Carboniferous Alston Formation and see structural evidence for the Variscan Berwick Monocline and associated faults.

Transport:

Coach from Edinburgh

Meeting point:

Waterloo Place at 9 am.
Morrison’s coach park, Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 1UQ (NT 991 546) at 10.30.

Coach route:

From Edinburgh down A1 to Berwick. Morrison’s is at the first roundabout signed Berwick from the A1.

Extra pick-up points:

Milton Road

First locality:

Spittal promenade (NU 009 510) where there is a coach drop-off point and parking for cars.

Excursion route:

Short walk on Spittal beach, then return to coach and cars to drop off group near Berwick railway station for walk along Tweed estuary and round Berwick shoreline, then back to coach in Berwick town centre. https://www.plotaroute.com/route/338889

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

Total walking distance about 4 km along footpaths and coastal path. No height gain. https://www.plotaroute.com/route/338889

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

Cliff paths, but these are well-used and fenced off in precipitous locations. Cliffs beside beach sections. Low tide mid-afternoon.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Warnings of potential dangers on or near cliffs will be given.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?

Hard hats advised if participants wish to go close to the cliff faces.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

Yes

Toilet information:

Morrison’s at the start of the walk. Public toilets at Spittal and in Berwick cafes and at Green’s Haven at the final point on the walk.

Geological mapsheet for reference:

Berwick-upon-Tweed and Norham, Sheets 1 and 2 (England and Wales) The relevant section will be included in the handout provided on the day.

OS mapsheet for reference:

Explorer Sheet 346

References:

Northumbrian Rocks and Landscape – a field guide (Yorkshire Geological Society)

Sheills, K.A.G. 1964 The Geological Structure of North-East Northumberland. Trans. Royal Soc. Edin. Vol. LXV, 1962-63



St Abb's Head

St Abb’s Science Day – Geology Walk (short walk, 45 minutes)

St Abb's Head

St Abb’s Head. Photo: Angus Miller.

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines

Excursion title:

St Abb’s Science Day – Geology Walk (short – duration 45 minutes)

Date & time:

Saturday 26th August, 11.30 am and 2 pm

Leader(s):

Alison Tymon (morning) and Ian Kille (afternoon)

Organisation:

Edinburgh Geological Society

Meeting place:

outside the St Abb’s Visitor Centre, Coldingham Road, St Abbs TD14 5PL (note this is the Visitor Centre in the village, not to be confused with the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre at Northfield).

Excursion route:

around the village and the harbour.

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

about 1km with some steep slopes, on pavements and quiet roads.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

Steep drops into the sea at the harbour. Traffic.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Wear good footwear and keep back from the harbour edge.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

At the Ebba Centre near the start and end of the walk.

Excursion aims and description:

Join an expert geologist for a walk around the village to explore the story of the volcanoes that erupted here 400 million years ago.

References:

St Abb’s Head geology walk available from http://www.edinburghgeolsoc.org/publications/geoconservation-leaflets/

Pillow Lavas

Leadburn and Noble House

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

Leadburn and Noble House

Please note for safety reasons this excursion will now not visit Leadburn Quarry but will instead focus on the Noble House quarry.

Date & time:

Wednesday 28 June 2017, 7 pm

Finish time:

9 pm

Leader(s):

Professor Brian Upton, University of Edinburgh

Excursion aims and description:

The rocks south of Leadburn are of Ordovician age, and include turbidite sequences formed on the floor of the Iapetus Ocean. These sedimentary rocks are visible in a quarry near Leadburn, and were formed in huge submarine fans which contain evidence of the processes involved and the source of the sediment. In contrast, volcanic activity on the sea floor around 450 million years ago formed pillow lavas with interbedded cherts, that can be observed near Noble House on the A701.

Transport:

Private car

Start place & time:

Penicuik, main public car park (opposite Lidl) @ 7pm. Car sharing from here is encouraged.

First locality:

Noble House Farm NT 184 501. Parking is limited and there will be a charge of £2 for each car.

Excursion route:

Visit a small disused quarry at Noble House, there is a 15/20 minute walk up to the quarry with pillow-lavas and chert beds. Walking distance of about 700m.

Geological map:

Scotland 1:50k sheets 24W Biggar and 24E Peebles

OS map:

Landranger 66 Edinburgh and 73 Peebles, Galashiels and Selkirk

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

Short walks on flat ground.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

Sheer drops in quarries.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Be aware, stay with group.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?

Hi-viz jackets desirable.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

None

References:

Reference (For Noble House) Craig, G.Y. and Duff, P. McL. D. eds. The
geology of the Lothians and South East Scotland: An Excursion Guide.
Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh. Noble House, Lamancha by A. Lamont,
pp 158-166.

Spireslack Opencast Surface Mine, Ayrshire

Spireslack Open Cast site – image courtesy BGS

Spireslack is a stunning exposed section of an important coal-bearing sequence, unparalleled in Scotland. More than one km long, the 80 metre deep canyon is cut into a gently-dipping succession of Carboniferous-age strata that includes economically valuable coal, ironstone and oil shale. This excursion will enable close-up examination of the different strata including their sedimentology, structural geology and palaeontology, together with issues relevant to applied geoscience and mining.


Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

Spireslack Opencast Surface Mine – Geology in 3D

Date & time:

1st July 2017, 10:00 hrs at site

Finish time:

Leave site c. 16:00 hrs

Leaders:

Graham Leslie and Mike Browne, British Geological Survey

Excursion aims and description:

To examine the Carboniferous geology of these important Scottish coal-bearing sequences, sedimentology, structural geology, palaeontology; seeing the Lawmuir, Lower Limestone, Limestone Coal, Upper Limestone and Passage Form formations.

Transport:

Minibus from Edinburgh; 25 participants maximum

Meeting point:

Waterloo Place 8am

Coach route:

Edinburgh – Biggar – Douglas/Muirkirk and return

Extra pick-up points:

Comiston Road and Fairmilehead (waterworks); Biggar or Douglas if required.

First locality (Grid reference or postcode), parking and description:

Spireslack OSM, [NS 746 305], entrance gate to site is a right turn heading west on A70 just after Glenbuck Loch.

Excursion route:

Strictly controlled by leaders on site.

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

Site is now an inactive opencast surface mine, with trackways and uneven worked ground underfoot locally. Height is some 100-150 m, over 1 km walking distance, and return.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

The scale of exposed sections is unparalleled in Scotland. Access/progress on site will be strictly managed by leaders to enable maximum visibility of key geological features.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Controlled access to key outcrop where safe to do so. There will be no access to, or beneath, engineered faces. Binoculars will be an advantage.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?:

Hard hats and Hi-viz required. Stout footwear is a requirement (steel toe-caps are not necessary). No trainers.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

At coffee-stop in Douglas village – no facilities on site.

Geological map sheet:

1:50k sheet 23(Hamilton)

OS map sheet:

1:50k sheet 71

References:

Leslie and Browne, 2016. Spireslack Canyon, Geoscientist, 26, 10-15.


Dunmore, Fintry Hills. Photo: Con Gillen

Fintry Hills

Dunmore, Fintry Hills. Photo: Con Gillen

Dunmore, Fintry Hills. Photo: Con Gillen

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

Fintry Hills

Date & time:

Saturday 3 June 2017, 8.30 am

Finish time:

7 pm (after High Tea)

Leader:

Con Gillen, EGS

Excursion aims and description:

The Fintry Hills are part of the Clyde Plateau Volcanic Formation to the south-west of Stirling, and show good examples of varied basaltic igneous rocks that formed close to eruptive centres, in a landscape of craters and cinder cones. As well as the igneous rocks, we shall also be looking at Carboniferous sedimentary rocks of the Clyde Sandstone Formation and the Ballagan beds. Afternoon tea afterwards at Fintry village sports club. See Excursion 10 in the Stirling & Perth Excursion Guide (Browne & Gillen, 2015, published by EGS).

Transport:

Coach

Meeting point:

Waterloo Place 8.30 am (note early start time)

Coach route:

M9 – Stirling – Kippen – Fintry

Extra pick-up points:

PC World

First locality (Grid reference or postcode), parking and description:

10 am at road junction in centre of Fintry village [NS 6162 8672]

Excursion route:

From village head south uphill past quarry entrance. Follow track across stream and into Fintry Wood. Walk to and along Kilewnan Burn. Walk up hill to top of Dunmore, then downhill and across hillside slope towards Fintry quarry.

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

Walk on footpaths, 4km total; hill ascent to 250m; walk along stream section; visit to old quarry. www.plotaroute.com/route/354799.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

None

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

None

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?

No

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

Toilets available in Fintry at start and finish.

Geological map sheet:

1:50k Sheet 31W Airdrie

OS map sheet:

1:50k sheet 57

References:

Geological Excursion Guide to the Stirling and Perth Area (EGS / NMS, 2015), excursion 10B

View route map for Fintry Geology on plotaroute.com

St Baldred's Cradle, East Lothian

St Baldred’s Cradle, East Lothian

St Baldred's Cradle, East Lothian

St Baldred’s Cradle, East Lothian. Photo: Fiona McGibbon

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

St Baldred’s Cradle, East Lothian

Date & time:

Saturday 17 June, 2017, 10 am

Finish time: 5 pm

Leader:

Fiona McGibbon

Excursion aims and description:

This field trip offers excellent exposure in a great coastal setting with views to the islands in the Forth.  We will examine Lower Carboniferous sedimentary rocks that are thought to have been deposited in a lagoonal setting with periodic higher energy deposits overlying. The igneous rocks get top billing however, with a sill, plug, dykes and some ash to examine, all of alkaline composition and some with evidence of phreatomagmatic activity and other textural features. Field relationships are very clear and this trip offers a good opportunity to bring together the regional geological story.

Transport:

Coach

Meeting point:

Waterloo Place 10 am or John Muir Country Park, car park by Tyninghame Links, NT 627 809 at 11 am.

Coach route:

A1 to Dunbar, A198 past Tyninghame, turn off to Tyninghame Links

First locality (Grid reference or postcode), parking and description:

John Muir Country Park, car park by Tyninghame Links, NT 627 809

Excursion route:

We will walk from the car park to the first left turn to take us on to the beach on the west of St Baldred’s Cradle headland, and will proceed further west to the moderate cliff section by Bathan’s Strand (NT 631815). We will then turn to walk east towards the headland, examining rocks in the intertidal zone en route. We will look at the east side of the headland, then go on to the headland itself (NT637814), then drop down to its west side looking at several closely spaced localities there. We will take the path back across the neck of the headland (NT 636810) or, if time allows, we may walk further to pick up the path at (NT633806) which takes us straight back to the car park.

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

The terrain is fairly level for most of the trip, along paths and on the beach and the total distance is about 4 miles. There will be some walking on slippery rocks in the intertidal zone however. There will also be a very small climb on to and down from the headland which is only about 15m high.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

There is a risk of slipping on wet rocks in the intertidal zone.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

I will warn people that the rocks in the intertidal zone are slippy. I will point out that seaweed covered rocks should not be stepped on and should be avoided. I will look for routes that minimise the need to walk on such surfaces.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?

No

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

None

Geological map sheet:

Dunbar 33(E)

OS map sheet:

Landranger 67

References:

Lothian Geology – an Excursion Guide (Edinburgh Geological Society) p.101.

East Lothian and the Borders – a landscape fashioned by geology (SNH & BGS) (for regional context)

View route map for EGS Excursion on plotaroute.com

City Centre Walk

Castle Rock from Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

A Geological Walk from Lothian Road, around Castle Rock to the Lawnmarket

Date & time:

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 7 pm

Finish time:

9.00 pm

Leader:

Andrew McMillan, Lothian & Borders Geoconservation

Excursion aims and description:

This excursion will offer the opportunity to examine some of the building stones of 17th to 20th century buildings on the walk from Lothian Road to the Lawnmarket. We shall also see the crag of the famous crag-and-tail of the Castle Rock and consider various interpretations of its origin. Contacts between the basaltic plug of the Castle Rock and early Carboniferous sedimentary strata into which it was emplaced will also be seen.

Transport:

many Lothian buses to Lothian Road (Nos. 1,10,11,16, 24, 34, 36, 47)

Start place & time:

In front of the Usher Hall, 7.00pm

Excursion route:

Itinerary: Lothian Road , Cambridge Street, Castle Terrace, Johnston Terrace, Castle Esplanade (via steps of Castle Wynd North), Castlehill, Lawnmarket

Geological map:

1:50k 32E

OS map:

Landranger 1:50k 66

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

Streets and Pavements; several flights of steps (Castle Wynd North) up to the Castle Esplanade from Johnston Terrace, otherwise on the level or on gentle gradients

www.plotaroute.com/route/341227

Specific Hazards:

Crossing busy streets

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Be diligent and look before crossing

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?

Hi-viz vests desirable; leader will wear his.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

No

Toilet information:

None on the route of the excursion

References:

Building Stones of Edinburgh, 2nd edition (EGS)

Lothian Geology – an Excursion Guide (EGS) – City of Edinburgh – The Castles chapter by Charles Waterston

Building Stones of Edinburgh’s South Side – Leaflet (Lothian & Borders Geoconservation)