Siccar Point

EarthCache weekend, 6-8 October 2017

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.

Further details will follow, in the meantime if you have any questions please contact Angus Miller, EGS Promotion Secretary,


Friday 6 October, 8pm: 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.

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

Sunday 8 October, 10am-5pm: EarthCache coach tour, East Lothian and the Borders

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.

Siccar Point

Explore Arran’s geology this summer …

Glen Sannox, Arran. Photo: Angus Miller

Come and explore some of the best geology in Scotland …. the Lochranza Centre on Arran are organising two public events this summer:

Geology Course 29 July – 1 August 2017
Come and join us to learn more about our amazing landscape and the processes that formed it. The Centre  will instruct and guide you over  a four day period. Participants can either join us on a daily basis for £50 per day or a residential basis at £75 per day inclusive of tuition and transport.

This course is aimed at anyone interested in learning more about the Geology of Arran.  Note most walks will involve a few miles of walking over mostly flat, but uneven terrain. If you are interested sign up soon as you can as we have limited availability!

To make a booking please either telephone or e-mail the Centre on 01770830637 or contact Stuart at

Geofest 16-17 September 2017
In conjunction with the National Trust for Scotland and the Arran Hertiage Museum we are proud to be able to offer the second Arran Geofest. This will run over the weekend of the 16 and 17th September and will take the form of several guided walks to different island venues of geological interest followed by an evening talk at various venues around the island. Further details will follow.

Summer excursions programme now underway

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

The Society’s summer excursion programme is now underway, with a range of excellent excursions exploring the geology of central and southern Scotland. The programme includes Wednesday evening excursions close to Edinburgh, and a range of Saturday day excursions. Please book in advance, since numbers are sometimes limited. It is easy to book, just follow the instructions here.

Wednesday 19 April, 7pm Dalmeny Railway Cutting
The disused railway line between Dalmeny and South Queensferry has cuttings that present good exposures of some of the local geology. The volcanic and sedimentary rocks of this area formed early in the Carboniferous Period. We will view some of these layers and explore their relationships.

Tuesday 2 May, 10am–3pm
National Museums Scotland: Visit to the National Museums Collection Centre at Granton and afternoon excursion to Wardie Shore
The National Museums Collection Centre at Granton houses a huge collection of important mineral and fossil samples. This visit will allow small groups to explore in detail elements of the Palaeobiology and Earth Systems collections. The afternoon excursion will visit Wardie Shore, an important historical location for Carboniferous fossil fish.

Wednesday 3 May, 7pm Crichton Kirk, Castle and quarries
Crichton Castle and Kirk are built of local sandstone, which can still be seen in nearby disused quarries. The sandstone was deposited by rivers in the Carboniferous Period, and contains good examples of cross-bedding. Nearby, on the west bank of the River Tyne, the North
Greens Limestone was quarried and burnt in nearby limekilns

Clough Medal presented to Dr Phil Stone

President Stuart Monro presents the Clough Medal to Phil Stone.

Wednesday 22 March: the Edinburgh Geological Society were delighted to present the Clough Medal for 2016-2017 to Dr Phil Stone, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the understanding of the geology of the Lower Palaeozoic Southern Uplands Terrane and the Ballantrae Ophiolite Complex and many other achievements.

The Clough Medal is the Society’s premier award, presented annually to a geologist whose original work has materially increased the knowledge of the geology of Scotland and/or the north of England, or who is Scottish by birth or by adoption and residence and has significantly advanced the knowledge of any aspect of geology.

Siccar Point

Visit Siccar Point during the Edinburgh International Science Festival

Siccar PointThe Society is organising trips to Siccar Point during the Edinburgh International Science Festival. These afternoon coach trips from central Edinburgh take place on 9, 12 and 15 April.

Great opportunity to visit Siccar Point with a geologist: follow the journey of James Hutton, the father of modern geology, from the site of his home in central Edinburgh to the wild coastline at Siccar Point. At this beautiful natural site Hutton’s evidence for deep time can be observed and appreciated. It is a short, easy walk to the viewpoint above Siccar Point. Visiting the Point itself involves a potentially difficult descent. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Book now –

More information about Siccar Point and James Hutton.

Southern Uplands terrane, courtesy Phil Stone

Clough Medal presentation & lecture: Phil Stone, Wednesday 22 March

Phil Stone lecture posterEdinburgh Geological Society is delighted to present the Clough Medal for 2016-2017 to Dr Phil Stone, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the understanding of the geology of the Lower Palaeozoic Southern Uplands Terrane and the Ballantrae Ophiolite Complex and many other achievements. The Medal will be presented on Wednesday 22 March, followed by Phil’s lecture: Scottish perspectives (old and new) on greywacke, graptolites and Gondwana. All welcome to the final lecture of the session.

Change in lecture programme: Wednesday 8th March

upcoming lecture, 8 MarchMartin Gilliespie, our next lecture speaker, has an unexpected work commitment overseas, so his colleague Paul Everett is stepping in. Looking forward to an interesting lecture, Building stone in Scotland: Glorious past … uncertain future.

Natural stone has been a favoured building material since the early days of human habitation in Scotland, and is still in fashion for modern architecture. The Scottish building stone industry has bequeathed a rich and diverse legacy of stone-built structures that embody the historic fabric of our cities, dwellings, monuments, places of worship and infrastructure.

Geopoetry at StAnza: 1-5 March 2017

StAnza logoStAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, takes place in St Andrews in early March. For Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, the Festival theme for this year is The Heights of Poetry, celebrating hills and mountains and asking how poetry can create and climb its own high places.

In the Middle Ages, the Pilgrim Way crossed Fife heading for St Andrews Cathedral. Now each year people journey here for poetry. The second theme in 2017 is On the Road, and we’ll be looking at all manner of travel and journeys.

EGS is supporting an event on Saturday 4 March that brings the winners of the recent Hugh Miller Writing Competition to St Andrews to share their poetry, inspired by the writings of Hugh Miller. >> Event information

There is also a fossil drop-in event at the Museum of St Andrews on Satuday 4 March, from 10-12. This event is organised by Geobus, you can find out about Fife’s fossils and get your own fossils identified –

Miller Memorials - after

Hugh Miller’s gravestone

Lothian and Borders Geoconservation became concerned about Hugh Miller’s gravestone in the Grange Cemetery, which was becoming difficult to read especially in bright sunshine. Andrew McMillan arranged for the gravestone to be cleaned and re-lettered so that the inscription is readable once again. At the same time we gave some attention to the stone for Hugh’s son (also called Hugh) which sits to the left of Hugh Senior’s stone. Although some of the lettering on Hugh Junior’s stone is too small to re-letter, the first two lines were done and the whole stone was cleaned up. You can see the results in the before and after photographs below. We are grateful for generous funding from Edinburgh U3A Geology Group and The Friends of Hugh Miller.

Lochranza Centre and the Arran Geofest

Students at Hutton’s Section, Arran. Photo: Stuart Blake

In October 2015, the company that owned the Lochranza Centre decided to close it, saying there was no future in feldwork! Senior staff and the local community have received wide support to create a new Community Interest Company to keep the Centre open and safeguard 14 jobs, 5 of which are held by geology graduates.

The Centre is now thriving, and is open to any groups who want to come and experience at frst hand the geology and beauty of north Arran. We were co-hosts of the frst Arran Geofest in 2016 and are planning the next one in September 2017 – volunteers welcome! We are also working with partners including the Arran Heritage Museum and National Trust of Scotland to move towards UNESCO Global Geopark status in the next few years.

Come and experience Arran’s geological treasures: the dyke swarm of Kildonnan, the Drumadoon sill, the myriapod trail. Contemplate process and time at Hutton’s Unconformity, only a 25 minute walk from the Lochranza Centre where a warm welcome, accommodation, refreshment and tuition await you and your party if needed.

Stuart Blake, Director Lochranza Centre CIC 01770 830637.