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


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.


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:


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


Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?


May dogs be brought on the excursion?


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