We organise excursions
from springtime to autumn:
including day, evening
and residential excursions.
The Geology Excursion Programme features a range of events, including our core programme of day excursions and local evening excursions, led by a geologist with expert knowledge of the locality.
Saturday & Sunday Excursions 2023
Saturday 29 April, 10:30am Great Cumbrae, Firth of Clyde
Leader: Fiona McGibbon
The geology of Great Cumbrae can be summarised as red sandstone and basaltic dykes, but in fact, there are numerous types of each, as well as a major fault crossing the island. This excursion will examine Devonian conglomerates and overlying Carboniferous strata with excellent sedimentary structures as well as numerous dyke suites, some of which have been enhanced to become major landmarks.
Saturday 27 May, 10am Weaklaw Rocks to Cheese Bay and Black Rocks, East Lothian
Leader: David Stephenson
We will start by establishing the relationships of the Weaklaw Vent with overlying rocks of the Garleton Hills Volcanic Formation and examine structural relationships in superb three-dimensional exposures at the Hanging Rocks. The dominantly sedimentary succession of the Strathclyde Group above the volcanic rocks to the west includes thin beds of tuff, which pick out some spectacular folds in the intertidal zone. These tuffs seem to be composed largely of clasts of sedimentary rock but have not been investigated or described in detail. Around the headland, Cheese Bay is famous for its well-preserved shrimps and fish fragments but the section between there and Black Rocks also exposes basaltic intrusions with interesting contact relationships that provide clues to their age and suggest possible links to the non-volcaniclastic tuffs, tuffisites and ‘cryptovents’.
Saturday 10 June, 11am Wormit Shore, Fife
Leader: Rosalind Garton
This excursion will visit volcanic and sedimentary rocks of Old Red Sandstone age on the shore of the Tay estuary. Features include a microgranite intrusion, contacts between lavas and sedimentary rocks, volcanic conglomerate, “peperitic” rock and a large glacial erratic.
Saturday 24 June, 9am Pease Bay to Cove, Scottish Borders
Leader: Stuart Gilfillan
On this excursion along the shore from Pease Bay to Cove will will observe the transition from desert-fluviatile conditions which had persisted from the early Devonian to the marine conditions of the Carboniferous. The route involves rough walking on rocky wave-cut platforms and some scrambling in places, it is not suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties. Coach provided: cost £20.
Saturday 8 July, 10am Fisherman’s Haven, Berwick upon Tweed
Leader: Mark Wilkinson
The sediments exposed in the bay of Fisherman’s Haven at Berwick include all the physical components of a “petroleum system”: source rock, reservoir, seal, trap. This makes the location a great place for teaching basic petroleum geology, or (rather greener and more forward-looking) about geological carbon storage, or even geological hydrogen storage. Within about 1km there is structure (a dome plus a well-exposed fault); shales; sandstones and limestones, plus a coal. The shale exposure is one of the best in the area, and has an interesting pattern of steadily increasing intensity of bioturbation upwards. Freshwater bivalves can also be found.
Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August Weekend Workshop: the Carboniferous Fife-Midlothian Basin
Leaders: Victor Heme de Lacotte and Chester Davies (Keele Uni PhD students), and Dr Louis Howell (Capricorn Energy) Four linked excursions over two days at sites around the Carboniferous Fife-Midlothian Basin. These will explore the strata and sedimentology of the Leven-Midlothian syncline on either side of the Forth. Saturday will be spent in Fife, visiting Kirkcaldy-Dysart and Lower Largo. Sunday will cover Joppa and Prestonpans in East Lothian. There will be opportunities to learn the rudiments of stratigraphical logging, to carefully examine key changes and translate our findings into interpretation of the offshore seismic data. Informal post-fieldwork discussions can continue over refreshments. Numbers will be limited to 15 participants, and ideally both days will be attended.
Due to circumstances outside our control, the two-day workshop has been postponed to 2024. Instead, we are offering a one-day taster this year:
The Carboniferous Leven-Midlothian Basin: Lower Largo, Fife – Saturday 19 August only
Leaders: Graham Leslie & Mike Browne (BGS/EGS) and Mark Wilkinson (EGS/Univ Edinburgh)
This excursion will examine and discuss the Carboniferous stratigraphy and sedimentology within the Leven-Midlothian syncline structure at Lower Largo.
Saturday 2 September Balmaha - joint excursion with Glasgow
Leader: Dr Iain Allison
The objectives are to examine the rocks around the Highland Boundary Fault which separates the Palaeozoic rocks of the Midland Valley from the late Proterozoic rocks of the Grampian Highlands and to gain some understanding why there has been considerable controversy over the geological history of this zone which cuts across mainland Scotland from Helensburgh to Stonehaven.
The units we will examine are:
Upper Old Red Sandstone
Lower Old Red Sandstone
Highland Border Complex: Arrochymore Sandstone, Black Shale,
Limestone with Serpentinite Pebbles, Serpentinite
Dalradian: Southern Highland Group
This is a joint excursion organised by the Geological Society of Glasgow. Edinburgh participants are invited to car share and meet the Glasgow bus at Balmaha at 10:30am. The excursion will be followed by high tea at a nearby hotel.
Please book your place using the same procedure as our other excursions: Booking Information and Code of Conduct & Safety Guidelines
Wednesday Evening Excursions 2023
Wednesday 19 April, 7pm Arthur’s Seat – the dark side
Leader: Angus Miller
The eroded basaltic volcanic cone of Arthur’s Seat displays an impressive range of features including lava flows, ash layers, and a complex central vent with agglomerate and intrusions. Our route on the ‘dark side’ of Arthur’s Seat will include close-up views of Samson’s Ribs, and various outcrops near Duddingston Loch. We will return along the Queen’s Drive through the central vent.
Wednesday 3 May, 7pm St Andrews Square / East end George Street, Edinburgh
Leader: Andrew McMillan
An examination of the building stone geology of the New Town including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and George Street; this excursion will serve as a recce for a new booklet to be published by the Lothian and Borders GeoConservation group.
Wednesday 17 May, 7pm Industrial and palaeontological heritage of Comrie Colliery, West Fife
Leader: Dr Katie Strang
Coal mining in Scotland has left a significant legacy in west Fife. From our society and culture, to the locations of our towns and villages, to the shape of our landscapes. In addition we have gained a wealth of palaeontological information from these coal-bearing deposits. This excursion will take a trip around an old colliery which is currently being reclaimed, to learn about the industrial heritage and look at material in the old spoil heaps.
Wednesday 7 June, 7pm Comiston Springs, south Edinburgh
Leader: Ken Hitchen
We will visit the location of the four main Comiston Springs – the source of the water for Edinburgh’s first ever clean water supply in 1676. We will then visit the Comiston cistern building where the water was collected before being piped to the ‘Old Town’ where it could be collected in buckets by local residents. We will see where the present day outflow from the cistern has been diverted into the Braid Burn and learn how to recognize and plot the route of the original 1676 pipeline under the eastern slope of Braidburn Valley Park and the suburbs of south Edinburgh.
Wednesday 14 June, 7pm North Berwick shore, East Lothian
Leaders: Godfrey Fitton and Angus Miller
The beach and cliffs to the east of North Berwick harbour expose a superb range of volcanic rocks formed in the early Carboniferous. Shallow-water eruptions of Surtseyan style created a thick layer of tuffs, topped by basaltic lava flows. The main target of the excursion is to examine the textures and features of explosive volcanic rocks close to Partan Craig. These include garnetiferous gneiss xenoliths, first described by Brian Upton and colleagues in 1976. The keen eyes of a party of EGS members will find much of interest in fresh inter-tidal exposures.
Long Excursions 2023
Long Excursion 10-16 May 2023: Isle of Man
Long Excursion to the Isle of Man 2023
David Quirk and Dr David Burnett have kindly agreed to lead the EGS Long Excursion to the Isle of Man in 2023, postponed since 2020. Leaving Edinburgh on Wednesday 10 May, returning on Tuesday 16 May 2023. Contact Anne Burgess, preferably by email to email@example.com, or by letter to 21 Woodside Place, Fochabers IV32 7HE. All emails will be acknowledged, so if you do not get a response within a couple of days, please try again.
EGS Online Excursions
Geological Excursions organised by other Societies in Scotland
Planning Geological Excursions?
You may find these online tools from the British GeologIcal Survey and Ordnance Survey are useful.
Our bumper Excursion Programme for 2019 allows you to experience the superb range of geology that southern Scotland has to offer. The programme starts on Wednesday 24 April with a short evening excursion around Corstorphine Hill, and runs right the way through to 20-22 September with the weekend excursion to Stonehaven and Highland Boundary Fault. In between these trips, there will be 16 others Wednesday evening (7-9pm), Saturday (all day) and Introductory excursions for new members (x3). Do try and take this opportunity to learn some field geology from our expert leaders.
Visit our website page Excursions to find out more details and how to book them.
Wednesday 22 June
South Queensferry Shore
Leader Angus Miller, Geowalks
Interesting linksHere are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)
- Earth Lines: Geopoetry and Geopoetics
- Edinburgh’s Geology – Sites
- EGS Officers and Council Members – historical list
- EGS strategy – Members’ Views, Spring 2019
- Excursions – General Information
- Learning Resources – Edinburgh’s Rocks and People
- Public Lecture
- Fieldwork Grants – Reports
- Geological Excursion Guides & Books
- James Hutton (1726-1797)
- Learning Resources – Edinburgh’s Rocks
- Lothian and Borders GeoConservation
- Who Are We? What Do We Do?
- Alexander Rose (1781-1860)
- Edinburgh’s Geology
- Excursion Photographs
- Fieldwork Grants – Reports to 2011
- Geoconservation Leaflets
- Learning Resources – Evidence from the past
- Learning Resources – Making Edinburgh’s Landscape
- Local Geodiversity Sites in Edinburgh
- Scotland’s Geology
- The Edinburgh Geologist
- Local Geodiversity Sites in Scottish Borders
- Local Geodiversity Sites in the Lothian and Borders area
- Newsletters, Annual Reports and AGM minutes
- Sir Roderick Murchison (1792-1871)
- Hutton’s Unconformity
- Local Geodiversity Sites in Midlothian
- Scottish Journal of Geology
- Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875)
- Access to the Lyell Collection
- David Milne-Home (1805-1890)
- Tayside Geodiversity
- Charles Thomas Clough (1852-1916)
- EGS Library
- Geological Pioneers
- Arthur Holmes (1890-1965)
- List of EGS Books
- Grants and Awards
- Medallists and Award Winners
- The Laws of Edinburgh Geological Society
- Members’ Photo Gallery
- Geology Toolkit
- No Access
- The Small Print
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