Barite mineralisation has been worked in the past at a number of locations in the western part of the Midland Valley. This excursion will examine the setting and nature of the mineralisation at Gasswater mine: a series of NWSE trending trenches and other mining features on the northeast bank of the Gass Water, East Ayrshire. Mining took place there between 1920 and 1964. The workings and spoil heaps will be examined to determine the style and associations of the mineralisation.

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

Excursion title:

Gasswater Baryte Mine, East Ayrshire

Date & time:

1st August 2020 9:00

Finish time:



Graham Leslie, BGS; David Stephenson, EGS

Excursion aims and description:

To examine the setting and nature of the barite mineralisation at Gasswater Mine, east Ayrshire. A series of NW-SE trending excavated trenches and associated mining related features extend across the slopes of Whiteyards Hill on the north-eastern banks of the Gass Water, East Ayrshire [2660 6216]. Mining took place between 1920 and 1964; the baryte mineralisation is regarded as part of well-developed suite of mineral occurrences extending south-east from Muirshiel in the Renfrewshire Hills in to this part of east Ayrshire (Stephenson and Coats, 1983). Examination of the cuts and mining-related features is readily achieved, with due attention to safe procedures, there will be no access underground.

Wet, inclement weather alternatives could include the newly opened Glenbuck Heritage Village; the base Devonian section revealed in the new road alignment at Glenbuck Loch and a visit to the Lugar Sill exposures alongside the A70 at Lugar village.


Minibus from Waterloo Place at 9am

Meeting point:

Waterloo Place. Coach route west out of Edinburgh. Pick-up point at Glasgow Road or Fairmilehead.

First locality:

Car park, Dalblair village (26460 61930), prior to walk to Gasswater Mine [26600 62160]

Excursion route:

Walk NE from Dalblair village across hill track to Gasswater Mine (3.5 km), examine mine area (c. 1km2), and return.

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

3.5 km hill track from Dalblair to Gasswater Mine, and return; c. 80 m ascent descent each way. Open hillside around mine site but with level track connecting main sites.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

Tracks and open hillsides present no undue hazard, providing party equipped with suitable footwear and wet weather clothing. No specific shelter points on this open ground. Party should treat all open cuts with caution; note that inaccessible open cuts are fenced off and should not be entered. No access to any underground working permitted.

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

No entry to any fenced-off workings or underground spaces. Normal suitable footwear and wet weather clothing etc.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed:

 Yes, both.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

If under control at all times. Grazing sheep likely.

Toilet information:

There are no toilets on the walking route.

Geological map sheet:

15W Bedrock, New Cumnock

OS map sheet:


STEPHENSON, D. AND COATS, J. S. 1983. Baryte and copper mineralisation in the Renfrewshire Hills, central Scotland. Mineral Reconnaissance Programme Rep. Inst. Geol. Sci., No. 67.