This excursion will examine the spectacular geomorphological features exposed in Fairy Glen. Later, at Dunglass, we will visit the coastal termination of a glacial outwash channel cut into Carboniferous strata. A visit will also be made to the Collegiate Church of Dunglass to see the memorial to James Hall, a friend of James Hutton and early experimental petrologist.

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

Excursion title:

Lammermuir Deans & Dunglass

Date & time:

2nd May 2020 10:30

Finish time:



Fiona McGibbon  The Open University and Edinburgh University Centre for Open Learning

Excursion aims and description:

The Lammermuir Hills are incised by numerous glacial outwash channels that form deeply incised valleys revealing the otherwise largely hidden geology of the region.  This trip examines the Great Conglomerate of the Lower Devonian Reston Group where exposed in the Fairy Glen at Aikengall, where both the outcrops and landscape are of interest.

The second locality (Dunglass) will visit the coastal termination of a glacial outwash channel to look at the dramatic gorge and examine the Carboniferous strata it cuts into. We will visit the beach to examine these strata further and the modern beach deposits as well.  We will then walk up to the Collegiate Church of Dunglass to see the memorial to local hero James Hall of Dunglass, friend of Hutton and early experimental petrologist.


private cars.

Meeting point:

NT 3709 6708 by sheepwash at Wester Aikengall Farm.

First locality:

As above.  We will meet at this location and  take as few cars as possible for the last half mile of the journey to a parking restricted site.

Excursion route:

This is a field trip with three different sites.  We start in the morning at Wester Aikengall to explore the Fairy Glen for about 2hours and may lunch there.  We then will drive to the next locality (NT37706722) to park and visit to different sites on foot (Dunglass Beach and Dunglass Collegiate Church).

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

The first part of the trip involves a very steep descent into a glacial outwash channel, followed by less than a mile walking in total. The second part of the trip will be over less than three miles total walking distance.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

Rough ground and steep terrain at the first locality (Lammermuir Deans).  Narrow beach with limited escape routes at second locality.

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

Stout footwear essential and walking poles if required.  Tide times have been consulted for second site visit is on a falling tide close to low tide.

This trip is not suitable for anyone with vertigo and requires a reasonable level of fitness suitable for the descent and ascent of a steep bank of loose deposits.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed:

No, neither required.

May dogs be brought on the excursion?

no.  There are sheep on the loose.

Toilet information:

There are no toilet facilities at either location on this trip.

Geological map sheet:

33(E) Dunbar

OS map sheet:

Explorer 351, Landranger 67


Stone, P. et al (2012): British Regional Geology – South of Scotland (4th Edition), BGS, Nottingham.

SNH/BGS (1997) East Lothian and the Borders – A landscape fashioned by geology.  Available as free pdf download at:

McAdam, A.D., Clarkson, E.N.K. (1996) Lothian Geology: An Excursion Guide (p.152-154)

Davies, A., McAdam, A.D. and Cameron, I.B. (1986) Geology of the Dunbar district, Mem. Br. Geol. Surv., Sheet 33E and part of Sheet 41 (Scotland).