Research & Fieldwork

Many universities and colleges, from the UK and abroad, choose Lochaber as a venue for geological fieldwork courses.

The exposure in the mountainous areas provides excellent, accessible opportunities for illustrating geological relationships in three dimensions. The long fjord coastline provides hundreds of km of well exposed rock. The range of rock types, igneous, metamorphic and, to a lesser extent, sedimentary, is exceptional, as is the range of geological ages exposed.

Popular locations for University parties include:

Geological research in Lochaber goes back to the 19th century, and continues at a high level to the present day.

  • the shoreline at Onich, a classic section in Dalradian rocks
  • Dalradian terrain around Loch Leven, used by several universities for training in structural mapping
  • the region around Cuil Bay and Duror is used to teach elementary mapping, and is near Kentallen, the type locality of the igneous rock kentallenite
  • the ‘Road to the Isles’ from Fort William to Mallaig which crosses the three sub-divisions of the Moine
  • the Glen Coe caldera
  • the Ballachulish granite and its metamorphic aureole
  • the Ardnamurchan ring complex
  • the Rum layered intrusion
  • the ’Parallel Roads’ of Glen Roy and geomorphological features throughout Lochaber

The Rock Route Interpretative Panels are designed primarily for non-expert readers but are of value at undergraduate level because of the use of oblique maps which show the geology draped over the topography.