Edinburgh Geolsoc Visit

Edinburgh Geological Society Excursion, Friday 14th to Monday, 17th September, 2018.

Lochaber Geopark (LG) was delighted to welcome 12 members of the EGS to a long weekend of very varied geology, based in the Strontian area.

The group met up at lunchtime on Friday, starting off with a look into the Ballachulish Slate Quarry. Then on to the shoreline below St John’s Church to see the folding structures of the Ballachulish Slide, where LG have an ongoing site ‘tidying’ project. The outcrop of the same features were also viewed from the forest road cutting on the hillside above. Crossing the Corran Ferry just left time to see the Great Glen Fault intrusion granite outcrop south of Ardgour before heading to Strontian Hotel for dinner.

The Strontian Lead Mines were visited on Saturday morning. The lead mines were mainly opencast workings, but include several shafts and adits. Great care was taken around all the works, with examples of a collapsed adit and several shafts noted. Our tour ranged from the re-landscaped Bellsgrove opencast, by the Clashgorm opencast pit and Whitesmith cut. Our thanks to Dan for permission to explore the site.

In contrast, the afternoon was spent at Rubha na h’-Earba on the shores of Loch Linnhe. This headland is made of Lower Devonian sediments sitting unconformably on Moine metasediments. None of the Edinburgh geologists had been there before!

Sunday saw us explore the various rock exposures between Strontian and Lochaline, starting with features of the Strontian Granite on the shores of Loch Sunart. A roadside quarry with a multiple igneous dyke intrusion into more Moine metasediments followed. Then, a Triassic unconformity, Jurassic fossils and outcrops of the Stornoway beds followed, before heading to Ardtornish, lunch and the Fossil Burn and lime kiln. A quick look at the Lochaline Silica Sand mine followed, with a chance to collect some ‘Devil’s Toenails’ fossils washed out on the beach. The day finished with a visit to the Clach na Criche Palaeogene dyke, locally known as the ‘Wishing Stone’.

The excursion finished on Monday, with a visit to the Kentallen LG interpretation panel by the Sustrans Cycle Path where the igneous rock ‘Kentallenite’ (olivine monzonite) outcrops on the hillside. Finally, the contact between the Dalradian metasedimentary country rock and the Kentallenite was seen on the shore.

Student Internship

LG was grateful that the EGS group welcomed European student, Ruta who is a palaeontology Masters student from Germany, onto their excursion. Ruta came to Lochaber for two weeks to do an internship with the Geopark after working in Edinburgh with Angus Miller for two weeks. She then went on to North West Highlands Geopark for a further two weeks. She managed to get a tour round the interpretation panels of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, all the way out to Sanna Bay, as well as the Geolsoc trip. All the best to Ruta in her studies and we hope you return again soon.