30 April 2023
April 2023 Newsletter


Scottish Charity No. SC004427

April 2023


As I write this in Eyemouth a happy band of HGS members are enjoying a very interesting variety of Berwickshire and Northumberland geology with Stephen Young our past president achieving a long held ambition in seeing Siccar Point in person. We’ve a varied programme of field trips lined up for this year and already have the outlines for our autumn/winter lecture programme so hopefully you’ll find something of interest and will continue to support our activities.

Could we also please request that any emails you send to our chair, Ann Reynolds, be addressed to the HGS generic email: highlandgeologicalsociety@gmail.com    Thank you.


HGS Excursions 2023

Brief outline of this year’s excursions and activities:

Sat 13th May: Stac of Glencoul

Sun 11th June: Burghead to Hopeman

Sat 23-Mon 25th Sept: Durness

Sat 30th Sept-Sun 1st Oct: Stac Fada symposium


Sat 13th May, Stac of Glencoul: self-led. 13th May 2023.

Peter Reynolds, the walking leader, Alan and Anne have already done a recce and details about this excursion have been circulated to members and the trip is filling up fast.

If you want to join us on this excursion, please reply to HGS ASAP.


Sun 11th June, Burghead to Hopeman traverse.  Dave Longstaff.  Meet at Burghead harbour at 10.00 where we can sort out transport arrangements to leave a few cars in Hopeman in readiness for returning to Burghead at the end of the day. Distance about 5km direct following to Moray Coastal Path with brief forays on to the coastal rocks with very short stretches of uphill walking at times. The walk will start in Burghead looking at Triassic fluviatile rocks, then we can have a good look at the Burghead Fault Zone where the Triassic is faulted down against the Permian Hopeman Sandstone Formation.  We will examine interesting deformation bands, Permian reptilian fossil footprints, a small Triassic outlier within the Permian and baryte and carbonate cemented sandstones.  Walk will finish at Hopeman harbour where there are numerous ice cream shops!


Sat 23rd- Mon 25th September, Durness.  Iain Allison.

It is hoped participating members will travel to Durness on Friday 22nd in readiness for a full weekend of geology.

Saturday 23rd September: The day will be spent in the Durness area.  We shall start on the Cambrian Durness Group carbonates on the south side of Balnakiel Bay.  Then we'll walk out towards Faraid Head to examine the Moine and Lewisian rocks and their structural relationships.  The day will finish in Sango Bay where a thrust is exposed, bringing metamorphic rocks over the Cambrian carbonates, which some have correlated with the Moine Thrust.

Sunday 24th September: We will travel east to the east side of Loch Eriboll to look at the deformation in the Moine Thrust Belt.  However, our first locality will be at Rispond to examine the unconformity of Cambrian Eriboll Sandstone overlying the Lewisian Gneiss.  We will then proceed round the head of Loch Eriboll with a number of stops to take in the general geology before arriving at Heilam.  Here we will walk to the Arnaboll Thrust which carried the Lewisian gneisses over Cambrian Pipe Rock with a narrow layer of mylonites at the contact.  It is from here that Lapworth coined the term 'mylonite' for such highly deformed rocks.

Monday 25th September: A half-day will be spent looking at rocks from Durness south to Scourie before we depart homewards after lunch. Iain has mentioned that he’s likely to stay in the area for a few days afterwards and HGS members are invited to join him for further geological forays if they wish.


Scottish Geology Festival 2023

The festival this year will run from the 1st September until the 6th October although event details are still being finalised.  As part of the festival Karen Deans and a few other HGS volunteers are planning to hold a family pebble day during this period at Rosemarkie Beach Café. 

More definite details will follow over the summer:  https://www.scottishgeologytrust.org/festival/.


Sat 30th September-Sun 1st Oct; HGS and NW Highlands Geopark joint Stac Fada symposium.

The symposium will take place on Saturday 30 September in Ullapool.  The day will comprise presentations by researchers involved in the Stac Fada meteorite debate, and plenary discussions.  An optional trip to one of the relevant sites will be arranged on the Sunday. Details to follow.


Autumn/Winter talks 2023/2024

11th October 2023: Gavin Berkenheger - Galantas Gold exploration

22nd November 2023: Gareth Carter BGS - offshore wind development

6th December 2023: Noel Williams - Big Boulders in Scotland

24th January 2024: Elsa Panciroli  Title TBC


Items of interest, geological websites

Scottish Geoconservation project. A few HGS members have had a series of Zoom meetings with Angus Miller and Rachel Wignall, NatureScot, over the last few months with a view to monitoring the condition of local geological SSSI’s. 

Recently SGT were awarded £1500 from the GA Curry Fund which will enable the pilot project to go ahead this summer. If anyone wants to get involved please let a committee member know and we’ll gladly accept you onboard!  


Elgin Museum YouTube channel. HGS members might be interested that Elgin Museum have been putting short local geological and palaeontological themed videos onto YouTube over the last few years.

Videos include:  Bob Davidson, Hugh Miller’s Winged Fish and in conversation: Dr Nick Fraser, Triassic World: Dr Davide Foffa, Using CT scanning to study fossils: Dave Longstaff, Hopeman geology and Permian footprints and much more !. 



5th edition of ‘Geology of Scotland’.

Most members will have seen the bible of Scottish geology ‘The Geology of Scotland’, the last edition being published in 2002.

It is expected the 5th edition will be published this summer which will contain the latest thinking on Scotland’s geology and will be eagerly anticipated by academic and amateur geologists alike.

Some of the Edinburgh Geological Societies lectures next year will feature talks by some of the authors on selected chapters in the new edition.



Professor Rob Butler, University of Aberdeen, has been very busy putting together a highly impressive series of over 180 instructional geology videos, many from Scottish locations onto YouTube. These videos generally last around 15 minutes and are highly recommended, a tremendously informative resource.



Geologists Association: Geology from your sofa



Palaeocast podcasts:-



The Scottish Geology Trust   



Other Scottish geological societies:

Aberdeen Geological Society



Edinburgh Geological Society



Glasgow Geological Society



Open University Geology Society





Chair:            Ann Reynolds          01808 521343         highlandgeologicalsociety@gmail.com

Secretary:     Anne Cockroft         01463 238992         hgssec@gmail.com

Treasurer:     Alan Thompson       01463 238992           alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

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