At Brora, Jurassic rocks are carried down and deposited from further upstream. These lie around the mouth of the river (River Brora) and along the beaches at the town. They can contain ammonites and shells.
♦ Brora is split into two parts by the river. You can either collect from the south or north side. The south side is normally covered with sand and seaweed, so a visit to the north side is recommended as the preferred option.
♦ From the south, just after crossing the river, there is a road on the right. Take this, which run under a railway bridge. Follow this road and you will eventually come to a large car park and golf centre. Park here.
♦ There are steps down to the river, where you can walk to its mouth and the beach at Brora.♦ Ref: 58.01277°N, 3.84070°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – Although the Jurassic rocks at Brora are highly fossiliferous, they are quite scarce. Most of them come from the river and can be found around the river mouth. The best time for collecting is after stormy seas or a long period of heavy rain.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – Brora is ideal for family trips. Its beautiful views, shops and beach can make for an ideal day out.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – The car park is very close by and near to toilets. You do not need to walk very far and the town centre and shops are also within easy walking distance.
TYPE: – There are no cliffs at Brora. All of fossils come from rocks, which are brought down and deposited by the river, and from the lowest part of the foreshore.
You can find ammonites and shells at Brora by splitting rocks on the foreshore. The ammonites here can be quite large, considering the limited amount of beds exposed. Belemnites can also be found.
At South Brora, the rocks are often covered with seaweed, which makes it very difficult to find anything. Also, there are fewer Jurassic rocks.
Most of the Jurassic rocks get washed down by the river and can be found around its mouth. However, there are also plenty of rocks along the beach, if you walk north. Look out for blue rocks. These will often have white shells showing. You will need a good hammer to split them. The foreshore consists mostly of Triassic rocks, but since these are red in colour, it makes finding the fossiliferous rocks that much easier.
The best beds are found along the River Brora. The Achrimsdale Sandstone Member, comprising sandstone; pale grey, calcareous and silica-cemented, bioturbated, with rare pebbles and subordinate mudstones and shelly siltstones. Mudstones may include resinous lignite and coaly beds and the siltstone beds locally contain scattered carbonaceous fragments and microcrystalline limestone nodules
They form prominent cliffs by the river, but most of the fossiliferous rocks are found at the river mouth. The beds are Oxfordian – Kimmeridgian in age.
However, a wide sequence of Jurassic geology can be found along the beach on both sides of the river, especially during scouring conditions. The only exception is the Brora Coal Formation, which is no longer exposed, because it has been washed and/or weathered away.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. The tide reaches quite high up the beach at Brora. Therefore, ensure you return well before high tide. Be careful if you are searching the rocks in the river mouth, because the currents can be quite strong.
The rocks at Brora often contain Jurassic fossils. These come from rocks that will need to be split open. Therefore, you need the right tools for this (hammers, chisels and safety goggles). Sometimes, Kimmeridge Clay can be exposed on the foreshore. When this happens, you should take a pick and a blunt knife.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.
Scotland’s fossil resource is at risk of abuse and damage, and so we must all safeguard and managed fossil collecting to ensure its survival for future generations. For this reason it is VITAL you read and adhere to the Scottish Fossil Code for ALL sites in Scotland.