Kintradwell is difficult to access, but if the ‘Boulder Beds’ are exposed, this site can be highly fossiliferous. Kintradwell’s rocky foreshore can also produce some surprises. However, be prepared for a long walk.
♦ Follow the A9 from Brora to Kintradwell. Halfway between the two locations is a lay-by on the eastern side of the road. This is near to the railway, with a railway crossing and a pedestrian crossing.
♦ Follow the track through the golf course down to the beach and head towards the road at Kintradwell. Although this is an official footpath, it is somewhat overgrown and difficult to follow. Alternatively, you can walk from Brora or Lothbeg, but this is about a 7km walk
♦ Ref: 58.04241°N, 3.82510°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Kintradwell can produce some nice surprises, but you will need the right conditions to expose the rocks and shale on the foreshore.
CHILDREN: ♦ – This location is not recommended for families, because you will have to cross a railway line along a long walk.
ACCESS: ♦ – Kintradwell is difficult to access, with a long walk. There is poor access to the beach.
TYPE: – All of the fossils are found in the rocks and shale exposed on the foreshore at Kintradwell.
Reptile and fish remains can be found at Kintradwell. The rocks are from the Boulder Beds, which are similar to Helmsdale. (For more on the Boulder Beds, see our guide to Helmsdale.) However, during the right scouring conditions, ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods and bivalves can all be found, but most of the beach can be covered with sand, for much of the time.
Heavy, cementstones, consisting of limestones, can be seen on the foreshore at Kintradwell. These are where most of the fish and reptile remains are found. However, fossils can also be found within the shales exposed on the foreshore, although these tend to be poorly preserved and/or crushed. Other rocks along the foreshore can also yield fossils, such as ammonites and belemnites, so keep an eye open at all times, as you never know what you may find.
The rocks at Kintradwell are part of the Kintradwell Boulder Beds Member of the Helmsdale Boulder Beds Formation (Sutherland Group). They consist of a bed of sandstone and conglomerate mixed with argillaceous rocks. They were formed 146 to 154 million years ago during the Jurassic period.
These Kimmeridgian shales, sands and ‘boulder-beds’ are well-exposed at Kintradwell Point.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. The tide can reach quite high up the beach at Kintradwell. Therefore, ensure you return well before high tide. Take care when crossing the railway line.
Some fossils can be simply picked up from the foreshore, others are set in extremely hard limestone layers, while others are set in clay. For that reason there are quite a few different tools you may need.
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.