This is a very dramatic location, but Rigg is one of the least visited fossils locations on Skye. The reason is that this is only for the experienced collector. It has a fascinating coastline of Lower and Middle Jurassic sediments. Rich in fossils, archaeology and local wildlife, Rigg is one of these places where safety and common sense must prevail.
♦ Take the A855 road from Portree to Staffin/Uig.
♦ Ten miles from Portree, a single house sits on the left hand side on the bend of the road at Rigg. It looks down on a small valley with a meandering river throughout its length.
♦ There is parking opposite the house, but do not block access to the land by means of a trackway.
♦ Cross the fence and follow the valley immediately in front, and then drop down past a well-defined settlement. Head towards the coastline over a flat field. Stay this side of the fence and head to your left (that is, north). Cross the wooded burn and take one of the sheep trails. Stay up on the higher trails and you will see an old salmon station bothy with its chimney. Here you can come back down and take the path down to the shoreline, and the large rock fall.
♦ Ref: NG 52070 56925
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – There are lots of fossils to be found and photographed. You can find anything from ammonites to plants, molluscs and even bones of marine reptiles.
CHILDREN: ♦ – There is a longish walk over often boggy ground, along a cliff top trail. The shoreline is very rough and boulder-strewn in places. This is not for the young or unfit.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – This is a fairly long walk, over difficult terrain. We only recommend experienced walkers.
TYPE: – On a receding low tide, you can travel along the base of the cliffs (not too close), which are dominated by sedimentary layers of Middle Jurassic strata. Loose boulders and rocks can be looked at for most of the way.
This is an SSSI, so hammering the cliffs and bedrock is strictly prohibited. In addition, you must obey the Scottish geological code.This is among the most dramatic location for fossils on Skye, but it has to be one of the most awkward locations to cover properly. You will need low tides and decent weather. There are huge fossil moulds and belemnites all along the cliffs and bedrock, and a visit here can be the most rewarding of fossil trips on Skye.
The rocks here are Jurassic in age, being about 168 to 183 million years old.
The sequence at Rigg is represented by the Bajocian-aged rocks of the Bearreraig Sandstone Formation. The formation is dominated by fossiliferous calcareous sandstone with subordinate limestone and fissile mudstone. The rocks were formed in shallow seas with mainly siliciclastic sediments (comprising fragments or clasts of silicate minerals) deposited as mud, silt, sand and gravel.
Fossils are frequently found, with the humphraesian zone dominating the fossil finds although there are many sub-zones being exposed as well. witchellia, sauzi and concava zonal fossils can all be found.
The strata consist of ledged sandstones and limestones, with undercutting of the cliffs at various points. Loose rocks are abundant for investigation. Huge ammonites and smaller belemnites are also commonly found. Oysters, plants and crinoid stems are also frequent. Low tide reveals large stepped bedrock areas, which are also fossiliferous.
Avoid the wet slippery lower shoreline if possible. Take your time to avoid twisted ankles. When you reach impassable gullies, it is time to head back along, or take, the poachers path in one of the small bays. Care must be taken at the ‘Tarzan Waterfall’. This not the location for a solitary field trip, so have company with a good level of fitness.
A large mallet of at least 8kg and a cold chisel will suffice. Note that mobile phone reception is poor at best.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.
Skye has a rich fossil heritage with particularly important fossils of Jurassic age. In addition to being Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) some areas of Skye’s coastline have added protection under a Nature Conservation Order (NCO). This Order seeks to protect vertebrate fossils that include the remains of dinosaurs. This guidance outlines how fossil collectors, visitors to the island and the general public have an important role in helping to look after these important fossils.
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.