Category: Scotland – North

The north of Scotland was the birthplace of the famous geologist, Hugh Miller, who collected in the northeast of the country. Apart from Skye, this is the only area in Scotland where you can collect Jurassic fossils, such as ammonites and reptile remains along the coast. This is due to the Helmsdale Fault. In fact, Helmsdale itself is a classic location where you can see the impact of a major ancient tsunami. This area of Scotland is also famous for its Devonian fish, which are often in superb condition. Achanarras Quarry is a classic site, where new species of fish have been discovered and, at Thurso, the rocks are full fish remains.

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Helmsdale

Helmsdale is the best place to collect Jurassic fossils in Scotland. Geologists have been fascinated by the strange ‘Boulder Beds’ for many years and some questions have remained unanswered as to how the beds were formed. The area is rich in reptile remains, giant corals, fish remains and the occasional ammonite. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Eathie

This is the official ‘Hugh Miller Trail’. Hugh Miller was one of the most important Scottish geologists of the 19th century. Ammonites and fossil fish can be found here. The footpath down to the shore was created by Hugh Miller himself. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Baile an Or

Baile an Or is ideal for families and children. It is set in beautiful scenery and you can pan for gold here. There is actually quite a lot of gold, although they are tiny grains. However, some people have collected enough gold to make a wedding ring and other jewellery. Gold Panning, River, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Portgower

What looks like an ordinary rocky beach, covered in seaweed, is actually rich in corals, ammonites and shells, although you need to work hard to find them. At Portgower, the rocks exposed are from the Jurassic and, if you split them, can yield flat ammonites and shells. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Balintore

A Jurassic fault along the Balintore foreshore is well exposed here. Fossil oysters are quite common, but belemnites can also be found. In addition, during the right conditions, Jurassic ammonites can be found. The cliffs here consist of Devonian strata. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦