Welcome to the Geowalks blog, the place to find reports and pictures of Geowalks activities. You can read reports by Sarah-Louise Davies from holidays on Eigg, May 2007 and Fife Coast, 2009. Alan Bolton has been on many Geowalks and holidays, his site has many great photos of the areas we have visited and other trips.
Monday 22 February 2010
Like much of the rest of the outdoor world, Geowalks has been hibernating for a few weeks! However I'm just back from a magical few days on Arran, where the sun's warmth was appreciated and it felt like the winter might just be drawing to a close.
Thursday 18 March 2010
Spring is here (at last) and I'm looking forward to getting out and exploring Scotland's rocks in the next few months ... the best time of year to explore Scotland's geology! On Saturday I'll be at St Monans in Fife, for a short walk along the rocky coast. This must be the most varied geology of any short stretch of coast in Scotland, a great spot for exploring volcanic vents, folded layers and a variety of sedimentary rocks. You might have walked with me before from St Monans towards Elie, but this time we are heading in the other direction towards Pittenweem.
After that it's only a couple of weeks until the start of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, and I'm delighted to be taking part again this year with two walks (each repeated on three days), one visiting North Berwick's volcanoes, and the other in the centre of Edinburgh exploring the story of James Hutton.
And while I'm on the subject of James Hutton, you might have heard me talking about Hutton's Section on BBC Radio Scotland's Out of Doors programme just before 8am last Saturday. I'm back on this Saturday with another short segment on the scenery of Edinburgh. And I'll apologise in advance to any offended citizens of a flatter city in the west. Oops!
Finally, don't forget Geowalks Holidays, great opportunities to explore some of Scotland's best rocks. The trip to the island of Rum in May is full, but there are places available on all the other holidays - to Bute, Mull, Arran and the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland. There might be an extra trip in June to Assynt, as well. The fun starts 23-25 April with a weekend trip to the island of Bute.
Tuesday 23 March 2010 - A Curriculum for Excellence
Scotland's new curriculum provides opportunities for schools to get outdoors and explore their local landscape, find out why it is the way it is and what lies beneath. I've been helping to write new material to support the curriculum for the Scottish Earth Science Education Forum; this includes a new guide called Primary Earth Science Outdoors which should be of interest to teachers across Scotland.
One of the other organisations I work for, the Earth Science Education Unit of the University of Keele have just launched their new Curriculum for Excellence workshops - offered free of charge to schools across the country and I've been busy in the last couple of weeks getting trained in the new workshops and delivering a couple. All good stuff, lots of exciting hands-on activities that bring earth science to life.
I've revamped my Education page to reflect these new activities - please get in touch if you have any questions!
Friday 9 April - Geowalks at the Edinburgh International Science Festival
Whoosh! That was a busy week. Delighted that my walks for the festival have been so popular, with over 100 people out on the rocks of Edinburgh and North Berwick this week, exploring the story of James Hutton and Salisbury Crags, and the volcanoes that have helped make East Lothian's beautiful scenery.
I've been involved in the Science Festival for many years, but this year's had a great buzz and it was a pleasure to be out and about in reasonably good weather ... certainly better than last week.
Time for a wee holiday now ...
Saturday 24 April - Isle of Bute
It was a select bunch of us who gathered in Bute to explore its geological richness, but we had a most interesting time and saw a good range of interesting geology, while being supremely well looked after by Margaret at the Ardyne Hotel.
Friday 7 May - Summer!
May is my favourite time of year ... I've already been out and about a lot in the last few weeks, and I'm feeling weather-beaten if not yet sun tanned!
Off to the wild Isle of Rum on Monday for the first ever Geowalks Holiday there; judging from the amount of interest there's been in this trip I expect I'll be doing it frequently in the next few years.
I know many Geowalks customers enjoy Iain Stewart's geology programmes on the BBC and I've been delighted to be involved in a small way in research for the next series based on the development of geological sciences in Scotland. Edinburgh Geological Society (of which I am Secretary) has been asked to assemble a small group of interested people to be filmed visiting Blackford Hill in Edinburgh, as part of a segment about the visit of Louis Agassiz to Scotland in 1840 - the idea being to show that the sites used in the development of geological theory in the past are still visited today. The tentative date for this is Saturday 22nd May. If you'd like to take part, please get in touch - a great opportunity to see firsthand how these programmes are made.
Friday 14 May - Isle of Rum
Sunday 6 June - Northwest Highlands
Wednesday 23 June - a busy spring ... 50 days of walks, talks and workshops
Sunday 28 June - Siccar Point
Perhaps this should have been classified as an over-adventurous walk rather than just adventurous, but I hope it was worth it! After slogging through nettles and thistles, and descending steep slopes we reached the deserted coast east of Siccar Point, and superb exposures of James Hutton's rocks (tough greywacke and the softer, younger Old Red Sandstone); he knew that these rocks were well-displayed in the cliffs between Dunglass and St Abb's Head, and he wanted to find a good example of the junction. We lunched on Old Red just above the junction and continued westwards along the coast to eventually get to the point itself.
Every time I go here, I'm reminded of what a stunning site it is ... a powerful triumvirate of amazing rocks, great scenery and an evocative historical tale. And every time I come away thinking that we need to make more of this, for it is one of Scotland's great treasures, which deserves to be appreciated and enjoyed.
Saturday 11 September - Antrim Coast
Delighted to visit the Antrim Coast again, this time with a group from the University of the Third Age, mostly from Edinburgh. We think this might be the sixth geology trip that I've done for the U3A and once again a fine time was had - I hope by all!
Certainly helped by generous amounts of sunshine and the superb rocks and scenery of the coast. We greatly enjoyed approaching the Giant's Causeway from the quiet side, absolutely the best way to visit, walking along the coastal path from the east. Fantastic cliff sections show the basalt lava flows and the main red soil layer. I look forward to further visits to Antrim in the future, and more geology trips for the U3A!