Geowalks Holidays 2018

Geowalks holidays give you the opportunity to visit Scotland's finest rocks and landscapes, exploring an area in a series of day walks with a small group. A relaxed pace, lots of flexibility and we frequently pause to enjoy the views, the wildlife and the flowers and to explore the human stories of the places we are visiting.

I really enjoy leading these trips, and they are highly regarded - a recent participant said "Many thanks for this year's geology trips. I enjoyed them all. You do a great job in the organisation, the accommodation, the weather, the people and the geology but most of all it is the courteous and friendly way you treat us that makes a geowalk special. Thank you."

For Geowalks holidays, get in touch with Angus to see if there are places available, and then send a £50 deposit to secure your place (cheques payable to 'Geowalks' or ask if you'd like to make an online bank transfer). The final information about each holiday is sent out 6 weeks in advance, but please ask if you need details to make travel arrangements, etc. Some holidays are organised with partners including Williams Geoadventures and Selkie Explorers, get in touch with them to book.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Mull & Iona Monday 16 to Saturday 21 April 2018

The islands of Mull and Iona have a rich geological heritage. The scenery and beauty of the area derives mainly from incredible volcanic activity about 60 million years ago, which produced a thick blanket of basalt lava flows that form much of Mull and include the world-famous rocks of Staffa. Within the lava flows there are lots of interesting features, including basalt columns, a famous fossilised tree and in-filled gas bubbles. However, it is not just basalt that we find here, in many places the lava has been eroded away, exposing a diverse collection of rocks below; including Iona's marble, the Ross of Mull granite and sedimentary rocks. In one small geographical area you find some of the oldest and youngest rocks of Scotland, and some important ones from in between!

The programme includes day trips to Iona, Staffa (weather permitting) and explorations on the Ross of Mull; with plenty of flexibility, to make the best of the weather conditions and also to allow time for your own explorations, bird-watching, etc. Holiday Information Sheet (pdf file)

Eigg & Rum Friday 11 to Friday 18 May 2018

The small Hebridean islands of Eigg and Rum offer superb opportunities to explore a range of geological features and landscapes associated with the birth of the North Atlantic Ocean. There was significant volcanic activity here around 60 million years ago, firstly extensive basalt lava flows that now form the bulk of the island of Eigg, and then focused on a large central volcano above what is now Rum. Features such as the Sgurr ridge on Eigg and the magma chamber rocks of Rum give a glimpse of the power and complexity of the volcanic activity. The volcanic rocks sit on top and within a range of interesting sedimentary rocks, including ancient sandstone on Rum, bereft of any visible fossil evidence of life, and the much younger limestone and sandstone of Eigg.

The programme comprises a variety of day walks on both islands, and a sail journey between Eigg and Rum that will include a circumnavigation of Rum in the right conditions. This is rough terrain for walking, but the main features of the story can be appreciated in day walks, with optional extensions for the keen and the fit. Holiday Information Sheet (pdf file)

Geosail with Selkie Explorers 21-26 May 2018

Reaching the places that normal geology trips don't reach ... travelling with the wind, seeing the Hebrides from a different perspective, taking our time to soak up the atmosphere, get in close to the coast to view the geology of inaccessible places and if conditions allow, land occasionally for a wild walk. We can't plan the detailed itinerary in advance, but there are myriad possibilities setting out from Mallaig with a range of geology ahead of us (rocks dating from 3000 million to just 55 million years old). Possibilities include the Outer Hebrides, Skye, Soay, Col and Tiree, or sail north to the Summer Isles or south to Treshnish, Mull, Iona.

I'm delighted to be working with Celia Bull of Selkie Explorers, based on the island of Eigg and her amazing high-latitude yacht, aluminium hulled with a lifting keel. I've sailed with Celia a couple of times now, she is a fine skipper: confident, very experienced, knowledgeable and with a fascinating life story that has taken her all over the world. So, this is going to be an unforgettable experience for a small group.

We will set out from Mallaig on the morning of Monday 21 May, and return to anchor off Eigg on the Friday afternoon; there might be time on the island that evening, and there are a couple of options for departing Eigg for Mallaig or Arisaig on Saturday 26 May. Book direct with Selkie Explorers - further information

Scotland Rocks! II The Islands of the West 2-15 June 2018

Scotland Geology Trip Join Tom Williams and Scottish geology guide Angus Miller for this exclusive tour of some of Scotland's less visited western islands, and some fabulous geology and scenery. This 13-day field trip will take us from Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, to the quieter reaches of the Inner Hebrides, interacting with the small communities that call these remote islands home.

We'll visit the picturesque island of Arran, exploring an intersection of several different geological periods and one of James Hutton's unconformities. We'll travel through the metamorphic Highland rocks, and get a glimpse of deep time exploring ice-age sedimentary rocks that are about 600 million years old in the Garvellach islands. Extraction of slate from the islands of Easdale and Luing provided roofing material for Scotland and further afield, and left behind a stark landscape of some beauty. We'll travel across the island of Mull to enjoy the varied geology of the islands of Iona and Staffa, with its world famous columns of volcanic basalt. Travelling further north, our final stop will be on the small island of Eigg, just south of Skye, where a combination of sedimentary and volcanic rock has left a legacy of geological and scenic diversity, which has influenced the settlement and human story. The trip will culminate with a scenic rail journey across the Highlands and back to Glasgow and onwards to London or Edinburgh.

Book direct with Tom Williams Geoadventures - further information

Rockwatch trip to the Isle of Eigg 23-27 July 2018

This amazing trip to Eigg for families is being organised by Rockwatch - the UK's Nationwide Geology Club for Children. A great opportunity to explore a fascinating variety of geology in a small area, with interesting sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Most of the rocks of Eigg were formed during volcanic eruptions as North America and Europe split apart and the north Atlantic Ocean was formed. Beneath the volcanic rocks are older sedimentary rocks from the Jurassic Period, and we will find plenty of fossils including shells and plant remains. This is the first place in Scotland where plesiosaur bones were discovered, by a famous geologist called Hugh Miller in 1844, and if you go to the right place (it is quite a trek) it is still possible to find bits of plesiosaur today. Even more excitingly, an Edinburgh University geologist found the first dinosaur bone on Eigg just last year, similar to other recent discoveries in recent years on the nearby island of Skye.

The volcanic rocks are amazing too, lots of basalt, forming crumbling cliffs. The high point of the island, An Sgrr, is made of a tough slab of pitchstone. This is an unusual glassy volcanic rock and probably formed as the result of a big, dramatic volcanic explosion which knocked over pine trees and buried the landscape in very hot volcanic ash.

The trip will be flexible and informal, so there will be time to explore all of the island, spend time on beautiful sandy beaches and climb An Sgrr (it looks really impressive but actually isn't too hard to climb).

For further information and to book, contact the friendly people at the Rockwatch office.

Isle of Arran Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 October 2018

Welcome to the best geology in Scotland! Arran's rocks tell a story stretching over almost one billion years. There are igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, representing periods of mountain building, tropical seas, hot deserts, volcanoes and underground cauldrons of magma its all here, and Arran is justly famous as an ideal introduction to the study of rocks, and a place to appreciate the link between the rocks and the shape of the land at different scales. Well visit the ancient Highland rocks in the north of Arran, the site of James Huttons unconformity near Lochranza, and the desert sandstones of the south. There will be time to explore all aspects of the island and appreciate the scenery, wildlife and a peaceful atmosphere. We will take a series of short walks to explore places of interest. Holiday Information Sheet (pdf file)

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