This page gives details about upcoming walks in the Guided Walks Programme. See the About the Walks page for general information. Please do let me know if you are coming on a walk, so that I can keep you informed about any changes to these arrangements.
Saturday 23 September 2017 10am Queensferry to Cramond
A beautiful and varied stretch of coast to the west of Edinburgh, where we can get a glimpse into changing environmental conditions recorded by a range of sedimentary rocks, enjoy views of the three bridges and find out why they are there! Day walk, 5 hours, £14
THE ROCKS: We begin with an array of sedimentary rocks, containing clues to their formation in the Carboniferous Period more than 300 million years ago. Walking further along the coast we leave these soft rocks behind, and the character of the coast line is determined by occasional rocky headlands made from a range of hard igneous rocks.
THE WALK: a flat and gentle walk, mostly on good paths although there are short sections of sandy and rocky beach. We'll start under the Forth Rail Bridge, and follow the coast path past Dalmeny House before cutting inland. The walk will finish at Cramond Brig. Despite the proximity to Edinburgh, this is a quiet and under-visited stretch of coast, with beautiful sandy beaches and rocky headlands. Total distance 9 km. I have classified this as a Moderate Walk: not always on paths, may be rough or slippery underfoot at times. It may be wet, windy or cold. Come equipped with strong footwear and waterproof clothing.
MEET: outside Dalmeny Station at 10 am. Grid reference NT 139 779. It is easiest to use public transport to access the start and end points of this walk. There's a train to Dalmeny from Edinburgh Waverley at 9:43 am. Alternatively you can drive to Dalmeny or South Queensferry and return there by bus at the end of the walk, the finish point at Cramond Brig is close to several bus services.
Tuesday 3 October 2017 10.30am 51 Best Places to see Scotland's Geology: Siccar Point
It is Scotland's most important geological site, but Siccar Point is tucked away on the rugged coastline of the Scottish Borders, a hidden gem with beautiful coastal scenery and a rich geological story. We'll get to the point by walking along the Berwickshire Coastal Path from Cove, gradually travelling back in time through three periods of constrasting sedimentary rocks. An event for Scotland's Geoheritage Festival. Day walk, 5 hours, £14
THE ROCKS: Siccar Point is world-famous as the most important site described by James Hutton in support of his world-changing ideas on the origin and age of the Earth, and it remains now much the same as when Hutton visited in 1788. The junction between the older, tilted layers of greywacke sandstone and the younger Old Red Sandstone is clearly visible, allowing us to work out the story of the formation of these rocks, and by approaching from up the coast as Hutton did we can see Siccar Point in the context of the surrounding area.
THE WALK: a varied walk of about 5km (one way) along the coastal path from Cove to Siccar Point, which lies at the foot of a steep grassy slope; it is not essential to descend all the way down the slope to see the key features. I have classified this as an Easy Walk, but with an adventurous addition of descending to the Point, which is only possible if the weather conditions are right. It may be wet, windy or cold. Come equipped with strong footwear and waterproof clothing.
MEET: at the Siccar Point car park on the minor road leading to Drysdales vegetable factory, Old Cambus Quarry TD13 5YS, Grid reference NT805705. From the A1 south of Cockburnspath take the A1107 towards Coldingham. After 1km this goes over a narrow (single track) stone bridge over Pease Dean. 400m past the bridge, turn left (signposted Pease Bay). After another 400m ignore the second sign for Pease Bay and keep straight on (past the sign for Drysdales). The narrow road winds through a shallow valley, look out for the parking area on the left about 100m before the entrance to the Drysdales site.
OR Meet at the car park in Cove village. Grid reference NT 780 717. This is the actual start point of the walk, but if you meet here you are not guarenteed a lift back at the end of the walk (it is not far to walk though on a quiet road). And this is accessible by public transport, on the 09:10 service 253 from Edinburgh to Cockburnspath.
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/475102
Thursday 12 October 2017 10am 51 Best Places to see Scotland's Geology: Dunbar and Barns Ness
A gentle walk along the East Lothian coast, through volcanic remains around Dunbar and across several limestone layers stacked with fossils and contain rich evidence of the conditions of equatorial Scotland around 330 million years ago. An event for Scotland's Geoheritage Festival. Day walk, 5 hours, £14
THE ROCKS: The first part of the walk between Belhaven and Dunbar is dominated by volcanic rock, forming the prominent cliffs and wave-cut platform; nearby we also find layers of Devonian red sandstone which surround the volcanic vents. Further along the shore we cross a few small faults, and come to a variety of younger sedimentary rocks from the Carboniferous Period. These rocks include limestones and plenty of fossils, best seen around Barns Ness.
THE WALK: This is a moderate walk, total distance of 9 km, walking along the coast from west to east from Belhaven, through Dunbar and on to Barns Ness. For most of the way we'll be on rough paths or rocky / sandy beaches. I have classified this as a Moderate Walk: not always on paths, may be rough or slippery underfoot at times. It may be wet, windy or cold. Come equipped with strong footwear and waterproof clothing.
MEET: at the car park at the east end of White Sands beach, accessed from the A1087 south of Dunbar. Grid reference NT 714 772. We will leave some cars here and drive to the start point at Belhaven.
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/483388
Thursday 26 October 2017 10am 51 Best Places to see Scotland's Geology: Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Explore some fantastic geology in the heart of the city, climbing to the summit of Arthur's Seat to appreciate how the city is shaped by geology. An event for Scotland's Geoheritage Festival. Short walk, 2-3 hours, £10
THE ROCKS: Holyrood Park displays a rich mix of igneous and sedimentary rock that has been shaped by grinding ice to form today's breath-taking city scenery. There are sedimentary rocks in the low-lying parts of the Park, and Arthur's Seat is the remains of a volcano that erupted 342 million years ago; we will visit lava flows and the crater. The last part of the rock story involves the formation of Salisbury Crags where we can study rocks discovered by James Hutton.
THE WALK: a varied circular walk of about 5 km that takes us on a good path with a steady climb to the summit of Arthur's Seat, followed by a steep descent to Salisbury Crags. I have classified this as an Easy Walk, although it may be wet, windy or cold. Come equipped with strong footwear and waterproof clothing.
MEET: outside Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS.