Guided Walk Details

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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 March 2019, 10am Kinghorn - Kirkcaldy, Fife

A short, varied section of the Fife Coastal Path, with an interesting mix of sedimentary and igneous rocks creating rocky headlands and pebbly beaches. Short walk, 2-3 hours, 10.

THE ROCKS: An interesting variety of rocks from the Carboniferous Period, representing changing environmental conditions which formed different sedimentary rocks that contain a range of fossils, mixed with surface lava flows and underground igneous intrusions.

THE WALK: A short walk along the foreshore and coastal path north from Kinghorn towards Kirkcaldy, with a choice of returning to Kinghorn by the same route or continuing on to Kirkcaldy. A mix of coastal path, sandy foreshore, and occasional rocky sections. 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 Kinghorn Train Station. By train, depart Edinburgh Waverley at 09:15, arrive 09:58. By car from the Forth Road Bridge take the A921 through Inverkeithing along the coast, the train station is signposted from the main street of Kinghorn, down to the left. Grid reference NT 270 869.

Sunday 28 April 2019, 10am St Baldred's Coast, East Lothian

My favourite Firth of Forth coastal walk! A traverse of the beautiful and surprisingly remote stretch of coast from St Baldred's Cradle near Tyninghame to St Baldred's boat at Seacliff. After visiting some of the best exposures of sandstone in East Lothian, we will walk through the remains of several volcanoes, that tell a story of moving magma and exploding vents. Day walk, 5 hours, 14.

THE WALK: From Tyninghame Links we will walk around the headland of St Baldred's Cradle and work our way north to St Baldred's Boat and St Baldred's Cave, over bouldery beaches, rocky headlands and the long stretch of Ravensheugh Sands. The walk finishes at Seacliff Beach, total distance about 8 km. I have classified this as a Moderate Walk, not always on paths, it may be rough or slippery underfoot at times.

THE ROCKS: This walk gives a unique perspective on the volcanoes of East Lothian. We'll traverse the results of many different volcanic eruptions, and see the insides of these ancient volcanoes - layers of ash, in-filled vents, plugs and intrusions.

MEET: Tantallon Castle car park, immediately adjacent to the A198, 4 km east of North Berwick. Grid reference NT 591 848. Note that this is only a meeting point, we'll leave some cars here and drive to the start of the walk at Tyninghame Links. The walk is accessible by public transport, on the 120 bus service from North Berwick to Haddington.

Sunday 5 May 2019, 10am 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. Day walk, 5 hours, 14. An event for Geoweek 2019.

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 at 10.15 am. 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:

Sunday 2 June 2019, 10am North Pentland Hills, Edinburgh

The rocks of the Pentland Hills were formed during volcanic eruptions around 400 million years ago. We meet several different varieties of lava on this traverse across the northern slopes, with good views over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth. Day walk, 5 hours, 14.

THE ROCKS: We will explore a variety of igneous rocks, formed by volcanic activity during the early Devonian period, around 400 million years ago. The rocks include basalt and andesite, and they have been affected by a long history of deformation and uplift since they formed. The views to the north, east and west give a good opportunity to appreciate the rocks and landforms of the Midland Valley.

THE WALK: We start near Bonaly Tower, with a gentle climb and walk around Torduff Reservoir then cross up and over to Bonaly Reservoir. Then the slope steepens as we start to work our way along the northern slopes of the Pentlands, with ever-improving views (weather permitting!), onwards to the high point at Allermuir Hill (493m). The route then takes us along the crest to Caerketton before descending to Hillend. Total walking distance is 8 km, duration 5 hours. This is classified as a Moderate Walk: not always on paths, may be rough or slippery underfoot at times. We will climb and descend moderately steep slopes, with the potential to slip or fall on wet grass and loose gravel. It may be wet, windy and cold especially at higher levels. Come equipped with strong footwear, good waterproof clothing, lunch and a drink.

MEET: The walk can be accessed by public transport from central Edinburgh - catch the Lothian service 10 to Bonaly, walk south up Bonaly Road, cross the City Bypass and take the first turn on the right. Carry on a short distance to the laybys on the left of the road. We will meet here at around 10:20am. Grid reference NT 212 679. At the end of the walk there are frequent services from Hillend back to the city centre.

Alternatively if you are travelling by car, meet at the end point of the walk, at Lothianburn, the lower car park at Hillend Ski Slope, on the A702 just south of the Edinburgh City Bypass. Grid reference NT 250 669. We will leave some cars here and drive to the start point at Bonaly.

Route map:

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