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.
Sunday 15 April 2018 10am Lomond Hills, Fife
The two summits of the Lomond Hills are sites of ancient volcanoes, with a thick layer of intrusive dolerite forming the high ground between them. Starting in the village of Falkland we'll climb gently through a quiet wooded valley into the open moorland and then to the summit of East Lomond. Day walk, 5 hours, £14
THE ROCKS: The scenery of this area is dominated by the high ground of the Lomond Hills, underlain by igneous rocks. The peaks of East and West Lomond are the remains of volcanic vents, active late in the Carboniferous Period. The high ground between them is underlain by dolerite, part of the Midland Valley sill, and representing a very different type of magmatic action. The icing on the cake is a strip of limestone, surrounded by igneous rocks, and exploited in the past for its mineral richness.
THE WALK: This is a moderate walk along good paths, involving an ascent of 400 m over the course of the day and a steep descent. From Falkland we'll climb on a good path up the Maspie Den to Craigmead between East and West Lomond, then climb over East Lomond to return to Falkland. Total distance 7.5 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: Back Wynd car park, Falkland, Fife. From the High Street / East Port, turn south on to Back Wynd and then turn left (Grid reference NO254073). Car sharing encouraged, please get in touch if you need a lift or can offer one.
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/537147
Saturday 28 April 2018 10am St Abbs Head, Scottish Borders
The geology of this rocky headland is very different from that of the surrounding coastline. Volcanic activity occurred here more than 400 million years ago, creating hard igneous rock that forms impressive rocky cliffs and an ideal home for seabirds. Day walk, 5 hours, £14
THE ROCKS: The St Abb's headland owes its existence to hard igneous rocks, layers of lava erupted from nearby volcanic vents around 400 million years ago. These rocks have moved downwards along a fault line so that they are now found adjacent to the greywacke sandstone at Pettico Wick, older sedimentary rocks originally formed on the floor of the Iapetus Ocean. The greywacke sandstone layers were crumpled during the Caledonian Orogeny, and are now often upended in a series of giant folds.
THE WALK: This is a circular walk around the headland, following grassy paths and returning by the tarmac road. Total distance around 6km. 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 National Trust of Scotland NNR car park, Northfield TD14 5QF (Grid reference NT913674) www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/st-abbs-head/getting-here
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/586042
Tuesday 1 May, 7pm Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill
Explore the beautiful wooded glen of the Hermitage and an exciting story of volcanic eruptions, grinding ice sheets and torrents of melt water that created today's landscape. Evening walk, 2 hours, £7, under 18s free
Organised in partnership with Friends of the Hermitage of Braid & Blackford Hill.
THE ROCKS: Volcanoes erupted here around 400 million years ago - explosive, dangerous, silica-rich strato-volcanoes of the kind found nowadays around the rim of the Pacific Ocean. The rocks formed by volcanic activity have been altered, eroded and covered over since then, but enough remains to give a faint echo of thier impressive beginnings. There is also ample evidence of how important moving ice and water were in shaping the hill and the surrounding area, and we will visit the famous site of Agassiz rock, where in 1840 Louis Aggassiz found evidence that Scotland's landscape was shaped by ice erosion.
THE WALK: A short walk on good paths through the Hermitage and up Blackford Hill, total distance about 4.5 km. We'll follow the Braid Burn through the Hermitage, then climb up and over the top of the hill and back to the start point. I have classified this as an Easy Walk: on paths, which may be rough or slippery underfoot at times. It may be wet, windy or cold. Come equipped with strong footwear and waterproof clothing.
MEET: Meet outside the Lodge Coffee House EH10 6JF, at the Braid Road entrance to the Hermitage of Braid (Grid reference NT244702).
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/586397
Sunday 6 May 2018, 10am Siccar Point exploration
Siccar Point is one of the world's most important geological sites, a geological unconformity discovered by pioneering Scots geologist James Hutton in 1788. This leisurely exploration of a short section of coast around Siccar Point gives us an opportunity to appreciate the details of the rocks and the story that Hutton discovered. 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, as an intricate three-dimensional surface that can be traced along the shore.
THE WALK: a varied walk, short (7km approx) but sometimes strenuous, exploring the coastline around Siccar Point to gain a wider context to Hutton's Unconformity. We will visit Siccar Point and then walk east along the coastline, returing along quiet roads and the Berwickshire Coastal Path. I have classified this as an Adventurous Walk: walking along rocky beaches, clambering over rocks, steep climbs. It will be rough and slippery underfoot at times. 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.
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/586059
Tuesday 8 May, 7pm Craiglockhart Hill
An evening walk to explore Edinburgh's geology from the wonderful viewpoint of Craiglockhart Hill, and find out more about the volcanic activity from 350 million years ago that has helped shape Edinburgh. Evening walk, 2 hours, £7, under 18s free
Organised in partnership with The Friends of Craiglockhart Woods and Nature Trail Group.
THE ROCKS: This is a walk of contrasts, from the low, swampy ground underlain by soft sedimentary rocks, to the basaltic peak of Wester Craiglockhart Hill, a volcanic edifice much reduced from its original height but an impressive viewpoint none the less. This is one of Edinburgh's Carboniferous volcanoes, erupting about 350 million years ago and forming a low cone of lava and volcanic ash.
THE WALK: From Craiglockhart Pond we will climb gradually through the wood, across Glenlockhart Road and take a steep path up the south side of the hill, returning with a more gentle descent to the east and back to the start point. I have classified this as an Easy Walk: on paths, which 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 gate into the nature reserve on Lockharton Crescent, EH14 1AX (Grid reference NT230708).
Route map: www.plotaroute.com/route/586401