Excursions Programme

From April to October the Society organises a number of excursions to sites of geological interest, where each trip is led by someone with a special knowledge of the locality.  They are both informative and enjoyable and have proved to be a highly popular part of the Society's activities.

Programme of Saturday and evening excursions below; General infomation, how to book and Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines, click here.

We also have a weekend and a week-long excursion each year - see the Week and Weekend Excursions page

Online photo archive of the late Bill Harper's excursion photographs, 1963-1997


Saturday excursions

Saturday 11 June Tantallon ** Sorry, due to family circumstances this excursion has been cancelled **
Leader Tom Challands, University of Edinburgh

Saturday 25 June Cove, Pease Bay & Siccar Point, East Lothian; Joint Excursion with the Geological Society of Glasgow
Leader Angus Miller, Geowalks

Saturday 23 July St Andrews, Fife
Leader: Rosalind Garton, University of St Andrews

Saturday 20 August Silver Glen, Alva & Mill Glen, Tillicoultry
Leader Con Gillen, EGS

Saturday/Sunday 3/4 September Holyrood Park ** Sorry, this event has been cancelled **
2 day Mapping Session Leader Simon Cuthbert, University of the West of Scotland

Wednesday evening excursions

Wednesday 20 April, 7pm Corstorphine Hill
Leader Ken Shaw, EGS

Wednesday 11 May , 7pm Mills and medicinal wells: a walk through Stockbridge Leader Beverly Bergman, Lothian and Borders Geoconservation

Wednesday 22 June, 7pm South Queensferry Shore
Leader Richard Smith, Lothian and Borders Geoconservation

Wednesday 6 July, 7pm Local Geodiversity Sites of East Edinburgh
Leader Alistair McGowan, Hills of Hame

Saturday Excursions

Saturday 25 June
Cove, Pease Bay & Siccar Point, East Lothian
Joint Excursion with the Geological Society of Glasgow Leader Angus Miller Geowalks

Siccar Point:The Abyss of Time. We will visit Cove Harbour to view Carboniferous sedimentary rocks, then return to the cliff top to follow the Berwickshire Coastal Path to Pease Bay (lunch stop, view Devonian sedimentary rocks). Continue along the coastal path to Siccar Point, described as the most important geological site in the world, which sits at the eastern end of a superb coastal section including three sets of contrasting sedimentary rocks from three periods: Silurian, Devonian and Carboniferous. The rocks were used by James Hutton to support his world-shaking ideas of geological time and natural processes. We will approach the Point along an easy footpath with good views of the coastal scenery created from these varied rocks, including a sheltered harbour, sandy bays and cliff sections.

Route and Safety: 5 km along coastal path with some steps and steep climbs. You can view Siccar Point safely from the viewpoint, or if conditions permit, descend a steep grassy slope that may be slippery. Siccar Point itself is rocky, potentially slippery underfoot. Participants should only descend to Siccar Point if they are physically fit, properly equipped with walking boots and the conditions are suitable: grass not too wet, not windy.

Transport will be by coach from Waterloo Place at 10.00 am (NOT the usual 9.00 am) with an extra pickup point at Milton Road to Cove. Pickup at the end of the day from Siccar Point Car Park on the entrance road to RK Drysdales Factory TD13 5YS, returning about 6pm after High Tea

Toilets at Pease Bay
Dogs may be brought if their owners travel by car

Lothian Geology - an Excursion Guide (Edinburgh Geological Society, 1996), pp 146-151.
Siccar Point leaflet published by Lothian and Borders GeoConservation, 2015 – available from http://www.edinburghgeolsoc.org/r_download.html

Saturday 23 July
St Andrews, Fife
Leader Rosalind Garton, University of St Andrews

Giant Sand Volcanoes at St Andrews
A large rock fall in 2006 has revealed on a fresh rock surface a new, 1.5m high, ‘sand volcano’ in a thick bed of sandstone in the Pittenweem Formation of the Lower Carboniferous Strathclyde Group. Sand volcanoes are interpreted as the result of sediment liquefaction during seismic shaking. Further inspection of the face will reveal a number of other such structures, as well as trace and body fossils and a fossil river channel.

Transport by coach from Waterloo Place at 9:00 am with an extra pickup point at PC World, returning about 6:00 pm. Meet at 10.30 at the bus car park outside the Bruce Embankment car park, St Andrews, beside the British Golf Museum. NO 505 172

The first location is at the base of the cliff beside St Andrews Aquarium NO 507 170 then we will walk South East along the shore and cliff spending the whole day there.

Hard hats required

Toilets are at the Bruce Embankment car park

No dogs permitted

I H Forsyth & J I Chisholm. Memoir of the Geological Survey, The Geology of East Fife. 1977
Fife & Tayside - a landscape fashioned by geology (Scottish Natural Heritage and BGS)

Saturday 20 August
Silver Glen, Alva & Mill Glen, Tillicoultry
Leader Con Gillen

On this excursion we will examine mineral veins in the Ochil Volcanic Formation; deformed Coal Measures; Midland Valley Sill; diorites and hornfelsed rocks; and the West Ochil Fault.

Transport will be by coach from Waterloo Place at 9am with extra pickup points at PC World and the Motorway service station at Stirling, returning about 6pm

Route & safety: 5 km of fairly easy walking on narrow footpaths (single file), slightly steep in places; may be muddy and slippery after heavy rain. Waste heaps contain galena and other minerals – need to wash hands before eating lunch. Some steep rock outcrops may be unstable, and care needs to be taken. Old mine workings and old quarry workings. Glen Mill path may be only partially accessible, depending on repair works to path and footbridge: this will be checked in advance and a route up the east side of the glen will be taken if necessary. Old mine adits and shafts are present – no entry; disused quarry – no entry, view from exterior only. The stream bed will be avoided in case of spate.

Hard hats and high viz clothing are not required but boots or walking shoes with a good grip and hand wipes are essential.

Toilets at the start – Alva and at middle and end - Tillicoultry
No dogs permitted

Excursion Guide Stirling/Perth, exc nos 6 & 7 (Browne & Gillen eds EGS 2015)

Saturday/Sunday 3/4 September
Holyrood Park - 2 day Mapping Session
Leader Simon Cuthbert UWS

This activity will involve seeking out rock exposures and recording them by drawing on a paper map (provided) along with writing observations in a notebook and making structural measurements with a compass-clinometer (the Leader will give some advice about this before the trip but it will involve little or no expense). The mapping will involve quite a lot of walking, sometimes off-trail, so participants should be reasonably mobile with some stamina. A good deal of the first day will involve a tour of the area and guidance on the method but on the second day participants will be able to operate more independently, probably in pairs.

Timings: On Saturday meet at Dynamic Earth Cafeteria at 10 am, finish time tbc.
Numbers will be restricted to 15.

Equipment: Participants will need normal field clothing including stout footwear, and should bring a small, robust notebook, a lead pencil, a selection of coloured pencils (at least six distinct colours), a hillwalker's compass (Silva, Suunto or similar, or a geologist's compass clinometer if they have one, otherwise a clear plastic protractor). There are some cheap or free apps for an iPhone or iPad that allow them to be used as a field notebook, such as "Fieldmove", which have a built-in compass-clinometer. They will need a map-board; an ordinary office clipboard will do, but a piece of MDF or marine plywood about A3 size with elastic bands, fold back clips and/or masking tape to fix down the map, and something to protect it from the weather, is better. It's also possible to buy mapping cases from the BGS shop or Geosupplies, which are weatherproof but not cheap.

No hammers
Dogs are permitted subject to park regulations.
Toilets at Dynamic Earth or in the Education Centre, Holyrood Park

Wednesday Evening Excursions

Wednesday 20 April
Corstorphine Hill
Leader Ken Shaw EGS

This excursion is a circuit of Corstorphine Hill aiming to examine the disused quarries in Carboniferous sedimentary and igneous rocks, glacial landforms and processes and Neolithic/Bronze Age markings.

Meet at 7pm at the small car park at NT 2022 2457. The walk is 4-5 km on mainly made paths with some off-path excursions involving steep inclines and uneven steps and finishing at the start point at 9pm.

Own transport. Alternatively LRT buses nos 1 or 26 to the top of Drumbrae Drive; 21,32,41 to Queensferry Road/Clermiston Road North junction; 12,31 to Corstorphine Road/Clermiston Road junction and walk over.

No Toilets
Dogs permitted

Corstorphine Hill 2004 Lothian and Borders RIGS Group
Henderson, J. 1872. On Corstorphine Hill, Near Edinburgh. Transactions of the Edinburgh Geological Society, 2, 2933.
MacKintosh, A. 2008. Corstorphine Hill: the Finest Views the Eye can Feast on. Friends of Corstorphine Hill.
Mitchell, G.H. and Mykura, W. 1962. The Geology of the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, 3rd Ed. Memoirs of the Geological Survey, Scotland.
Young, Grant M. 2008. The Story Behind the Wall. Friends of Corstorphine Hill.

OS 1:50,000 sheet 66; OS 1:25,000 sheet 350; BGS 1:50,000 S0 32E Edinburgh; BGS 1:25,000 Edinburgh District Special Sheet.

Wednesday 11 May
Mills and medicinal wells: a walk through Stockbridge
Leader Beverly Bergman, LaBGC

The rocky gorge cut by the Water of Leith between Stockbridge and the Dean Village is one of the few localities in the city of Edinburgh where exposed bedrock can be seen. On this walk, we will see exposures of the Granton Sandstones and Wardie Shales (Gullane Formation), together with quartz dolerite dykes and the site of a poor-quality coal-seam (not currently visible). Two 18th/19th century medicinal wells, a fine example of a Thomas Telford bridge, and the remains of a number of mills originally powered by water-wheels, bear witness to the historical importance of this area.

We meet on the bridge on Deanhaugh Street NT 246 746 at 7pm, returning about 9pm.
The first locality is Mackenzie Bridge NT 235 737, following the route of the Water of Leith from Stockbridge towards Dean Village, along the footpath and returning via the same route or ascend Bell’s Brae to the Queensferry Road (buses) The walking distance is approximately 2 km of easy walking with optional steps down to the river which may be slippery.

Toilets at Hamilton Place 50m from the start at NT 247 746
Dogs permitted.

Lothian Geology – an Excursion Guide (Edinburgh Geological Society) (City of Edinburgh Excursion A)
LaBGC Leaflet – Stockbridge

Wednesday 22 June
South Queensferry Shore
Leader Richard Smith EGS

On this excursion we will examine the shoreline geological features, rocks and structures mainly in the Carboniferous West Lothian Oil-Shale Formation.

We meet at 7pm opposite the Hawes Inn (where the pier joins the B924) – NT 136 783. Own transport. From the Hawes Inn we walk East along the track to Long Craig Point, then West along the shoreline exposures into South Queensferry and back to the start finishing about 9pm. The route is about 3km on varied ground. Boots or wellingtons with a good grip are needed - rock surfaces are slippery and some covered with seaweed. Beware of the advancing tide on the shore

Toilets near the pier at the start of the walk.
Hi viz vests are recommended
No dogs permitted

Edinburgh Geology an Excursion Guide EGS Cramond - Queensferry pp188-197

Higher Geology Field Resource: The South Queensferry Shore – a Teacher’s Guide – online pdf
http://www.geowalks.co.uk/eso QueensferryTeachersGuideHigher.pdf

BGS Sheet 32W Livingston
Landranger 56 Falkirk and Linlithgow

Wednesday 6 July
Local Geodiversity Sites of East Edinburgh
Leader Al McGowan (Hills of Hame)

On this excursion we will visit the following sites: Rock House then up and over to the top of Calton Hill, the Stones of Scotland site followed by the Geodiversity Wall of the Scottish Parliament and the Walkway of Time at Dynamic Earth and finally a brief meeting with one of the fossil fish by the pavement by the Scotsman Building.

In Edinburgh, we are exceptionally fortunate to have an extensive network of Local Geodiversity Sites that Edinburgh City Council has designated and takes in to consideration in the local development plan, as well as some sites of national and international significance such as Hutton’s Section and Arthur’s Seat. Although only one of the sites we will visit, Calton Hill, has rocks that are exposed where they were deposited (in situ), the examples drawn from buildings, monuments and the pavements of Edinburgh showcase the wide range of rock types that can be found in Scotland and the great range of geological time intervals these rocks span.

Meet at 7pm at the steps up to Rock House, Waterloo Place, NT 26083 74111.The 1.5 km walk is on paths and pavements.
Hi-viz clothing recommended. Care must be taken when crossing roads.
No public toilets in the immediate area but some pubs and cafes en route.
Dogs permitted

Edinburgh & West Lothian - a landscape fashioned by geology (SNH and BGS) http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/geology/EdinWestLothian.pdf
Lothian Geology - an Excursion Guide (Edinburgh Geological Society)

Calton Hill leaflet

Stones of Scotland leaflet

Geological Society of Glasgow Excursions

Members are welcome to attend excursions organised by the Geological Society of Glasgow where spaces are available.  Further details from their web site.  Members are reminded they are eligible to join the Glasgow Society as Associate Members.

For details about excursions in your own area, contact your local geological society.

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