Building stones in Edinburgh from the Devonian of Angus and Caithness

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Carmyllie and Leoch

Flaggy sandstones of the Dundee Formation were extensively worked for paving stones at Carmyllie quarries, near Arbroath. These quarries supplied stone for the paving and steps of New College & Assembly Hall (12) (1845-50), the Bank of Scotland (13) (1864-70) on the Mound and Register House (128) (1774-1834). On account of strength characteristics, stone from Carmyllie was used for engineering work, for example in the building of the piers of the Forth Railway Bridge in 1885. Stone, described as 'bluish grey rather fine-grained sandstone or 'liver rock' from Leoch Quarry, north-west of Dundee, was also used in the city. Together with stone from Darney, West Woodburn, it was used in the construction of the Usher Hall (64)(1910-14), Lothian Road. Examples of stone from Leoch and Myreton can be seen in the Meadows Pillars (158).


The fine grain size and regular bedding of the grey, laminated Caithness flagstones makes them excellent materials for paving and roofing. Because of their high strength, thin slabs of very large length and breadth have been used for pavement. Notable examples of the use of flagstones, both for pavements and kitchen flooring, may still be seen in the Old Town. Many houses in Leith and older parts of Edinburgh were roofed with stone from the Scrabster quarries as well as from those of Carmyllie (see above). Currently (1997), flagstones are worked both for the home market and for export at several quarries including Spittal Quarry No.1, Watten (by A and D Sutherland), Spittal No.2 and Stonegunn, Castletown (by Caithness Stone Ltd.) and Weydale (by Caithness Flagstones Ltd.) south of Thurso. In Edinburgh, recent examples of the use of Caithness flagstone for pavement include the Royal Mile development, Holyrood Palace (146) and Festival Square, east of the Sheraton Hotel (61), Lothian Road.

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