Grampian Highlands Field Guide: Preliminary notes

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This page is part of a category of pages within the Grampian Highlands Field Guide.
Author: J R Mendum, BGS

Preliminary notes[edit]

This excursion guide was prepared for a week-long excursion to the Grampian Highlands based at Kindrogan. Some of the material specifically relevant to that trip has been removed from this version to make it more widely usable. However, the information reproduced and opinions expressed remain essentially unaltered. Much of the geological information and diagrams are based on recent papers published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (2013) that describe the Dalradian Geology of Scotland, part of the Geological Conservation Review (GCR) Series. This mammoth series, launched in 1977 by the Nature Conservancy Council, aimed to document all relevant geological localities (commonly SSSIs) in Great Britain, a task continued subsequently by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee under the guidance of Neil Ellis. Government funding for the series was withdrawn in 2011, but fortunately the Dalradian GCR volume was taken up and published by the Geologists’ Association (Editor – Jim Rose) and Elsevier. Although GCR site descriptions are not intended as field guides, the maps, objective descriptions, and summaries of geological interpretation provide a very useful source of information. The series was originally designed and published in black and white, a specification that still remains despite cheaper colour printing. Hence, many of the diagrams reproduced here are in black and white, making them slightly more difficult to interpret. Note that the authorship of the maps and diagrams has been credited; photographs are similarly acknowledged except where they are mine. The number of references in the text is limited but hopefully sufficient for you to follow up the subject. If not please refer to the Introduction to the Dalradian GCR volume (Stephenson et al. 2013), which contains a reasonably comprehensive reference list.

I have worked on Dalradian rocks for over 30 years, but the most of this time has been spent in the northeast part of the Grampian Highlands (informally known as ‘East Grampians’). I have also carried out significant mapping in the Ben Alder area, and in both the Loch Lomond and Callander–Glen Ample–Ben Vorlich areas, here mainly in Southern Highland Group rocks. However, my knowledge of the field outcrops and detailed geology in the Glen Lyon–Schiehallion area is limited. Reconnaissance trips for this excursion have been fruitful — as always the rocks themselves are the ‘stars’. They continue to pose questions and provide evidence that bears on the lengthy and complex geological history of the Dalradian rocks and the nature of the Grampian Event of the Caledonian Orogeny.