1-3 June 2018
Event phone: 020 7408 2000
Evidence found - North West Highlands, Scotland
Evidence of the biggest meteorite ever to hit the British Isles has been found by scientists from the University of Oxford and the University of Aberdeen. The scientists believe that a large meteorite hit northwest Scotland about 1.2 billion years ago near the Scottish town of Ullapool, from where this field trip will be led.
Previously it was thought that unusual rock formations in the area had been formed by volcanic activity. But the team found evidence buried in a layer of rock which they now believe is the ejected material thrown out during the formation of a meteorite crater. Ejected material from the huge meteorite is scattered over an area about 50 kilometres across, roughly centred on the northern Scottish town of Ullapool.
UNESCO Global Geopark
In the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark you are surrounded by the Earth’s early history, stretching from the Archaean to the Devonian, with an abundance of ‘deep time’ geological heritage. The low population density, late retreating glaciers, deforestation and slow plant colonisation have produced a perfect storm for viewing features from a huge range of geological time periods.
Field Trip Information
Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd June 2018
(Friday – arrival/briefing in the evening)
Expert tuition by local Geologist Pete Harrison will help you interpret the geology of this wild and remote highland landscape. The area has the lowest population density in Europe and exhibits unique geodiversity and biodiversity. As home of the oldest rocks in Europe, the first identified thrust fault and with evidence of the earliest life; the North West Highlands Geopark really is the “Cradle of Geology”.
Friday – briefing
Meet in the evening before the first field day to discuss the local geology and arrangements for the weekend. The location of this session will be at the Macphail Centre, Ullapool at 8pm.
Saturday – Day 1 (full day)
The North West Highlands are home to some of the best kept secret beaches in Europe. Day 1 will start at Achmelvich beach, where colourful outcrops of Lewisian gneiss are punctuated by Scourie Dykes formed as magma intruded into the gneiss half a billion years ago. Learn to recognise the chemical and thermal processes recorded in the rock and the difference between metamorphic and igneous types.
In the afternoon you will travel North to Clachtoll and Stoer, another of the white sandy beaches. See the ‘split rock’ and explore the fossils left behind by some of the earliest life on Earth. Visit the ‘Stac Fada’, the site where geologists have recently uncovered evidence of an ancient meteorite strike.
Sunday – Day 2 (half-full day)
Guided excursion to Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve where you will learn the story of the NWH Geopark’s eight major rock types and the history of mountain building theory. The centre has interactive exhibits in a solar powered turf roofed building which slots sympathetically into the stunning landscape. Take in views over some of the most spectacular mountains, Cul Mor, Cul Beag, Beinn Mor Coigach and the iconic inselberg Suilven and hear their 1.2 billion year old story.
From Knockan Crag NNR you will travel to Loch Assynt where the road snakes round the lochside. A fortuitous side-effect of road-building was the exposure of excellent geological sections through most of the major rock types in the area. See the unconformity between 3 billion year old Lewisian gneiss and 1.2 billion year old Torridonian sandstone and marvel at where the missing time went! This is a perfect location to begin to recognise rock types in the field and read the landscape.
Helmets and hi-vis jackets provided.
This field trip is open to everyone, their families included and fully encouraged, but numbers are limited to 16, and will be based on a first come first served basis. We therefore would recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
PESGB members £45 individual
Non-members £55 individual
Family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children up to the age of 18) £120
Registration includes expert guidance around the area and minibus transportation between localities. Hard hats and hi-vis vests will also be provided where necessary.
Attendees will need to arrange and pay for their own accommodation and transportation to the area. We can make suggestions on accommodation – please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any advice. Or see advice on Accommodation tab.
Please do not book anything until your attendance has been directly confirmed by a member of the PESGB team. Please do not take the automatically generated email you will receive after registration as final confirmation of attendance.
Getting to the area
Transport to and from the area is not included and is the responsibility of each attendee to arrange/pay. As mentioned previously, please do not book anything until you have received written confirmation of your field trip booking, by a member of the PESGB team.
For those travelling up from the South, the closest airport to Ullapool is Inverness:
easyJet and British Airways fly to Inverness from London Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton airports.
Loganair flies from Manchester to Inverness.
There are 2 ways of getting to Ullapool from Inverness, by bus or by car.
By car it is a 1 1/2 hour drive or by bus up to 2 1/2 hour drive:
D + E Coaches operates a bus from Ullapool to Inverness Airport (INV) 3 times a day. Tickets cost £15 and the journey takes 1 h 51 min. Scottish Citylink also services this route 3 times a day.
Please keep an eye on this page as it will be updated with further information regarding bus transfer information.
Accommodation is not included and is the responsibility of each attendee to arrange/pay. As mentioned previously, please do not book anything until you have received written confirmation of your field trip booking, by a member of the PESGB team.
The Geopark offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit any budget – camping, hostels, B&B, a variety of self-catering and a range of hotels. For information about accommodation and the local area:
National Contact Centre 0845 2255121
Here are a few local B&B’s which currently have vacancies: (as at mid-Feb)
Ardlair – www.ardlairullapool.co.uk
Ardvreck House B&B – www.ardvreckhouse.com
Broomview B&B – www.broomview.co.uk
Riverside – www.riversideullapool.com
Please keep an eye on this page as it will be updated from time to time.
The Macphail Centre