Fieldwork in North West Scotland

Unit code EART20300

Our NW Scotland field course builds on the field mapping techniques introduced in the SE France field course by applying them within an area of greater geological complexity
  • When is the fieldtrip?

    The field trip is for 11 days during the Easter holidays in Year 2. Nine days are spent in the field and the other 2 days are travel days.

    Fieldwork will be approximately from 9am to 5pm each day. Evenings are spent analysing the data collected during the day and inking in field maps.

  • Where is the fieldtrip?

    You will be staying in Fort William and visiting areas to the west and south of this town.

    Accommodation is in self-catering units. All have a kitchen with a cooker, refrigerator, kettle, microwave, crockery, cutlery, etc. We will stop at a supermarket every few days.

  • How will we travel to North West Scotland?

    Travel to and from Fort William will be by coach. Further details will be provided closer to the time of the trip.

  • View across Kinlochleven
    View across the field mapping area at Kinlochleven
    rock units 800 m above sea level that are upside down (as indicated by the cross bedding)
    Rock units 800 m above sea level that are upside down (as indicated by the cross bedding)
  • What will I learn?

    You will be taught advanced geological mapping skills and trained in:

    • collecting field data in folded geological units;
    • compiling a geological map of a small area starting with just a blank sheet of paper, compass and tape measure;
    • describing igneous and metamorphic rocks in the field.

    By the end of the course you will be able to:

    • record on a map planar and linear features produced during different geological deformation events;
    • use your own data to construct a cross section that illustrates the present geometry of the geological units that you have mapped;
    • be able to write a formal dscription of an igneous unit.


  • What equipment will I need?

    Essential field course items are:

    • appropriate footwear (i.e. walking boots);
    • warm clothing and waterproofs;
    • rucksack;
    • compass-clinometer;
    • tape measure;
    • hand lens;
    • high visability vest;
    • hard hat;
    • field notebook;
    • mapping pens;
    • high quality pencils and colouring pencils.
  • How will the field course be assessed?

    Assessment is based upon the following: geological field maps and a precisely constructed cross section, together with descriptions of one or more of the igneous and metamorphic units visited. Details of how each of these elements contributes to the overall mark will be given at the start of the field course.

  • Who can I contact regarding the North West Scotland field course?

    For more information visit the course unit specification or email course leader Dr Steve Covey-Crump.

  • Did you know?

    The principal area that you will be mapping was first properly mapped by one of the greats of the British Geological Survey, Sir Edward Bailey. He was renowned for his eccentricities, including eating his lunch first thing in the morning 'to get it over with', and for leading his boss chin-deep across a river when he knew that there was a perfectly good bridge just around the corner.

    More about the North West Scotland field area

    The principal mapping area visited on this course is within the Dalradian Supergroup, a sequence of Neoproterozoic to early Palaeozoic sediments that were deformed and metamorphosed during the Ordovician as part of the Caledonian Orogeny (when the ocean separating Scotland from England and Wales was closed). The igneous rocks were emplaced in the Silurian-Devonian during the final stages of that orogeny.

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