51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology

The 51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology will help you find out more about Scotland’s geological heritage, and guide you to the best places to see different elements of the story laid out in our country’s beautiful landscapes. Scotland’s geological story is unique; our rocks chart the journey our country has taken from one side of the globe to the other. Scotland has some of the oldest, and at times most unusual, rock formations in the world.

Geologists have come from far and wide over centuries to study our ancient volcanic systems, unique fossil finds, and diverse rock sequences, while some of the best examples of glaciated landscapes and active geomorphology in Europe are also found here.

The Scottish Geodiversity Forum’s  51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology  project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of Scotland’s year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017. Why 51 best places? We were aiming for a list of 50 places but our panel of experts just couldn’t quite agree. So we have 51 sites for now: but even then everyone has favourites that aren’t included here.

Browse the sites below | Download the 51 Best Places leaflet and map (pdf file).

The Hugh Miller Writing Competition carries the name of one of Scotland’s most remarkable geologists, Hugh Miller (1802-1856), and aims to honour his legacy by inspiring new, original prose and poetry on the theme of Scotland’s geoheritage. For the 2019-2020 writing competition, poetry and prose entries were invited that were inspired by one or more of the “51 Best Places to See Scotland’s Geology.”

Norma Allan has written a poem for each of the 51 Best Places – you can read her poems here!

Unst, Shetland
Eshaness Coast, Shetland
St Ninian's Tombolo, Shetland
The Heart of Neolithic Orkney
North-west Hoy, Orkney
Achanarras Quarry, Caithness
Smoo Cave, Durness
Scourie Bay and Laxford
Loch Glencoul
Knockan Crag NNR
Luskentyre, Harris
Trotternish, Skye
Beinn Eighe NNR and Loch Maree
Corrieshalloch Gorge
The Black Isle and Hugh Miller Museum
Laich Sandstones, Elgin
Spey Bay
Portsoy, Banff Coast
Cuillin Hills, Skye
Isle of Eigg
Loch Monar
Falls of Foyers, Great Glen
Isle of Staffa
Isle of Iona
Luing and the Atlantic Islands
Glen Coe
Parallel Roads of Glen Roy
River Feshie
Burn o' Vat, Muir of Dinnet NNR
Corrie Fee, Glen Clova
St Cyrus NNR
Seaton cliffs, Arbroath
Balmaha, Loch Lomond
Flanders Moss NNR
East Neuk of Fife
Isle of Arran
Fossil Grove, Glasgow
Falls of Clyde
Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Barns Ness
Dunbar and Barns Ness, East Lothian
Siccar Point
Loch Skeen & the Grey Mare's Tail
Eildon Hills
Back Bay, Monreith
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