River Feshie

wee_map_grampOops – you’ve stumbled on a website section that was archived in October 2017 when we developed the ‘Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology’ section. Please go there for up-to-date information.

Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology: River Feshie

The River Feshie at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains is a highly active gravel bed river. In Britain today, it is one of the most important sites for the study of fluvial geomorphology as it allows the study of active channel and landform change, both in the present and in the past. Both present day and relict landforms exist at the site, including multiple river channels, sedimentary structures and landforms relating to the valley slopes and floor. All these have been studied to provide a record of the evolution of the landscape over the last 13,000 years.

cs_feshieThe River Feshie – one of the most important sites for the study of fluvial geomorphology as it allows the study of active channel and landform change, both in the present and in the past. © Scottish Natural Heritage.

Deglaciation activity has resulted in the deposition of large quantities of sand and gravel in alluvial fans. The result of the meltwater activity is also to be found in the presence of eskers and kettle holes in upper Glen Feshie. Debris cones are also abundant, the result of both deglaciation and non-glacial erosion over the last 13,000 thousand years.

Post-glacial activity has resulted in the formation of several river terraces, often displaying well preserved palaeochannels (both braided and single channels). Today, the river remains highly active, with local lateral movement exceeding 10m per year. This is due to the high stream power and generally unconsolidated nature of the sediments surrounding the river system. Floods also affect the channel system every few years.

Further reading:

Gregory, K.J. 1997. Fluvial Geomorphology of Great Britain, Geological Conservation Review Series No. 13, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough.