The Old Red conference: Hugh Miller’s Geological Legacy, 9-10 September 2017


Victoria Hall, Cromarty Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September 2017

The Friends of Hugh Miller are delighted to announce details of a conference aimed at geologists and palaeontologists internationally, and all who have a general interest in Hugh Miller, fossils and the natural world.

A keynote speaker will be Professor John Long, Strategic Professor in Palaeontology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, and author of 26 adults’ and children’s books, including The Rise of Fishes, The Big Picture Book of Human Civilisation, and Dawn of the Deed.

A second important focus is the preparation of an authoritative new edition of Hugh Miller’s great work, The Old Red Sandstone, after over a century. Its editors, Professor Ralph O’Connor, and Dr Michael A Taylor, will jointly present a paper on their 10 years of research.

Among some eight speakers, we have a strong line-up ranging from Alan McKirdy, who has promoted the study of environmental geology through such books as his Landscapes in Stone series, to a young Black Isle-based gold prospector, Gavin Berkenheger, whose career choice was directly inspired by Hugh Miller.

Another major item will be the presentation by geologist Roger Jones of a new, important and very large specimen of the fossil fish (the ‘Asterolepis of Stromness’). Other talks are being lined up on geology as scenery, acanthodians, fossil preservation, Miller’s Jurassic, mineral exploration, and geology in Victorian photography.

It should be emphasised that the conference is not only about earth science, but is aimed at non-scientists too, such as historians, literary scholars, folklorists, anyone with an interest in Miller and in Victorian literature, science and society.

The conference will be followed by a local excursion to Miller’s famous Devonian fish bed. And delegates will be offered the opportunity to take part after the conference in a three-day field trip to the north of Scotland, covering Jurassic rocks in the Brora/Helmsdale area visited by Hugh Miller, and fossil fish localities in Caithness, including Achanarras Quarry in Caithness.

Visit the Friends’ website at for more information.