Arran Field Trip

By Sue Court-Oak, Head of Geology, 11 July 2015

College students have recently returned from a successful field trip to the Isle of Arran. Getting everyone from Colchester to the west coast of Scotland in time for the ferry crossing can often be a challenge and this again proved to be the case as rail delays meant we arrived to see our ferry sailing off into the distance, Luckily we had a well-prepared ‘Plan B’ and were able to cross over to the island later in the evening.

On our first full day on the island, time was spent looking at the oldest rocks on Arran, from approx. 800-500 million years ago, describing these rocks and the structures within them. For the second part of the day there was a walk to the opposite side of the bay to Newton Point and then we finish the afternoon by walking a little further to Hutton’s Unconformity, watching out for the Peat Bogs! Hutton’s is a very famous site and the challenge is to work out between which rocks the unconformity lies.

On day two we start the day looking at Devonian terrestrial rocks, deposited in an arid environment at the foot of the Caledonian mountains, then rocks from the Carboniferous period which lie on the Devonian rocks.  There was also a chance to see some plant fossils and worm burrows. On day three we were taken to the western coast of Arran, where we walked along a four mile stretch of coast looking at the Permian and Triassic desert rocks  and there was also a chance to see some dinosaur footprints, for those prepared to clamber up a small waterfall! On day four we walked along the coast path examining a range of Devonian rocks and students had four hours to collect as much information as they could to carry out their coursework.