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Geology of Scotland's Hills

Course Times & Enrolment

Thursdays from 19th January 2017 (Code SN037-210) Thursdays from
19th January 2017 2:10pm - 4:00pm • (6 classes)
4.2 Charteris Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Angus D Miller BSc PhD
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Scotland is renowned for its beautiful and varied mountain scenery. Look beneath the surface to discover a long and complex geological history that has produced a wide range of rock types in different locations. From the Northwest Highlands to the Southern Uplands, we’ll explore Scotland’s hills and discover the geological stories that make them unique.

Please note there will be no class on Tuesday 16 February.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge is required.

Content of Course

Subsequent sessions will investigate different areas of Scotland, describing the rocks and landscapes of each area, and considering how the rocks formed, and how they have been modified and eroded.

  1. Scotland’s story. An overview of the main episodes in Scotland’s geological history, the rocks of Scotland, and why different rocks have formed at different times.
  2. The Scottish Highlands – metamorphic rocks
  3. The Scottish Highlands – granite and volcanic rocks
  4. The hills of the Midland Valley, including the Ochils, Campsies and Pentlands.
  5. The Southern Uplands
  6. The Islands of the west, including Skye, Rum, Mull and Arran.

Teaching method(s)

Sessions will be classroom based with a mix of presentation and discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will:

  • have a broad understanding of the geology of Scotland, including the rock types, geological processes and timescale of the formation of Scotland’s rocks.
  • be able to identify some of the rocks they come across and understand how these rocks fit into the patterns of Scotland’s geology.
  • have an appreciation of how Scotland’s diverse scenery and landscape is related to the underlying rocks.



Core Readings

Fortey, R., 1993. The Hidden Landscape. Pimlico.
Gillen, C., 2013. Geology and landscapes of Scotland. (2nd edition). Dunedin, 9781-780460-09-3.
McKirdy, A., and Crofts, R., 1999. Scotland the creation of its natural landscape. Scottish Natural Heritage.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.

Student support

If you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study with us, please contact our Student Support Team by email or by phone 0131 650 4400 to arrange a confidential discussion. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010.