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Edinburgh's Seven Hills

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Edinburgh's landscape is dominated by the seven hills. Each has a hard core of igneous rock, and they have been altered and eroded by natural forces and human activity. This course will include an introductory classroom session and excursions by minibus to the Seven Hills to get a glimpse into the varied geological history of Edinburgh.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required.

Special Infomation

We walk at a slow pace with frequent stops, with a total walking distance of less than 5 miles each day. The excursions are suitable for anyone used to walking. We will sometimes leave the beaten track and the surface may be rough or slippery. You will need footwear with a good tread (walking boots are recommended) and waterproof clothing.

Content of Course

Day 1: classroom session, introduction to the rocks of Edinburgh and the formation of edinburgh's hills; afternoon excursion to Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags.

Day 2: minibus tour of Edinburgh's hills with short walks and outdoor tutoring at Blackford Hill, Costorphine Hill and Carlton Hill.

Teaching method(s)

Lectures and excursions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have gained:

  • an understanding of different types of volcanoes and different processes operating in their formation.
  • an appreciation of processes of glaciation and erosion and how the volcanic rocks of Edinburgh have been moulded to produce a varied landscape, important in the control of human habitation sites and providing resources for building and commerce.


Core Readings

McAdam, D., 1996. Edinburgh: A Landscape Fashioned by Geology. Edinburgh: SNH/BGS.
Land, D., 1995. Discovering Edinburgh's Volcano. Edinburgh: EGS/SNH/Historic Scotland.
Gillen, C., 2003. Geology and Landscapes of Scotland.UK: Terra Publishing.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.