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Geology of Scotland's Hills (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

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.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker and an internet connection.

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)

Course delivered online.

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.


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.