Southern Scotland

A key site in the history of geology

The rocky promontory of Siccar Point in Berwickshire is one of the key sites in the history of geology, which became known as Hutton’s Unconformity. Here in 1788, James Hutton discovered rock formations which he saw as conclusive proof of his uniformitarian theory* of geological development and the age of the Earth. (*the principle or assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.)

White stork in Britain

The only recorded example of wild white storks nesting in Britain was in 1416 when a pair attempted to nest on top of St Giles High Kirk in Edinburgh

 Stirlingshire moss

Flanders Moss is the largest raised bog in Europe to remain in a predominantly near-natural state. More here

Bass Rock

The volcanic plug known as Bass Rock lies a couple of kilometres North-east of North Berwick in the Firth of Forth and is the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets, whose scientific name (Morus bassanus) fittingly comes from the rock. Often described by naturalists as “one of the wildlife wonders of the world” it is home to a remarkable 150,000 gannets, and smaller numbers of guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, puffins, eider ducks and gulls.

Simon Barnes describes Bass Rock as “A masterpiece of drama” in his Prophet and Loss: Time and the Rothschild List (2015). He writes:

Here on Bass Rock we have as wonderful a spectacle of bioabundance as you can find in Britain, or for that matter, anywhere else: in these wonderful numbers – gannets and gannets and gannets – you can understand the glory and the extent and the meaning of non-human life.

The Rock is managed by the Scottish Seabird Centre, from whose headquarters in North Berwick harbour you can book seasonal boat trips to the island, watch the gannets via interactive live cameras, have a snack in their Seabird Café and buy gannet memorabilia.

Drumlins of Glasgow

Glasgow is built on top of some 180 drumlins. More

St Abbs

St Abbs is one of the best places for diving in Scotland. More

The area within the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, particularly Killiedraught Bay,  also offers some of the best rock-pooling in northern Britain. More here

The  dramatic cliffs are home to thousands of nesting seabirds, including guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills.

St Abbs otter legend

St Cuthbert, the patron saint of otters used to pray on the coast near St Abbs. One morning he was seen by a local monk it was claimed swimming in the sea with two otters. The legend has it that when the animals emerged, they snuggled against his body to warm him with their fur. The most likely location for this event is Horse Castle bay at the base of the Kirk Hill. More here