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Bearreraig Bay, fossils and fossil collecting

The dotted line indicating a track to the power station is a tarmacked road which permits access to the bay and car park.
The red road the A855 follows alongside the power station loch. Just befor you ascend a hill after passing the loch to your right, take a right turn to a small road and follow this.
The road passes over the dam of the loch. The “Old man of Storr” rocks can be seen directly behind you.
There is only a guide rail at the top section of the path. It can be very slippy, and avoiding it by using the grass beside it can be as hazardous.

GRID REF: 57.49953°N, 6.14887°W

Ammonites, belemnites, large bivalves, brachiopods and gastropods can be found.
Fossil Collecting at Bearreraig


Skye features a complete sequence of 400m of the Jurassic history. The entire coast from portree to staffin is fossiliferous Jurassic rocks. This guide features Bearreraig Bay fossils and some local information.
Where is it

High

 

Fossils are common here, ammonites – belemnites shells and plant/wood remains can be seen at all points in the bay. Commercial collecting here is not common, the site remains fairly unknown, although fossil collectors obviously collected here there is plenty to be found.


Not Young Children

 

Not for very young children. The descent and ascent up the cliffs is difficult and steep, one wrong move and you plummet down the cliffs! That said, the path is clear, not slippery and in places has a guide rail, the cliffs are also soft grass. There is only a guide rail at the top section of the path. It can be very slippery, and avoiding it by using the grass beside it can be as hazardous.


Fair Access

 

Local toilets are a long drive away at Portree or Staffin (around 5miles each), similarly for food or drinks the best bet is the local towns. The power station at Bearreraig bay has a cliff railway, at the top of this, there is a house and train house where there is a car park and the top of the path down to that beach.


Foreshore, Cliffs

 

Cliff and beach, fossils can be found on the foreshore rocks in pebbles and boulders.


SSSI

 

SSSI NO HAMMERING NO COLLECTING FROM IN SITU Fossils can only be collected if found in pebbles on the beach. Failure to obey is likely to result in prosecution.


If you collect fossils in Scotland, the advice on best practice in the collection and storage of fossil specimens, set out in the Scottish Fossil Code, applies to you. The Code may be viewed and downloaded from www.snh.org.uk/fossilcode.

Common sense when collecting at all locations should be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. If you choose to go to the South side, watch out for the slippy rocks around the bad step. Take your time until you reach the dry rocks. There is signs that can enable you to know when you need to return to the bad step before the tide makes it impassable.


Last updated:  2011
last visited:  2011
Written by:  Joe Shimmin, Steve Caine, and Anthony Rybak


Other Locations similar to Bearreraig

There are a range of Jurassic Coastal sites in Scotland either on Skye or the North East Mainland especially near Brora which have been caused by the Helmsdale Fault. Other locations near to Helmsdale that are featured on UK Fossils are, Crakaig, Golspie, Portgower, Kintradwell, Lothbeg, Brora River, Balintore,Eathie and Brora Foreshore. Other locations on the isle of Skye include the popular Glasnakille Bearreraig Bay, Faoilean, Hallaig, Camustianavaig, Ardnish Point, Kilmarie and Elgol




MIDGE SPRAY.- We got eaten alive the first day we were here, the midges aren’t always a problem. They seem to come out particularly in the evening. Also after it has rained, and the sun comes out, before the sun dries everything out, the midges mass together to attack everything. There were also bugs in the grass that bit us, but nothing to the midges. Big hammer, the rocks here are large and very hard. Some smaller rocks can be found but at least a lump hammer is required, we took a sledge hammer.

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Fossils can be found all along the coast here. However most are of limited quality and all are in extremely hard rock and often huge boulders. These will often require a lot of preparation. The most famous ammonite from this location is the highly collectable ammonite Ludwigia. The Ludwigia ammonite is best found in a layer of rock that is exposed only to the south of the bay. This is ONLY accessed on a low-tide, and can often be covered up by beach sand. There are many other species of ammonites and other fossils to be found at this location. But please remember it is an SSSI, so no hammering the bedrock.

To get to the best beds, after walking down the cliffs to the bay, take a right turn and follow the beach around the low cliff. You will be walking on rock here. Go with caution as cliff falls occur frequently along this coastline.

The most common fossil at Bearreraig is the belemnite. In the local fossil museum they have some stunning huge examples. After that the ammonites and bivalves can be found. The common and best persevered ammonite is Ludwigia, there is an entire layer about a foot thick with a mass grave of them.

Parts of the bay can be quite dangerous if you misjudge the times of tides. Often just a few hours after high-tide can get you cut off,so always collect during a falling tide.

SSSI NO HAMMERING NO COLLECTING FROM IN SITU Fossils can only be collected if found in pebbles on the beach. Failure to obey is likely to result in prosecution.

Geology Guide Jurassic, 170mya

The flat layer of vertical columns of rock (similar to the giants causeway of Ireland) can be seen above the Jurassic layer all along the coast. This layer is known as 'kilt Rock', because it resembles a kilt… apparently. The layer is an intrusion of lava that happened when Skye was volcanically active. The layer was previously a layer of soft Jurassic shale, but sadly was replaced with the 'Kilt-Rock'.

South Bearreraig also has fossils from the same zones and stages as the north side, however this is tidal due to the 'bad step'. The prevailing winds tend to roll the loose boulders along this shore, and a raised beach opposite Holm Island can yield good fossils....[more]


Position of the bed containing the famous "Ludwigia" ammonites.

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An excellent example of 'Ludwigia cf cosmia' ...[more]


Lapidary
Microscopes
Fossil Tools

If you are interested in fossil collecting, then you may also be interested in Lapidary, (Polishing Stones). You can polish stones and rocks from the beach which will look fantastic polished using a stone tumbler.

You can polish rough rock and beach glass whilst collecting fossils, on those days where you come back empty handed. These are all high quality machines to give a professional finish to your samples. They can even be used for amber and fossils.

At most locations, you can find microfossils. You only need a small sample of the sand. You then need to wash it in water and sieve using a test sieve. Once the sand is processed, you can then view the contents using a microscope.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereomicroscope for viewing microfossils. The best one we sell is the IMXZ, but a basic microscope will be fine. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

We are your market leader for Fossil Supplies and Fossil Equipment. Suppling Retail, Education and Trade in the UK, Europe and beyond. UKGE Online Store sells equipment worldwide.

We sell a wide range of geological hammers and geological picks as well as fossil tools, starter packs and geological chisels. UKGE is your geological superstore, selling a wide range of field equipment, rocks, minerals, fossils, geological and even microscopy!



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While we (UKGE/UK Fossils) try to ensure that the content of this location guide is accurate and up to date, we cannot and do not guarantee this. Nor can we be held liable for any loss or injury caused by or to a person visiting this site. Remember: this is only a location guide and the responsibility remains with the person or persons making the visit for their own personal safety and the safety of their possessions. That is, any visit to this location is of a personal nature and has not been arranged or directly suggested by UK Fossils. In addition, we recommend visitors get their own personal insurance cover. Please also remember to check tide times and rights of way (where relevant), and to behave in a responsible and safe manner at all times (for example, by keeping away from cliff faces and mud).
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