Atlas Arts




CÒIG SGIATHAN | FIVE WINGS // With Dugie Ross – Loch Shianta and the fossil beach

Loch Shianta and Flodigarry in the background


Monday 9 October & 16 October – 2 walks to Loch Shianta and Flodigarry fossil beach with the Staffin Community Trust

Local fossil expert Dugie Ross was invited, in the first instance, to plan a walk for young people as part of the October activities programme that is part of the High Life Highland Youth Development Service.  The second walk a week later did not include the visit to the Dinosaur museum and Staffin beach but focused on Loch Shiante and hunting for fossils on the beach below.

This  Jurassic excursion started at the Staffin Museum at Eillishadder, a fascinating and internationally recognised collection. When we arrived Dugie told us about his passion for fossils which started at a young age. His parents were fully supportive and at fifteen he announced that he would open a fossil museum.

Inside the Staffin Museum Dugie Ross tells us about his passion for finding fossils

Dugie showed us an early find, a dinosaur leg,

Dougie showed us a dinosaur leg

The beautiful patterns of these Septarian nodules were fascinating…

Then we headed toward Digg and Loch Shianta, once known as the “Lourdes of the North”.  One of the walkers tests the temperature of the water…cold and as clear as crystal.

Walker tests the temperature of the water in Loch Shianta

Then a picnic lunch and on to the beach…

After our picnic lunch we ended down to the beach

Dugie showed us how to hunt for fossils and what to look out for in the Oxford Clay.

Boken bits of belamnites among the pebbles on the shore

Spot the broken belemnites amongst the pebbles…

…ah whats this?

Whats this sticking out of the clay?

Wow, a perfect specimen…

Dugie carfully removed a perfect belamnite from the clay.e

  1. an extinct cephalopod mollusc with a bullet-shaped internal shell that is typically found as a fossil in marine deposits of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

What a great day.

The second walk on October 16 was equally successful. The weather was dreich but dry, unfortunately not so good for photographs. The group was joined by visitors from Australia who were thrilled to be directed to the walk by the local visitor centre and were lucky enough to not only find fossils and visit the loch but also to see a Sea-eagle.


Tha Seo Math Dhuibh – Good for you

A  partnership project with Aros Centre, Portree


Published on 12 December 2017