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Elgol, Skye, fossils and fossil collecting

Park at the car park next to the harbour. At peak times this can be busy, if so you may find a space outside the village shop. 
Walk along the beach to the North and around the headland. Carry on into the bay and start looking for pebbles, cobbles and boulders containing fossil bivalves.
There are many boulders and rock outcrops to climb over to find them however, so this is not particularly recommended. The ammonites are of a rather poor quality at Elgol and belemnites are commonly found at other locations on Skye.

GRID REF: 57.14671°N, 6.10360°W

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


Elgol offers beautiful scenery and the guarantee of finding fossils. The sheer number of bivalve fossils crammed into certain layers of rock here is staggering.
Where is it

Medium

 

When the right type of rocks are found they are absolutely jam packed with Cyrena sp. bivalves. Belemnite fossils and occasional ammonites are also found in places.


Older Children

 

The bay where blocks full of fossil bivalves can be found is a fairly short walk away from the harbour, where cars are parked. To reach the bay you must climb over some rough terrain, so smaller children may not be able to hunt here.


Fair Access

 

Parking can be found next to the harbour, adjacent to the beach. To reach the blocks packed with bivalves a walk of about 400m is required. Most of this walk will be over cobbles and pebbles but in one area a rock platform and boulders must be crossed. This rock platform has numerous gullies in it, so some scrambling up and down is necessary.


Foreshore

 

Large blocks can be found at the base of the cliffs. Smaller cobbles and water rounded pebbles all packed with fossil bivalves are also present.


SSSI

 

This site is an SSSI, No Hammering the Bedrock, only collect from the loose pebbles and boulders.


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.

Be careful when circumnavigating boulders and rock outcrops. Wear shoes with a good grip and avoid areas which have seaweed covering them. If you carry on past the bay with the bivalve fossil blocks the going gets very tough in places and it is possible to become stranded by a rising tide. This location is fairly remote and a mobile phone signal is unlikely to reach you. Make sure someone knows where you are and what time you expect to be back.


Last updated:  2011
last visited:  2007
Written by:  Joe Shimmin

Other Locations similar to Elgol

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




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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The most spectacular bivalve-packed rocks are seen at the base of the cliff towards the North of the bay. To find smaller blocks containing these fossils search through the cobbles and pebbles in front of this area. Trace fossils on bedding planes can also sometimes be seen around here.

If you carry onwards from this bay you may see fossil dehydration cracks on some bedding planes. Belemnites can be found further along the coast in large sandstone boulders and a little further along still a few Ammonites may be encountered on similar sandstone boulders.

Large blocks unbelievably full of Cyrena sp. bivalve fossils are the attraction at this location. These are best left where they are as they are far too heavy to be removed. There are also plenty of smaller blocks containing the bivalves to be found. If you are lucky you may also see very intricate trace fossils on the bedding planes of some boulders. Fossil dehydration cracks can also be observed in places. Further along the coast Belemnite fossils can be found in some abundance and occasional Ammonites can be seen on the surfaces of large Oxford Clay Sandstone blocks.

This site is an SSSI, No Hammering the Bedrock, only collect from the loose pebbles and boulders.

Geology Guide Jurassic, 170mya

The rocks at Elgol are Bathonian age. There are two formations of interest, the Lealt Shale Formation and the Elgol Sandstone Formation. Sandstone blocks can be found along the foreshore, and can contain ammonites and belemnites, but fossils can also be seen in the Lealt Shale Formation...[more]


Holy cliffs

 

Many belemnite imprints...[more]

More Guides

Stone Tumblers
Microscopes
Fossil Tools

If you are interested in fossil collecting, then you may also be interested in a stone tumbler (Lapidary). 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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