Welcome to Scotland’s first Geopark
At 3,000 million years old, the rocks at the seashore are even older than the hills – and what hills they are! Where else can you experience a skyline that compares to the ridges of Foinaven and Arkle, or classic hills like Suilven or Stac Pollaidh? In places like this it’s not just the eagles or the peregrines that soar. This is the most sparsely populated corner of Europe. Set yourself free in a place with space to spare.
Every European Geopark encompasses one or more sites of scientific importance that are valuable not only because of their significant geological features but also because they demonstrate outstanding archaeological, ecological or cultural value.
It exists to:
Explore Deep Time
Evoke a Sense of Place and
This means encouraging adventures for everyone which helps people connect with the land and feel responsible for maintaining its beauty, wildlife and resources.
There are three Geoparks in Scotland and we work closely together to achieve these aims.
Geopark Shetland (UNESCO Global Geopark)
Lochaber Geopark (Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark)
The North West Highlands Geopark is special for a number of reasons:
- Unimaginable age – Lewisian Gneiss in the area is 3,000 million years old, which means that the rocks you see along the coastline are among the oldest rocks in Britain.
- Incredible complexity – the impacts of the Moine Thrust have created a very complicated geological legacy which puzzled and fascinated geologists for decades!
- World class scenery – this complex geology has created stunning landscapes where each rock type produces its own unique and evocative habitats.
- Important scientific discoveries – since the 19th century the area designated by the Geopark has been a key site for geological research.
Every Geopark has a management plan designed to foster sustainable socio-economic development and must show that it is working to conserve and enhance the local geological heritage at the same time as providing learning opportunities based around geoscientific disciplines and broader environmental issues.
One of the functions of a UNESCO or European Geopark is to demonstrate and share best practice strategies with other Geopark areas on the issue of Earth heritage conservation and how it relates to sustainable development opportunities for local communities.
If you are hunting for fossils or seeking out rocks be sure to follow the Scottish Fossil Code and the Geology Fieldwork Code