Boulder clay

These small red cliffs on Westray look just like Boulder Clay to me. I loved studying physical geography as a child, after all, who doesn’t like an oxbow lake? I remember not knowing what Boulder Clay was and looking it up to find that Boulder Clay is clay with boulders in it. It’s yet another reminder of Orkney’s ice age past as all the clay and boulders were left here by a retreating glacier. In Westray’s case, Eday’s loss was Westray’s gain as Eday’s red rocks were ground down into clay and then dragged and left over much of Westray. That helps me understand why Westray’s red clay soil is such a different colour to all of Westray’s rocks. I wonder what colour Eday’s Boulder Clay is and where it came from?

Boulder clay - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

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