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Westray Geology

the geology of Westray

Rapness Rocks - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Rapness rolling rocks

Rapness has some of the most interesting rocks on Westray. There are lots of rounded red sandstone pebbles. These rocks were dragged …

Green Pools - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Green pools

Westray’s coastline has magnificent layers of sedimentary rocks. In places there are folds and cracks: A crack in the rocks leads to …

Sea Slater - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Flagstones and Slaters

Looking into the cracks in the flagstones I see what looks to be a freakishly large Woodlouse. It’s a Sea Slater…

Westray coastline - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Up, across or down?

The Westray coastline is so beautiful on a glorious day it’s hard to know whether to look up, look across or look …

Risso's Dolphins - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Never a dull day

The weather on Westray may be dull, but there’s never a dull day on Westray.

A white blanket of cloud shrouds the island but life continues as normal for the incredible menagerie which inhabits the shores of Westray.

High Heels - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Westray wearing high heels

Westray wears its working clothes most of the time. It has an endless supply of beautiful green garments which it accessorises with …

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

Rock ledges

The sedimentary rock on Westray breaks into hundreds of ledges where the layers of time wear them away.

Boulders on my border - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Boulders on my border

The mini-boulders on Westray’s beaches are a never-ending source of stripes and spots of beautiful muted colours.

Cracked rocks - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Cracks in the paving

I could stand and stare at the stone Orkney beaches for hours; and I sometimes do.

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

Drips

Drips of water run down the cliffs on Westray.

Green pool - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Green pool

Walking along Westray’s rocky shores through a rock arch and into and out of caves we come across this dripping waterfall with …

Westray Sea Cave - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Westray sea cave

Wandering along the coast of Westray it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s in the cliffs below. Only when there’s a promontory can …

Wrinkled and cracked - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Wrinkled and cracked

The exposed rocks of Westray are endlessly fascinating even if you’re not a geologist.

Snaky Noust - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Fish scales at Snaky Noust

‘Scattered fish scales of Osteolepis are common at Snaky Noust.’ From the wonderful Westray Heritage Centre.

Wet Pebbles - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Wet pebbles

The pebbles are beautiful and wet inside the mouth of this sea cave on Westray.

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

Boulder clay

These small red cliffs on Westray look just like Boulder Clay to me. I loved studying physical geography as a child, after …

The stranger on the shore - The Hall of Einar - photograph by David Bailey (not the)

The stranger on the shore

Westray has no sandstone rocks, yet it has occasional sandstone pebbles on its beaches. Here’s one. It was brought from the island …

Stones in deeply etched caves - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Stones in deeply etched caves

We’re exploring caves around the coast of Westray when we discover this wonderful depression filled with stones and pebbles inside a deeply …