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Westray Geology, Page 2

the geology of Westray

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 …

The Grip of Cleaton - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Grip of Cleaton

The history of Westray is told in two small volumes. One is its telephone directory, with its handful of names, many of …

Mud cracks, mud cracks everywhere! - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Mud cracks, mud cracks everywhere!

Orkney is full of stone which shows fossilised wave patterns and mud cracks. Orkney’s geological history has been a complex one involving …

Tree ring cobbles - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Tree-ring cobbles

On Westray the traces of Lake Orcadie are everywhere. 380 million years ago this land we now call Westray was in the …

Pebbles and Cobbles - photograph (c) 2016 by David Bailey (not the)

Pebbles, Cobbles and Boulders

I’ve always loved the Westray beach with “The really big pebbles.” I recently discovered that a pebble can’t be any bigger than 64 mm. I think this one must count as a cobble.

Drip drip drip - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Drip drip drip

If you ever feel as if what you do makes no difference, as if you’re up against overwhelming odds or pushing against …

Walking near Stanger Head

Three ways down

I’m walking on the cliffs at Stanger Head past the Castle o’ Burrian and climbing up a rock crack when two tourists …

Lake Orcadie

Rocks from Lake Orcadie

I love the rocks on Orkney. The whole area of Greenland, Shetland, Orkney and down to the Moray Firth was once a …

Broken Stones
Broken Stones
Broken Stones

Broken Stones

“Like pebbles on a beach Kicked around, displaced by feet Oh, like broken stones They’re all trying to get home” Paul Weller …



A new day and a new beach to explore. This one is hidden behind long kelp drying walls. Over shattered rock and …


They call it flagstone…

… because it’s stone and breaks naturally into flags. The whole Island of Westray is made of it. Perfect flagstone paving everytime. …


Incomers on Westray

It’s easy to tell an incomer on Westray. They stick out like a sore thumb. I’m one of them, I should know. …


Grooves and Scratches

There are so many patterns on rocks here it’s dizzying. There are magnificent beds of wave patterns from fossilised freshwater beaches 380 …

Westray Flag

Westray Flag

Despite the wind the Westray flag resolutely refuses to flutter in the breeze. The people of Westray didn’t choose it but they …


Majestic Cliffs

It’s August and the cliffs around the north of Westray in Orkney are covered with the dried husks of Sea Pinks. Seals snort curious noses and Gannets plunge headlong into the sea, whilst we keep a watchful eye out for a pod of Killer Whales.