Fossil Hunting

Guests staying at Springbank Cottage can the use of fossil hunting resources that form part of our environmental activities offer.  Guide books, hammers, chisels and safety equipment are provided to help you get the most out of your fossil hunting time on Skye.

Will I find fossils on Skye?

Almost certainly.  Skye’s geology is amazing.  Fossils dating from the Middle Jurassic period found on Skye are world famous notably the dinosaur footprints reported a few years ago.  Most fossil remains are quite small but the chances of finding plant remains and shellfish remains are high.

What fossils will I find?

The shore around Elgol pretty much guarantees success for fossil hunting.  Certain rock types have a large amount of shell remains.  It’s very hard to come by something major but looking in the right places will help.

Fossils in rock

Mid Jurassic fossil remains from near Elgol

What you can do

  • Look for fossil remains on the shore – a 10cm long fossilised jaw bone found in 2015 was showing on top of a recently exposed boulder!
  • Measure and photograph your finds or take them home with you.

Where to do it

  • Elgol coast is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geology.
  • The Broadford area has several locations.  The beach next to the path to Broadford Pier has shale containing shells like modern oysters.
  • The north of the island has several good places with top finds are on display at the  Staffin Museum.
  • Detailed notes in the activity room will tell you where to look.

What we provide

  • OS maps with locations marked and Geological map of central Skye
  • Selection of hammers and chisels including children’s weight hammer and safety goggles
  • Field ruler for measuring
  • Fossil guides

Advice about fossil hunting

    • The sea erodes bed rock and fossil bearing outcrops so there is a good chance of making finds.
    • Some of the best finds are made after winter storms in the November to April period.
    • In winter beaches get churned up and cliffs get eroded by rough seas exposing fossil bearing rocks.

Things to consider

  • You need a lot of good fortune to find something really dramatic.
  • Take extreme care when using hammers and chisels.  Safety goggles should be worn at all times.
  • The coastline round Elgol is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geology.  It is, therefore, illegal to chip away at bed rock.  There is no restriction on picking up loose rocks containing fossils. For full details of Scottish Natural Heritage’s Code of Practice see here.

So, if you are thinking about a trip to Skye and you want more than just a “standard” holiday cottage, take a closer look.  We hope you will be surprised by how much is on offer during a stay at Springbank Cottage.

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