Guests staying at Springbank Cottage have the use of resources for fossiling which forms part of our environmental activities offer. We support responsible fossiling and expect guests to follow the strict guidance on best practice contained in the Scottish Fossil Code prepared by NatureScot. The Code may be viewed and downloaded from the Scottish Fossil Code webpage.
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?
What you can do
- Look for fossil remains on the shore you could discover something really special – a 10cm long fossilised jaw bone found in 2015 was showing on top of a recently exposed boulder!
- Record your finds by measuring and photographing them.
- If you think you have discovered something unusual, or special, record the precise location and the position it was found in the rock sequence.
- Get in touch with Staffin Museum or even with the National Museums Scotland.
- Please note that, in practice, common fossils have traditionally been collected without permission and usually without hindrance. HOWEVER, you are acting within the law if you obtain permission to extract, collect and retain fossils.
- Recreational collecting and removal of fossils is NOT PERMITTED at sites designated as SSSIs. This includes all of the Elgol coastline.
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.
What we provide
- OS maps with locations marked and Geological map of central Skye
- Field ruler for measuring
- Fossil guides
Advice about fossiling
- 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.
- The coastline round Elgol is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geology. This coastline, and four others on Skye, are so special they were covered by the Skye Nature Conservation Order in 2019. Please read the information on these special places here.
Always follow the essential principles of the Scottish Fossil Code:
- Seek permission – In practice, common fossils and small geological specimens have traditionally been collected without permission and usually without hindrance. However, you are acting within the law if you obtain permission to extract, collect and retain fossils.
- Access responsibly – Consult the Scottish Outdoor Access Code prior to accessing land. Be aware that there are restrictions on access and collecting at some locations protected by statute.
- Collect responsibly – Exercise restraint in the amount collected and the equipment used. Be careful not to damage fossils and the fossil resource. Record details of both the location and the rocks from which fossils are collected.
- Seek advice – If you find an exceptional or unusual fossil do not try to extract it; but seek advice from an expert.
- Label and look after – Collected specimens should be labelled and taken good care of.
- Donate – If you are considering donating a fossil or collection choose an Accredited museum, or one local to the collection area.
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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