Book review: The Dalradian of Scotland (Geologists’ Association Guide No 67), by Jack Treagus

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

For many years, the Geologists’ Association has published some of the best geological guides to the UK (and a few other places). This new one, the 67th in the series, covers the Dalradian of Scotland.

The Dalradian is a geological term describing a series of metamorphic rocks, typically in the high ground lying southeast of the Great Glen of Scotland (the Grampians). It was named after the old Celtic region of Dál Riata (Dalriada) by the geologist, Sir A Geikie, in 1891, and the term now covers a range of metamorphic rocks from slates, phylites and schists, to quartzites, gneisses, amphibolites and marbles.

This extremely well-written and illustrated book follows the usual GA guide format – a background description of the geology followed by a series of excursions. Together, these make up three traverses across the Dalradian rocks of the SW, centre and NW of Scotland, and comprise 22 separate outings. They are all based on major routes, with the exposures on roadside cuttings, stream sections and pleasant coastal areas, all capable of being reached by quiet minor roads. As someone who has fastidiously followed some of the excursions set out in other GA field guides, I have no hesitation in recommending them as great days out. And, given the location of the Dalradian, the heady mixture of geology and scenery is surely an irresistible combination.

My one reservation is that the GA, rather than binding this guide like a normal book, has chosen to use a ring binder. My copy had already torn when it arrived, even though it was still in its plastic cover. We shall have to see if this is how further guides will be published and whether it will help or hinder the geologist as he or she chases rocks across country.

Jack Treagus was a lecturer in geology at Manchester University and based his PhD on the Dalradian of Pershire. He was recently awarded the Clough Medal by the Edinburgh Geological Society for his work on the Dalradian.

The Dalradian of Scotland (Geologists’ Association Guide No 67) , by Jack Treagus, The Geologists’ Association, London (2006), 202 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-0900717857

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