Advent calendar

Door twenty one

door 21Throughout the advent season, we’ve been counting down with images submitted to our 100 Great Geosites photo competition. Today’s photographs are all of a geosite whose name is an Anglicisation the Gaelic Creag a’ Chnocain – meaning ‘crag of the small hill’.

Steven Gourlay sent us this beautiful panorama of Knockan Crag – a line of cliffs on the Ross-Shire and Sutherland border area of Scotland.

Image taken from Knockan Crag looking over Assynt towards Stac Pollaidh. c. Steven Gourlay

Image taken from Knockan Crag looking over Assynt towards Stac Pollaidh. c. Steven Gourlay

He says:

“I visit Knockan Crag often as it offers some great views over looking Assynt out towards Stac Pollaidh. It is a great short walk for all of the family and can be truly stunning at night.

“The far northwest of Scotland is one of the oldest landscapes in Europe. The rocks here tell of ancient oceans, vast deserts and ice sheets. Knockan Crag is renowned internationally as one of the most important sites for understanding how the landscape of Northern Britain was formed.”

Lynsey Angus, who sent us another winning image from Assynt, also sent in a panorama of Knockan Crag, seen from the road running alongside it:

Knockan Crag, c Lynsey Angus

Knockan Crag, c Lynsey Angus

Monument to Peach and Thorne's work, at nearby Inchnadamph

Monument to Peach and Thorne’s work, at nearby Inchnadamph

During the nineteenth century, Knockan Crag was at the centre of a long and bitter debate between geologists over a fault line exposed there. They argued over the Moine schists – which appeared to be older than the rocks below them, of Cambrian and Ordovician age.

The paper resolving the argument, published in 1907 by Ben Peach and John Horne, remains a classic text, and is the first account of a thrust fault – explaining the phenomena and changing the course of structural geology forever.

Our third entry from Knockan Crag came from Jasmine Hansen, who also sent us a winning image of Durdle Door.

Knocken Crag c Jasmine Hansen

Knocken Crag c Jasmine Hansen

The Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve is run by Scottish Natural Heritage, and features an interpretation centre, car parking and a number of walks along the crag. The site is part of the North West Highlands Geopark.

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