Advent calendar

The Great Geoadvent: Door 8

This year’s geoadvent features some of our favourite entries from photography competitions past and present – all of which feature the beautiful geology of the UK and Ireland.

You can purchase a copy of this year’s calendar, featuring our 2018 competition winners, on our online bookshop, or by visiting us at Burlington House!

Door 8: Assynt

Assynt is a popular area for geological photography – this beautiful image was one of our 2017 Earth Science Week competition winners, sent to us by Tim Gregory.

Assynt c. Tim Gregory

Further info:

Assynt is an area in west Sutherland, Highland, Scotland – north of Ullapool.


The Assynt landscape is dominated by Inselbergs, or “Island Mountains”, the word used by geologists to describe these strange, isolated peaks made from Torridonian Sandstone and laid down as sand in rivers some 1,000 million years ago.

Erosion during many Ice Ages has exposed and carved them to create the unforgettable and distinctive scenery we see today.

Quinag in WinterThese deposits rest in turn on the even older Lewisian basement, which form the characteristic “cnoc and lochan” landscape.

Collectively these rocks form the outer edge of the Scottish crust that has been caught up in the 500-400 million year old Caledonian mountain building episode. The boundary lies just to the east of the inselbergs.

Text: North West Highlands Geopark


  • Globe Sculpture at Knockan Crag with Assynt mountains behind
  • Quinag in winter courtesy of Sutherland Partnership & Iain Sarjeant

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