In June the North West Highlands Geopark teamed up with local rock climbing instructor Ken Keith of Highland Adventures to hold two pilot ‘learn to climb’ sessions at Reiff sea cliffs in the Coigach region of the Geopark. These sessions were intended to gauge public interest in rock climbing activities, engage with a diverse group of people and to build relationships with local businesses. The result was a resounding success. Two events held on the 3rd and 30th of June were attended by more than thirty local people and visitors and were fully booked. Laura Hamlet, Information Officer for North West Highlands Geopark, said “both adults and children learned about the weathering patterns of the Torridonian sandstone formation close up, exploring the possibilities for hand and foot holds left by 1.2 billion year old river sediments and for some, overcoming some serious vertigo!

Visitors were keen to know if more climbing events would be held over the summer and a local climbing club is being formed following the surge of interest these events have generated. Rock climbing is a great way to get in touch with our geological heritage, quite literally; it is also a great way to keep fit and healthy. We are keen to find other venues in the Geopark to run similar events so if you know of a suitable place please let us know”. You can contact Laura Hamlet on 01854 622754 (laura@nwhgeopark.com).

GeoparkSponsored by SSE, a new program of in-depth Geotours are also being launched in September. An extensive area of the North West Highlands will be visited during either week or half week long guided tours. The program is designed to help visitors and enthusiasts interpret the deep time that this part of the Earth’s Crust has experienced. With an experienced guide visitors will explore not only the geographical area that makes up the current day Geopark but also look back through time, to interpret what the rocks and landscape have to tell us. As home of the oldest rocks in Europe, the first identified thrust faults and with evidence of the earliest life; the North West Highlands Geopark truly earns its title the “Cradle of Geology”.

The tours will include a trilobite hunt, evidence for a meteorite strike and the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the great Victorian geologists. The tours are priced at £140 for the weekend tour or £230 for the full week and the 20% early bird discount on these rates is still available to residents of the Geopark. For more information visit the Geopark website at www.nwhgeopark.com or contact Pete Harrison on 01854 612568 (pete@nwhgeopark.com)

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Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape

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