North West Highlands Geopark (Scotland,UK)

The North West Highlands Geopark team continued its work this year, improving its interpretation and visitor services.  In doing so, we follow the recommendations of a Marketing Plan which we commissioned, other actions from which will be implemented over the next two years. The first focus is on boundary signs and a new series of leaflets, showing highlights of four different areas in our Geopark, with the aim of ‘spreading’ visitors around the Geopark. Highlights of the year included:

  • European Geopark Week – our first – was a success, as was the Scottish Geology Festival in September.  Over 20 guided walks and lectures were held with several hundred people attending.  The ‘Kenspeckle Puppets’ performed a series of geologically themed puppet shows ‘Out of the frying pan, into the fire’ for about 200 schoolchildren.
  • A new display on the Ice Age has been installed in the Lochinver Visitor Centre.  It features a model with and without ice cover of part of the Geopark and shows visitors some of the Ice Age features, from roches moutonnées to fjords, in our Geopark, and compared these  with modern-day glacial features in Arctic regions.
  • Two new PhD projects have started this year, one concerning cosmogenic dating of ice-cover during the last Ice-Age and one concerned with fracture patterns in the Achaean gneiss.   Dating of proterozoic granites is ongoing, and the new Assynt geological map should be out soon!
  • Funding is secured and planning has started for the 2007 European Geopark Network conference, to be held 3-9 September 2007 in the North West Highlands Geopark.

Further information: Issie MacPhail and Maarten Krabbendam