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The Foreland Mountains, Assynt

Sutherland, Scotland

""The People’s Choice
119 Assynt

'Earth history and history of geology in a unique and majestic landscape'

From Geraint Owen @gerainthowen

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

Nominated by: Geraint Owen @gerainthowen

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Images (top to bottom):
  • Suilven Reproduced with the permission of the British Geological Survey ©NERC. All rights Reserved
  • Globe Sculpture at Knockan Crag with Assynt mountains behind
  • Quinag in winter courtesy of Sutherland Partnership & Iain Sarjeant
Earth Science Week

ESW no date badge 2018
October 13 - 21
Theme: 'Earth Science in our lives'