Product has been added to the basket

George Scott Johnstone, 1922-2005

George Scott Johnstone (GSJ) was born on 30 October 1922 in Glasgow and died on 9 May 2005, in Edinburgh. He was a field geologist whose knowledge of the Scottish Highlands, their landscape and geology was probably second to none.

He was educated at Glasgow High School, which he left at the age of 16 to go to Glasgow University, supported by a Carnegie grant. He completed his degree in 1946 with first class honours in Geology following a three year break for war service. Because of the influence of Arthur (AE) Trueman, much of his undergraduate training was in palaeontology, although W J McCallien encouraged his interests in ¡'hard rock' geology.

His appointment to the Geological Survey late in 1946 ensured that his professional interests would complement his life-long love of climbing, hill walking, photography and skiing. By the end of the war, many of the pre-war staff such as V A Eyles, J E Richey and W Q Kennedy had retired or had been appointed to university chairs. But J G C Anderson remained with the Survey for another two to three years and thus was able to introduce GSJ to hydroelectric engineering geology and no doubt to Highland Geology. Thus, following a year or so working on the volcanics of East Fife and Renfrewshire (including Misty Law) it was to the Highlands and Islands unit that GSJ was sent to recommence the Survey's work on the Moine of the West Highlands.

His remit, initially as a Senior/Principal Geologist and later as the District Geologist (SPSO) of the unit, was to survey the large area designated on the old "ten-mile" map as Not Surveyed in Detail. The successful completion of that survey by the postwar Highland geologists was in no small way due to GSJ's enthusiasm and leadership. It was at a comparatively early stage in that work (1969) that the paper of which he was a lead author appeared and set out the overall tectonostratigraphic framework for the Moine Supergroup - a framework that still stands.

While this work was in progress GSJ with J E Wright and D I Smith also led the substantial contribution to the development of many of the Highland HE schemes - notably those at Morar, Loch Tay, Cruachan and Foyers. Also, in parallel with the Moine survey, he encouraged the BGS collaborative work with universities, notably with Aberdeen in the NE Grampian area, Liverpool in Perthshire and the Great Glen and with Janet Watson in the Outer Hebrides. This last project incorporated the Imperial College work into the BGS database and on to the production of 1:100,000 published maps of these remote islands, and the accompanying memoir. He had several collaborative links with the Swedish and Irish Surveys, which in part led to his strong support for, and input into, the Mineral Reconnaissance Programme work on stratabound mineralisation in the Highlands.

GSJ was author of the 3rd edition of the Grampian Highlands Regional Guide (1966) and a major contributor to the 4th edition (1987). After his retirement in 1982, he was joint editor of the Northern Highlands Regional Guide (1989). In addition, after his retirement he served as a member of the National Trust's Countryside and Nature Conservation Committee until 1997.

GSJ was elected FGS in 1942, becoming a senior Fellow in 1992; FRSE in 1963; MIMM (Eng) 1973. He was President of the Geological Society of Edinburgh (1979-81). He was elected to the Scottish Mountaineering Club in 1953, was author of the SMC regional guide to The Western Highlands and served in many editorial capacities, including as compiling editor of The Corbetts and other Scottish Hills.

As a colleague and friend, Scott will be remembered for many pithy and sometimes earthy sayings to describe most situations, and as a man who wore his heart on his sleeve and who was not driven by personal ambition or gain but by a genuine love of Scottish mountains and their geology.
He is survived by his wife Molly, and by their three sons.

Douglas Fettes & Tony Harris