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The Lochaber and Glencoe area is rich in historical associations. It was at Glenfinnan that Bonnie Prince Charlie started his long march southwards to lay claim to the British throne, and Glencoe was the scene of one of the most vicious massacres in Scottish history. But a longer and even more turbulent history is played out geologically. Ancient volcanoes erupted in massive explosions, causing shock waves that reverberated around the planet. Their eroded remains form some of the breathtaking scenery for which Glen Coe is famous, as well as the highest mountain in Britain – Ben Nevis. Ice too played its part as glaciers scraped their passage across the landscape, carving deep glens and shaving the tops off the highest mountains. Lochaber and Glencoe: Landscapes in Stone is afascinating introduction to the geology of the area, which features some of Scotland's oldest rocks and some of its most stunning and dramatic scenery.
Alan McKirdy has helped to promote the study of environmental geology in Scotland. Before his retirement he was Head of Knowledge and Information Management at Scottish Natural Heritage. He is now a freelance writer and regularly gives talks at book festivals and other events.