The rocks of northern Scotland tell of turbulent events involving continental collisions that unleashed cataclysmic forces, creating a chain of mountains, the remnants of which we see today on both sides of the Atlantic. Geologists from Victorian times onwards have studied the area, and some of the most important geological phenomena have been established and described from the rocks that built these stunning landscapes. In The Northern Highlands: Landscapes in Stone, Alan McKirdy makes sense of the many and varied episodes that shaped the familiar landscape we see today. He highlights a number of fascinating geological features, including the Old Red Sandstones of Cromarty and the Black Isle, which carry the secrets of life during 'the Age of Fishes', and the thin sliver of fossil-bearing strata which hugs the coast from Golspie to beyond Helmsdale that dates back to Jurassic times and which records the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
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.