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Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark Celebrates Geology Festival

by Deborah Leggate -

Since 2006, September has been host to the annual Scottish Geology Festival. This year, Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark is taking part in the national event by running a series of events for local people to get involved in.

Shetland has a wealth of stunning geology which was internationally recognised in 2009 when Shetland was awarded membership of the European and Global Geoparks Networks. Shetland is the only island group in the world to hold this status. Robina Barton, Geology Project Officer with Shetland Amenity Trust said “In September it will be a year since Shetland became a member of the EGN, so getting involved with this Scotland wide festival is a good way to celebrate that. We hope that the walks, talks and courses throughout the month will give the community a chance to discover just how special Shetland's geological heritage is.”

Local geologist Alan Fraser will be running a two day introductory course to Shetland's geology on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September. This course is suitable for everyone - no prior knowledge is required, although experienced geologists are welcome. Saturday will focus on the Moine and Dalradian rocks of the Central Mainland, while Sunday will explore recently drowned landscapes and the igneous rocks of Northmavine. Transport is provided with walks of up to 2km to specific locations. The cost of attending this course is £40 and space is limited so booking is essential.

Jonathan Swale of Scottish Natural Heritage is well known as an entertaining speaker on geological subjects. He will be speaking at the Burravoe Hall in Yell on Thursday 16th September and at Hoswick Visitor Centre on Thursday 23rd. The talks will illustrate the geological development of Shetland over nearly 3 billion years and provide an insight into the local areas. Both talks will begin at 7.30pm. The events are free to attend and no booking is required.

A series of guided walks and tours is planned during the month beginning with a chance to explore the Eshaness coast on Saturday 11th September. Robina Barton of Shetland Amenity Trust will be leading this journey through the stunning volcanic landscape, meeting at 2pm at the Eshaness lighthouse.

On Sat 18th Robina will be on Fetlar to take people on a journey across an ancient sea floor, and visit the awe inspiring evidence for past continental collisions, meeting at 2pm at the Loch of Funzie.

These events are free and walks will last 2 – 3 hours. Booking is essential.

On Saturday 25th Allen Fraser will lead a geological tour of South Mainland, through the remains of a desert environment that existed some 400million years ago, meeting at 9.00am at the Shetland Museum and Archives car park. Transport is provided to a number of key locations throughout the South Mainland, returning to the Museum for approximately 5.00pm. There is a £15 charge for this event and booking is essential. Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

To book your place on any of these events contact Shetland Amenity Trust on 01595 694688.

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