Thursday, April 28, 2011

Away with the fairies and an unconformity on Arran!

Ahead of us, the Cock of Arran suddenly emerged into the sunshine from the thick mist of early morning.

All was grey looking back along the north shore of Arran.

High above us, the mountains were still wreathed in mist.

 We now paddling west past beaches dominated by giant boulders.

This part of Arran is known as Fairy Dell.

It was seen as the entrance to another World, a World inhabited by fairies.

Fairy Dell cottage is in private ownership and is not a bothy.

An Arran legend tells of a group of local fairies who decided to set sail for Ireland. Unfortunately they were not the best of navigators and their boat was washed up on a mysterious island, just off the shore of Arran. They never got to Ireland and have remained on the island ever since. Every so often the island reappears out of the mist. If you should find an uncharted island off the coast of Arran, it is probably best not to land as the fairies will steal your boat and leave you marooned for a very long time. This old boat would be no good to the fairies, it has seen better days. You might not believe in the fairies but consider this. What do you do when you have finished eating a boiled egg from the shell? You probably stick the teaspoon through the bottom of the empty shell... so that the fairies can't use it as a boat!

In 1787 the rocks on this coast gave James Hutton, the geologist, the idea that the Earth isa much older than it had been previously thought. The steeply dipping Cambrian Dalriadan schists in the foreground are overlaid by more recent Carboniferous Old Red Sandstone seen in the cliffs behind the shore. This was the first unconformity that Hutton discovered and based his theories upon.