The field trip is to the Lower Old Red Sandstone locality of Tillywhandland Quarry, by Turin Hill in Angus. It will be led by Bob Davidson and Nigel Trewin of Aberdeen University, who have worked extensively in the quarry and published a major article upon its stratigraphy and palaeontology [Trewin and Davidson, 1996, Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Earth Sciences, vol.86, pp.233 - 246].
The bus will drop us off at the entrance to the quarry, which is about a quarter of a mile along a wooded track. This will be muddy if the weather has been wet, so stout footwear and waterproof jackets are advisable.
Tillywhandland Quarry is a Site of Special Scientific Importance [S SSI], so we will not be working at the rock face, but on the spoil heaps. These have just been turned over by a JCB, so everyone has a good chance of finding something.
Scottish Natural Heritage [SNH] and the landowner have given us permission to collect for September 11th only, so if anyone wants to return, they will need to contact the SNH area officer [telephone 01575 530 333] for consent. SNH have asked that I give them a list of specimens we collect and the collections into which they will be incorporated. I will collect this information on the bus home.
The quarry is in Lower ORS rocks, which lie within the Dundee Formation of the Arbuthnott Group and are Gedinnian [Lochkovian] in age. The fossils occur in a laminated layer about 1 .3m thick with a 60mm bed of pale green/buff clay 1m above the base of the bed. It overlies a sandstone which was worked in the last century for building stone.
The commonest fish are Mesacanthus and Ischnacanthus with rarer Euthacanthus, Parexus, Climatius, Vernicomacanthus and Cephalaspis. There are abundant coprolites containing scales of Mesacanthus and smaller Ischnacanthus. Rare arthropods include eurypterid fragments and millipedes, the latter washed into the lake with plants of which Parka and Zosterophyllum are common.
The work of Trewin and Davidson indicates that Tillywhandland Quarry was the main source of specimens in 19th century collections labelled 'Turin Hill'.