Other Scottish Localities

As well as all the well-known agate bearing areas it is always nice to look further afield in Scotland for new places where they can be found. With Scotland’s varied geology I am sure that out there somewhere are new localities to be discovered. It is always worthwhile looking in any new quarry, borrow pit or indeed any hole in the ground…..you just never know! At the moment the whole of Scotland seems to be in the grip of windmill fever and indeed tree planting and harvesting…..as a result they are putting new tracks and quarries everywhere in the countryside. How good this will be for the future environment I really don’t know but for the keen agate hunter its great! I have made a number of interesting discoveries in these places recently!
However there are also a great number of localities that even Heddle mentioned that are now worth a second look…I will describe some of them here.  

Balquharn Burn in the Ochils

I first visited this place about 35 – 40 years ago and my friend and I managed to find some agates loose in the burn. At the time I think I cut a few of them but I was not particularly impressed….so I left them in the bag, and I only rediscovered this bag of agates in my garage recently. I decided to cut some more of them. Again, initially I was not impressed as they contained a lot of Calcite. Then I discovered the Calcite fluoresces red in Long Wave (365nm) Ultraviolet light!

Calcite is one of the most fluorescent minerals under both Long wave (365nm) and Short wave (254nm) Ultraviolet. It mainly fluoresces red, but it can also be yellow, blue, pink or white. It generally fluoresces most strongly under Short wave. This red fluorescence is emitted mainly by Manganese as the activator and Lead as the coactivator.
The results are quite interesting and impressive…..


Thorntonloch near Dunbar

I first heard about this fascinating place some years ago from a number of members of the Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club based in Leith, Edinburgh. Although it is possible to find agates there are also beautiful complex and sometimes exquisite Jasper pebbles to be found. Below are some examples with a close up image of one showing this detail. Some of these specimens kindly given to me.



Straiton area, South Ayrshire

The area around the South Ayrshire village of Straiton has long been recognised as a source of agate. 
Terry Moxon in his book “AGATE Microstructure and Possible Origins” (1996) first described “Agate nodules can be found on the scree slopes at Straiton” I think Terry is no longer with us but there are still agate nodules on these scree slopes and in that general area. 
Compared to other areas in Scotland perhaps they are not of the same quality they are nevertheless there and collectible! I will show here a number of interesting agates from that area. 


Stonehaven beach, Aberdeenshire

Stonehaven is not well known for agates. However, its beach area has recently produced some agates that aren’t like anything else from other areas in Scotland. The source of these agates is uncertain, maybe washed down one of Stonehaven’s rivers from a source upstream or maybe from a sub-sea source. They are only ever found as water worn loose pebbles on the beach.
These agates are from the collection of John Trudgill. They have been tumble-polished rather than cut with a diamond saw and polished…they are unique!



< Home