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Prince Charlie Cave, Skye, fossils and fossil collecting

Take the A855 to Uig from Portree
From the end of the Storr Lochs, take the small road to the left at the Bus stop. Follow this over the Dam and on as far as the car park at the Powerhouse.
Either take the path down to the beach, or follow sheep trail south up and over the top. Follow the fence at the top of the tree-line.
If you take the upper path, once past the fence, descend carefully towards Holm Island. This would avoid Bearreraig, saving you precious time. Please note there are two different "Prince Charlies Caves" on Skye.

GRID REF: NG 51780 48309

Ammonites, plants, belemnites, molluscs
Fossil Collecting at Prince Charlie Cave


Famous for it's historical past, the shores to the north of Prince Charlies Cave which itself lies to the North of Portree, can provide a variety of common and a few rare collectable fossil specimens from several recognised zones. Prince Charlies Cave is one of the toughest Skye has to offer.
Where is it

High

 

Lots of fossils to be found all the way along the shoreline


Not for Children

 

This is a long walk over a very rough boulder-strewn shoreline. Not for the young or unfit.


Long Walk

 

Prince Charlies Cave is located awkwardly exactly 3 miles from the car park at Bearreraig and 3 miles from Portree. However, there are very few fossil bearing areas from Portree to the Cave. There are also several caves, only one being Charlies, but there is no need to go as far as the cave, say if you are tired or feel that the tide may be getting too close. Between Holm and the first two caves will provide more than enough material to look at. The best approach is from the carpark at Bearreraig. Free Parking.


Foreshore

 

The beauty of this walk is that it takes in the Middle Jurassic stages of Bearreraig and Holm Island, and then changes to the Lower Jurassic stages including several ammonite zones. So lots of loose rocks stuffed with fossils all along the walk.


SSSI

 

This is a SSSI site and should be respected. Recent damage to the foreshore in this area has put a spotlight on any activities in the area, so only take a few specimens home and restrict your efforts to the smaller rocks. There are plenty.


If you collect fossils in Scotland, the advice on best practice in the collection and storage of fossil specimens, set out in the Scottish Fossil Code, applies to you. The Code may be viewed and downloaded from www.snh.org.uk/fossilcode.

Avoid the wet slippery lower shoreline where possible. Take your time to avoid twisted ankles. There are a lot of fossils here however, in order to cover it all, and to safely negotiate two tidal corners, this walk is best done on the lowest tides on a full moon. You must allow time for the return and passing of these two tight spots. Very long wait for the next low-tide, and it may be dark and dangerous.


Last updated:  2011
last visited:  2011
Written by:  Anthony Rybak

Other locations on the isle of Skye include the popular Glasnakille Bearreraig Bay, Faoilean, Hallaig, Camustianavaig, Ardnish Point, Kilmarie and Elgol


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It would be easy to be delayed at Bearreraig whilst walking amidst the many fossiliferous rocks from the Bajocian stage, and should you feel the need to stop and explore, then the trip to the far side of Holm could be postponed for another day. There is not enough time to cover it all, unfortunately. However beyond Holm Island the Toarcian and Pliensbachian stages are to be found, and the variety of species change.

When you reach the first cave which has two entrances close to one and other, you will be seeing signs of the huge pecten bivalves of the Pliensbachian sediments. Evidence of ammonite zones like tenucostatum zone, spinatum zone, margitataus zone and falciferum zone begins to appear in the loose rocks, and a good variety of bivalves and a few brachiopods can be found in multi-blocks here. This is a place demanding effort and organising, but the rewards will be variety and the potential of finding rare ammonites. When you reach the shore between next two overhangs, there is no need to proceed to Charlies Cave as the fossils begin to thin out.

Geology Guide Jurassic, 180mya

From beyond Holm Island south, there is a change from the Bajocian stages of Bearreraig to the Toarcian and Pliensbachian stages. This includes the tenucostatum zone, spinatum zone, margitataus zone and falciferum zone. Possibly other zone fossils available. Limestone’s, mudstone and nodules available. Scalpa sandstones and the Portree shales are exposed above many areas, but avoid climbing the slippery slopes...[more]


More Guides

Ludwigia cf obstuformis. ...[more]



Small mallet and a cold chisel should suffice. Keep the weight to a minimum. Take lots of refreshments. A torch in case you loose the light. Phone Signal not available here.

Stone Tumblers
Microscopes
Fossil Tools

If you are interested in fossil collecting, then you may also be interested in a stone tumbler (Lapidary). You can polish stones and rocks from the beach which will look fantastic polished using a stone tumbler.

You can polish rough rock and beach glass whilst collecting fossils, on those days where you come back empty handed. These are all high quality machines to give a professional finish to your samples. They can even be used for amber and fossils.

At most locations, you can find microfossils. You only need a small sample of the sand. You then need to wash it in water and sieve using a test sieve. Once the sand is processed, you can then view the contents using a microscope.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereomicroscope for viewing microfossils. The best one we sell is the IMXZ, but a basic microscope will be fine. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

We are your market leader for Fossil Supplies and Fossil Equipment. Suppling Retail, Education and Trade in the UK, Europe and beyond. UKGE Online Store sells equipment worldwide.

We sell a wide range of geological hammers and geological picks as well as fossil tools, starter packs and geological chisels. UKGE is your geological superstore, selling a wide range of field equipment, rocks, minerals, fossils, geological and even microscopy!



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While we (UKGE/UK Fossils) try to ensure that the content of this location guide is accurate and up to date, we cannot and do not guarantee this. Nor can we be held liable for any loss or injury caused by or to a person visiting this site. Remember: this is only a location guide and the responsibility remains with the person or persons making the visit for their own personal safety and the safety of their possessions. That is, any visit to this location is of a personal nature and has not been arranged or directly suggested by UK Fossils. In addition, we recommend visitors get their own personal insurance cover. Please also remember to check tide times and rights of way (where relevant), and to behave in a responsible and safe manner at all times (for example, by keeping away from cliff faces and mud).
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