Siccar Point

Just a few miles north of Coldingham Village

 

Siccar Point

Siccar Point, just a few miles north of Coldingham Village.

The geology of the Coldingham region has given rise to dramatic cliffs and fascinating rock formations that have played their role in the history of geology.

In the Silurian era, sediments on the floor of an ancient ocean created the greywracke beds still easily seen along the coastline, some showing the ripple marks of vanished tides.

As the ocean vanished, tectonic activity raised and folded these beds to create the cliffs and rock formations that can be seen today.

In the Devonian age, volcanic vents and outflows poured a layer of molten lava over the earlier sediments culminating in the magnificence of St Abbs Head with its red and purple,  igneous rocks.

Later, prehistoric rivers deposited the layer that came to be known as Old Red Sandstone at the foot of the Lammermuirs.  This last layer resting, as was said, UNCONFORMABLY, on the previous rocks confirmed the suspicions already forming in the astute mind of James Hutton who farmed at Slighhouses near Auchencrow, that the rocks had a tale to tell. 

James Hutton (1726-97) was an agricultural pioneer, philosopher, chemist, businessman and one of the heroes of the Scottish Enlightenment.

He had been aware of such unconformity in the rocks before at Arran and Jedburgh but it was the impressive display of sedimentary and tectonic processes so clearly demonstrated at Siccar Point on the coast between Coldingham and Cockburnspath, that convinced him and prompted him to write his The Theory of the Earth in which he expounded that the land on which we stand is not as it has always been and that the continents and the entire surface of the Earth is constantly being eroded, created and reshaped over an almost indefinite length of time. In doing so, he challenged the religious and scientific beliefs of his day and founded the modern science of geology.

Hutton’s Unconformity at Siccar Point is still a place of international pilgrimage for anyone with an interest in geology.