Queensferry to Hopetoun

Not having been out sand collecting for some time and with a Friday off work, I decided to continue adding to my ever-increasing collection and bag another section of coast along the Firth of Forth.  I’ve collected from most accessible locations from Edinburgh down to Eyemouth but still have the odd one or two sites still to visit. Today I’m heading for a two mile length of coast between Queensferry and the entrance to Hopetoun House.

Arriving early to bag a parking space at Hawes Pier, my plan was to walk out to Hopetoun House, then make my way back collecting samples as I go. Much less load to carry this way. If you collect on the way out, you have everything to carry all the way back.

At the gates to Hopetoun House, I dropped down onto the beach at Society Point and started collecting, bagging samples of fine dry sand, shell sand and a few pebbles of colourful sandstone for crushing later. I repeated this as I walked along the coast. My method of collecting is to divide any given length of coast into sections and gather a selection of samples from each area.

The picture above shows where wind and tide have separated the sand grains into different zones, the darker zones here are actually heavier iron-rich minerals and can be collected with a magnet. It took me three hours of collecting to finally reach the car, my rucksack heavy with some 26 samples of sand and sandstone.

One back at the Man Cave, the samples were placed into drying trays and spread out for a few days to dry out before being sieved to remove any unwanted debris. The sandstone pebbles were indivudually placed into a heavy duty polythene bag and crushed with a 4 lb hammer. These were also laid out for drying and later sieving.

In a few days time, once dry, all samples will be sieved and stored in labelled glass vials, before finally being placed into the storage cabinet with the other 800 or samples I’ve gathered so far.

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