Granite and Grit, Ronald Turnbull

A library for geologists…

Granite and Grit

A walker’s guide to the geology of British Mountains

Ronald Turnbull

“Walking up Slieve Donard from Newcastle, I noticed that the character of the stream had changed altogether; instead of little romantic waterfalls, it was running down grey slabs in wide watersplashes. I backtracked down the path, to see in the riverbed the actual line where the dark shale butted up against smooth pale granite. I could even stand with my feet in a few centimetres of water and 250 million years apart…”

Ronald Turnbull

Ronald Turnbull does not profess to be a geologist, instead he stands proud as a hillwalker who likes to know what is going on under his feet. However I think he does a pretty damn good job in Granite and Grit at both explaining and illustrating ‘the seventeen types of stone that make up Britain’s mountains’.

Over a series of chapters, Ronald Turnbull works through the various rocks from which the (mostly) tall bits of Britain are made of. Here, in chapter four, he looks at the dramatic three tiers of Torridon- the Lewisian Gneiss, the Torridonian sandstone and the white Cambrian quartzite, all of which make this part of the UK a remarkable place to visit, all the more so with some understanding of the rocks on which you stand

Over a series of chapters, Ronald Turnbull works through the various rocks from which the (mostly) tall bits of Britain are made of. Here, in chapter four, he looks at the dramatic three tiers of Torridon- the Lewisian Gneiss, the Torridonian sandstone and the white Cambrian quartzite, which make this part of the UK a remarkable place to visit, all the more so with some understanding of the rocks on which you stand

Three Points of the Compass visited Torridon in 2012, if only I had read this book before

Three Points of the Compass visited Torridon in 2012, if only I had read this book before instead of relying on sketchy memory of Earth Sciences courses, years before

The book is lavishly illustrated with, mostly, good photographs, easy to understand diagrams and Ronald’s easy going, explanatory and anecdotal writing style. It is so well written that it is not necessarily a book to dip into, though it could be, it stands up to be read through in its own right. A walker’s perspective of the geology beneath our feet makes for a refreshing change in books of this nature. Thoroughly recommended.

If you enjoy a ramble up the mountains with Ronald Turnbull, why not go and dip your toes in the sea with him with another of his books- Sand Stone and Sea Stacks does an admirable job of looking at how the sea has shaped and continues to shape and create the coastline encircling our island

If you enjoy a clamber up the mountains with Ronald Turnbull, why not go and dip your toes in the sea with him with another of his books- Sand Stone and Sea Stacks does an admirable job of looking at how the sea has shaped and continues to shape and create the coastline encircling our island

“From the gneiss to the Ice Age, the rocks, boulders and screes of the UK are more varied and enticing than those of any other country. This book is your User’s Guide”

Ronald Turnbull, from the Introduction to Granite and Grit

Book in featured image:

Granite and Grit. A walker’s guide to the geology of British Mountains, Ronald Turnbull. Francis Lincoln, 2011 paperback edition. ISBN 978 0 7112 3180 1

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