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Camustianavaig, Braes, fossils and fossil collecting

Take the A87 to Portree, or if coming from Portree take the same A87 towards Broadford.
Take the B883 to Braes, Penifiler, and Camustianavaig. Don't take the left fork for Penifiler. Head right for Braes.
Take the tight left hand junction at the bus shelter, and head for Camustianavaig taking the right hand side of the forked road a few hundred yards later.Park at the picnic benches at the Bay.
Cross the burn on the foreshore and head over to the high tide line and follow until you see a track. Keep to this trail up a small incline and round the headland.
GRID REF: 57.37248°N, 6.14573°W

Ammonites, plants, belemnites, mollusc's
and nautiloids can be found here.
Fossil Collecting at Camustainavaig

Camustianavaig is not for the faint hearted with a long hard walk, and then a very rugged terrain. However, for the enthusiastic serious collector it has a few amazing fossils. Stunning scenery and absolute solitude in this very remote location.
Where is it



Once you reach the 'Grassy Knoll' fossils are fairly frequent. Look for the Toarcian multi ammonite boulders. The rocks have the Toarcian rock sandwiched between like a burger in a bun. The Upper Pleinsbachian rocks contain large scallops and many other bivalves. Sandstone blocks contain plant fragments also.

Not for Children


This is not a family location, in fact unless you are fit and willing, this is not for the faint-hearted. There are no toilets or services at Camustainavaig. Take your own drinks and snacks.

Poor Access


Access is average, and although you can park freely at the picnic benches in Tianavaig Bay, no overnight parking is allowed. Your presence may be monitored due to the proximity to Eagles nest. Be prepared to walk along a narrow sheep path that can be several meters up from the shore. Safe as long as you take your time. It should take approximately 40 mins until the grassy knoll is reached and the fossils can be found.

Foreshore and Cliffs


Fossils are found in loose boulders on the shore, and can often be well exposed due to the erosion caused by the strong waves and motion at this location. There is not a lot to be found in the cliffs and should be avoided at all costs. These cliffs and the gullies are very dangerous and have claimed lives of the foolish already. Take Heed. And you are too close to the Eagles nest.

Restrictions from May-Aug


No Hammering the Bedrock. Important - you should not travel too far along the shore during the White Tailed Sea Eagle's breeding season. It is much frowned upon. (May-August)

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

Best tackled on a dropping tide, as some of the large obstacles can be avoided. Watch below the mid-tide mark as the weed covered rocks can be very slippery Take your time at all times. A personal guide by a local geologist who is very familiar with the site may be arranged. Contact Anthony Rybak. on 01471822640, mobile no. 07931512972, or e-mail

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

Other Locations similar to Camustainavaig

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

Location Photos

Fossil Collecting
Your Reports

Camustianavaig is a very remote fossil site, with a long hard walk in and out, but it has a serene beauty and solitude rarely found on an ever increasingly populated Skye. Raasay dominates the western horizon while the rugged cliffs of Benn Tianavaig loom from the East. Seals and otters are commonly seen, as can the White tailed sea eagles. Take a camera.

Once you have reached the 'Grassy Knoll', fossils begin to show regularly. Keep a close eye in and around the smaller boulders for fossiliferous blocks. The size of some of the larger obstacle boulders have to be seen to be believed. Be careful if you are hopping over and between these. Look for the thin banded Toarcian Stage multi-ammonite blocks/ boulders. These can be split with a cold chisel or similar. Lots of loose rocks with fossils showing. No need to hammer into bedrock.

No Hammering the Bedrock. Important - you should not travel too far along the shore during the White Tailed Sea Eagle's breeding season. It is much frowned upon. (May-August)

Geology Guide Jurassic, 160mya

As well as late Pleinsbachian stage of the early Middle Lias zones, this is where the only exposure of Upper Lias Toarcian stage sediment on Skye, and it is only inches thick. Above these are the early Bajocian stage. Pleinsbachian fossils include belemnites, brachiopods and an array of bivalves like 'Psuedopecten equivalis'. Toarcian fossils include ammonites like 'Amaltheus margiratus', Catacoeloceras sp. Dactylioceras commune and Harpoceras sp. as well as other smaller bivalves and the occasional Nautiloid. Bearerigg sandstone can also be found and contains some wood, plant fragments and fronds. The other Middle Lias fossils include 'Ludwigia murchisonae' and 'Graphoceras sp.'....[more]

Rich Bearreraig Sandstone

More Guides

Dactylioceras commune...[more]

Phones can get a signal along most of the walk. Take a 4lb sledge hammer at least, and a cold chisel. Do not be tempted to take a large boulder back as the walk home is as long if not more tiring on the way back.

Stone Tumblers
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. Supporting 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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