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Rambles of a Geologist

Or, Ten Thousand Miles over the Fossiliferous Deposits of Scotland

By Hugh Miller

(Published 1862)

(This title [originally published alongside The Cruise of the Betsey] hears reference to the extent of the author's geologic excursions in Scotland, during the nine years from 1840 to 1848 inclusive.)

  • Chapter I--Embarkation--A foundered Vessel--Lateness of the Harvest dependent on the Geological character of the Soil--A Granite Harvest and an Old Red Harvest--Cottages of Redstone and of Granite--Arable Soil of Scotland the result of a Geological Grinding Agency--Locality of the Famine of 1846--Mr. Longmuir's Fossils--Geology necessary to a Theologian--Popularizers of Science when dangerous--"Constitution of Man," and "Vestiges of Creation"--Atop of the Banff Coach--A Geologist's Field Equipment--The trespassing "Stirk"--Silurian Schists inlaid with Old Red--Bay of Gamrie, how formed--Gardenstone--Geological Free-masonry illustrated--How to break an Ichthyolite Nodule--An old Rhyme mended--A raised Beach--Fossil Shells--Scotland under Water at the time of the Boulder-clays
  • Chapter II--Character of the Rocks near Gardenstone--A Defunct Father-lasher--A Geological Inference--Village of Gardenstone--The drunken Scot--Gardenstone Inn--Lord Gardenstone--A Tempest threatened--The Author's Ghost Story--The Lady in Green--Her Appearance and Tricks--The Rescued Children--The murdered Peddler and his Pack--Where the Green Dress came from--Village of Macduff--Peculiar Appearance of the Beach at the Mouth of the Deveron--Dr. Emslie's Fossils--Pterichthys quadratus--Argillaceous Deposits of Blackpots--Pipe-laying in Scotland--Fossils of Blackpots Clay--Mr. Longmuir's Description of them--Blackpots Deposit a Re-formation of a Liasic Patch--Period of its Formation
  • Chapter III--From Blackpots to Portsoy--Character of the Coast--Burn of Boyne--Fever Phantoms--Graphic Granite--Maupertuis and the Runic Inscription--Explanation of the quo modo of Graphic Granite--Portsoy Inn--Serpentine Beds--Portsoy Serpentine unrivalled for small ornaments--Description of it--Significance of the term serpentine--Elizabeth Bond and her "Letters"--From Portsoy to Cullen--Attritive Power of the Ocean illustrated--The Equinoctial--From Cullen to Fochabers--The Old Red again--The old Pensioner--Fochabers--Mr. Joss, the learned Mail-guard--The Editor a sort of Coach-guard--On the Coach to Elgin--Geology of Banffshire--Irregular paging of the Geologic Leaves--Geologic Map of the County like Joseph's Coat--Striking Illustration
  • Chapter IV--Yellow-hued Houses of Elgin--Geology of the Country indicated by the colouring of the Stone Houses--Fossils of Old Red north of the Grampians different from those of Old Red south--Geologic Formations at Linksfield difficult to be understood--Ganoid Scales of the Wealden--Sudden Reaction, from complex to simple, in the Scales of Fishes--Pore-covered Scales--Extraordinary amount of Design exhibited in Ancient Ganoid Scales--Holoptychius Scale illustrated by Cromwell's "fluted pot"--Patrick Duff's Geological Collection--Elgin Museum--Fishes of the Ganges--Armature of Ancient Fishes--Compensatory Defences--- The Hermit-crab--Spines of the PimelodI--Ride to Campbelton--Theories of the formation of Ardersier and Fortrose Promontories--Tradition of their construction by the Wizard, Michael Scott--A Region of Legendary Lore
  • Chapter V--Rosemarkie and its Scaurs--Kaes' Craig--A Jackdaw Settlement--"Rosemarkie Kaes" and "Cromarty Cooties"--"The Danes," a Group of Excavations--At Home in Cromarty--The Boulder-clay of Cromarty "begins to tell its story"--One of its marked Scenic Peculiarities--Hints to Landscape Painters--"Samuel's Well"--A Chain of Bogs geologically accounted for--Another Scenic Peculiarity--"Ha-has of Nature's digging"--The Author's earliest Field of Hard Labour--Picturesque Cliff of Boulder-clay--Scratchings on the Sandstone--Invariable Characteristic of true Boulder-clay--Scratchings on Pebbles in the line of the longer axis--Illustration from the Boulder-clay of Banff
  • Chapter VI--Organisms of the Boulder-clay not unequivocal--First Impressions of the Boulder-clay--Difficulty of accounting for its barrenness of Remains--Sir Charles Lyell's reasoning--A Fact to the contrary--Human Skull dug from a Clay-bank--The Author's Change of Belief respecting Organic Remains of the Boulder-clay--Shells from the Clay at Wick--Questions respecting them settled--Conclusions confirmed by Mr. Dick's Discoveries at Thurso--Sir John Sinclair's Discovery of Boulder-clay Shells in 1802--Comminution of the Shells illustrated--Cyprina islandica--Its Preservation in larger Proportions than those of other Shells accounted for--Boulder-clays of Scotland reformed during the existing Geological Epoch--Scotland in the Period of the Boulder-clay "merely three detached groups of Islands"--Evidence of the Subsidence of the Land in Scotland--Confirmed by Rev. Mr. Cumming's conclusion--High-lying Granite Boulders--Marks of a succeeding elevatory Period--Scandinavia now rising--Autobiography of a Boulder desirable--A Story of the Supernatural
  • Chapter VII--Relation of the deep red stone of Cromarty to the Ichthyolite Beds of the System--Ruins of a Fossil-charged Bed--Journey to Avoch--Red Dye of the Boulder-clay distinct from the substance itself--Variation of Colouring in the Boulder-clay Red Sandstone accounted for--Hard-pan how formed--A reformed Garden--An ancient Battle-field--Antiquity of Geologic and Human History compared--Burn of Killein--Observation made in boyhood confirmed--Fossil-nodules--Fine Specimen of Coccosteus decipiens--Blank strata of Old Red--New View respecting the Rocks of Black Isle--A Trip up Moray and Dingwall Friths--Altered colour of the Boulder-clay--Up the Auldgrande River--Scenery of the great Conglomerate--Graphic Description--Laidlaw's Boulder--Vaccinium myrtillus--Profusion of Travelled Boulders--The Boulder Clach Malloch--Its zones of Animal and Vegetable life
  • Chapter VIII--Imaginary Autobiography of the Clach Malloch Boulder--Its Creation--Its Long Night of unsummed Centuries--Laid open to light on a desert Island--Surrounded by an Arctic Vegetation--Undermined by the rising Sea--Locked up and floated off on an Ice-field--At rest on the Sea-bottom--Another Night of unsummed Years--The Boulder raised again above the waves by the rising of the Land--Beholds an Altered Country--Pine Forests and Mammals--Another Period of Ages passes--The Boulder again floated off by an Iceberg--Finally at rest on the Shore of Cromarty Bay--Time and Occasion of naming it--Strange Phenomena accounted for by Earthquakes--How the Boulder of Petty Bay was moved--The Boulder of Auldgrande--The old Highland Paupers--The little Parsi Girl--Her Letter to her Papa--But one Human Nature on Earth--Journey resumed--Conon Burying Ground--An aged Couple--Gossip
  • Chapter IX--The Great Conglomerate--Its Undulatory and Rectilinear Members--Knock Farril and its Vitrified Fort--The old Highlanders an observant race--The Vein of Silver--Summit of Knock Farril--Mode of accounting for the Luxuriance of Herbage in the ancient Scottish Fortalices--The green Graves of Culloden--Theories respecting the Vitrification of the Hill-forts--Combined Theories of Williams and Mackenzie probably give the correct account--The Author's Explanation--Transformations of Fused Rocks--Strathpetlier--The Spa--Permanent Odoriferous Qualities of an ancient Sea-bottom converted into Rock--Mineral Springs of the Spa--Infusion of the powdered rock a substitute--Belemnite Water--The lively young Lady's Comments--A befogged Country seen from a hill-top--Ben-Wevis--Journey to Evanton--A Geologist's Night-mare--The Route Home--Ruins of Craig house--Incompatibility of Tea and Ghosts--End of the Tour
  • Chapter X--Recovered Health--Journey to the Orkneys--Aboard the Steamer at Wick--Mr. Bremner--Masonry of the Harbour of Wick--The greatest Blunders result from good Rules misapplied--Mr. Bremner's Theory about sea-washed Masonry--Singular Fracture of the Rock near Wick--The Author's mode of accounting for it--"Simple but not obvious" Thinking--Mr. Bremner's mode of making stone Erections under Water--His exploits in raising foundered Vessels--Aspect of the Orkneys--The ungracious Schoolmaster--In the Frith of Kirkwall--Cathedral of St Magnus--Appearance of Kirkwall--Its "perished suppers"--Its ancient Palaces--Blunder of the Scotch Aristocracy--The patronate Wedge--Breaking Ground in Orkney--Minute Gregarious Coccosteus--True Position of the Coccosteus' Eyes--Ruins of one of Cromwell's Forts--Antiquities of Orkney--The Cathedral--Its Sculptures--The Mysterious Cell--Prospect from the Tower--Its Chimes--Ruins of Castle Patrick
  • Chapter XI--The Bishop's Palace at Orkney--Haco the Norwegian--Icelandic Chronicle respecting his Expedition to Scotland--His Death--Removal of his Remain to Norway--Why Norwegian Invasion ceased--Straw-plaiting--The Lassies of Orkney--Orkney Type of Countenance--Celtic and Scandinavian--An accomplished Antiquary--Old Manuscripts--An old Tune book--Manuscript Letter of Mary Queen of Scots--Letters of General Monck--The fearless Covenanter--Cave of the Rebels--Why the tragedy of "Gustavus Vasa" was prohibited--Quarry of Pickoquoy--Its Fossil Shells--Journey to Stromness--Scenery--Birth-place of Malcolm, the Poet--His History--One of his Poems--His Brother a Free Church Minister--New Scenery
  • Chapter XII--Hills of Orkney--Their Geologic Composition--Scene of Scott's "Pirate"--Stromness--Geology of the District--"Seeking beasts"--Conglomerate in contact with Granite--A palęozoic Hudson's Bay--Thickness of Conglomerate of Orkney--Oldest Vertebrate yet discovered in Orkney--Its Size--Figure of a characteristic plate of the Asterolepis--Peculiarity of Old Red Fishes--Length of the Asterolepis--A rich Ichthyolite Bed--Arrangement of the Layers--Queries as to the Cause of it--Minerals--An abandoned Mine--A lost Vessel--Kelp for Iodine--A dangerous Coast--Incidents of Shipwreck--Hospitality--Stromness Museum--Diplopterus mistaken for Dipterus--Their Resemblances and Differences--Visit to a remarkable Stack--Paring the Soil for Fuel, and consequent Barrenness--Description of the Stack--Wave-formed Caves--Height to which the Surf rises
  • Chapter XIII--Detached Fossils--Remains of the Pterichthys--Terminal Bones of the Coccosteus, etc., preserved--Internal Skeleton of Coccosteus--The shipwrecked Sailor in the Cave--Bishop Grahame--His Character, as drawn by Baillie--His Successor--Ruins of the Bishop's Country-house--Sub-aėrial Formation of Sandstone--Formation near New Kaye--Inference from such Formation--Tour resumed--Loch of Stennis--Waters of the Loch fresh, brackish, and salt--Vegetation varied accordingly--Change produced in the Flounder by fresh water--The Standing Stones, second only to Stonehenge--Their Purpose--Their Appearance and Situation--Diameter of the Circle--What the Antiquaries say of it--Reference to it in the "Pirate"--Dr. Hibbert's Account
  • Chapter XIV--On Horseback--A pared Moor--Small Landholders--Absorption of small holdings in England and Scotland--Division of Land favourable to Civil and Religious Rights--Favourable to social Elevation--An inland Parish--The Landsman and Lobster--Wild Flowers of Orkney--Law of Compensation illustrated by the Tobacco Plant--Poverty tends to Productiveness--Illustrated in Ireland--Profusion of Ichthyolites--Orkney a land of Defunct Fishes--Sandwick--A Collection of Coccostean Flags--A Quarry full of Heads of DipterI--The Bergil, or Striped Wrasse--Its Resemblance to the Dipterus--Poverty of the Flora of the Lower Old Red--No true Coniferous Wood in the Orkney Flagstones--Departure for Hoy--The intelligent Boatman--Story of the Orkney Fisherman
  • Chapter XV--Hoy--Unique Scenery--The Dwarfie Stone of Hoy--Sir Walter Scott's Account of it--Its Associations--Inscription of Names--George Buchanan's Consolation--The mythic Carbuncle of the Hill of Hoy--No Fossils at Hoy--Striking Profile of Sir Walter Scott on the Hill of Hoy--Sir Walter, and Shetland and Orkney--Originals of two Characters in "The Pirate"--Bessie Millie--Garden of Gow, the "Pirate"--Childhood's Scene of Byron's "Torquil"--The Author's Introduction to his Sister--A German Visitor--German and Scotch Sabbath-keeping habits contrasted--Mr. Watt's Specimens of Fossil Remains--The only new Organism found in Orkney--Back to Kirkwall--to Wick--Vedder's Ode to Orkney

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