McFarquhars Beds and Caves
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At this location, you are standing right in front of some natural arches, through-caves and pillars that form the general area of McFarquhars Bed and Caves.
Ensure you have access to the web site picture to identify the features at this site.
McFarquhar was a local smuggler who hid his contraband in the caves nearby.
TAKE CARE!! The path to this cache descends a steep cliff on a narrow path which is sometimes hidden by bracken and other undergrowth.
The start of the path at the cliff top is just over the broken wire fence close to the seat. Take care when wet or with children.
The main type of rocks here are called the Moine and Dalradian rocks.
These rocks have undergone several geological cycles spanning 600 million years. Each cycle was as the result of land mass collisions and movements on a continental scale.
Some of this was in ancient Pre-Cambrian times, but some occurred later during the Caledonian mountain building period between 500 and 400 million years ago. At this time, Scotland's main mountain ranges were formed.
The original rocks were sediments worn from an old continent and deposited by large rivers flowing from ancient long gone mountains. The Moines were sands and clays about 1000 million years ago. The Dalradian which succeeds them, were younger sediments of sands and clay which were washed out into an ocean.
These sediments later became intensely folded and heated (metamorphosed) as the ocean closed up at the end of a tectonic cycle - the Caledonian orogeny or mountain building period.
These sediments have changed (or metamorphosed) into what geologists call psammites, schists and gneisses which in Scotland total 25 kilometres thick!
(All information gleaned from Wikipedia but substantially re-written by the cache owner to make it simpler!)
So....... What's going on here at McFarquhars beds?
The pillars and caves are a direct result of the "cooked" metamorphic rocks being violently folded and bent up into wave forms. The modern day sea action has removed some of the weaker rock beneath and has left prominent arches - one currently has a rope swing in it and the other has formed a large cave.
You have three tasks to complete here.
1) The easiest... post a photo:
a) of yourself with your GPS (this is optional) OR
b) just your GPS only.....
........clearly in view showing the general layout of the pillars and caves. This shows me that you were actually here!
2) The pillar (Rock pillar in pic) on the left has a very obvious bedding structure that has been thrown up. Originally the "bed" was horizontal or at an angle of zero degress. Standing near the rope swing looking northeast, estimate the angle of the bedding plane to the horizontal. Remember, zero is horizontal and vertical is 90 degrees. These rock layers are now somewhere in between!
3) The density of the sandstone type rock forming the through cave (Large Cave in pic) is about 2.5 tonnes per cubic meter. Make an estimate of the size of the cave itself and then work out how many tonnes of rock you think have been have been eroded by sea action.
(Note - if you are trying to do this cache with just a text listing, you won't know where the features are so clearly. A picture is shown on the full web page to help you identify the features.)
Please note: If you do not submit your answers then your log will be quietly deleted. I will only email you back if there is a problem with your answer.
These educational guidelines are set by the Earthcaching organisation! See www.earthcache.org
Access to this area is freely available under Scottish Access laws and indeed, the public are encouraged to visit, without permission, to look at the geology here or just to have a pleasant walk.
And there are already a couple of Traditional caches here placed with permission of Scottish Natural Heritage. Many thanks to them for granting permission for these.
"Encouraged to visit"? What does this mean?
The local community council have erected signposts showing the routes to the area from just outside Cromarty.
Park at either of these locations and follow the signposted routes which clearly say McFarquhar's Beds and Caves.
N57 40.676 W004 00.022 or
N57 40.213 W004 01.314 This is the easier access point.
(No hints available.)