Image above: Wetland in the Flow Country / © Copyright Andrew Tryon (

Godard (1965) recognised that in many parts of the Northern Highlands there was an area of relatively gentle slopes cut across a diverse geology at 90-180 m that formed a continuous belt around the coastline and which penetrated up the main valleys. This he regarded as the latest and lowest of a staircase of erosion surfaces developed across the varied rocks of the Highlands. From its association with deep sandy weathering covers, its marginal development and its low elevation, Godard suggested that this level was of Pliocene age and so formed in the period immediately before the Ice Age.

The Niveau Pliocene reaches perhaps its optimal development in Scotland in the plain of Caithness.

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