Main image above: Aerial view of a stack capped by till near Forse (AdobeStock_348336867)

There is widespread evidence around the Caithness coast of the emergence of erosional landforms from beneath a cover of till. Similar inherited landforms occur on Orkney and elsewhere around the Scottish coast.

Sea level has fluctuated widely through the glacial and interglacial cycles of the Pleistocene. Rock platforms below, at and above current sea level reflect periods when sea level has become stabilised for an extended time at that level, allowing erosion to cut a prominent notch in the shoreline. For features close to present sea level, perhaps the most likely period of erosion was during the last interglacial around 125 thousand years ago.

A stack capped by till near Forse
A geo and cliffs emerging from beneath thick till at Drumhollistan

Perhaps the most striking example in Caithness is given in the description by Peach and Horne (1881, p.324) of a cliff face near Latheronwheel:

“On the north side of a narrow inlet, which is about 100 feet in depth, the face of the cliff is finely polished and striated; the striae beginning near the water-level, and ascending the cliff obliquely.”

Here the original marine cliff face is preserved, presumably only recently exhumed from a cover of till.

IMAGES: Cliffs at Latheronwheel

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