Moraines are landforms created at the margins of glaciers by the melt-out of debris from the glacier and by the bulldozing action of the ice. Moraines are classified according to their position relative to the former glacier.

In Caithness, there are no major moraine systems associated with the retreat of the shelly till ice, a reflection of rapid ice retreat across the plain of Caithness after the ice in the Moray Firth had thinned and lost impetus to climb beyond the coastal fringe. Arcs of low moraines are present at the western edge of the shelly till drift sheet. These moraines formed when inland ice was able to advance unopposed into the area vacated by Moray Firth ice and then gradually retreat into the hills. These moraines are best seen in Strathmore around Dirlot, but also occur on the eastern flank of Strath Halladale, and in the valleys of the Berriedale and Langwell Waters. Moraines can be seen on the flanks of hills including Ben Dorrery and Ben Alisky and record the thinning of the last ice sheet. In the Caithness Memoir, Crampton and Carruthers (1914) give a detailed description of localities where moraines occur but there has no systematic study of moraine systems and ice retreat in Caithness.

Moraines on the eastern flank of Strath Halladale

Ben Dorrery

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