Forty archaeology students from the University of Glasgow are spending this weekend on Bute as part of a pilot scheme which could see the return of regular field trips to the island.
The second-year students are spending the weekend finding out about the island’s rich archaeological history, including visits to St Blane’s Chapel, Ettrick Bay, Bute Museum and Rothesay Castle.
We caught up with them at Scalpsie Bay on Saturday morning, when Paul Duffy of Brandanii Archaeology and Heritage – a past Glasgow undergraduate, and a former staff member at the Glasgow University Archaeological Research Department (GUARD) – managed to cover 350 million years of Scalpsie’s history, from the formation of the Highland Boundary Fault to the Cold War, during the short time taken to stroll down to the beach.
Paul, who was the archaeology project manager for the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme throughout the lifespan of the project from 2008 to 2012, said: “One of the key objectives for Discover Bute was to develop the island’s reputation nationally as a place for archaeological research and investigation.
“Hopefully this pilot will evolve into a longer-term project which could boost the island’s economy by bringing people here at quieter times of the year.”
Dr Jeremy Huggett, head of subject for archaeology at Glasgow University, said: “We used to go on regular field trips to Arran, but those stopped some years ago, mainly for financial reasons.
“However, with Bute’s easier accessibility and Paul’s links with the university, we’d like to look at bringing back field trips.
“All the students here are studying something else alongside archaeology, and hopefully weekends like this might encourage them to continue their archaeological interest.”