Scourie Rocks Exhibition
“The collection is world-class and has no gaps.”
Dr Nick Fraser
Keeper of Natural Science, National Museum of Scotland
Honorary Fellow in Geosciences, Edinburgh University
A World-Renowned Collection in a World-Class Centre
The Scourie Rocks Centre will be a high-quality tourist hub for the Highland region and display the world-renowned Shelly Collection
Our aim is to create an asset for the local community and a must-see destination for visitors undertaking the North Coast 500.
It will become the focal point for geological study within the region, promoting understanding and appreciation of the geological heritage of the area.
To this end, it will provide educational facilities for both schools and university study in the geology of the local area and provide opportunities likely to result in further geo-tourism developments.
Click through the images below to see our vision for the Scourie Rocks Geo Centre.
The Exhibition Centre
The primary aim of the exhibition is to provide a visual extravaganza of colour, shape, form and texture.
It will be a visitor experience with the WOW factor.
This will consist of:
- specimens of crystals and minerals
• state of the art multimedia room
• an additional exhibition covering the geology of Scotland, the Highlands and the islands from Northwest Sutherland
• a fossil exhibition
• a large 3-D model of an area of Assynt
We will also tell the story of how Donald Shelley collected the 3,000 rocks, minerals and fossils in the Shelley Collection and hope to give a flavour of the original exhibition displayed in Golspie.
There will also be accessible storage for selected items of the collection to be available for geological academics.
Scourie Rocks has the perfect setting, Scourie, which has a population of 200, is situated in one of the most remote places in the North West Highlands Geopark, regarded as the cradle of geology. Endorsed by UNESCO, the park features some of the oldest rocks in Europe, around 3,000 million years old. It contains many notable geological features, such as the Moine Thrust, Smoo Cave and Scourie Dykes and covers an area of around 2,000 square kilometres.
The region continues to be a source of geological study and observation, attracting students and academics from across the UK and overseas.
As well as providing a world-class exhibition and learning centre, Scourie Rocks represents a huge investment in the future of this fragile remote area of the North West Highlands.
Scourie Rocks has the scope to reverse the impact of demographic changes adversely impacting this rural area by providing new jobs and associated opportunities. It will also support community sustainability, providing places to meet for education, community and leisure purposes.
The Scourie Rocks Centre will be a high-quality tourist hub for the Highland region and display the world-renowned Shelly Collection.
Our aim is to create a must-see destination for visitors undertaking the north coast 500. It will become the focal point for geological study within the region, promoting understanding and appreciation of the geological heritage of the area. To this end, it will provide educational facilities for both schools and university study in the geology of the local area and provide opportunities likely to result in further geo-tourism developments.
The Shelley Collection
The Shelly Collection was created by geologist Donald Robert Shelley from 1933 to 2002 and includes a priceless collection of rocks, minerals and fossils from Sutherland and beyond.
Nick Fraser, Keeper of Natural Sciences, National Museums Scotland, describes the collection as “world-class and has no gaps”.
Maarten Krabbendam of the British Geological Survey says it is “geologically important and aesthetically beautiful”. She points out that it contains irreplaceable pieces, “some of which are no longer available due to export restriction”.
From the 1970s until 2015, the Shelley Collection was displayed at the Orcadian Stone Company Gallery in Golspie. After the property that housed the collection was sold, the Shelley Collection was offered for sale by the family.
The Duke of Westminster, who owns Grosvenor’s Reay Forest Estate in Sutherland, acquired the Shelley Collection in 2017 from the family to ensure it would remain in the Highlands. The collection is now on loan to Scourie Community Development Company.
The Duke made further funding available, which enabled Scourie Community Development Company to appoint a development manager, project management and design teams to progress the project, with the aim of the community-managed centre delivering a lasting commercial and social benefit to the region.
The collection will be central to interpreting the geology of the area and explaining the creation of the current landscape for visitors.
This all means it will once again be possible to view the collection in its natural home – in the Highlands.