Just returned from a month touring in the UK, and made a point of stopping at Knockan Crag in the desolate, beautiful Scottish Highlands to climb up to, and poke my finger in, the Moine Thrust. Exciting. This is one of the most famous and studied geological outcrops on earth — its interpretation as a major overthrust (older rocks pushed over younger ones) was a critical step forward in early geological science.
Also could not resist a three day stay at the seaside resort of Lyme Regis on the famous Jurassic Coast in Dorset – the town that inspired The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the town that is England’s most popular fossil-hunting mecca, and the home of Mary Anning, 19th century fossil-hunter extraordinaire (“the greatest fossil hunter ever known”). Mary found the first ichthyosaur and plesiosaur skeletons, became world-famous in palaeontology, cemented Lyme Regis on the tourist map, and much more recently, was the real-life heroine of Tracey Chevalier’s best-selling historical novel Remarkable Creatures. A few days later, I was staring at one of Mary’s dinosaurs — still in its timber box — at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences in Cambridge, and soon after, on British TV, I watched an interview with Tracey Chevalier. Coincidences.