Scotland’s Lost Asteroid–One Year On, and NW Highlands Geopark Needs Your Help

Walking Through Time is being repeated! Episode 1, Scotland’s Lost Asteroid, is being broadcast again at 8pm, Saturday 29th April, Channel 4.

It is almost a year since we were filming in that incredibly beautiful part of Britain, and as I was just up there for a holiday I can report that the scenery is just as stunning, the people as welcoming, and the geology as awe-inspiring as it was when we filmed.

But things have changed. First the good news:

Dr Mike Simms has been continuing his research into the impact crater, and tells me,  “there are hints that [it] might be much bigger than first thought”, which is pretty exciting — keep your eyes peeled for a publication in the next few months! 

And after seeing our programme, the town of Lairg is putting on a special exhibition all about the impact crater. Local artist Emma Armstrong has been working with Lairg Primary School, and they produced three wonderful info boards for the exhibition (more on this below).

And now for the bad news.

The Northwest Highlands Geopark, which covers the entire area we filmed in — one of the most geologically important areas IN THE WORLD — is at risk of losing its UNESCO status. It needs funds to bridge gaps in its staffing budget, to enable people like Dr Laura Hamlet who helped us out no end with filming (and was brilliant on screen — watch her, you’ll see!) to continue their excellent work in engaging locals and visitors alike with the geology that underpins their lives.

It is shocking that their core funding, when they do so much for the region and the nation, is so precarious.

The NW Highlands Geopark are crowdfunding £70,000 to keep their work going throughout 2017. Please, please consider making a donation if you can. It is really easy to do — just follow this link, and spread the word: Love the Geopark Crowdfunding page

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The epic landscape of the Northwest Highlands Geopark (c) Adrian Glover

But back to the good news.

Lairg has fully embraced its new claim to fame as the site of Britain’s only terrestrial asteroid impact crater, and next week — quite by coincidence — the village is putting on an exhibition at the Ferrycroft Visitor Centre all about the asteroid, and the unit for the impact crater.

Local artist Emma Armstrong worked with pupils from Lairg Primary School to produce three wonderful information panels that will form the centrepiece of the exhibition, before moving to their permanent home as boards along the village trail. Emma pulled in Mike Simms directly to help her and the students get the science right. She told me:

“I went into the school and we spent a day researching asteroid and meteorite strikes, we did rhyming words and phrases to use on the boards, a list of facts and an art session trying to describe the intensity and impact of the strike.” 

I am dead chuffed that our programme has really resonated with the communities that we filmed in. It is exactly the *cough* impact that I hoped for. Yes, big viewing figures are great and all that, but touching peoples’ lives directly in this way is so much better.

Mike Simms feels the same, I know. He writes, “I’ve written loads of papers over the years but none have really made any difference (or even been noticed by) ordinary people in the street. But for once I (or rather we – because without your programme I still think it would have gone un-noticed) have made a genuine difference to a small and rather remote rural community.”

Cockles of my heart suitably warmed.


So to bring this back to the Geopark, and why it is important. Telly is all well and good as a one off, but the work that Laura Hamlet and the rest of the NW Highlands Geopark staff do is important *every day* on the ground. They devise tourist trails, lead tours, talk with school children, and in doing so they enrich the lives and experiences of so many people. Landscape, and the geology which underpins it, is so much more than just a pretty backdrop fro a holiday snap (though that is very nice). It informs how people live their lives, and understanding it gives us a deeper appreciation of the world we live in.

Please help: donate if you can, and even if you can’t help spread the word. Use the #lovethegeopark hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, and share the link to the crowdfunder wherever you can.

 

 

6 comments

  1. Peter Stott · 24 Days Ago

    Delighted to see that the TV programme will be repeated. I’ll be in Assynt again in June and will visit Lairg for the exhibition etc. The Geopark is worthy of our financial support – I just bought an extra lottery ticket, so “Fingers crossed”…..

    Like

  2. Lyz Harvey · 24 Days Ago

    Oh – that’s my Saturday evening sorted then! What a treat! Yes, will pass on the message . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • toriherridge · 21 Days Ago

      thank you!

      Like

      • Lyz Harvey · 21 Days Ago

        Even better than first time around, somehow . . . you really do have a gift for explaining things enthusiastically!

        Like

  3. James Witts · 22 Days Ago

    So many UK universities visit the geopark for undergraduate fieldwork, there must be a way of getting some help there..?

    Like

    • toriherridge · 21 Days Ago

      I hope so — I know that many people cut their geological teeth here, and feel strongly about supporting the campaign

      Like

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