Geology is a complex subject, but for beginners a simple geological story can be told. Many geological texts describe rock formations ‘in place' and require the interested reader to visit the various localities and view the rocks described in the text. This booklet adopts a simpler approach by using a collection of rock samples, many of them from the shore of Loch Fyne near Strachur, to describe the composition of the Earth's surface and the processes that are involved in forming the rocks that we see around us. The rock collection is retained in Strachur and the actual rocks can be seen and handled rather than just viewed as photos. Studying the rock samples as well as their description in the booklet should help in the understanding of the accompanying text. Some terminology is necessary but this will become familiar on a second or third reading. There is deliberate repetition, with increasing detail as new terms are introduced.

Although I have focused on pebbles found on the loch shore at Strachur I have referred to other localities and acquired other rocks to make the geological story more complete. I have referred to local buildings, gravestones, a bridge, a wall, a jetty and even a supermarket to show how various rocks have been used over the years.

The short account of the geology of Cowal by Dr Julian Hill is recommended additional reading. For those who want to delve further, I recommend ‘The Geology of Britain - An Introduction' by Peter Toghill (Airlife Publishing, 2005), and ‘Mountain Building in Scotland' by Kevin Jones and Stephen Blake, Open University, 2003.

Thanks to Julia for reviewing the document and for providing various photos, and to Michael who photographed the rock samples. A few photos and diagrams were taken from the internet, from sources which do not claim copyright.

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